I remember the day I discovered dry shampoo. I was in my best friend's dorm in college and suddenly remembered I had picked up an extra shift at work and needed to get out the door. Classic Genevieve move, I was always running late. I needed to freshen up, and she came to my rescue with a couple quick spritzes of dry shampoo. I was hooked! This was going to save me so much time. The next day I picked up a bottle for myself, and it became a part of my last minute touch-up routine.
Several years and several bottles of dry shampoo later, I had started my zero waste journey and was trying to cut down on packaged products, especially aerosol bottles (being from the south, I was not shy with the hairspray either). With a quick internet search, I realized you could use baby powder as a dry shampoo, and that's exactly what I did for awhile. But I quickly found that it left white streaks in my hair and buildup in my roots. I wanted to find a recipe for a powder that matched my hair color and was better for my hair. With some more thorough research, I came up with the recipe I'll share with you today.
PS - if you prefer a video format, you can get all the tips and watch me whip up this recipe in our Youtube video (plus, you can see the dry shampoo in action!)
The base for your dry shampoo
To make your own dry shampoo, you need to start with something that absorbs excess oil. Absorbing oil is how dry shampoo keeps your hair looking clean and fresh between washes. I've experimented with a lot of different powders over the years, and by far my favorite is tapioca powder. It's fine, lightweight and gives your hair a little volume at the roots.
But, you can use anything you have on hand as long as it's a fine powder that absorbs oils well. Here's some other options I've used:
- Arrowroot powder (absorbs very easily!)
- Baking soda (this will also help to balance pH levels of your scalp)
- Rye Flour (not perfect, but great in a pinch)
- And of course, baby powder
Now that you have your base, you've got a functional dry shampoo, but you still have the problem of the bright white powder. Most of it will absorb in, but there's always a lingering white streak or two, which is why I like to mix mine with some kind of colorant.
How to customize it for your hair color
My hair is a light to medium blonde depending on the time of year. Cocoa powder is the perfect thing to darken the tapioca powder to the right color, and I do about a 1:1 ratio of tapioca to cocoa. Cocoa powder is perfect for blondes and brunettes, but there are many different ways you can customize this recipe for your hair color!
If you have dark brown or black hair, you can add a little bit of charcoal powder. It's super cleansing, which is great for this purpose, and I've heard it darkens the mixture quite quickly, so you don't need as much as the 1/3 cup of cocoa powder I use in my recipe. You could start with 1/8 or 1/4 cup of charcoal and if your hair is more dark brown than black, you could add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to get the right blend. I haven't experimented with this myself, so I'd recommend adding a little bit at a time until you get the right ratio.
If your hair is red or strawberry blonde, you can use cinnamon! It has more of a reddish tone, and depending on your hair color you could mix in some semolina flour (more of a light yellow for lighter blondes) or cocoa powder to get the color you want.
It's all about experimenting. Just make sure whatever spices or powders you want have a light fresh scent (would not recommend turmeric from personal experience, haha).
The recipe I use
You'll want a mason jar, a shaker top, and a funnel. You can also upcycle an old spice jar if you wanted - they're perfect for shaking out the powder onto your roots. Just air it out before using, or boil it to remove any leftover scent if you're in a hurry. If you don't have a funnel, you can make one out of a piece of printer paper since these are all dry ingredients.
I used an 8 oz mason jar, but you could use a 4 oz as well and just cut the recipe in half.
1/3 to 1/2 C tapioca powder
1/3 C cocoa powder
Dash of cinnamon (or activated charcoal, depending on your hair color)
8-10 drops essential oil (rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus are great for hair growth and scalp health)
Start with the base, tapioca powder, and mix in the other powders as needed until you reach the right color for your hair. Mix together with a chopstick to blend. Add the essential oils a few drops at a time, whisking thoroughly. You can add them right into the powder as long as you mix as you go. Top with a spice lid or mason jar shaker top and voila!
When you go to apply the dry shampoo on oily hair, sprinkle the powder wherever you see oil, and tousle it through your roots. You can brush it through your hair to distribute it evenly or just work it in with your fingers. It's only meant to be used for a day or two in a row, and won't replace regular shampoo, so make sure to wash or rinse it out thoroughly the next time you shower.
I've found this is the perfect formula to blend into my hair, give my roots a little volume and keep me looking fresh! If you want to see how it's applied and how well it works, check out our Youtube video.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you find a perfect color combo for your hair, let us know in the comments. And as always, check our Bulk Bar for any ingredients you need.