In this article we’ll share our base recipe for making DIY Dry Shampoo, so you can create a custom recipe that’s perfect for your hair. We’ll also talk about why we love dry shampoo and the benefits of making your own natural dry shampoo!
Why We Love Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo has been a regular part of my hair care routine for a number of years. Up until recently, I have been using store bought dry shampoo and it has been a game changer!
Dry shampoo powder is great for adding volume to fine hair, by removing excess oil, and adding bulk and structure to your roots
Dry shampoo can also be used to camouflage areas where you have thinner hair
Dry shampoo is used to absorb excess oils, making it essential for 2nd or 3rd day hair if you are someone who struggles with greasy roots
Dry shampoo can absorb the excess sebum that causes dandruff
Why Homemade Dry Shampoo Powder?
In autumn 2022, both Canada and the United States announced nation-wide recalls of a number of dry shampoo products. The reason behind this recall was related to potentially elevated levels of benzene.
Benzene is a human carcinogen that is known to cause blood and bone marrow cancers and blood disorders when absorbed through the skin or through inhalation.
The reality is that humans are exposed to various sources of Benzene from multiple sources, both indoors and outdoors everyday. Frankly, the science does not support a tangible health risk related to commercial dry shampoos, as daily exposure to the amount of benzene found in the recalled products would not actually cause adverse health effects.
So while this recall was out of an abundance of caution and would not have soured me on my dry shampoo habit, it did clear products from shelves for a good while and got me thinking about DIY alternatives.
The Benefits of DIY Dry Shampoo
While store bought dry shampoo is still a good option, making your own product with natural products has a number of benefits:
I was always disappointed with how quickly I went through a bottle of dry shampoo. I found I need to spray quite a bit to get the effect I wanted and found myself needing to replace products every few weeks.
Over the past year or so the price of commercial dry shampoos has steadily increased to the point where it was starting to become cost prohibitive.
I have found making my own dry shampoo to be much, much more cost effective. The ingredients are inexpensive, and each batch lasts much longer than the store bought aerosol products.
It’s Better for the Environment
While the environmental impact of aerosols is much less than it used to be, with the ban of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use in the 1970s, aerosol commercial dry shampoos still ultimately increase your carbon foot print.
While aerosols don’t contain CFCs, they do contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hydrocarbons or compressed gases which contribute to climate change.
Making your own dry shampoo also reduces waste. Base ingredients can be used to make multiple batches and DIY dry shampoo is best stored in reusable containers. As s result, you’ll find yourself discarding the odd recyclable package, rather than countless aerosol bottles.
Customised to Hair Type
One downfall of store bought dry shampoo powder is that it most often a white color. This is great if you have light hair, but less helpful if you have black, dark brown, or red hair.
DIY dry shampoos can be modified to fit any hair color just by changing the natural coloring and oil absorbing products used.
Additionally, coloring powders and essentials oils or other additives can be chosen to treat specific hair and scalp needs.
Developing Your Own DIY Dry Shampoo Recipe
The base recipe for DIY dry shampoo is very simple:
Oil absorbing product + Natural coloring powder + Your favorite essential oil(s)
Below we’ve listed a number of options in each of these categories, along with the benefits of each.
You can play around with the proportions to suit your needs, but in general you’ll want the majority of your product to be your oil absorbing material. Just a small amount of natural coloring powder is usually needed, but you can customize this to your hair color. The amount of essential oil used can be adjusted based on the desired smell and benefits you are looking for.
We’ve also included suggestions for storage and application materials, instructions for using DIY dry shampoo and some recipes to get your started.
Oil Absorbing Products
Our scalp produces natural oil everyday. The amount of oil produced varies from person to person, and while these oils are important they can lead to greasy roots and even itchy scalp if produced in excess.
Oil absorbing products are an essential component of dry shampoo powder, however if your hair starts to get extra itchy using dry shampoo, it might be a sign that you are using it too often or not removing product build up well enough.
Natural hair oils are important for the overall health of your hair. I always brush my hair well before applying dry shampoo. This distributes the oils throughout your hair – especially down to the ends which are often the driest part of the hair.
While many natural oil absorbing ingredients have beneficial properties – just like our natural oils, they can create problems if allowed to build up on the scalp over time.
If you are using dry shampoo regularly, be sure to scrub your scalp well every few days to remove excess product. This will prevent your hair follicles from getting clogged with product. Clogged hair follicles can lead to hair breakage and negatively impact hair health and growth.
Having a good scalp scrub product is an essential part of a dry shampoo hair care routine.
While it may be tempting to reach for whatever powder products you have laying around, dermatologists recommends against this. Certain powders – such as baby powder – are not formulated for the scalp and can cause irritation and brittle, dry hair.
Below are some of the best oil absorbing options for formulating your own dry shampoo mixture.
Marshmallow Root Powder
Marshmallow root powder will absorb oil and decrease greasiness. It is also anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be beneficial in treating dry scalp, psoriasis and eczema.
Bentonite clay soaks up extra sebum – natural occurring oil on your scalp. It can prevent dandruff (which results from a build up of excess sebum). It is also antibacterial and and has been shown to promote hair growth.
Bentonite clay has a number of uses, so it’s a good products to stock up on.
Kaolin clay is effective at absorbing excess sebum and preventing dandruff and hair breakage. This clay is great for sensitive skin, as it has the same pH as skin. Kaolin draws out impurities, exfoliates skin and helps manage dryness.
Aloe Leaf Powder
Aloe Leaf Powder is full of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. As we’ve come to expect from Aloe, it can soothe and heal an irritated scalp. It has also been shown to stimulate hair growth.
Many dry shampoo recipes online call for corn starch or baking soda.
However, both of these products have been found to be quite irritating and drying to the skin. Arrowroot powder is a good alternative as it does not strip the skin’s natural moisture the way corn starch and baking soda do.
Tapioca starch or flour is another good option. This fine powder has a deodorant effect, absorbs sweat and exfoliates skin.
Coloring powders are natural ingredients you add to your formula. They do double duty by helping with oil absorption and matching your powder to your hair color.
Many have additional beneficial properties so you can feel good about adding additional coloring powder if you have darker hair.
Add Cocoa powder to your product if you have brown hair.
Cocao powder contains Theobromine. Theobromine can increase blood flow to the skin’s surface which can help with keeping your hair follicles healthy, promoting healthy hair growth.
Cinnamon is also a good option for brown hair. It is lighter than cocoa powder and can even be mixed with cocoa powder to match your exact hue.
Cinnamon has also been shown to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Activated charcoal is good for black hair or dark brown hair. Again – you can mix coloring powders to get just right the tone and reap the varied benefits of these natural ingredients.
Activated charcoal is good at absorbing oil, removing dirt and preventing dandruff.
Moroccan Red Clay
If you have red hair or red toned hair, Moroccan red clay is fantastic additive for dry shampoo.
Similar to activated charcoal, this clay is a powerhouse when it comes to removing oils and impurities.
Adding essential oils to your formula is purely optional.
Essential oils serve two purpose in a homemade dry shampoo recipe – adding scent and treating specific hair and scalp needs.
When adding essential oils, start with just a few drops. Some essential oils can be irritating to the skin, and you’ll want to test out your recipe with a small amount of oil to begin with.
Here are some good essential oils to consider, along with their beneficial properties:
Promotes hair growth by balancing the oil producing glands in the scalp
Antimicrobial, soothing to scalp, moisture balancing, anti-inflammatory
Tea Tree oil
Anti-dandruff, treats hair loss
Treats hair loss
Anti-inflammatory, promotes healthy hair
Vodka is obviously not an essential oil, but it can be a good option for adding to your DIY dry shampoo. Vodka can help with killing bacteria and eliminating odor.
It can also be quite drying, so don’t opt for this additive if you plan to use your homemade dry shampoo powder frequently.
Having a selection of essential oils can be helpful when you start experimenting with creating out own homemade dry shampoo. This will allow you to create your own unique formula with the scent and benefits that work for you
You’ll need a container or containers with secure lids to store your homemade dry shampoo. There are many options to choose from.
Here are some of our favorites:
A kabuki makeup brush works perfectly for applying your DIY dry shampoo product.
If you are stuck on creating a dry shampoo spray – it is possible. You’ll need to purchase spray bottles that are made for spraying powder.
These are a pretty cool option.
How to Apply DIY Dry Shampoo
If you are using a powder spray bottle, application is pretty self explanatory. Fill the spray bottle with your products and spray away.
If you are storing your product or sample recipe versions in a cosmetic containers, simply pick up some product with your makeup brush and dab it on to your roots and scalp, starting with your part and including other areas that tend to be greasiest. The hair above/around your ears are often areas that require some refreshing and oil absorption.
Let the powder sit for a couple minutes while you carry on with your routine.
Massage the products into your scalp.
- Blow dry your roots to help with increased volume and drying any latent moisture from your products (e.g., essential oils).
And that’s it! Clean and oil free second or third day hair!
Here are some sample recipes to give you a sense of potential proportions you can play with, and get you started on creating your personal DIY dry shampoo formula. Don’t forget to note your changes as you experiment, so you can repeat it over and over once you find your perfect recipe!
For Blonde or Light Hair
~ 7 TBSP Arrowroot powder
~ 4 tsp Kaolin clay
~ 6 drops of essential oil
Modifiable for Any Hair Color
~ 1 tsp Tapioca Starch
~ 3/4 tsp clay of your choice (kaolin, bentonite, Moroccan red clay)
~ 1/4 – 1/2 tsp coloring powder (to match your hair)
~ 1-2 drops essential oils
For Brown Hair
~ 1 TBSP Arrowroot powder
~ 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder
~ 3 essential oil drops
For Light Brown Hair
~ 2 TBSP Arrowroot powder
~ 1-2 TBSP Cinnamon
~ 3 drops of essential oil