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5 Ways to Mix Up DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes

Everyone knows second-day hair is the best hair—but sometimes it needs a little touch-up (thank you, dry shampoo!) to make it do what you want it to. When researching dry shampoo, I kept coming across the same ingredients over and over again: cornstarch, baking soda and cinnamon. Since you already have these ingredients at home, why not make it yourself?

Before it was commercialized and put into aerosol cans, the recorded use of dry shampoo goes all the way back to the 15th century, when records emerged of Asian cultures using clay powders in their hair. Clearly, the idea of refreshing hair with oil-absorbing powder, whether that’s flour or clay, was something that people have appreciated for a long, long time.

3 DIY Dry Shampoo RecipesThe Benefits of DIY Dry Shampoo

Making your own dry shampoo is more than just an exercise in saving some cash. When you DIY shampoo, you have total control over the end result and you know exactly what you’re putting in your hair.

Plus, you can tailor your dry shampoo to exactly what you need from it – let’s face it, not a lot of dry shampoo works on darker hair without leaving tell-tale ashy spots. Adding cacoa powder in your dry shampoo makes it blend in effortlessly – plus, it makes your hair smell like brownies!

There’s also some evidence that using aerosol sprays on your scalp over time could cause issues like hair loss and scalp irritation. If you think that you’ll miss the accuracy of using an aerosol spray, don’t worry. There are a few different application methods of dry shampoo that you can use to ensure that your scalp is refreshed all over – no greasy spots left behind!

While baby powder is a popular aerosol-free alternative to dry shampoos, baby powder usually contains talc – an ingredient that has been linked to certain cancers. Talc is also featured in many aerosol dry shampoo ingredient lists, so by making your own three-ingredient dry shampoo you can be sure that you’re not using it.

Best ingredients for dry shampoo

Now, let’s go into why these three ingredients work so well as a natural dry shampoo for hair – there’s a reason these exact ingredients have been used to freshen hair for decades!


If you’re in any way familiar with cornstarch, then you know how fine it is – making it the perfect flour for using in your hair. It’s incredibly effective at absorbing oils and adding volume to hair, deodorizing as well as freshening it. It’s incredibly easy to find and even works as a makeup setting powder in a pinch.

Baking Soda

Another super effective oil absorber when you’re training your hair, baking soda can help your hair feel fresher and absorb excess sebum. It’s also incredibly effective at eliminating any smells, keeping your scalp fresh and funk-free. Be sure to pick up the powdered kind, instead of crystal.


A dry shampoo recipe in the American Journal of Pharmacy from 1918 included coumarin – which is actually derived from cinnamon. It was included to add a clean, spiced scent to hair – the same reason why we’ve included it in this DIY recipe.


Adding a spoonful of ground oatmeal to your dry shampoo will give your roots a little extra boost which is awesome if you happen to have fine hair. To get my oatmeal as powder-like as possible, I whipped out my Vitamix. Yes, you can make dry shampoo in your blender!

Unlike the standard container, the dry grains container works by keeping ingredients up and away from the blade for a more uniform grind and a softer, more flour-like consistency.

5 DIY Dry Shampoo Recipes

3 Dry Shampoo Recipes |

Basic Dry Shampoo – Version #1

  • 1 cup ground oatmeal
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • empty baby powder or spice container

Mix the oatmeal and baking soda together in a bowl thoroughly and then transfer to an empty baby powder or spice container. When you need to skip a wash just sprinkle the dry shampoo on your roots and either brush it out or use a blow dryer and your fingers to work it through.

Basic Dry Shampoo – Version #2

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp ground oatmeal
  • cocoa powder optional

Simply combine the cornstarch and oatmeal and blend until you get a fine, powder like consistency. Keep in an airtight container. 

3 Dry Shampoo Recipes |

Dry Shampoo for Light Hair

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon ground oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • empty baby powder or spice container

If you have more dirty blonde, brown or red hair, I recommend adding a teaspoon of cinnamon. You can also add small amounts of cocoa powder until you get a shade that matches your hair color.

Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair 

  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground oatmeal
  • 1/8 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • empty baby powder or spice container

Combine the ingredients above in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Transfer to an empty baby powder or spice container and sprinkle on roots to absorb oil and dirt. Brush the dry shampoo through your hair or turn it into a reset spray and use a blow dryer and your fingers to work through your roots.

DIY Dry Shampoo Spray

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (use 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder for dark hair)
  • 4 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • a couple of drops of essential oil (like lavender or rosemary)
  • Small spray bottle

Mix ingredients together well and pour into your spray bottle. Cornstarch and vodka can be drying to the scalp and the witch hazel helps counteract that.

Shake well before using (the cornstarch will settle at the bottom) and apply to roots. Use blow dryer to restyle.

Applying Dry Shampoo

Shake and go

There are a couple of different ways to apply powdered dry shampoo, and picking one is really just a matter of preference. The first method has to do a lot with the packaging – upcycling an old spice container or salt shaker for application is perfect for this.

Just shake the container over your head, massage in the product, and brush out for the ultimate refresh! I call this the “shake and go” method – and it’s perfect for if you’re a little short for time in the morning, but need your hair to look like you just washed it.

Powder brush

Method two involves using an old powder brush. It’s best if you set this aside as your dry shampoo-only brush – your scalp is normally a little more oily than your face, so it’s important to keep this sebum off your face.

This method is a little more flexible with packaging – you can reuse a jar or anything you like. Simply dip the brush into the shampoo and apply it to your roots, or wherever your hair needs refreshing. I like that it’s more precise than sprinkling the product over your hair, but choosing either method is just personal preference.

Spray bottle

If you’re making dry shampoo spray, hold the bottle a a few inches from the hair and spritz at the roots. Then use hair dryer to restyle. Not only does this get rid of oily roots but it gives hair a nice volume boost as well!

Two cautions: Don’t go overboard and soak your head. You should only need the dryer for a couple of minutes. And watch where you spritz because after the spray dries it can leave white spots on clothing.

When it comes to dry shampoo, there’s nothing more annoying than not having it properly blend into your hair – depending on your color hair, you can choose the light or dark recipe, or stick with the basic dry shampoo for all your oily-root needs.


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