2 DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes for Dark & Light Hair.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Oct 21, 2013
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DIY dry shampoo

Why, oh why, would anyone want to use dry shampoo, you ask?

Well, for me, it all began when I had platinum blonde hair and didn’t want to dry it out any more by washing it every day…so I didn’t…but that’s kind of gross—and that’s where my affinity for dry shampoo came in.

I’ve tried several brands in all different price ranges over the years and, ultimately, I genuinely prefer making my own

For one, it saves on non-recyclable packaging, because you can repeatedly use your own containers and, for another, in my experience, many of the over-the-counter dry shampoos will cost you more than they’re worth and they’ll leave you smelling like bathroom spray (which, I don’t think is a great smell to have this close to your nose—especially considering that I tend to use dry shampoo when I’m going to the yoga studio pre-shower).

Now, why, you might also ask, does dry shampoo work?

Simple: the ingredients absorb the oils in your hair and leave you feeling and looking fresh rather than greasy, and the scent masks last night’s garlic-cooking, kitchen-dancing adventure—and making your own dry shampoo is free, cheap and you can scent it however you like (so you don’t run around smelling like bathroom potpourri). 

I’m going to share two recipes with you and I’m going to be honest here: I have yet to make a dry shampoo recipe at home that I haven’t liked. The sprays from the store on the other hand? I dislike most of them.

Point: play around, have some fun and don’t be anal retentive about your measurements, because you’re guaranteed to like what you make. (I hope.)

Still, there is the fact that I’m currently a brunette, and not a platinum blonde who can put white powder in my hair without issue.

My twin sister, for example, said that she’s never liked dry shampoos because she feels that they leave her hair with a whitish-kind of look—which, frankly, no one wants. Personally, I’ve found that if you rub your scalp well with your fingertips and brush your hair a few times after application, that this doesn’t happen, but, none the less, I’m going to include a special recipe for you other dark beauties out there who have been scarred by dry shampoo usage in your past.

Okay, here goes:

Dry shampoo for light hair (or really any type):

  • 1/4 cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (any kind, even oat), optional
  • 5-8 drops essential oil such as tea tree, optional (more for scent than anything else)

Mix all ingredients together and store in container of your choice.

Application: I’ve read sooooo many posts on using an old makeup brush and, while I’m sure this works great, I’m either lazy or, you know, in a hurry—hence using dry shampoo—and, instead, I simply dust my hands with the powder mixture and rub it on the roots of my hair. Focus mainly on getting your part-line and around the sides of your face and temples, where it tends to get the most oily. Use the warmth from your hands to blend it in and then brush your hair several times.

Dry shampoo for dark hair:

Basically you’ll be substituting cocoa powder for much of the cornstarch. Here’s what I find works best after trial and error:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 5-8 drops essential oil, optional
  • 2 Tbsp. flour, optional

Follow the same directions for mixture, storing and applying as aforementioned recipe.

I’ve also used simple baby powder, as well as straight-up cornstarch, and both work well in a pinch.

If you use too much of the baking soda, the texture might feel a little gritty. Generally speaking, the secret is to not over-apply. Use a little, tiny bit and keep in mind that you can always add more.

I hope this helps you other busy mamas out there who still want to look gorgeous dropping your kids off at school before you dash off for your morning exercise or for the other working mamas who occasionally don’t have the ideal and necessary amount of prep time for themselves.

If you have favorite recipes or tweaks that you love, please leave them for other readers in the comment section below.


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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


12 Responses to “2 DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes for Dark & Light Hair.”

  1. kimberlylowriter says:

    Love this. Considering how dark my hair is, most dry shampoos leave me looking grey. I am trying this one this week!

  2. Try it! I have dark hair with greys in it and the dark shampoo worked well for both colors (ha!). Note: apply delicately with the dark dry shampoo and you might have to just tissue off on around your temples. (I think that's why some people use the old make-up brush technique, especially with this version, but eh…)

    Let me know how you like it!

  3. Santos says:

    I have dark hair and I just use talk powder and it works perfectly.

  4. susan says:

    I assume the 1/4 cornstarch in the first recipe means 1/4 cup cornstarch.

  5. Cynthia says:

    My hair is long, thick and dry. I only wash it 3 times a week. .Dry shampoo is a life-saver for me and helps my hair look fresh and smell amazing. I love the idea of making my own. Thank you!

  6. Yep. Sorry. (Thanks for the catch.)

  7. Personally, I would stay away from inhaling talc so freely while applying to the scalp and stick with the similar ingredients listed here.

  8. Jamie says:

    I just had surgery on my left wrist and i am having to have my lovely husband help med with everything down to showering. As i don't want to burden him too much, i was looking for some way to clean my hair between washings and strolled across this. I haven't had the chance to wash my hair since surgery, and it needed it yesterday. I tried this recipe w/ talc baby powder instead of cornstarch, as it was on hand, and it worked perfectly
    I'm glad i looked for a home made before going to the store to try my hand with a purchase of something that may not have worked!! thanks soo much for this!

  9. Marisa says:

    I want to try this but does the cocoa powder do anything to your hair? Like make it sticky or attract ants? Also does any old cocoa powder work? Thanks!! Can’t wait to try this.

  10. Stacie says:

    I like making my own dry shampoos as well. I hate the store bought ones with all of their chemicals. I put mine in travel size baby powder containers that I held onto. I just put some on a skinny brush I bought at Sally Beauty Supply and comb it through. Works like a charm and I smell like cocoa cause I use the dark one.

  11. If you've watched the Miss Universe months ago, SEVERAL OF THE WOMEN there, have greasy hair, and they have used CHI products to curl all their VERY LONG HAIR, with professional hairstylist standing by, to do touch ups. There are no touch-ups, when you do your own hair, and you're going outside in the wind, rain, etc. . . . that flattens and pollute the hair even more. Another reason, why the hair industry is a trillion dollar business. Nicole Kidman, too, during the SAG Award, her hair is greasy & thinNER 1-27-13. Google her when she did the movie with Tom Cruise, Days of Thunder 1990. Natural dog shampoo

  12. Love these DIY ideas! I have been looking fora new dry shampoo and this will not only save me money, but may even work better than the store bought stuff. I cannot wait to try out these recipes.