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DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 62 Comments

A quick way to "wash" your hair on days you technically have to skip the suds.

In my dreams . . .

Little elves clean my house every night while I’m sleeping, and I wake up with an hour to get ready every morning. In reality, leaving the house often means dressing three kids plus myself in 15 minutes before jumping in the car. Showers are oh-so-optional on those occasions, but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with oily, lifeless hair – and you don’t, either!

Today I’m going to share my secret weapon for “washing” my hair on days I technically have to skip the suds. It’s called dry shampoo, and it can transform greasy, lifeless hair into locks that are fresh and full of body.

What is dry shampoo?

Basically, it’s is a powder or spray that works by absorbing excess oils on your scalp and hair, leaving your hair looking freshly washed. It’s good for all hair types – oily, normal, and even dry when used sparingly. I use it as an alternative to traditional shampoo when I’m camping, traveling, or just super busy.

A quick way to "wash" your hair on days you technically have to skip the suds.

Dry Shampoo Recipe For Dark Hair

    • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or non-GMO cornstarch
    • 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 3-5 drops of essential oils (optional – lemon, peppermint, rosemary, bergamot, lemongrass and lime are good options)

Dry Shampoo Recipe For Light Hair

    • ¼ cup of arrowroot powder or non-GMO cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (You may or may not need this depending on the color of your hair. If it is very light or white you might want to skip it)
    • 3-5 drops of essential oils (optional – lemon, peppermint, rosemary, bergamot, lemongrass and lime are good options)


Add arrowroot powder/cornstarch, cocoa powder and, if desired, essential oils to a bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined, then transfer to an airtight jar for storage.


How To Apply Dry Shampoo

Before we get started, let me share my best dry shampoo tip with you: LESS IS MORE. Over-application can make your hair difficult to work with and/or look chalky. When used properly, though, it creates beautiful texture.

To Apply: Dip your makeup brush in dry shampoo, then tap to remove excess. Divide hair into sections and brush your roots, moving from the crown of your head down. Allow the powder to set for 2-3 minutes, then brush your hair from root to tip. This helps to distribute the powder throughout your hair as well as remove any excess.

Now, run your fingers through your hair and look for oily places you may have missed. Spot apply as needed, then brush again. Ideally, you’ll want to give your hair 5-10 minutes to fully absorb the shampoo before styling, but if you’re in a rush go ahead and style immediately.

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62 Responses to DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes

  1. Sarah Bayless via FB says:

    Serena Craig

    • Michele says:

      I made the dry shampoo for light hair, used just a bit of cocoa powder, and coriander essential oil. OMG— it is wonderful! Works great on hair, and something else….as a carpet freshner and cleaner! Really amazing! Thanks for another great recipe Heather!

  2. Pamela Abramson via FB says:

    i like the idea of this, although sectioning my hair and putting powder in it seems to be just as time consuming as hopping in the shower and washing…i can take a ten minute shower, clip my hair and dress in under 20 minutes. especially during the summer, a shower is nice way to cool off.

  3. Megan Hamby via FB says:

    Robyn Smith

  4. Leona Liz Gonzagowski via FB says:

    I only shampoo twice a month now…

  5. Sandra Newman-Walton via FB says:

    It’s not supposed to be a time saver.

  6. Tamara Rivera Alvarez via FB says:

    Carmen Maria Rivera Alvarez

  7. Rachelle Campos via FB says:

    This would be a time saver for me, who has super thick hair and lives in a place where the humidity level is always around 50% in the summer and everything takes forever to dry. Washing my hair in the morning and needing to be at work at 8 am where I’m expected to look professional, means Adding an extra hour to my morning routine. I could do this in about 10 minutes. Thanks!

  8. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Pamela Abramson – It’s much quicker than it sounds, though in your case it may not be much of a time saver. My hair doesn’t look great if I shower and go without styling, so this technique allows me to freshen up my previously-styled hair without doing everything over again :)

    • CJ says:

      Works great for ppl like me, disabled, and not always physically capable of restyling my long hair. :) Thx Great share!

  9. Elitza Mitropolitska via FB says:

    I just use clay – works great and gives my hair a really nice volume

  10. Amy Harris via FB says:

    Dry shampoo also allows your hair a rest between regular shampooing. Regular shampoo strips your natural oils and causes your hair to become dryer more quickly. Then there is the upside to not having to heat your hair again with heat (blow dryer and straightener or curling iron). :-)

  11. Heather Burns-Matik via FB says:

    When I use this, I put it in a salt shaker and omit the makeup brush part. It makes the application SO much faster! Then I just shake it on my roots quickly, and finish up with the other steps.

    • Michele says:

      That’s a good idea! I never thought of using a salt shaker. Thanks!

    • mary says:

      I do this too! I have a large cut crystal salt shaker I keep on my dressing table. I also pick up pretty shakers at garage sales, estate sales, etc, and fill them with homemade dry shampoo to give as gifts.

      • Jacki says:

        What a brilliant idea! I have 2 daughters with very thick long oily hair so I’m going to make this for them! They use a commercially made one and it’s so expensive!

  12. Denise DeLosa via FB says:

    I love adding powdered herbs to mine!!!

  13. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Denise DeLosa – I love that idea! Which herbs do you add?

  14. Amber Ciesielski via FB says:

    Courtney Allen…a home made dry shampoo???? Haha! You KNOW I’m trying this 😉

  15. Cate says:

    Thank you Heather! This is going to sound disgusting, but I’m going to go ahead and ask….how long can you go without washing with this method? I already just use baking soda for washing, but I’d love to be able to skip the water more often. My hair is super thick and takes forever to dry! Also has anyone used a curling iron after applying this powder? Does your hair still respond the same?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Cate, I’m not really sure. I like to wash every few days, and haven’t really tried to extend my time beyond that. I can still style my hair with curlers after using dry shampoo, but only if I don’t use too much :)

  16. Brandi says:

    Well I’ve been using this for a while now and it saves me tons of time, I only wash my hair twice a week, if I do wash it, it takes me an extra hour to get ready. And I start work at 7am. All i do is sprinkle some on my hair, brush it and I’m out the door. I will say I tried it with orange oil once and bees followed me around everywhere. So now I leave that out.

  17. Gabi Stark via FB says:

    I could use that too sometimes!!!!

  18. Jessica Pol via FB says:

    OMGoodness! With a new baby in the house, you have perfect timing with thid post

  19. Sara says:

    What do you recommend for dry scalp? I’ve tried the honey treatment for dandruff and it didn’t really change anything so I think it’s dry scalp. It gets so itchy that I have to wash every day, which I know doesn’t help anything! Thanks!!!!

    • Jamie Larrison says:

      My husband had the same problem with dandruff. He’s using a 1 part vinegar to 1 part water rinse with rosemary and tea tree essential oils instead of shampoo and conditioner. He started doing this every other day and it stopped itching! And we found out it’s cause by psoriasis so he’s using herbs to treat that condition.

    • Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support says:

      Sara, Heather hasn’t researched topical solutions for dry scalp, unfortunately.

  20. Tracy Spangler says:

    I love your dry shampoo recipe! I use the same recipe for dark hair, and it also doubles as a fantastic loose powder. It has replaced my previous makeup which was full of too much yuck!

  21. Josie Shipley Snyder via FB says:

    Elizabeth Bando , I’m not this DIY but thought you might be interested!

  22. Katrina says:

    I put dry shampoo in before I go to bed. This makes my morning routine even faster, plus it give the dry shampoo hours to absorb the oil. :)

  23. Nikki Moore via FB says:

    Look Johanna Trexel

  24. Stefani Allen Wood via FB says:

    Can you use this for kids?

  25. Elizabeth Bando via FB says:

    Thanks Josie Shipley Snyder! I’m not much of DIY either, but this doesn’t look too difficult to make.

  26. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Stefani Allen Wood – Yes, you can :)

  27. Candy Morgan via FB says:

    I have white hair….very fine and straight..Is there a substitute for the cocoa powder?? I don’t like to wash it every day and a dry shampoo sounds good but I think the cocoa would cause it to look dirty or yellow?

  28. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Candy Morgan – You can just use the arrowroot/cornstarch.

  29. Kate Runn via FB says:

    Challenge accepted!! This stuff is awesome! Thanks for the share, any mom should have this!

  30. Brigitta Cuadros via FB says:

    Perfect for back backing in the wild. where water is scarce.

  31. Laci says:

    Can you put it in damp hair? I have curly hair and brushing it when it’s dry results in a frizzy lion mane. Anyone with curly hair have tips?

  32. Leesha Epler via FB says:

    Did I miss the link to open this in Pinterest?

  33. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Leesha Epler – Here it is :)

  34. Annemarie Blackman Collard via FB says:

    All of my life I have used hand made soap and vinegar for a rinse. My hair is great and always shinny no need to spend money on junk.

  35. Wendy Danielle Foss via FB says:

    I have been using this sans the EO and have loved it.

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  38. Minoo says:

    I just take a bit and rub it in sections of the scalp till it absorbs and then comb out. Takes less than a minute :)

  39. Kimberly A Edwards says:

    Quick question @Mommypotamus, why don’t your recipes include baking soda?

    • Heather says:

      I’ve found that for this purpose it’s just a little to alkaline for regular use. Arrowroot is more gentle :)

  40. Jennifer says:

    Can you explain why you would use each ingredient?? Why Cocoa powder, what does it do and why arrowroot?? Thanks!

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  44. Chelsi says:

    Hey Heather, I have really thick hair and a really oily scalp. I tried your DIY dry shampoo and it worked great for in between washings! I had a really hard time washing it out though. It just caked up really badly and wouldn’t rinse out. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  45. Mia says:

    Hi Heather,

    I just wondered if you could advise me on a specific subject…I have very fine thin hair and for a while was using the baking soda method washing my hair but thereafter learned it could weaken or damage my hair. For now I’m working on getting my hair used to washing with honey but it’s really greasy while it adjusts and I don’t know whether honey will end up working for fine hair or if it will always be more moisturizing than I need? I’ll be patient while my hair adjusts if you think it will work out ok but if not why am I wasting my time! I just want a natural type of shampoo that I don’t have to make orders on amazon to create. Maybe I’m dreaming? Thank you for your expertise!

  46. Stephanie Hutchinson says:

    I love adding a drop of each peppermint, rosemary and lavender! I can definitely tell that my hair grows faster!

  47. Sheryl says:

    Can you substitute carob powder for the cocoa powder?

  48. elegraphy says:

    Hi Heather, I wonder if I can substitute activated charcoal powder instead of cocoa powder for dry shampoo? I have dark hair.

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