Dry shampoo for women: Is it okay to use baby powder for hair?

The monsoon season is here and we can’t stop but gush over the greenery. However, one thing that stops swaying and loses its bounce during the rainy season is our hair. Humidity can make our mane go sticky, frizzy and unkempt. No styling stays in place and hair starts to look flatter and limp. That’s when most of us turn to dry shampoos. They not only add bounce to our hair but also help in controlling excess oil production in the scalp.

However, many women have found our own hack for a pricey dry shampoo– baby powder! It is finely milled, lightweight and does pretty much the same job without burning a hole in the pocket. But, is it really okay to use baby powder as a replacement for dry shampoo?

Health Shots spoke to Dr Gunjan Verma, Consultant Dermatologist, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, who helped us clear our doubts around dry shampoo.

What is dry shampoo?

Dr Verma says, “Basically, dry shampoo is used by most women due to their busy schedules. In a majority of the cases, women are not able to wash their hair with water every day. These powder-based shampoos are alcohol and starch-based products that absorb excess oil from the scalp that is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the scalp. These days even celebrities are endorsing these brands so people are buying it even though it is costly.”

“Since there is a lack of cheaper alternatives available, people are using baby powder as dry shampoos. However, It is advised to use products that are designed and authorized to be used on scalps. Since baby products are not designed for hair, there are many hair problems young people can face. Therefore, it is suggested not to use this alternative as it can turn out harmful in the long run,” she adds.

frizzy hair in monsoon
Take preventive measures to save your hair from damage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Though baby powder works the same as a dry shampoo, there are some drawbacks:

  1. The formulation of baby powder is different from that of dry shampoo. Baby powder has talc and certain mineral oils that are not good for the scalp.
  2. Some talcum powder may have sulphur or artificial fragrance that can turn out to be very harmful to the scalps.
  3. Women suffering from acne, seborrheic dermatitis or any other condition of the face and scalp should not resort to baby powder as it may worsen the problems and cause hair loss and alopecia too.
  4. “If a person has dark-coloured hair and they are using white-coloured baby powder on the scalp, it may leave a white residue that not only looks bad but also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria,” says Dr Verma.
  5. People with scanty and thin hair should steer clear of it. The powder may also look ugly and harm the roots by causing product buildup and clogging of pores.
  6. For women who have problems like dandruff and eczema, it is recommended to not use baby powder or a dry shampoo.
  7. One must also avoid alcohol-based products which have butane, propane and isobutane which are most likely found in some dry shampoos.
hair fall
Product buildup caused by dry shampoo and talc can cause hair loss. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

You should understand the fact that these shampoos are not an alternative to conventional ways of washing your hair with shampoo and water. A proper hair cleansing routine needs to be followed even more religiously if one is using a dry shampoo to avoid product buildup and prevent scalp infections. One must thoroughly read the composition of the product before using it. It is okay to use baby powder once in a while but it should not be used as a habit and one must be resistant to using it. If absolutely necessary, don’t forget to wash your hair immediately after coming back.

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