Oh, dry shampoo. I sorta feel like this post should be a love letter to dry shampoo. Where do I even start? Well firstly, let’s talk about what dry shampoo is, in case you don’t already know. Dry shampoo is a powder that you can spray or sprinkle on your hair to soak up excess oil, in hopes of making your hair look clean without washing. I use dry shampoo a lot because I tend to only wash my red locks about twice a week. This is partially to keep my color as long as possible, and partially because I’m just a busy person who doesn’t always have time to wash, dry, and style. I’ve tried many brands of dry shampoo over the years. Some were good to me and some… well, not so much.
I have a group of friends who aren’t interested in most store-bought dry shampoos because of the harsh chemicals that they sometimes contain. I did a little research on homemade dry shampoos, and here’s what I found works best:
The most popular ingredients for at-home dry shampoos are baking soda, baby powder, and corn starch (or arrowroot powder as an alternative). There are many recipes that mix corn starch with baking soda, or this with that, but I tried each of these on its own over the span of a week. Here are the results:
Baby powder: The baby powder was fine, but I don’t fancy walking around smelling like baby powder. It’s actually a smell I don’t care for, so this one was out for me no matter how well it worked. It soaked up the oil fairly well, though, so if you don’t mind the smell this is a pretty good option.
Baking soda: This made my hair feel pretty clean. As I was researching using baking soda for hair, I came across a lot of people commenting on how it irritated their skin. There is also some talk of long-term damage to your hair caused by baking soda, so this one wouldn’t be something I would use weekly.
Corn starch: I have actually used corn starch before by suggestion of a friend, so I already knew how this one would go. It works really well to soak up the excess oil and doesn’t have a strong scent of its own. This is a good substance to keep in a jar combined with some wonderful smelling essential oils (2-5 drops, depending on how strong you’d like it to smell).
Now let’s talk about application. (I hope we can still be friends after you look at that picture of my greasy hair. On the internet. Sheesh.) If you are making your own at home, there are a few ways you can apply your dry shampoo. I like to keep mine stored in a shaker and just shake it directly onto my roots. A clean makeup brush is another option if you would prefer to brush it on. However you get it on there, the next step is important: rub it in. A lot of people comb it through with a brush, but I like to massage it right into my roots. Plus if I have curls left over from the day before (which I don’t in these photos), I can skip the curling iron and wear them again.
A lot of people shy away from dry shampoo because of the Q-tip head… or snow cap… or white junk in the scalp. If you have darker hair or red hair I have two helps for it! Cocoa powder mixed in with your DIY dry shampoo is great for dark hair. Use about half powder/half cocoa powder (make sure this is not sweetened), and that should help take care of the super powder look. If you have red locks like me, cinnamon is your best friend. The corn starch can be a little powdery looking, so I like to add cinnamon to mine. It matches my color wonderfully AND I love the smell of cinnamon, so I don’t even need essential oils.
I’m still a lover of my old stand-by, Dove Dry Shampoo, but I do like having options. Dry shampoo, you make it possible for a working mama lady like myself to look decent even when I should have washed my hair many (MANY) days ago. Oh, and hats. Also, braids. I think I may need to send out a round of thank you cards to all my beauty helpers. xo. Katie
Credits // Author and Photography: Katie Shelton
Oh my goodness! Cocoa powder is such a brilliant idea and works so well. I’m only bummed that it took me 25 years and way too many “snowcapped” days to learn this. This is going to be one of my daily life hacks…thank you for a great blog!
I love Johnson’s Magnolia Blossom scented Baby powder. It smells nothing of ‘baby’ and has just the most lovely floral scent that isn’t over bearing. That being said, Batiste is my go-to source for dry shampoo!
I’m trying this. I’ll definitely be using the cocoa powder version for my dark locks. Thanks for sharing.
Ooh, the cinnamon is such a great idea! I have red hair that’s a similar shade. Super stoked to try that now… 🙂
Using dry shampoo the night before you plan not to wash your hair will give it time to absorb oil and wont give you the grey/white weird hair color! Preventative dry shampooing. I know I am only going to wash my hair twice a week so I use it even the night of the morning I washed my hair just to keep it fresh longer.
Love this! It’s good to know, as I’ve always been a little scared to try a dry shampoo.
One random question @Katie: I know you must get this all the time but is your hair naturally red? I’ve been looking into colors and yours looks so much more natural than other reds! If you do dye it, what color/brand/shade do you use?
genius! i never thought of putting cocoa powder into it! this is going to change everything 🙂
thanks for the tips!
Great post! I couldn’t stand the smell of baby powder either, so I bought just plain talc powder. It’s basically the same thing, just without the scent. You buy it in pool table supply section (or on the internet). Players use it to keep their hands dry. Think I’m going to give corn starch a shot though just to see the difference.
I just started using Lush’s dry shampoo and love it! It’s a corn starch mixture that also has some citrus oil in there. Once I run out though I might go ahead and try my own. And I love the shaker idea!!
out of all the dry shampoos ive tried i really hated the dove one the most….. it left my scalp feeling flaky….i dont understand how so many people swear by it… but i guess the saying goes- To each their own…
I’m a believer in dry shampoo, but usually buy mine. I love the idea of adding cocoa powder to cornstarch to make it perfect for my dark hair! Probably way cheaper!
I always have the white hair problem, but never thought to use cocoa powder! Will have to try that one next time.
Great advice! I’ve never heard of using cocoa. But that dress. Let’s talk about that dress. So cute.
Only just noticed your tattoos. LOVE THEM!
I love my Dove dry shampoo. It’s the best bang for your buck that I have found. I will give this all natural version a good try!!!
Hahaha…I have never heard of using an at-home version of Dry Shampoo!! But that’s so smart…I think I’ll stick to my favorite…the Suave Dry Shampoo (not the one with Keratin). It’s so cheap, has a nice soft smell, and works amazingly!!
Don’t worry…we think nothing less of you and your greasy hair pic…that’s what Dry Shampoo and Hats are for 🙂
This isn’t the best smelling option, but paprika is really great for red hair. It even helps disguise my roots a little if I need to get them done. I use cacao powder and paprika + essential oils. I usually have my hair clipped up and dab the powder onto my roots with an old makeup brush, then let it sit while I do my makeup and whatever else. It has usually soaked most of the way in by the time I take my hair down and I just flip my head over and ruffle up/massage my roots to make sure it doesn’t look chalky. As long as you get the powder in all the right places this works well!
Oh! I’ll have to try the cornstarch and cinnamon! And for those who want another option you can buy at the drug store, try Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo. It is around $3 or $4 and works great!
Thank you so much for this post! I’ve always been curious about dry shampoo, because it seemed incredibly convenient, but I never knew how to use it so I never did. Dry shampoo will definitely be on my shopping list for my next shopping trip!
Wow, thanks a lot for that article, I never realised there were other options (and such convenient ones as corn starch!) to the store-bought dry shampoo!