How to Make a DIY Dry Shampoo

diy homemade dry shampoo in glass jar with makeup brush, comb, and towel

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 - 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup dry shampoo
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $15.00

Homemade dry shampoo can be whipped up quickly and easily using a few simple ingredients you'll find in your pantry—a fact you might have not imagined as you browsed the wide variety of commercial dry shampoos available.

Dry shampoo works by introducing an absorbent powder (arrowroot is best but cornstarch works almost as well) to the scalp by either shaking it onto the scalp or applying the powder with a big blusher makeup brush and then brushing it through. Dirt and oil particles attach to the powder and come out of your hair when you brush, leaving the scalp feeling cleaner. As a bonus, the process usually adds volume to your hair as some of the powder is left behind.

It may seem intimidating to make your own if you've noticed there are different dry shampoos for darker hair colors, but it's as easy as adding an extra ingredient to the mix. There might be some initial experimentation with exactly how much of the color ingredients to add, but the advantage is that you can get an ideal color match to your hair when you DIY—something commercial dry shampoos can't do.

Dry Shampoos for Different Hair Colors

homemade dry shampoo for different hair colors include cinnamon, cacao powder and activated charcoal

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

The biggest trick to making your own dry shampoo is matching it to your hair color. Because the main oil-absorbing ingredient is arrowroot powder or cornstarch, both of which are white, a very simple dry shampoo recipe with these ingredients will work best on light blonde or white hair (or bleached and colored fantasy colors), but will stand out and be obvious for anyone with darker hair.

That's why you'll see a few ingredients on the list below that are specific to certain hair colors. If you are between colors, a little mixing might be needed to get the color just right for you. However, since you apply dry shampoo to your roots and then brush it out (which is how the oil gets removed from the roots of your hair), there's some wiggle room and it doesn't need to be a perfect match.

If you have dark blonde hair, for example, you might want to use mostly arrowroot powder with just 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder mixed in. If you have brown hair with a lot of red tones, you might want to mix 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder and 2 tablespoons of cacao powder into your arrowroot, clay, and baking soda mixture.

If your hair is dark brown or black, you'll be using activated charcoal to darken the powder so that it doesn't leave a telltale white layer behind—but be aware that a little charcoal goes a long way.

What You'll Need

Tools/Equipment

  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Storage jar
  • Large makeup brush
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp kaolin clay powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp activated charcoal (for dark brown and black hair)
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder (for brown hair)
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon (for red hair)
  • 6 drops essential oil of choice

Instructions

  1. Decide Which Ingredients Are Right for Your Hair

    supplies for homemade dry shampoo in different colors and essential oils

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    The exact ingredients for your dry shampoo will depend on your hair color. Everyone will need the arrowroot or cornstarch, the kaolin clay, and the baking soda (and essential oils if you want to scent your dry shampoo), but people with blond, white, bleached, and fantasy-colored hair can stop there.

    Brunettes will want to prepare enough raw cacao (and maybe cinnamon if they have reddish tones), while darker brown and black-haired people will need activated charcoal, too.

  2. Mix the Ingredients

    hand mixes clay and arrowroot powder for diy homemade dry shampoo in bowl gif

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    It's easier to mix ingredients in a nice large bowl than the container you are going to keep the powder in. Start with your arrowroot powder or cornstarch, then mix in the clay and baking powder.

    If you aren't going to use any color ingredients, add your essential oil at this point. Lavender, orange, and lemon are light, fresh scents; lavender may also function as a natural antibacterial agent, which can help fight dandruff. Mix well.

  3. Add Color Ingredients if Necessary

    hand adds cinnamon powder bowl to create diy dry shampoo for red hair

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    If you are going to add color ingredients, add them first, before your essential oil.

    You will have to make a guesstimate based on your hair color, but remember, roots tend to be darker than ends. Since dry shampoo is applied to your roots, you'll want to match that color the closest. Use the amounts listed above as a starting point.

    Don't worry about an exact match, as you are going to be brushing most of the dry shampoo out. You just want to get close.

    Lastly, add your essential oils and mix well.


  4. Pour The Mix Into a Container

    hand uses wooden spoon to add diy homemade dry shampoo to glass container for storage

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic


    Use a jar with a lid to keep your dry shampoo fresh and dust-free.

    Some people like to keep it in a container with holes in the lid or a shaker bottle to easily shake it onto their scalp. You can also use a big blusher brush to apply the powder directly to the roots of your hair.

  5. Use Your Dry Shampoo

    woman uses makeup brush to add homemade diy dry shampoo to roots of hair

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    Either shake or use the blusher makeup brush to apply the dry shampoo to your roots. You might want to work it through with your fingertips, and then brush or comb it out.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are conventional dry shampoos eco-friendly?

    Store-bought dry shampoos are packed with toxic ingredients like alcohol, petroleum, and artificial fragrance that pollute from production to disposal. What's more, many are delivered via aerosol containers, which release harmful VOCs into the atmosphere.

  • What's the shelf life of this DIY dry shampoo?

    The great thing about this dry shampoo is that it's made entirely of natural, shelf-stable ingredients. Stored properly in an air-tight container, this hair product will stay good for about three years.

  • Is natural dry shampoo good for your hair?

    Natural dry shampoo is a great alternative to chemical-based alternatives; however, natural oils are good for the scalp and soaking them up too often with dry shampoo can dry out the scalp and make hair brittle. Use dry shampoo sparingly and only when you need it.

View Article Sources
  1. Rao, Guiying, and Eric P Vejerano. "Partitioning of volatile organic compounds to aerosols: A review." Chemosphere. 2018.