Easy DIY Dry Shampoo (For Dark and Light Hair Colors)

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It’s time to talk about, and make, one of my favorite, time-saving hair products: DIY dry shampoo! All you need for a DIY dry shampoo are a few all-natural ingredients: arrowroot starch (similar to cornstarch, easy to find in the grocery store), bentonite clay (also makes a great face mask), and cocoa powder (for dark hair).

DIY Dry Shampoo

Many years ago, my mother-in-law introduced me to DIY dry shampoo. Over a phone conversation, she mentioned that when she wasn’t able to wash her hair, she would use a simple baby powder solution to add some fresh life to her roots and take away any grease buildup. I remember thinking, That’s a weird concept. I’ll never get that desperate.

At the time, I was a young married woman with more than enough time each morning for a proper shower. I couldn’t understand why anyone would need such a product. Why would someone skip washing their hair every single day? The very thought was preposterous to me.

Many years later, my life looks different. I now have 2 kids, 6:30 am wakeup calls, a daily coffee-driven carline appointment, work deadlines, and the list could go on. With these life changes, let’s just say that I have totally embraced dry shampoo. Today, I hope to convince you of how easy it is to make this marvelous, time-saving hair product.

applying shampoo to the hair

How to Make DIY Dry Shampoo

There are various types of dry shampoo options (sprays, powders, foams), but for DIYing, powder is the easiest to make. So that’s what we’re going to make today.

dry shampoo ingredients

Ingredients needed…

  • Arrowroot Starch: Similar to cornstarch. A lightweight, white, powdery substance that’s generally used to thicken sauces in cooking recipes. This ingredient works to absorb the oils in your hair, without leaving your hair feeling starchy or stiff.
  • Bentonite Clay: This naturally-occurring, organic powder is commonly used to make a detoxifying face mask. 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: If you have dark hair, a white powder isn’t going to work so well. You don’t want to be left with a white/gray powdery look after using this dry shampoo. To tint the dry shampoo, add cocoa 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–which I love!
  • Essential Oil: If you’d like to add a subtle and natural scent to your dry shampoo, go with 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). Other options include: rosemary essential oil or tea tree essential oil (would also work as a lice repellent–which every mom knows can be quite the battle when little ones are in school).

mixing bentonite clay and arrowroot starch

How to make dry shampoo…

  • Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot starch, bentonite clay, cocoa powder (if using for a 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, place the shaker spout and cap on the bottle and give the ingredients a good shake to combine.
  • Step 2: Store the dry shampoo for up to 6 months at room temperature.

bottle of dry shampoo

How to Use Dry Shampoo

Now, please don’t get the wrong idea: I’m a firm believer in good hygiene. I still work a shower into my schedule each morning or night. But when it comes to hair, as it turns out, skipping a daily hair washing appointment may actually be a very healthy activity.

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 use traditional shampoo on her hair every single day and instead uses a dry shampoo in between washes.

applying dry shampoo to hair

For in between wash days, you may feel like you need something to keep your hair fresh and bouncy. This is when dry shampoo is a great product to reach for. Personally, I usually go about 3-4 days between traditional washes and use dry shampoo (or a hat) in between wash days.

massaging hair scalp

How to use dry shampoo…

  • Step 1: Lift sections of your hair. Sprinkle the DIY dry shampoo powder near the scalp 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 spice bottle, 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 a few minutes for the dry shampoo powder to set in and get to work absorbing the oils.
  • Step 3: Massage the dry shampoo into your scalp and crown.
  • Step 4: 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

Does DIY Dry Shampoo Work?

So you may be wondering, this is all great but does DIY dry shampoo actually work? Of course, I’m bias, but yes…it totally works. And here’s why…

The magic of this recipe happens thanks to the two oil-absorbing ingredients: arrowroot starch and bentonite clay. Both ingredients work wonderfully at absorbing excess oils in the hair, without leaving your hair feeling stiff or starchy. I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos over the years, from store-bought options to DIY versions, and the arrowroot and bentonite mixture works the best for me. I hope you’ll give this a try and let me know what YOU think!

does DIY dry shampoo work?

More Natural Hair Tips

5 from 1 vote

DIY Dry Shampoo

An easy-to-make dry shampoo powder made with arrowroot starch, bentonite clay, and cocoa powder (if desired for a tint). This DIY dry shampoo works for light or dark hair, absorbing excess oils and leaving your hair feeling fresh on non-wash days.

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



  1. To a small bowl (or spice bottle), 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.)

  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 and the crown of your hair with either a large foundation brush (that's been dipped into the powder) or use a spice container with a shaker lid.

  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

Cocoa Powder Note: This amount will vary depending on your hair color. I recommend starting with 2 teaspoons, and then increasing the amount until the desired color is achieved (up to a few tablespoons).



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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  1. says: Brandi

    I was just thinking last week, it’s time to try and make my own dry shampoo. I sure wish Kristin had a recipe…” Thanks for reading my mind. 🙂 Since it’s so close to the foundation recipe, have you ever used your foundation as dry shampoo in a pinch?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Brandi, Lol, that’s awesome! I have tried using the foundation powder in a pinch, but my foundation powder was a bit too light (at least my winter version) for my hair. It’s definitely worth a shot! As long as an adequate amount of bentonite clay exists in the foundation powder, you should be good. The clay really helps with the oil absorption.

  2. says: Becky

    This is wonderful! I was looking for this today and I think you read my mind 🙂 I have been meaning to ask you – would you mind sharing which brand of shampoo and conditioner you use? I have tried a few “cleaner” varieties and I find that either the shampoo doesn’t feel like it cleans very well (aka my hair feels like a grease pot) or the conditioner doesn’t actual do much conditioning. I realize that cleaner products are not going to be the same as chemical-laden products that make our hair feel and smell amazing, but I would rather not experiment with a bunch of different brands if you know of a tried and true brand that you trust. If you don’t mind sharing your recommendations I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Awesome, Becky!

      I really like the brand EveryDay Shea. The ingredients aren’t perfect, but they are a whole lot better than most soaps and conditioners on the market. I recently recommended this brand to Live Simply’s Administrative Assistant, Rachel, and she’s been really enjoying their shampoo and conditioner, too. So, this brand may be an option for you :). http://alaffia.com/brands/Everyday-Shea.html They also make great bubble bath and lotion, in my opinion.

  3. says: Alice W

    I like most things on your blog. However, I was once looking to detox with Bentonite and my husband convinced me not to, because it can be dangerous. I would be wary with powdered forms as well: http://www.livestrong.com/article/241716-what-are-the-dangers-of-bentonite/

    Bentonite is also sometimes tainted with lead.

    The only other thing I would caution against is, for ethical reasons, vegetable glycerin derived from palm. I think everyone who has seen the documentary on the Orangutans and the Palm Oil Crisis doesn’t really want to part-take in that. With a lot of effort I found vegetable glycerin made out of coconut. Whether it works or not, I don’t yet know but, those are the only 2 things that I’d be wary of.


    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Alice, Thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      Yes, bentonite clay oftentimes comes into question due to the lead issue. Personally, I’m okay with using bentonite clay when it comes from a reputable source. Here’s more information on why I believe it’s safe to use this clay:

      Just like with the clay, it’s important to source reputable vegetable glycerin. I use a small amount of glycerin in my homemade products, and usually purchase from the same trusted company. Would you mind sharing the brand of the vegetable glycerin made from coconut oil? I’d be interested in checking it out.

      Thank you for sharing! Doing research before making choices about homemade products is always important!

  4. says: Susie

    Hi Kristin,

    I have a few questions about your hair products.

    1. Do you still use Every Day Shea for your shampoo and conditioner?
    2. If so, do you find that it’s not as easy to rinse as regular shampoo in the sense that it leaves your hair really “squeaky clean” so your hands don’t glide down your hair as smoothly when rinsing? Just want to make sure that that’s normal!
    3. What hairstyling products do you use? I currently use a moose and frizz tamer/curl enhancer and was wondering if you have “clean” hairstyling products that you recommend.

    Thanks for all the work that you put into your blog! I’m slowly trying to transition to your DIY products and clean eating. It’s a lot of work, but you make it so much easier! Thanks!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Susie,

      Yep, I still use EveryDay Shea for my shampoo and conditioner. For me, it gets my hair sqeauky clean.
      At the moment, I don’t use any styling products, but I’ve seen a few great brands at the health food store. I’ll check out a few next time I’m there.

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      1. says: Susie

        Hey Kristin,

        So it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been using EveryDay Shea shampoo and conditioner and I’m just not loving it. My hair doesn’t feel as clean and by the end of the day my scalp and roots feel oily so I’ve been having to wash my hair every day, where as before I washed it every other day. Are there any other brands you recommend? If not, no worries. I can check out other brands at Whole Foods, just figured I’d ask for your input first.


        1. says: Kristin Marr

          Hey Susie, I haven’t experimented with other brands, so I don’t have any others to recommend. Sorry, about that. PS: I’ve used the shea shampoo for body wash many times, so if it’s not working for your hair, you could still use the rest of the bottle as body wash :). I would love to know if you find a shampoo and conditioner combo that work well for you!

  5. says: Alexandra-Maria

    5 stars
    Wow! This is soooo amazing. I just did this diy today and I love this recipe! I used the exact same amount as you did and I used rosemary eo. Well this it great, when you apply it it feels like a fresh breeze something like that, because of the rosemary I think 🙂 and it does the job as it should. Thank you ssooo much! ????????

  6. says: Noel

    Wondering if you’ve ever experimented with creating a DIY doggy shampoo? We’re new dog owners, and I’ve read about you having dogs, as well. Was just curious if you have any thoughts or recommendations? Thanks!

  7. says: Ellen

    Hi Kristin, I just found your blog and am looking forward to trying out your recipes for various DIY beauty products! My question is does the cocoa powder leave your hair brownish? I have black Asian hair (with “silver” roots/highlights, other wise known as gray hair) and I’m curious if you know of something that would blend in a bit more. Thank you!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Ellen, My hair is currently brown/red, so I can only speak from my experience. The goal is to use just a small amount of dry shampoo, and then mix it with the roots of the hair, so I don’t believe so but there’s always a possibility. I’d try a test run with just a bit of cocoa powder and see what happens.

  8. I was looking for a receipe for dry shampoo and I’m actually surprised you use it this way. I had the idea of dray shampoo being like a bar of soap (packaged free, then, which is what I truly look for in order to reduce trash), one that you can use as shampoo when needed.

    Why do people keep thinking they need to wash their hair every single day??? It is absolutely NOT necessary in any way and you’re doing more wrong to your hair than good. Sebum is here to take care of your hair (contrary to what commercials try to brainwash you with 😉

    From using dry shampoo (that bar of shampoo) I went completely NO SHAMPOO, using only a hair brush to spread the sebum on my hair so that all of it take advantage of its benefits. Brushing in the morning and evening, after each sweaty activity and rinsing with clear water has now become a habit (and I don’t even rinse every day!) and my hair looks absolutely perfect!
    Ok, the first few weeks can be a challenge, what with convincing yourself not to wash your hair when it greases up but the reward afterwards is fantastic!

    For people not ready to stop using shampoo, there are also really yummy receipes of natural shampoos – that you don’t have to use daily either! 😉

    Happy day!

  9. says: Diana

    I have super fine, oily, flat hair. After I wash and dry my hair, I apply the dry shampo on my roots. Gives me volume and my hair stays oily free for the rest of the day. I reapply as needed every morning and only wash my hair every two or three days now. I love it!

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