Just like it occurs to me to do laundry only when I’m down to my last pair of underwear, I’m guilty of applying dry shampoo only once my hair is dirtier than I’d like to admit. (I’m a hygienic person, I swear!) Sure, it helps—but there’s only so much dry shampoo can do once a layer of product residue, pollution, and sweat has already formed.
Then one day (likely while transferring a load of 40 pairs of underwear from washer to dryer) an idea struck: What if I used dry shampoo before my hair got grimy? To write it down makes it sound like a “duh” moment, but I’d always been made to believe that dry shampoo was more of a blowout extender than defender, if you know what I mean.
So I started experimenting. First I applied dry shampoo on totally clean, just-blown-out hair. But I found that the extra product weighed down my very fine hair. Then I tried spritzing it on second-day hair. But it was too late—my blowout was too far gone. If you have fine hair and an oily scalp like I do, you know the feeling. You go to bed with lots of volume and perfectly not-too-perfect only to wake up to sad, deflated, rumpled (and not in a good way) curls.
In a round of testing that felt very much like Goldilocks, I was left with only one option: putting it on at night before I went to sleep.
After washing and blowing out my hair the next morning, I spritzed my favorite formula—Davines Hair Refresher—on my fairly clean roots just before bed, then gathered my hair in a loose topknot. And lo and behold, when I woke up, let down my hair, and combed out the dry shampoo, my style felt surprisingly fresh and looked way more voluminous than normal. I did the same move for three more evenings, and didn’t have to wash my hair in-between. For me, that’s a beauty miracle.
I pinged hairstylist Marc Mena, who works with celebrities like Chrissy Metz and Mindy Kaling, to see whether my results were an act of divine intervention, or whether letting dry shampoo do its thing overnight actually makes sense. Turns out, it was the latter. “I think it’s very clever,” says Mena. “Especially because at night we all tend to sweat a little bit and release some natural oils.” The dry shampoo acts like a shield to soak up grime before it can take up residence on your roots, he says.
Mena also notes this trick isn’t only for people with fine hair like mine. “It’s more about your scalp than your hair texture,” he says. “If yours gets oily or you sweat a lot, you’ll benefit from using dry shampoo overnight.”
To get even better results, Mena says that—if you can—skip brushing or combing out your hair the next morning and gently work through hair using your fingers instead. That way, you can reap the oil-absorbing benefits of the residual dry shampoo throughout the day. Genius, if I do say so myself.
Shop more of our favorite dry shampoos, below:
$24.00, Ouai Super Dry Shampoo
Dianna Mazzone is a beauty writer in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @diannamazzone.
Originally Appeared on Glamour