Dry shampoo in jar

DIY Dry Shampoo Recipe

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Dry shampoo in jar and comb

Dry shampoo is an absolute essential for travelling, post-gym or, let’s face it, for those stretches when you just can’t with shampooing. 

What even is dry shampoo (and how is that even possible?)

Dry shampoo is essentially powder – often corn or rice starch – applied to the roots to hair to soak up oils. It’s perfect for extending a blow wave, freshening up limp hair and giving you a bit of volume for that just-washed look.

It’s a pretty modern invention, but powders have been used in hair for centuries. Elizabethans were, quite literally, afraid of bathing so would turn to fine powders to clean their hair of oils. That tradition carried on well into the 18th century in Britain, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that someone thought to sell it as an in-between-washes solution. Minipoo was the first commercially sold dry shampoo. Made from fullers earth, it was used just like more modern equivalents – the fine powder absorbed scalp oils to freshen the look of hair.

Making dry shampoo

D-I-Dry shampoo recipe

So, yes, I love the stuff, but where there’s store-bought dry shampoo, there’s plastic, unrecyclable cans or most usually, both. So, does that mean we’re trapped forever in a greasy-rooted hellscape? No! It’s super easy to make it yourself. Here’s my go-to, dry shampoo recipe, which is just as good as the best store bought one - seriously.

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp corn starch (wheaten works best, but if you need gluten free, corn derived is fine too)
  • 2 tbsp rice starch (Not the same as rice flour! Tapioca or arrowroot can work well too)
  • 3 drops of an essential oil of choice (Optional – just for the nice smells. I love lavender, peppermint, cedarwood or distilled lime and mandarin)

To make:

  1. If using an essential oil, mix into your corn starch well.
  2. Mix both powders together.
  3. Ta dah! You have made dry shampoo.

    To use it:

    1. Simply grab a small amount between your fingertips.
    2. Sprinkle into the roots of your hair and massage in for 10-15 secs.
    3. Then brush out, or flip your head upside down and rub your hair vigorously to blend the powder.

      Many dry shampoos come in different colours – blobs of white powder on dark hair is never a good look. If that’s an issue, darken your dry shampoo with 1 tsp of iron oxides or cocoa powder. Test if first though – I’m a brunette and find after a thorough brush, my hair looks fine.  

      Travel tips:

      I put mine in a cardboard tube and no one has ever looked twice at it in customs. Just make sure you know the limits for powders for whichever country you are in.