I Tried DIY Dry Shampoo & Here Are My Honest Thoughts
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You can DIY pretty much anything, but that doesn’t always mean you should.
Case and point: DIY dry shampoo. I’m not completely knocking the idea, but after testing out the popular DIY, I’m more likely to reach for a can of store-bought dry shampoo. However, there are some helpful tips & tricks to apply if you do decide to make your own!
Keep reading for my DIY tips for making dry shampoo, along with the best dry shampoos we recommend to buy.
Tips for making dry shampoo (that you won’t hate using):
Start with the right base.
Using the dry shampoo recipe (loosely) from Wellness Mama, and after doing some added research, there are three main bases for most DIY dry shampoo recipes: baby powder, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder.
- Baby powder. Do not bother with baby powder. Aside from consumers avoiding this substance in general (*ahem* the talc=cancer claims), it just doesn’t work well when sprinkled into your hair. And if you can get over the clumping and residue that comes with its application, I’m certain the smell will get you. I tried masking it with some rosemary essential oils, but nope. The baby powder scent reigned supreme in a really unfortunate way.
- Cornstarch. Slightly cleaner application, virtually no scent, and it’s pretty cheap to pick up in the grocery store. The large canister I purchased was under $1 at Walmart, so it’s definitely a frugal option to soak up oils near the scalp.
- Arrowroot. This seems to be the best bet when creating your own dry shampoo. Similar to cornstarch, arrowroot doesn’t really have any smell to it, has a very fine consistency, and is actually good for your scalp. The downfall? It’s a bit harder to come by (and I couldn’t find it when I was searching in Walmart), so you may have to source it online or at a health food store.
If you decided to DIY your dry shampoo, I recommend arrowroot as the base.
Brunettes, please don’t use cocoa powder to tint your dry shampoo.
White dry shampoo powder makes the hair look grey-ish, which is not cute. That said, take it from me when I tell you that cocoa powder may stain your scalp an undesirable reddish-brown color – not to mention your hair will smell like dog food once it mixes with sweat while working out. Trust me… it’s not a good smell. 🤢
Instead, to tint your dry shampoo, use crushed up powder eyeshadow in a brown shade similar to your hair. It will apply the actual color you’re going for and won’t have a lingering odor.
Use a light hand with essential oils.
Some dry shampoo recipes recommend adding 3-5 drops of essential oils to powder mixes. I tried this with rosemary oil (a scent I really love) and found 5 drops was overkill. I kept getting strong whiffs every time I touched my hair, so 1-2 drops would be a better choice.
Apply with a brush (and tap off the excess).
This may seem obvious, but shaking dry shampoo onto your roots is an absolute mess. Instead, dip a large makeup brush into the powder, tap off the excess on the rim of your jar (super important!), and dab on to apply. This method gives you way more control over the application and reduces the amount of powder saturating your strands.
Skip the witch hazel spray.
Some DIYs instruct mixing witch hazel and your dry shampoo powder in a spray bottle for a wet application. To me, this method just feels sticky. It won’t have the same dry spray effect you’re used to with traditional dry shampoo, and it could end up making your roots look greasier than they were at the beginning.
Bonus tip: Don’t wear black clothing when applying dry shampoo powder.
I wore a black tank while testing my DIY dry shampoo. Change shirts before applying the powder (or at least cover your shoulders and chest with a towel).
Dry shampoos to buy when making your own sounds like a drag:
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo
This is my personal favorite, and it’s the formula I always use between hair washes. Shake the can, spray onto roots, rub the scalp with your fingertips, and you won’t see any white residue appear.
Batiste Hint of Color Tinted Dry Shampoo
This formula from Batista has oil soaking powers PLUS a hint of color, so your roots don’t end up looking chalky.
Bumble and bumble. Prêt-à-Powder
This is Collin’s favorite dry shampoo! The bottle features a controlled spout so you can shake on the powder without it flying everywhere, though a brush application would work just as well.
Hip Tip: Check out more popular dry shampoo recommendations from other readers at Hip2Save!
All in all, making your own dry shampoo can certainly help in a pinch, but sticking to the store-bought version delivers results without the hassle.
If you go days in between hair washes, you need Bryn and Collin’s favorite shower product.
I can’t believe I never thought to use a brush to apply.
Hmm… I really don’t understand why you wouldn’t just wash it. Not trying to knock the people that swear by it but I just truly don’t understand. You still take showers when you don’t wash your hair,right? Do you just not get it wet and put it in a cap? Sorry I just was never taught this way and have always washed my hair everyday. I would like to try it but don’t know where to start. Looks like from the post not DIY.
It really depends on your hair texture. In general you shouldn’t wash your hair daily, you are drying it out and it can stress out your scalp. If you have very thin hair, many people will wash their hair daily. Mine is fairly thick and bright pink. So, it only gets washed once a week. It looks fine, but it can sometimes look limp or sad so dry shampoo can add volume or help pull grease if it’s looking dirty (you also don’t want to wash colored hair too often, because it will strip color faster).
I wash my hair every 5 days or so. My hair is very thick and wavy and to wash, blow dry and straighten every day would take about 45 mins to an hour. I have a 5 month old so that is just not time I want to spend daily. Plus the damage that using heat every day would cause. Also, like another poster said I highlight my hair and want the color to last longer. In addition, I can use more expensive hair products because they last much longer.
So for me dry shampoo is great in between washes to freshen up 🙂
I use it if I shower at night and need a little refresher in the morning.
My hair looks greasy in 12 hours lol. Also I can tell the softest of my hair and split ends improved dramatically once I stopped washing daily.
I had to have shoulder (on my right) surgery, and wrist (on my left) surgery with a year of each other.. I couldn’t lift my right arm nor press hard enough with my left to scrub. So my hair was not the cleanest until my hubby (who works out of town) came back in town to wash it for me. It was miserable- and finally someone mentioned dry shampoo. I had never heard of it before! Life changer!
So it is not always laziness that causes someone not to wash their hair every day.
Here’s an idea that may be helpful to you…contact your local beauty school. They would be happy to wash your hair at a discount price.
A few years back my husband and I rented a mobile home for a week. Washing my hair in the tiny shower wasn’t going to work. So I went into a local Walmart and got my hair washed for $3! I was thrilled 🙂
I have thick, wavy hair. I used to wash daily, but it was a pain to blow dry and straighten daily and I’d get bad split ends. Read an article many years ago that it wasn’t good to wash every day as it strips your hair of natural oils and dry your hair/scalp. So I cut to washing every 3-4 days. Once the dray shampoos came out, I was able to extend that to every 4-5 days. When I take a shower, I put my hair in a ponytail/bun and don’t get it wet. It’s pretty easy to set the spray lower so I don’t get my head wet. If my hair gets a little oily or needs a freshen up, I use the dry spray. The only time I will wash my hair back to back is if I’ve been outside doing yard work or on vacation.
I have curly hair and it’s so dry and a huge pain in the butt to make it look nice. Hairdryers make it look terrible so I air dry which takes hours. I take showers and use a shower cap but there’s no way in heck I’m going through the whole hair routine everyday! My daughter has straight hair and I wash hers daily and it’s no problem at all. Lucky straight hair people lol!
Hi Liz! In addition to some of the responses from some of the other readers, my reason for not washing my hair may just stem from laziness 😆I just put my hair up in a bun to avoid it getting wet when I shower, and it’s mainly because I don’t like having to straighten or curl my hair each time I wash it. I also like the volume my hair gets from having some dry shampoo on the roots. Hope that helps clarify a bit further!
My reply is similar to the others. I have thick naturally curly hair that I wear straight. A full shower, blow dry and flat iron process takes and hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes. I wash my hair 3 times a week, usually in the evening before bed so it can air dry overnight and I straighten it in the morning. Occasionally I’m too tired in the evening after work/family/house so I tell myself I’ll wake up and do the whole routine in the morning. I keep dry shampoo on hand for the occasional mornings when I hit snooze a couple too many times. I don’t love the feel of dry shampoo but it will get me through the day in passable condition for work until I can get home and wash it.
I’ve used this when I broke my foot. Trying to shower when you live alone and can’t put any weight on your foot is an ordeal. I’d take a sponge bath and dry shampoo. Ocasionally sponge bath and wash my hair in the sink. And about every couple of washes take a shower. Also when my building had no hot water dry shampoo was a life saver.
First of all it is not good to wash your hair every day, esp. your scalp. The scalp adjusts to your routine over short period of time, I.e. the more you wash it, the faster it gets greasy, dirty.
Second – those that have long hairs know that it takes a awhile to wash, dry, style, etc. Now imagine young child that has homework to do, go to practices, and still go to bed. Do you think you’d torture your child by washing their hair every night? I can assure you my child has always clean hair regardless of how often she washes her hair. Same with me.
So please don’t be judgemental without considering that other people have different needs.
So no need to b
Because I have 3 small children who all wake up at 5am. 🤣 I’m just not in a phase of life where shampooing/styling daily is possible. My frizzy/wavy hair does not look good without being straightened and my “baby hairs” from pregnancy make pony tails look ridiculous. I wouldn’t trade it and I fought so hard to continue doing it daily but I lost this battle around the time the second child started walking.
My hair is ALWAYS greasy. Even 12 hours after it’s been washed. Dry shampoo is the only thing that makes my hair look normal.
My eight year old’s hair gets greasy quickly and getting her to take a shower is a chore. Some mornings we get up and there isn’t time for a shower, so I use flour in her hair. It’s good, but I’ll have to try the corn starch. And a brush!
I’ve always washed every day to.. back in the day.. now that I use a dryer and straightener and loose hair more easier it is not always feasible nor healthy. I do LOVE the fresh feeling and smell on day one but now I wash twice a week. I try to keep as clean as possible, change my pillowcase often etc. but it will never be like washing everyday. It’s really my scalp that I need to clean in between washing not so much my hair..
Alas if I had been gifted with a soft scalp rather than an oily one, I would probably go a day without washing my hair. Sadly that just can’t happen. Nice tips though!
I personally tried multiple spray kinds and felt like they made my hair greasier! Not your Mother’s was by far the best spray kind I tried, but I’ve switched over to plain cornstarch applied with a brush and haven’t looked back! It definitely is a slightly messier application, but I just apply it before putting my clothes on for the day.
The “Not Your Mother’s” spray has been a favorite of mine as well. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! I haven yet tried cornstarch!
Agree Amber! Really like The Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo.
Yay! Glad you have liked that one too, Gisette!
Dry shampoo is so cheap anyway I don’t get going the DIY route other than something fun to try.
I tried it because I’m trying to reduce my trash and my impact on the environment.
I have very dry frizzy curly dark blonde hair. I can only wash it and really condition it once a week . I also put biosilk oil on it almost everyday (a dime size amount). With it being summer it sometimes creates a challenge. I will spray my roots/scalp with body mist sprays to refresh it and to eliminate any odor from sweat. I think this would work for most hair types. As long as I am not spraying the length of my hair the alcohol in it just leaves me refreshed without drying out my hair. Dry shampoos don’t work as it just makes my hair a frizz ball. If you have oilier hair it might work on the length but proceed with caution.
I have to agree with others about just washing ur hair. I must be the only person in the world who dry shampoo dors not work for. Either that, i must be expecting a different result. After 2 days of no wash my hair gets greasy like normal, nothing excessive tho. I dont know how to explin it but at the roots you can see where hair not clumps vut groups in greasy spots together.like when i rin a comb thru it, it stays greasy just like how the comb seperated it. Someone has to understand how im describing…
But either way, when i use dry shampoo it still is sepaerated in greasy powder filled clusters. Long story short. I apparently have greasy hair that can only be salvaged by a good wash
SimbaNala, I know exactly what you are saying. My hair does the same thing! I just recently tried Head Kandy brand dry shampoo. Game changer!! Also, my hair is cut very short in the back, so greasiness is extremely noticeable. This brand of dry shampoo worked so well that my hair looked freshly washed!
I’ve done this Wellness Mama recipe and absolutely could not bring myself to add cocoa for color.
What a suggestion! 😂😂😂
I just wash my hair twice a week. I didn’t do the dry shampoo in the 70’s and will not now either.
Hey! Really enjoyed reading all the comments. I switched to twice a week washing my moderately oily hair two years ago. I am a cosmetologist and knew that my hair would be better if I stopped blowdrying and washing so often. My hair is fine and because I color it often, it can be brittle too. I have been able to grow it longer than I have in years because of doing this. I know you guys were anti the cocoa powder, but I use a mix of cocoa powder and mostly cornstarch. I have tried tons of mixes, but I like this one best. As for the smell, it smells just like chocolate, and I work out hard daily. My friends just laugh that I make them want chocolate at a workout. No funky smell. ALSO, I think the “scalp staining” thing is a problem with application not the product. Straight cornstarch on a blond will look like George Washington if you use a heavy hand. I apply with a blush brush by dipping the tips in my container and then tapping the brush on the edge to remove excess. Lightly dab on the hair and then brush through with a natural bristle brush (the helps remove excess). My scalp stays nice and clean looking and my hair has DOUBLE the volume and lift. Way better than “clean” hair. And to the person who wonders if we shower 🙂 Of course. I bathe daily after my workout with my hair clipped up and only shower when I wash my hair. I can’t stand humid steamy hair that I don’t wash. Thus, the bath. Fun discussion!
This is what I do, too! Cornstarch and cocoa powder have worked better for me than any dry spray. You have to go light and it works best if you use it before your hair gets super greasy, but it gives tons of volume and smells like chocolate after my workout. Maybe because I don’t use essential oils? With my curly hair, I can’t comb it through with a brush but I do lightly finger comb through my roots.
I’m in the “have to wash to my hair everyday” camp – but am in total support (and envious!) of others who can go more than a day in between washings. When I was pregnant, I didn’t get greasy hair and LOVED it! Having said that, I finally tried “dry shampoo” last summer – or so I thought…I bought “Amika: Un.Done.Texture Spray” and it was INCREDIBLE!!! I have really thick/heavy, stick straight hair that is also fine – it cannot hold a curl and falls against my head with no lift NO MATTER what I do or what product I use and looks oily (roots) after one day. The Amika (can of magic!!! lol) was like a hurricane in a can! It gave me lift that stayed all day and made it look like I washed my hair! (probably blew the oil away! LOL) It did turn my dark brown hair a subtle, light gray tint (not a big deal), but also it made my scalp itch – that was a deal breaker for me. So back to everyday washing to keep itch away. It isn’t cheap – but otherwise an ABSOLUTE MUST TRY! I did eventually find dry shampoo (Amika) and tried it, but it was like the junior version of the Undone Texture Spray – skip the dry shampoo and go straight to the texture spray!!! You will be wowed!
Hello Miz and anyone else who has replied with needing to wash their hair everyday. That used to be the case with my hair. I have oily skin and hair. I was breaking out (like BAD, scarring cystic acne esp with pms) also. I saw a dermatologist and now I’m taking spironolactone medication (it’s a blood pressure medicine that is use off-market for acne). My skin is no longer oily, I don’t get acne anymore end now my hair can go 3 days without washing it. It’s been amazing. I know my situation is not the norm, but this has been life changing and I just wanted to share that in case it helps somebody out there who may be having abnormally oily skin and hair and suffering from the severe acne that I used to have. Also, if you have insurance, insurance normally covers all dermatologic visits due to acne.
Thanks for the info!!!! I’ll check with my insurance.
I have a recipe that uses cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa powder and oils that works wonderfully for my dark hair! I find that it works better if I apply it before I go to bed instead of the next morning because my hair is too greasy by then. I use a makeup brush to apply it and just avoid putting it right on my part so the cocoa powder doesn’t show up as noticeably.
Thank you for the tips and the recommendations I like Klorane and Living Proof dry shampoo..
You’re so welcome! Thanks for sharing your favorite with us!
Living Proof is my favorite dry shampoo that I’ve used. I put my hair in a bun and shower cap over it on non-wash days.
Please do not scare people with claims that baby powder causes cancer. Talc contains asbestos in its natural form, which has been linked to cancer. All baby powder and cosmetics in the US that contain talc have been asbestos free since the 1970s. There is not evidence that baby powder (talc) not containing asbestos is linked to cancer. Talc is widely used in many cosmetics sold in the US, including blush, eye shadow, and powder. It is not just an ingredient used in baby powder. If you are wanting the avoid talc, I would recommend looking at the ingredients in all of the cosmetics that you are putting directly on your face as well.
Once you’ve seen a loved one DIE from either lung or abdominal asbestos cancer (mesothelioma) it would be fairly clear. When you’ve never been exposed to asbestos in buildings or otherwise, family members in your same home lived to over 100, and your loved one dies after using talc for 40 years, you would never say someone was scaring people. As someone who lost a relative to peritoneal mesothelioma I can tell you first hand watching them suffer and die is far more scary as well as the impact on your family, even when the odds were 1 in 5 million and your loved one was one of 5 women in the nation at the time.
A heartfelt thank you to Emily for warning others.
Thank you for sharing the pain that your family has faced from the reality of talc usage.
After trying several store bought dry shampoos, I tried the cornstarch/cocoa powder diy (I have auburn hair). I far prefer the diy version applied with a brush! I be never had an issue with the cocoa powder staining my scalp or smelling, but maybe I’m not using as much.
That’s great to know, Sarah! It’s actually totally possible I was using too much of the cocoa powder, I have a heavy hand with chocolate in general 😆
I need to hear from girls with thin hair out there. Seems like this works wonders for our thick hair counterparts but having thin hair has its own special cares. I shower every day and used to wash my hair every other day and the days I didn’t, I’d pull it up in a pony tail. Now that I got it cut short, I can’t do that anymore. The problem is, if I don’t wash/blow dry it, I can’t get any kind of style out of it! I have tried not washing it and just wetting it in the shower and then blow dry/style it, but that kinda defeats half the purpose bc it exposes my hair to heat. Is there anyone out there that has thin hair and can do the every other day thing and if so, how do you style it without it being totally flat? Thanks!!!
Hi CJ! I have super fine, thin hair. If I skip hair wash days, it is usually on the days that I have used hair gel and scrunched my hair into a wavy style when using a blow dryer. That will allow me to skip a hair wash day as it adds extra volume and texture. Then I can use a dry shampoo, such as the Not Your Mother’s spray listed above. Hoping you find that helpful!
I have very fine hair and absolutely need a daily wash. I tried all the no poo and no wash things and suffered months and months of disgusting hair. It was just peer pressure. I only shampoo my scalp and put a few drops of argan oil on the ends and that’s it. All the no poo dry shampoo took me forever but washing it is like a 5 minute process. Everyone is different
I have thick wavy hair and dry scalp so I wash every other day. I like the batiste dry shampoo and the suave one is actually pretty good but can get buildup
This week I noticed Dollar Tree had dry shampoo. Anyone use this one? Is it any good?
I’ve tried two they carried and didn’t care for either. They just did not do a thing for my hair lol
My dear dad (who grew up on a farm during the Depression era) used to tell us about not always having the ability to wash his hair during the week as a kid. He used cornstarch as a way to keep his hair fresh to go to school. Everything old is new again, they say!
Oh wow! Thanks for taking a moment to share that with us, Jo!
Lol! I remember as teens, we used just regular white flour. You apply it liberally, wait, rub the roots, and then go outside to shake and brush off the residue
Great tip! Thanks for the suggestion!
I can’t see all the comments on the app, but I use baby powder in a pinch when I run out of dry shampoo spray – it’s made of corn starch. I think all baby powder is corn starch now. I have less of an issue with residue with baby powder than sprays, but a harder time applying it, but if I use a blow dryer, it all comes out.
Oh darn! So sorry for the issues! I still see all of the comments for this post, when viewing it in the app. Maybe try deleting and reinstalling, to see if that might help! Let us know if that does not work better for you! firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t mean any disrespect, but I do think people should be fully informed. I read the link that Emily posted about a link to cancer. It pretty clearly states that there is no conclusive evidence showing a link. It seems like everything has been linked to cancer with at least one study. That is why it is so important to educate yourself. Here is a study conducted by the FDA: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/talc
My deepest condolences to you for your loss. If you feel the need to avoid talc, please make sure that you are aware of all sources that we come across daily becausw it is lurking in many things we use and eat:
-most cosmetics (lipstick, blush, powder, eye shadow)
Erin, so glad you took the time to list the FDA’s article; I used to write medical articles, so I am very aware of the need to check reputable sources before passing along information as fact– particularly in this day of googling and the public relying on often non-scientific internet sites such as Wikipedia.
Health concerns have been reported for the use of talc in the genital area, due to an increased risk of a gynecological cancer (cervical, if I recall correctly?), however I am not up-to-date on the current status of the research.
For anyone interested in looking into this further, a reliable and typically comprehensive site to check for preliminary research on any medical/health information would be:
==> MayoClinic.com <==
The National Institutes of Health (NIH.gov) cover specific specialties, such as respiratory for lung diseases like emphysema (of which asbestos is one cause) [as well as numerous other institutes of health including for cardiovascular or digestive (including diabetes), immune diseases (like allergies and arthritis), etc.]
[Note: I have no affiliation with either the Mayo Clinic nor the NIH, however I used them for years as an approved sources for the medical articles provided to hospitals for patient education.]
Yea hair is definitely a personal thing as everyone’s textures, thickness, dryness etc. is so uniquely their own. Also depends on ones mood and how much time one has to wash n dry their hair.
Another one here in the wash once or twice a week club 👋! Hey!! Lol. Why don’t I just wash it?…well for one it doesn’t need washing everyday cuz it’s not greasy after one day, and two it’s not healthy for the scalp to wash ones hair every 24 hours Lol. Yes I bathe, a shower cap is a very handy item to have. It also takes me almost two hours when I do wash it, just to get it brushed and styled so there’s that. Anyways, I agree Emily, Batiste has always been one of my favorites. Thanks for the DYI review!! 😉
So glad you liked the review and the recommendations! Thanks for sharing 😊
They sell arrowroot by weight at Sprouts 🙂 that’s where I buy mine
this seems like a lot more bother and trouble, than just washing your hair. i have never done it, but in my opinion, it would be like adding flour to grease. ewwww. sorry just my opinion
So I’ve tried it both: washing every day and dry shampoos. I’ve kind of landed in the middle and haven’t heard anyone else share what I do, so I thought I’d post. I take a shower every day and get my hair wet. I do not shampoo every time, but I do allow my hair to get wet, rinse it out (I hate smelly hair), and condition the bottom half of my hair (I have longer hair). That way, I’m not stripping my scalp of natural oils, but I’m getting rid of that awful lingering smell in hair that I hate (hair picks up whatever smell you’re around!). I probably shampoo every 4 to 5 days. Even with my long hair, I let my hair dry naturally at night so there is no heat damage to my hair and then style in the morning however I want.
When I tried dry shampoos, I can’t stand the smell of them (even if they smell nice, I can’t stand the smell so close all day long). I still feel like there is still a lot of product in my hair, which makes me feel like it is dirty, and prefer a clean feeling in my hair.
It’s clear that everyone needs to find what works for them and wanted to share in case this helps someone else!
dry shampoo is not for me. I do not feel clean until I wash my hair. I wish i could skip a few days because I’m told it’s healthier, but I feel disgusting when I try.
My grandmother in the early to mid 1900s used only witch-hazel on her hair and never washed it! I remember seeing her dab it on with a wash cloth, then brush and brush till it dried. She would wipe the brush on a clean towel between strokes. I can still remember the smell! I loved it! I do not know why she never washed her hair. It was somewhat curley. But it was a ritual that I never tired of watching. She died when I was 10. That was about 75 years ago or a little more.
When using these products doesn’t your hair feel weighted down and coated?
So I have hair that has thinned in areas due to hormones, stress, etc. My somewhat newly discovered thing is that the dark brunette(my natural color and I have lots of grays as well ) does double duty for me. Not only does it make my hair easier to style, but I strategically spray the dry shampoo in places where my scalp might want to peek through the thinner places. It works quite well!
*batiste dark brunette
I tried the cornstarch and cocoa powder. Worked! We are having water problems(flooded basement) so until we can get the $$ to fix it.., no showers, etc. So….. best tip i can give, is to go over your hair with a wet washcloth/wipe to get rid of powder residue. Dry with towel, Fluff and go! Wont be shiny, but wont be greasy. And a dab of vanilla extract behind ears….you smell like hot chocolate!!!