Introduction: Homemade Dry Shampoo

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 big 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!

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.

Step 3: The "dry Shampoo for Dark Hair" Recipe

Picture of The "dry Shampoo for Dark Hair" Recipe
I have really dark hair, so this is my go-to recipe. You can add more or less cocoa powder as needed - I use two tablespoons every time:
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Mix everything together in a small jar and you're ready to go. Special bonus with this one: smelling like chocolate. :D

Just be careful that you you don't add so much cocoa powder that it gets really dark - you need to keep the amount of cocoa powder less than the amount of cornstarch and baking soda, otherwise the heat from your hands and head can warm the cocoa powder and create a melty mess.

Step 4: Bonus: How to Use It!

Picture of Bonus: How to Use It!
This part is easy, but you need to have a light hand when using this version of dry shampoo. Here's how I normally do it:

  1. Shake a small amount of dry shampoo out into your hand - no more than 1/2 teaspoon. I do more of a 1/4 teaspoon.
  2. Rub your hands together to disperse the dry shampoo
  3. Pat the areas of your hair that you'd like to shampoo - I tend to focus on my bangs and the very top
  4. Tousle your hair with your fingers and rub in the dry shampoo as best you can - you'll want to get pretty rough to get it all in!
  5. Brush if you still see any spots of dry shampoo
  6. And you're done!
Enjoy! :D


Eleventy (author)2013-04-14

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.

AllyJ4 (author)Eleventy2016-11-06

You can replace some of the corn starch with zinc oxide powder to make a dry shampoo with SPF

catwoman (author)AllyJ42017-04-03

How about the large (maybe 8 oz?) shaker jars I've seen add the dollar store? My mom used to have a ceramic or porcelain jar she filled with cinnamon sugar. The holes were just the right size - neither too large nor too small. My second choice would be the spice containers sold by Pioneer. They have such large holes that I've learned to sprinkle the herbs into my hand, instead of into whatever I'm cooking. I think they would work well for dry shampoo, since you don't shake it onto your head directly. Just thoughts off the top of my non-sprinkled head...

xenobiologista (author)Eleventy2013-04-14

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

MerriS1 (author)xenobiologista2016-05-01

Scalp is very much alive.

phreec (author)xenobiologista2014-05-15

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

xenobiologista (author)phreec2014-05-15

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.

cmassey1 (author)xenobiologista2013-04-16

Dead things can't renew like live things do, so sometimes they need even more protection than live things do.

jscott14 (author)xenobiologista2013-04-14

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.

cavalaxis (author)xenobiologista2013-04-14

The scalp underneath can still burn. For those of us with thin hair, a dry option for sunscreen would be awesome.

Eleventy (author)xenobiologista2013-04-14

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! :-) )

MerriS1 (author)Eleventy2016-05-01

Perhaps dissolving a diaper rash cream (Desitin) in vodka or rubbing alcohol? You wouldn't be dealing with the powder, and the alcohol should break down the mineral oil...

jessyratfink (author)Eleventy2013-04-15

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. :)

That is a really bad idea...zinc oxide for one should not be breathed in as a powder as it can be very harmful! Therefore using it in powder form as a dry shampoo on your head near your airways is harmful. Even when using zinc oxide to make sunscreen, caution must be taken when stirring in but once mixed the risk is gone because it is no longer a powder!

The sun is not as strong in AK as it is Outside (the rest of those states!), and when I go Out visiting friends & relatives every summer I have to put zinc oxide ointment on my lips to prevent very severe recurrent sunburns. Even the strongest SFP lip balm, applied 3-4 times an hour, did nothing to prevent sunburned lips that awakened me in agony in the middle of the night. My brother, a pharmacist, gave me a tube of just zinc oxide, nothing else in it, and it worked great. I had it with me in his small plane; after we landed and I opened the tube to use some, it rushed out all over the place from the abrupt pressure change!

Eleventy (author)jessyratfink2013-04-16

Cool, thanks!

savannahpowell (author)Eleventy2014-05-16

ew go away.

IvliaB (author)2017-01-09

As an aside that is slightly unrelated. For those who have infestations of head lice - kids at school are main carriers - I have found that a mix of several different oils incl. Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Tea Tree mixed in with olive oil and applied - with a spray bottle - every couple of days gets rid of lice. Commercial products didn't work when local school had a bad outbreak so used this after asking an aromatherapist friend. Leaves hair greasy but just braided it, upside was no more headlice for the next 4 years til she left for secondary school. Was thinking I wish I'd known about the dry shampoo mixes back then, could have used it at night before brushing/combing next morning, adding more oils and rebraiding. Would have helped brush/comb out dead lice. Will be directing friends to this site for recipe to use for above purposes. Thanks, talc/baby powder just doesn't work the same when mixed with oils.

TennesseeTink (author)2016-03-17

Is there a way to make this into a liquid so i can use it in a spray bottle?

KristiL6 (author)TennesseeTink 2016-03-23

Wet/Dry Spray Shampoo for light or Dark hair

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch

1/4 cup vodka, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel

essential oils or a spritz of your
favorite perfume to scent

What to do: Mix all ingredients in a small spray bottle and
shake well. Shake before each use and spray on roots or oily parts of hair. Let
dry and style as usual.

CaptCheryl (author)KristiL62016-04-30

KristiL6, how long will this wet/dry shampoo last without going rancid. Or will it turn rancid? Thank You in advance

IvliaB (author)CaptCheryl2017-01-09

The vodka is added to ensure it won't go rancid. Can use plain alcohol, the stuff you buy to make your own liqueurs as well, unscented. If you like the scent use gin. The alcohol content is the important part if you want to make this to last. The more alcohol, within reason, the longer it will last.

Oh, my, scented yet! When we were on the range doing our annual firearms certification, one of the men in my brigade was working clean-up with me and he mischievously touched one finger behind his ears and grinned, "Just in case I run into any nice ladies who like the smell of fine powder!"

Mikki G.W (author)TennesseeTink 2016-04-28

I once mixed water and baking soda in a spray bottle, but the main issue with that is that it usually clogs up the spray bottle. Its pretty hard to make it into a spray, and have it work

No, not this recipe! I'm sure someone out there has a liquid dry shampoo recipe, though. :)

wldcrd (author)jessyratfink2016-04-28

If it is l iquid, it is no longer "dry" shampoo.

ShelbeB (author)2015-07-20

I put this inside an old loose powder makeup container. I would then take a powder brush and lightly dab some on my roots and blend it in. I have dark hair, so I used the dark hair one. :)

CaptCheryl (author)ShelbeB2016-04-30

ShelbeB, that's a great idea. You must have read my mind. I was just the other day thinking of who still sells those round powder containers. I'll check the Dollar Stores and maybe Wally World. Thanks for the reminder.

IvliaB (author)CaptCheryl2017-01-09

Don't know if they are in the US but the british firm Boots Chemists sell own brand mineral face powder in round containers with a perforated inner lid and big brush. Can easily be reused when empty for other powders. Have several with remains of solid powder products that have broken in use like bronzer and stuff. Break it down and put in an old mineral container and label. Really useful. Other companies must make them as well.

veroblue99 (author)2016-08-13

Nice Idea!

Simran Sharma (author)2016-07-27

What can be used instead of baking soda???

You can honestly just leave it out! The cornstarch is the most important part - the baking soda just helps with odor. :)

wj1 (author)2016-02-13

I have black and gray hair and I just used my hands and corn starch and rubbed it in real good. Seems to make it feel less greasy but not as good as water washed.

wj1 (author)wj12016-02-13

I forgot to mention, Im a man and was concerned that the dry shampoos would smell like women's perfume. Corn Starch doesn't have an odor.

MerriS1 (author)wj12016-05-01

Try eucalyptus essential oil in the cornstarch/baking soda mix...very refreshing :)

dave.vaness.79 (author)2016-04-28

Sure it would be nice to smell like chocolate but if you added bacon bits you could smell like bacon. That would be a hit with the guys ;-)

MerriS1 (author)dave.vaness.792016-05-01

I just used cocoa powder and peppermint essential smells AMAZING!

charlieanderin (author)2014-08-21

How much would you put on your hair?

Just dust your hair with it. It will absorb all the oils, leaving your hair feeling and looking freshly washed.

I'd say I normally do a 1/2 teaspoon, maybe? It's hard to tell since I always eyeball it. :)

harathedog49 (author)2016-04-28

This 67 y/o male has decided to re-grow long, hippy hair, and doesn't shower as often due to the worst drought in decades. I use coconut oil to add sheen and control frizz. Would a dry shampoo clean or gum-up in the oil?

If you're just using the coconut oil on the middle/ends of your hair and not near the scalp, I'd say it would be fine to use the dry shampoo. Use a shaker top or a makeup brush to apply the dry shampoo to your roots and try to avoid putting it near the oil. It will definitely gum up!

If you're using the coconut oil on your scalp, I'm not sure this style of dry shampoo is strong enough to combat that and the natural oils on your scalp. A commercial spray might be better. :)


Mikki G.W (author)2016-04-28

I tried this one once, but I'm not a huge fan of the cocoa powder. Even if its unsweetened, it still feels weird in the hair.

I only use starch now (potato starch, because its the easiest available where I live) and it works pretty well on its own too! It does however make you look old with the grey hair :P
But I put it in the evening, or afternoon once I'm done leaving the house, and wash it out with water the next morning. It reduces a lot of grease!

jessyratfink (author)Mikki G.W2016-04-28

Ohhhhh potato starch! That's a good idea. :)

crueldarkangel101 (author)2015-03-06

what if we dont have all of the stuff and dont really have the money to buy it then what???

Then you should just take a wet shower!

I've used baby powder . Just dust your hair with it, then work it through your hair, then comb or brush as usual

its cheaper then regular dry shampoo.

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