Most of us are guilty of shampooing our hair too frequently. I can just about go three days, but usually I wash my hair every other day. Although dry shampoos rarely live up to expectations as a viable substitute for getting under the shower, I am always on the look out for one. The other day KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray ($14.90) came on to my radar and caught my attention as a dry shampoo that also builds bulk at the roots. Now that’s an interesting concept – most dry shampoos leave my hair looking limp and dusty.

However, when I looked at the ingredients they struck me as very odd.  There’s more acid here than at a 1960s love-in at Golden Gate Park.

There is lactic acid (from milk), malic acid (from unripened apples) and, a new one to me, pyruvic acid. This is used in chemical peels and, often, specifically to treat acne. Tartaric acid is the active ingredient in baking powder and is used in beauty products as a pH adjuster. Although toxic in large doses, a person weighing 70 kg would need to ingest at least 500 g of it. In short, there are so many AHAs in KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray that I can only imagine that it cleans by stripping the scalp. Talking of acid, there is also PCA (which I believe must be pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, based on the amino acid proline).

The problem with hair spray type products is that they usually feature pentane as solvent or propellant. Here it is the dominant ingredient and, while not considered toxic, it is an irritant and highly flammable (so resist the urge to light up if this is going to be your dry shampoo of choice). However, the planet conscious amongst you will be pleased to know that hydrofluorocarbon 152a was introduced as a safer alternative to chlorofluorocarbons in regard to the ozone layer.

Despite the grape and peppermint extracts and glycerin, I decided to pass on KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray. The mixed reviews didn’t win me over either. While some users seem to really like it, others say it leaves a white chalky residue (likely from the rice starch). Do share your experience if you have tried Hair Play.


Pentane, hydrofluorocarbon 152a, alcohol denatured, rice starch, water, propylene glycol, lactic acid, glycerin, grape extract, peppermint leaf extract, PCA, tartaric acid, sorbitol, pyruvic acid, malic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, fragrance.