Can you highlight hair with dry shampoo in it?

woman applies dry shampoo before highlights

  • No, you can’t do highlights after using dry shampoo.
  • That’s because dry shampoo leaves a powdery residue in the hair that can interfere with the bleach you need to use for the highlights. Therefore, you have two options.
  • The first is to rinse your hair with plenty of water to remove the dry shampoo, and then do the highlights the same day.
  • The second is to wash your hair with normal shampoo and conditioner to remove the dry shampoo completely, and then wait two days to do the highlights.


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The truth is that  when you do your highlights, your hair must be completely free of hair product residue. 


That means that if you used dry shampoo, my recommendation is not to do your highlights yet.

Because although dry shampoo encapsulates the oil from your scalp and roots, leaving your hair fresh and clean, it also leaves dust that will interfere with the bleaching process for your highlights.


dry shampoo leaves white powder on hair

When you mix bleach powder with developer you get a creamy mixture, right? If you apply that creamy mixture to your hair with dry shampoo in it, the powder left by the shampoo will stiffen the texture of the bleach. It effectively dries the bleach mixture out a bit.


So, several things could happen:

  • Since the bleach mix will be stiffer, it will be more difficult to distribute it evenly on the strands you separated for your highlights.
  • If you apply highlights with paper, you will have to use more force and the paper may tear.
  • If you apply highlights with a cap, the pressure to distribute the mixture can cause it to run out of place and stain the hair.
  • The bleaching process may progress unevenly, and some sections of your hair may not even lighten at all.

So, if you used dry shampoo and now you want to get highlights, you have two options to avoid unpleasant results. And that’s what I’ll talk about next.


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How to remove dry shampoo residue before getting your highlights done

hair wash to remove dry shampoo

Here’s the best option, and the one I recommend as a professional colorist.  If you used dry shampoo, wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner and wait two days to do your highlights. 


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This way you make sure your hair doesn’t have any dry shampoo residue. Then, during those two days, your scalp will secrete sebum that will protect your scalp and hair from the aggression of the bleach.


Now, what if you can’t reschedule your salon appointment or don’t want to wait? You can remove the dry shampoo residue by rinsing your hair with water.

It’s vital you do this rinse thoroughly. It’s not just a matter of wetting your hair for a minute.

How do you make sure there’s no dry shampoo in your hair before you do your highlights?

  • Place your hair under the tap, or the shower head, and let warm water run for two minutes.
  • While the water runs through your hair, massage your scalp and hair for two to three minutes.
  • Let the water run through for one minute more. Then when you’ve finished, drain the excess water and wrap a towel around your hair.



Before you get highlights, your hair should be free of any hair products. Therefore, you can’t highlight your hair if it’s still got dry shampoo in it.

You should rinse your hair with just water if you want to do the highlights immediately. Or you can wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner and wait two days to do the highlights.

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