Picture of homemade dry shampoo
I love dry shampoo, but I feel like I run out of the aerosol stuff so quickly! I've been using cornstarch as a homemade dry shampoo for years. I remember reading about it in a teen magazine when I was young - I also tried baby powder, but that went badly and I smelled funny. In the past 4-5 years, I've been adding cocoa to my homemade dry shampoo so that it blends in better with my darker hair. Baking soda is another newer addition - I like it because it can help cut down on the "greasy" smell hair can get after a couple days.

This homemade dry shampoo recipe is a great substitute for the aerosol versions if the strong smells bother you, too. I'm not a bit fan of walking around smelling like alcoholic fruit or candy, and I'm sure you're not either. ;)

I've included a homemade dry shampoo recipe for both light and dark hair - it will make enough for tons of uses and you can fit it in a spice jar. And it gives thin, straight hair great texture - it ends up feeling thicker!
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of what you'll need:
  • cornstarch
  • baking soda
  • cocoa powder - just make sure it's unsweetened! Sweetened cocoa powder will turn your hair into a sticky mess.
  • a paper funnel
  • a container to store it in
  • measuring spoons
I've also heard of people adding essential oils to the mix, but I've never done it so I can't tell you how that will end up. :D

Step 2: The basic recipe

Picture of the basic recipe
This is the recipe you'll use if you have light hair or if you don't have any cocoa powder on hand:
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
Combine the cornstarch and baking soda in a container and shake shake shake.

Ta-daaaa! Enough dry shampoo for tons of uses. As long as you keep it sealed up, you can store it in the bathroom with no issues.
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boudiceaT3 months ago

Would adding cinnamon work instead of the cocoa?

Chryz_z boudiceaT3 months ago

I used cinnamon, it works very well

Eleventy1 year ago
Cool! Any ideas on something cheap you could add to give it SPF? I've sometimes tried dusting on a little mineral makeup powder (like bare minerals mineral veil), but I'm not sure how effective it is, and it shows in my dark hair. Might try mixing the mineral makeup with cocoa! But a less expensive option would be nice.
jessyratfink (author)  Eleventy1 year ago

Try looking there! Scoochmaroo made her own sunscreen - you might be able to mix in some of her ingredients. She used micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - they're powders so it should be easy to add. :)
Cool, thanks!

ew go away.

Hair is dead protein, why would you need to have sun protection in a hair product?

i know this is a year old, but i have to reply, lol...the spf isn't for the hair, it's for the scalp! :D i'm one of those fair/blonde/curly girls, with hair too curly/fine to wear any way but short/very short, and scalp sunburn is seriously unpleasant, lol!! and yeah, i did see that others have said the same, but i just felt compelled to!! ;D

Gotcha thanks for the explanation. I have very thick black hair so that would not have occurred to me. The only time I've bothered about hair products with SPF is when I colour it to prevent the colour from fading.

I honestly can't think of anything else that would work for adding to the dry shampoo though unless you can find a way to make titanium dioxide or zinc oxide powder stick to your hair and it might make an ugly white coating on your hair. I believe other SPF chemicals are in a liquid form which wouldn't work with the dry shampoo concept.

Dead things can't renew like live things do, so sometimes they need even more protection than live things do.
There are two good is that it would land on your scalp, which, being skin, is subject to sunburn.....and if your hair is coloured, it will help protect it against fading.
The scalp underneath can still burn. For those of us with thin hair, a dry option for sunscreen would be awesome.
It would be for the scalp. Have you ever gotten a sunburn along your part? It is not pleasant. (And neither is putting greasy sunscreen in your hair! :-) )
racham64 months ago

Great idea and very creative!

tstevens114 months ago

Thank you for this, i know the post is like a year old but i happened upon it while looking at a DIY website...I have super long hair, I have been growing it for 5 years now...The amount of money I spend on shampoo and conditioner each month is redic! My hair is to my butt in a high pony tail and is super thick so I have to use a ton of conditioner in order to be able to brush it after taking a shower, a shower for me is 5 mins of washing my body and shaving and 15-20 mins of washing my is much easier for me to use dry shampoo in between washes to keep it from looking super oily...I dont always have time for a half hour shower as I work 2 jobs, go to college and take care of my house, pets & family...I have noticed that since I have only been using shampoo less often my scalp doesnt itch as much, my hair is healthier and im seeing as much hair in my brush or as many split ends. I was told by my dermatologist when I was 15 that I should only shower 3 times a week because i have eczema and this would allow for my skin to rebuild the esstenial oils it needs...I do not smell and I am not dirty just to clarify that for people who like to assume things...I cant wait to try this..i hate using the areosol because they always get clogged and I feel like im going to pass out from the fumes

mrsthursday4 months ago

i've used tapioca starch in the past as a dry shampoo, needs must, etc. And the texture difference of my fine hair is amazing. However, it seems to take the shine out of my hair, do you have any suggestions to add shine? My hair tends to be oily.

Kris T.1 year ago
I'd use it myself, but I have super short hair that has to at least be "watered down" because it likes to stick up in weird places after sleeping on it (even if it's dry); I usually just end up wet-washing.

But I did make this for my mom, and she really likes it, especially the chocolate part, lol.
Suuz1 year ago
This is so cool I want to want to smell like chocolate
young_sien1 year ago
My wife has black hair, do i need to add other ingredients?
jbailey71 year ago
Seriously! Many people have been brainwashed by the makers of shampoo! I was stuck in that routine at one time. I had to wash my hair every day or it was limp and greasy looking. Then I got stuck waiting for a plane with no access to a shower for 3+ days (long story). Of course as soon as I could I showered and washed my hair, but I noticed that the next day it didn't look as awful as usual so I skipped a day. After a while I skipped 2 days. Now I go 2 or more weeks. The more you wash your hair the more your body compensates for the loss of protective oils by making more. If you take the time to retrain your scalp and stop stripping it of the oils it produces to protect you then you can go longer between washes. One key factor is to brush your hair often. That will spread the oils and protect the hair.
Trust me, I once thought that I could not go more than 24 hours with out shampooing my hair and sometimes washed it twice in one day (at the gym and before bed). Never again. Dry shampoo helps get rid of some of the oils without stripping you scalp and triggering you body to produce even more.
Great idea to add the cocoa powder! I bet it smells great (being the chocoholic that I am!)
jessyratfink (author)  jbailey71 year ago
Ha! That's how it happened for me too - no water in my apartment for days, and next thing you know, my hair looks really fancy all of a sudden. :D I had to keep it up!

It does smell really good - but the smell wears off after the first couple hours. Which might be a good thing. Otherwise I get chocolate on the brain. :P
I always have chocolate on the brain. ;D

While I can't give definite proof that you are right on the money , I can give two anecdotal instances. Ironically, both are ad based.

The first is an ad disguised as an "article" called "Why Shampoos Are a Waste of Money".

"It’s the dirty little secret many shampoo companies don’t want you to know. When you wash your hair with certain traditional shampoos, you may actually be stripping your hair and scalp of their natural oils. Many shampoos usually rely on sodium laurel sulfate or other damaging detergents for cleansing. While these generate a thick lather to clean hair, they can also create dryness, frizziness, dullness, and color fade. We then spend a fortune of time and money on products that are effectively undoing the damage caused by shampoo."

Then they go on with a pitch trying to sell you an even MORE expensive shampoo.

The second is a movie from way back called "Crazy People". It's about an ad man who has a nervous breakdown and winds up in an institution, where he and a bunch of the residents decide to write some ads that tell the plain truth about products. Those ads accidentally get released and turn out to be a big hit. So the execs decide to try their hand at truth telling.

The first product they try it with is shampoo. At a brainstorming session, one of the execs says, "It doesn't do anything for anybody's hair. It robs hair of body, all shampoos do."

I know it's just a movie but this particular movie did contain an abundance of truth.

I have oily hair and itchy scalp if I don't wash it every day. I already have the ingredients and I will be trying this out over the next few days. Thanks for posting.
Mama Roche1 year ago
I cant wait to try this one...I just spent a ton on a dry shampoo for brown hair. Great for when you cant shower, camping etc.
akkhima1 year ago
Just don't use cocoa is you're using it for camping! You don't want yourself or your toiletries bag to smell like food with animals around.
Actually, cocoa or chocolate is toxic to animals.
Well, then here's some more new info for you: there's also no-rinse shampoo for those who are sick or bedridden. It gets used a lot in hospitals. There are many reasons a person might use something like this that others have covered pretty well already so I'll just leave it at that. BTW, how would you like it if someone said, "Gee, sounds like you have an oily hair problem. Yuck."?
I have used that no-rinse shampoo and it works very well. It is very expensive though.
Dry shampoo will aid people who suffer from Aquagenic urticaria (Allergic to water).
Some people are not able to get there hair wet for many reasons. And just because you don't realize that hair can become clean without water doesn't make a person who needs a way to clean their hair without it disgusting, but more the opposite.
jessyratfink (author)  LancasterPA1 year ago
Well that's not very nice!

While shampooing every day is normal for some folks, some people either have less oily hair, or they've found that by shampooing less their hair is healthier. I've been shampooing my hair three times a week for years, and I am never smelly or over-oily.

When you cut back on shampoo your body does tend to get used to it - it took me a couple months! When you shampoo everyday, your scalp produces more oil to replace what the shampoo stripped. :)
Dry shampoo isn't used out of laziness, it's for hair care. Washing your hair too often with wet shampoo is bad for it, especially if you have long hair.
Also good for camping and third world travel.
My apologies to "Third World" for my sketchy usage. I didn't think the term was offensive. To clarify, I didn't particularly mean places without piped water or good hygiene. I'm referring to travel where you intentionally do NOT stay in four star hotels and may need for whatever reason to go a few days without a proper shower.

So, I'd rather say, "Also good for camping and traveling to awesome places where you might not get a shower everyday."

"Third world travel" is simply a term that evokes that image for me, and most people I normally talk to would understand what I meant. So thanks for pointing out my miscommunication. Ironically, I have very little hair, so my opinion on this topic is pretty much worthless!
"Third World" is an awfully sweeping term and somewhat of a holdover from the Cold War. You can go to a lot of Third World countries and stay in four- and five-star hotels the whole time. How about more descriptive terms like "places without piped water"? :)
Camping yes. I live in the third world and we wash our hair. We can also buy tiny amounts of shampoo in packets for as little as 10 cents USD. Surprisingly most people in the third world are very clean and always try to have clean clothing to wear. Many times they look un-kept because their clothing is old and washed almost daily.
puggirl4151 year ago
I have used cocoa powder + starch (whatever startch I have on hand) for years now. I also don't use my hands to apply but a dedicated brush that I dip in the dry shampoo and apply on oily areas but underneath the top layer of hair so I don't get the powdery look. My question is why include baking soda to this mix? Baking soda is very alkaline. What exactly does it add to the dry shampoo?
Actually, there is a really great shampoo called "no-poo" that you make yourself. Just mix one part baking soda with 3-5 times water, you adjust the amount to your hair's needs. And then you do the same thing, portions and everything, with apple cider vinegar to water as a conditioner. Yes, these both seem like they'd be harsh, but they regulate your hair's natural ph, remove oil and crud that collects on the follicles too. And they're actually pretty effective yet gentle. You'd be shocked! They work amazing and most people can even shampoo less often.
jessyratfink (author)  puggirl4151 year ago
There are a couple reasons:
#1 - it keeps the dry shampoo from being overly powder-y - it's easier to apply with something a little rougher than cornstarch in it!
#2 - if you're having to go multiple days without washing, it helps with the "oily" smell.

I've never had any issues with hair/scalp damage from using it. But if someone tried to apply it to wet hair, I could see it being a problem. :P
Quester551 year ago
Great idea, Try this for a Cooling Effect: Drop off the Cocoa & replace with, " Powdered Organic Menthol ", {Do Not Use Chemical Menthol}.
you can pick up 1/2 Pound bag of Organic Menthol Crystals from " Mountain Rose Herbs, ( Contact me & I'll tell you how much to use & how to prepare the Crystals, before using) online. a very small amount goes a very long way. Good-Luck.
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