If it made your hair two shades lighter, you’re probably doing it wrong.

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Second- and third-day hair has come a long way. Gone are the days when we would douse our strands in baby powder, leaving a snowy trail over any and all nearby surfaces. Style-extending dry shampoo may have been thoughtfully designed, refined, and perfected over the years but the same cannot necessarily be said of our technique. It’s possible, and actually quite easy, to find yourself in a dicey situation when it comes to dry shampoo application. Whether you’re a dry shampoo pro or find yourself asking, “What is dry shampoo, anyway?” our tips will help you hit good-hair-day status in no time.

Regardless of which brand of dry shampoo you use (we have a few suggestions on the best dry shampoo here), you can achieve the best results by following these tips for how to use dry shampoo.

How to Use Dry Shampoo Step 1: Shake, Shake, Shake

The first step in using an aerosol dry shampoo is always to shake that bottle up. You’ll want to disperse all the ingredients to make sure it applies as evenly as possible.

How to Use Dry Shampoo Step 2: Spritz  

It’s always a good rule of thumb to consult the usage instructions on the back of your bottle for the most accurate instructions, but we’ve found that holding the can an average distance of 8 to 10 inches from the scalp returns the best results. Spritz in short spurts—do not use your Aqua Net technique—on sectioned hair.

How to Use Dry Shampoo Step 3: Give it a Minute

Once you’ve hit all the key areas, specifically your hairline surrounding your face and the crown of your head, let it sit for a minute. This allows the formula to dry just enough to make dispersing the product a bit easier.

How to Use Dry Shampoo Step 4: Blend, Blur, and Style

Use your fingertips to work the dry shampoo into your scalp and throughout your strands. Grab your brush and give it a few strokes as well to make sure you don't have any patches of product hiding away. When used correctly, dry shampoo can provide a boost of volume, lightweight hold, and even add polish or texture (depending on your technique and dry shampoo of choice) to your style.

Now that you have the basics down, just be sure to avoid these common dry shampoo mistakes.

Dry Shampoo Mistake: Using the Wrong Color

While most of the dry shampoos you’ll encounter at the drugstore or supermarket are designed to work on any hair color, there are specific formulas created with hair color in mind. If you’re having a hard time avoiding a powdery-looking result from a universal dry shampoo, you might want to give one of the color-forward bottles a try. The most popular brands should work on just about any hair color though—it’s all about the application.

Dry Shampoo Mistake: Relying On It a Little Bit Too Much

Should you have washed your hair four days ago? Is your scalp starting to itch? Does your hair feel heavy and grimy? These are all signs you’ve taken the convenience of dry shampoo a bit too far. Unfotunately, dry shampoo is not a substitution for a good old-fashioned hair wash.

WATCH: This 5-Second Trick Is the Secret To Your Shiniest Hair Ever

Dry Shampoo Mistake: Skipping the Scalp Care

For whom much is given, much is expected. The same can be said of your dry shampoo habit. If you’re going to use dry shampoo, you are probably going to need to kick up your scalp care. Dry shampoo can cling to strands and clog up your scalp so it’s best to use an exfoliating treatment or mask weekly if you find yourself dry shampooing fairly regularly. Give this one a go and your strands will thank you.

 

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