Before traveling to a wedding recently, I had my hair highlighted, cut, and styled a few hours prior to my flight so I wouldn’t have to bother with it upon landing. Despite being pressed against an airplane seat headrest for five hours, my hair survived with plenty of volume and bounce throughout the event that night. By the next morning, however, my ’do had completely deflated and developed a thin film of grease. Rushing (as usual) to get ready for a brunch that day, I didn’t have time to clean, condition, and dry my hair. Fortunately, I had packed my Monimay Hair Shadz ($29.95 for 6.5 g).

You’ve probably never heard of this low-profile product; I came across it by chance in a magazine. Touted as the first all-natural mineral powder SPF blend patented specifically for the hair and scalp, Hair Shadz answers the question of how to protect the head from the sun without coating it in oily sunscreen or donning a hat. Aside from its SPF 15, Hair Shadz also acts as a dry shampoo and root concealer. It is designed to absorb oil, boost volume, enhance hair color, mask roots, and guard the scalp against damaging UVA and UVB rays all at once. Talk about a multi-tasker!

The clear tube packaging is more complicated than it looks. Getting the powder out of the tube requires several steps involving a plastic sheath and a silver ring. I actually had some trouble with it at first, but then I learned to appreciate its complexity. The silver ring at the top of the tube needs to be initially twisted from level 0 to level III (maximum flow) and tapped against a surface until the powder begins to dispense. Once I got the hang of the silver indicator, I was able to control how much colored dust I wanted to apply without making a mess. This feature is a huge improvement on nozzled bottles that spew powder all over your scalp. Before replacing the cap back on Hair Shadz, you slide an attached sheath up over the bristles to protect them from splaying out.

Compared to other dry shampoos, the mode of application is quite unique. Brushing the powder onto your hair allows you to control exactly which areas to cover up on your roots or scalp. Hair Shadz looks as if it would be more comfortable in a makeup bag than paired with a hairbrush. Unlike any other spray or squirt dry shampoo I’ve tried, Hair Shadz is most similar in size and packaging to my Colorscience Sunforgettable. I could see myself mixing up the two products one bleary-eyed morning before popping in my contacts. Luckily, their formulas aren’t too far off. Using only ingredients extracted from the earth, Hair Shadz would be safe enough to dust over a shiny T-zone.

Some dry shampoos add more junk to your hair than they absorb. For instance, Jonathan Product Green Rootine Dry Shampoo is guilty of greenwashing as glorified talc, which was found in 15 studies to cause ovarian cancer. Instead of talc, Hair Shadz formulas are packed with natural rice germ powder to soak up grease-forming oil in the hair and scalp. A combination of micronized titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide offer broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. Orange peel oil subtly neutralizes odor so that the scalp smells fresh. The color in Hair Shadz is supplied by lightweight minerals which leave hair soft and manageable.

Hair Shadz comes in 11 different shades, including a translucent option. The best match for my hair was Golden Blond (Marge). I don’t have grays yet, but I do have to worry about roots peeking through when my highlights start to grow out. Up until the sixth week after my salon appointment, the blond powder blends my lightened strands into my darker roots. After that point, not even Hair Shadz can conceal the tawny roots sprouting from my scalp. For those with gray roots, it is recommended to go a shade darker than your natural hair. Hair Shadz is also said to mask thinning hair, though I have a hunch that coloring your scalp to match your hair might be somewhat noticeable up close.

Like Bumble & Bumble’s Hair Powder, Hair Shadz blends in readily because of its easy-to-match shades, and the Hair Shadz spectrum offers the most custom shades I’ve ever come across. But whereas Bumble & Bumble uses lackluster fillers and chemicals, Hair Shadz wins major points for purity. The downside to its natural formula, however, is that too much of the powder can leave a cakey residue that feels grimy as the day wears on. It also can have a mattifying effect, which is easily counteracted with a finishing spray. I’ve found that a light-handed sweep along my part is all I need to subdue grease and uplift my ’do.

I had tested out Hair Shadz numerous times as a dry shampoo and root blender, but it wasn’t until an all-day outdoor event last weekend that I got to put its power as a sunscreen to the test. Though I would typically wear a hat for so many hours under the sun, I went bare with just a coating of Hair Shadz on my scalp, and of course, a healthy dose of liquid face sunscreen. My skin showed not a single sign of sun damage the next day; meanwhile, my husband’s neck, nose, and scalp glowed bright red. By the following day, his scalp started to peel and dandruff-like flakes showered his shoulders. I’d say my Hair Shadz sun experiment was a success.

SPF Active ingredients: micronized titanium dioxide 20% and micronized zinc oxide 20%
Color ingredients: oryza sativa (rice) germ powder, zinc oxide, silica, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil
May contain: black iron oxide, tan iron oxide, brown iron oxide, russet iron oxide, mica