A Cheap Natural DIY Dry Shampoo Recipe For Any Hair Color

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Dry shampoo can be a life changer, because who has time to actually wash their hair every single day? Not me. I’m guessing you don’t either and that’s why you’re here. But this miracle product isn’t cheap and most of the dry shampoo options on the market are far from natural. The good news is that you don’t have to settle for harmful chemicals in order to skip a wash day; instead, you can make your own natural DIY dry shampoo substitute for any hair color with a few cheap ingredients.

DIY Dry Shampoo

What Is Dry Shampoo?

Many years ago, my mother-in-law introduced me to homemade dry shampoo. Over a phone conversation, she mentioned that when she is busy and doesn’t have time to wash her hair, she makes her own dry shampoo substitute using baby powder. The baby powder works to prevent grease buildup and extends the number of days she can go between washes. I remember thinking, “That’s a weird concept. I’ll never do that…”

applying shampoo to the hair

Fast forward a few years…

I now understand the NEED for dry shampoo: two kids, early morning wakeup calls and a daily carline appointment, work deadlines… all the things. Dry shampoo is a staple in my hair care routine.

Dry shampoo is made with ingredients that absorb grease and excess oils, which delays the need to wash hair with shampoo in the shower. And less time in the shower and styling equals more time for life (and maybe even squeezing in a workout)!

Many commercial dry shampoos use alcohol to absorb excess oils, but that can leave behind an itchy scalp. Another major concern with commercial dry shampoos is the use of propane, isobutane, butane, and fragrance. Fragrance, for example, can be made with up to 3,000 different chemicals, including chemicals that are known to disrupt hormones. Those aren’t chemicals that you want to spray in the air or on your scalp on a regular basis.

You can reduce your chemical exposure to potentially harmful ingredients used in these products and, instead, make your own homemade dry shampoo using ingredients that are safe and effective. My favorite DIY dry shampoo recipe works for any color: brown hair, blonde hair, gray hair, red hair, and black hair.

dry shampoo ingredients

Ingredients To Make Dry Shampoo

The ingredients used in my dry shampoo recipe are multi-purpose. This makes the ingredients cheap since one bag of powder or clay will last you months (or longer) and can make multiple batches of dry shampoo and be used in other ways: cooking, a natural face mask or to make a homemade foundation powder, homemade hot chocolate, and in natural cleaning products.

  • Arrowroot Powder: Similar to cornstarch this natural starch is a lightweight, white, powdery substance that’s generally used to thicken sauces in cooking recipes (like this stir fry recipe). This ingredient works to absorb excess oils in your hair. Many people swear by baking soda but I find arrowroot powder works better as it doesn’t leave hair starchy and stiff.
  • Bentonite Clay: This naturally-occurring, organic powder is commonly used to make a soothing face mask (good for acne and breakouts). In this recipe, it’s used for oil absorption. Just like with arrowroot, this ingredient won’t leave your hair feeling starchy or stiff.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: To tint the dry shampoo, add cocoa powder or cacao powder (yes, the stuff used to make hot chocolate and chocolate cake). Not only will this ingredient add a natural tint to the powder, but also leave your hair with a pleasant and very subtle chocolate scent.
  • Essential Oil: If you’d like to add a natural fragrance (without potentially harmful chemicals) to your dry shampoo, sprinkle in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I love lavender essential oil as it has a calming scent that is perfect for a busy morning (ah, feel the zen) and some say that it has hair growth properties (I’m not sure about this claim, but the smell is amazing). Other options include: rosemary essential oil or tea tree essential oil (essential oils also work as a lice repellent which is just an added benefit if you have young kids at home and don’t want to partake in the yearly classroom lice “party”).

mixing bentonite clay and arrowroot starch

How to Make DIY Dry Shampoo for Any Hair Color

  • For blondes and gray hair, combine arrowroot powder and bentonite clay. Depending on your blonde shade and if you have really light hair, you can use just arrowroot powder on its own if the clay has too much of a silver tint for you.
  • For brunettes and red hair, combine arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, and a touch of cocoa powder to darken the tint. I know some blogs recommend cinnamon powder for a darker brunette shade but I would avoid cinnamon as it may burn your scalp if too much is applied.
  • For black hair, combine arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, cocoa powder, and if you’d like a small of activated charcoal to darken the mixture.

bottle of dry shampoo

Here’s how to make your own custom DIY dry shampoo…

Step 1: Combine the dry shampoo ingredients. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot starch, bentonite clay, cocoa powder, activated charcoal (if using for a darker tint), and essential oil (if using for a scent). Then pour the ingredients into a storage container of choice. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients directly to a spice bottle, salt shaker, or mason jar and place the lid on the bottle and give the ingredients a good shake to combine. I love to use a salt shaker or spice bottle as the top has little holes that make application easy and mess-free.

Step 2: Store the homemade dry shampoo for up to 6 months. 

Store the dry shampoo for up to 6 months at room temperature.
Play around with the ingredients and create a custom shade based on your hair color and shade.

applying dry shampoo to hair

How To Use Dry Shampoo The Right Way

Hair naturally produces oil called sebum. The sebum provides a barrier to the hair and skin and also moisture. When hair is washed every single day, shampoo strips the hair of the natural oils which can result in very dry hair or the overproduction of sebum.

Even my hair stylist has commented that she doesn’t wash her hair every single day and instead uses a dry shampoo in between washes.

For in between days, you can use dry shampoo to keep the grease from building up. Personally, I go about 3-4 days between washes and use dry shampoo, as needed, in between wash days. The less you wash your hair, the easier it becomes to go a few days between washes as the oil production slows down.

Step-by-Step, How to Use Dry Shampoo…

massaging hair scalp

Step 1: Lift the hair and apply dry shampoo

Lift sections of your hair. Sprinkle the DIY dry shampoo powder near the scalp, hair follicles, and crown of your head. There’s no need to get the ends of your hair, just the roots. I recommend using a spice bottle so you can easily sprinkle the powder in your hair. If you don’t use an old spice bottle or salt shaker, either sprinkle some of the powder into the palm of your hands and apply near the crown and scalp of your head, or use a large makeup brush by dipping the brush into the powder and then applying the powder.

Step 2: Wait for the shampoo to set in

Wait a few minutes for the dry shampoo powder to set in and get to work absorbing the oils.

Step 3: Massage the scalp

Massage the dry shampoo into your scalp and the hair follicles.

Step 4: Run a brush through your hair

Then run a brush through your hair to ensure the dry shampoo powder is distributed evenly. You should not be left with any visible powder after this step.

brushing hair

If you like this recipe, you’ll love these natural hair and skincare tips

does DIY dry shampoo work?

5 from 1 vote
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DIY Dry Shampoo

A magical and natural dry shampoo powder that absorbs oils and smells delicious? It must be magic, but it isn't. Just a few simple ingredients. Here's how to make your own DIY dry shampoo.

Course DIY
Cuisine Body
Keyword DIY dry shampoo, Dry Shampoo, homemade dry shampoo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 ounces
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To a small bowl (or spice bottle or salt shaker), add the ingredients. Whisk the ingredients or shake the bottle to combine. (Do not use metal utensils to stir the bentonite clay with the other ingredients.) For various hair colors and shades, see the recommendations below in the notes.

  2. Store the dry shampoo powder at room temperature for up to 6 months.

To Use:

  1. Lift sections of your hair. Sprinkle the dry shampoo on your scalp, hair follicles, and the crown of your head with either a large foundation brush (that's been dipped in the powder) or use an old spice container or salt shaker.

  2. Wait a couple of minutes for the powder to begin absorbing the oils, then use your hands to massage the powder into your roots and scalp. Finally, brush out your hair and viola...you're ready to face the day!

Recipe Notes

For Custom Hair Color and Shades: 

  • For blondes and gray hair, combine arrowroot powder and bentonite clay. Depending on your blonde shade and if you have really light hair, you can use just arrowroot powder on its own if the clay has too much of a silver tint for you.
  • For brunettes and red hair, combine arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, and a touch of cocoa powder to darken the tint. I know some blogs recommend cinnamon powder for a darker brunette shade but I would avoid cinnamon as it may burn your scalp if too much is applied.
  • For black hair, combine arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, cocoa powder, and if you'd like a small of activated charcoal to darken the mixture.

This stuff is so easy to make, and saves me so much time in the morning. Just sprinkle this dry shampoo in your hair, massage, brush, and voila...you're ready to face the day. The darker powder works best for my hair, but there are two color options in the recipe.

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