Unilever, based in New Jersey, issued a voluntary recall for several brands of dry shampoo. These shampoos, produced prior to October of 2021, were found to contain high levels of a chemical called benzene, which has been linked to cancer. Unilever stated that “Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen. Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life threatening.”
The dry shampoos listed in the recall are as follows:
Dry Shampoo Volume and Fullness
Dry Shampoo Fresh Coconut
Dry Shampoo Fresh and Floral
Dry Shampoo Ultra Clean
Dry Shampoo Invisible
Dry Shampoo Detox and Purify
Dry Shampoo Clarifying Charcoal
Dry Shampoo Go Active
Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist
Inergy Foam Shampoo
Dry Shampoo Hair Refresher
Professionals Dry Shampoo Refresh and Revive
Dry Shampoo Volumizing
Dry Shampoo Fresh and Clean
Pro Pure Dry Shampoo
Bed Head Brand
Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo
Oh Bee Hive Volumizing Dry Shampoo
Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
Unilever says they are recalling these products out of an abundance of caution, but have not yet received any reports of adverse events relating to the recall. They have notified retailers to remove these products from their shelves, and urge consumers to stop using these products if they already own them. You can find the full list of recalled products with details here.
Shortly after this recall, a Connecticut-based laboratory, Valisure, reported testing 148 dry shampoos from 34 different brands and found that 70% of them contained benzene. They filed a petition with the FDA, attempting to recall these products. The popular dry shampoo, Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Toasted Coconut, was found to have 79 times the recommended level of carcinogen in just the first spray alone.
Some of the dry shampoos from the study with high levels of benzene were:
Not Your Mother's, Beach Babe, Toasted Coconut
Not Your Mother's, Clean Freak Original
Not Your Mother's, Clean Freak Unscented
Not Your Mother's Blonde Moment Dry Shampoo
Paul Mitchell Invisiblewear Brunette Dry Shampoo
Sun Bum Beach Formula Dry Shampoo
Batiste Dry Shampoo Bare
Batiste Dry Shampoo Clean and Light Bare
Sebastian Dry Clean Only Dry Shampoo
Other Dangers of Dry Shampoo
As convenient as it is to skip washing your hair and spray a little dry shampoo in to "refresh it" instead, you might want to take caution. The occasional use of dry shampoo is fairly safe, but using it too often, or regularly, can lead to some issues.
One problem with overusing dry shampoo is that it can clog your hair follicles. Going too long without washing your hair, along with the buildup of products, can clog the follicles and make your hair itch. It can also lead to folliculitis, a fungal infection. Neglecting to wash your hair for prolonged periods of time can cause dandruff if your hair is overly oily. Dry shampoo doesn’t clean your hair, it just helps to absorb some of the oils to make your hair appear cleaner.
Tips To Go Longer Between Washes
Overwashing your hair can be a negative thing too, but barely ever washing it leads to its own problems. If your hair is very oily, you will need to wash it more often than those with naturally dry hair. But dry shampoo is different from actually scrubbing your hair with shampoo, so don’t use it as a way to clean your hair.
If you want to make the most of your days in between washes, consider these tips.
Shampoo twice on hair-washing days. Product buildup between washes can be hard to clean, so give it an extra scrub when you do wash it. Try using a scalp massager to get a better scrub.
Use fewer products. It’s great to use products when you are styling your hair, but don’t use so much that it makes your hair dirty and heavy. Only use what is necessary, and use it sparingly.
Plan your hair-washing days accordingly. I try to wash my hair only when I need it. If I know I’m doing an activity that will require me to wash my hair after, I try to plan when I'm washing it around that.
If you are using any of the recalled dry shampoos, return them or throw them away and discontinue use immediately. Dry shampoo in general has risks, so use it with caution. If you do decide to use it, make sure you don’t use it too regularly, as it can cause scalp issues. Do your best to take care of your hair and keep an eye on what products you are using to be sure they are safe.
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