“Should I stop using dry shampoo?”
Photo-illustration: The Cut; Photos: Getty Images
I know why this question is on your mind. Last week, the independent testing facility reports Valisure that it found benzene, a known carcinogen, in 70 percent of the dry shampoos it tested. Alarming headlines — “A cancer-causing chemical has been found in popular dry shampoos“, “19 dry shampoos recalled due to potential cancer-causing ingredient“) – followed. Because I’m assuming you don’t have a mass spectrometry system on hand to test every bottle dry shampoo you shop for benzene pollution, you wonder if you should leave things altogether.
The thing is, no one the needs dry shampoo. And there are many other, excellent ways prevent oily roots. But before we get to that, I think we need to address a bigger issue. this isn’t the first time we’ve seen disturbing headlines regarding the safety of beauty products, and it won’t be the last. So how should you react when you hear such news? My proposal. Perform a personalized risk assessment. I say personalized because anyone who does will give a different answer. But I think it might help if I tell you how I did mine.
First, I checked myself for confirmation bias. Did I focus on the headlines because they aligned with what I already believed? Or cherry picking articles that confirmed my opinion? (I try not to, but it’s always good to remind myself of the possibility.) I ignored the clickbait and went back to the original source, huh? Citizen Petition Valisure Submitted to FDA which required several actions, including a product recall, based on its findings. I immediately noticed that its report was only for aerosolized dry shampoos. (Benzene is not an ingredient in dry shampoo, but some propellants used in aerosol sprays can be contaminated with the chemical, according to the former. FDA alert.) I also found that the benzene levels detected were low at 0.18 parts per million (ppm) and 158 ppm; varied greatly on a per-spray basis (ie, inconsistent); and in most cases were lower than the permissible concentration limit (2 ppm) that the FDA has set for drugs.
Don’t get me wrong. its presence is still a concern. But health problems associated with benzene (blood disorders and cancers like leukemia) are based on chronic, long-term exposure like you would get if you worked in, say, a factory with industrial solvents. I casually use dry shampoo twice a week for about five seconds in a well-ventilated bathroom with the door open. So my conclusion was: i still use aerosol dry shampoo.
To help you decide, I checked Michelle Wong, Ph.D., a cosmetic chemist and science teacher based in Sydney, Australia. “This news doesn’t mean that any exposure to benzene can cause cancer, which is what people tend to interpret it as,” he says. “It’s about probability, based on the amounts and the exposure, and the risk is really small.” He noted that it is impossible to avoid benzene altogether in the modern world. It’s in the air we breathe in low doses (we’re usually exposed up to 1,300 micrograms per day here in the US) and in things like second-hand smoke and rush-hour traffic in higher doses. “Personally, it doesn’t affect my use of aerosolized products,” says Wong.
But suppose you do the same research and decide: Let the writer take it, no. Maybe you have other health problems or a high risk of cancer. Or you use dry shampoo indoors. Or do you think that taking any kind of health risks for an unnecessary cosmetic product is completely ridiculous? If that’s the case, I totally get it.
Here’s what you can do. If you use dry shampoo purely as a styling product (not because your scalp is oily), try a texturizing spray or powder that provides the same kind of hold and oomph. These are admittedly hard to find in non-aerosol form, but I like them Ceremony Guava Beach Waves (spray) and: Bumble and bumble Ready-to-Powder (dust).
If you’re using dry shampoo between washes because your scalp gets oily, develop another oil-control tactic. If the oiliness is not due to a medical condition, it may be a form of oiliness from shampooing too often. If you reduce the frequency of shampooing, you may notice that your scalp is less oily (a controversial and annoying process, but it works for some people). “There’s a natural oil balance that we all have to figure out on our heads,” he says. Mona Gohara, MD., a dermatologist based in Connecticut. “For some, this balance comes from daily washing, others find it with monthly washing.”
You can experiment by replacing your regular shampoo with a clarifying version every few washes. Aveeno’s scalp-friendly version of apple cider vinegar is beautiful. Or find a shampoo that’s less thick and creamy than your current one. (I’m obsessed Necessaire shampooa sheer formula that still has a gorgeous lather and hydrates without greasing your scalp or weighing down the length, really amazing 🙂
The easiest option. Switch to a non-aerosol version of dry shampoo. Wong uses her translucent face powder to degrease her bangs (“Not that I’m worried about the spray, I just think the sprays keep my ends in place,” she says). Some people may even run away using cornstarch as a dry shampoo. Me? I prefer the options below. But as with your personal risk assessment, you do what’s right for you.
No danger of benzene here.
This might be the most luxurious dry shampoo ever, and the brush makes for easy targeted application (between braids, just between bangs, etc.).
This blows up into a satisfying little cloud that covers a larger area than some of the shock versions; great if you have long hair.
Apply before a workout (or before bed, as the name suggests) to keep sweat and oil from ruining your style.
#stop #dry #shampoo