DIY All-Natural Dry Shampoo (2 Ingredients!)

It's hard to believe that the drugstore stuff is so full of unpronounceable ingredients and costs $10 a pop, while this version uses just two ingredients that I have in my cupboards right now, and works just as well if not better. I love DIY'ing these kinds of things!

I’m a total quitter. I quit shampooing my hair 23 days ago and I’ve gotta be honest: I’m glad. I’m still going through the transition period, and nailing down the exact routine that shall lead me to hair nirvana, but I have faith that I’m close.

The transition period has been far better than I imagined it would be, which tells me two things:

1) I should have started this a year ago and not been such a wimpy-pants.

2) Hard water makes no-poo’ing approximately eleventy-billion times harder because last time I tried this (while living in Tiny Town a couple of years ago) it was TERRIBLE AND DISGUSTING AND DISASTROUS. (Sorry for yelling – I think I’m still traumatized. *shudder*)

There’s a facebook group for no-poo’ers, filled with very smart and experienced people who’ve quit shampoo and achieved hair nirvana. They have all sorts of wisdom and advice for hard water no-poo’ers, as well as advice for greasy hair, dry hair, colored hair, curly, straight, and everything in between.

I first heard of homemade dry shampoo when Kathleen wrote here at R+H about How to Stay Clean Without Showering Every Day. She uses a recipe with a few more ingredients, but it’s fairly similar.

Its basic purpose is to hide the greasy look in your roots or bangs, on a non-hair-washing day.

This “recipe” (if you can call 2 ingredients a recipe) is recommended all over that no-poo facebook group that I linked to above. I tried it out last week when I was trying to stretch out the days between washings (because that actually helps you get through transition faster), and I loved it so much, I figured I just had to share it with you!

I used to use a drugstore kind that was made from some chemical propellants, alcohol, rice starch, and parfum (which is the most worrisome ingredient, actually. It’s usually a cocktail of at least dozens of chemicals, none of which have to be named on the ingredient list as long as they are called “fragrance” or “parfum”.)


I found it amusing that rice starch was the main ingredient in the stuff, and they sell it for $10 a bottle at the drugstore, with some added toxic chemicals. They could advertise it as “NEW! Single-ingredient Dry Shampoo, now with BONUS toxic chemical soup! Buy yours now, while supplies last!”

By the way, products that contain propellants – as this one does – are not so great for the environment. You may recall that there was a lot of talk about CFC’s several years ago (chloroflourocarbons) which were used in aerosol cans all the time, but which were damaging the ozone layer.

Well, they have now been replaced with other chemicals like hydroflourocarbons (as in this product). This propellant does not damage the ozone but scientists all agree that it is still harmful to the environment.

Harmful to me, harmful to the environment, and expensive.

So how do you make your own?

It’s pretty simple. Find the jar in your kitchen that contains arrowroot powder. Corn starch works too, as does (according to John Frieda) rice starch. Okay, done.

Now find the cocoa powder. Resist the urge to get distracted by making brownies, especially if you’re a highly-distractible INFP like myself. Ooooh! Shiny! *scurries away to new adventures involving sweet chocolate dreams* Whoops, back to our task at hand. Cocoa powder. FOCUS, Red, yeesh.

Get a small bowl or container.

Get a spoon.

Get your hydroflourocarbon 152A and pentane out. (Oh, actually never mind. Skip that. Uber-unecessary.)

Are you with me so far? I know it’s complicated, but try to keep up, okay?

Put a spoonful of arrowroot powder in the bowl. Add a lesser amount of cocoa powder. If you have really light blonde hair, then you might skip the cocoa altogether. For every other shade of hair – add accordingly. If you have very dark hair you’ll want to go maybe 50-50. But don’t worry – it doesn’t really show in your hair when you’re done.

Get a comb.

Use your fingers to pinch a bit of your new dry shampoo (Oh, you didn’t know? You just made dry shampoo – congratulations.) and sprinkle it on the greasy areas, mostly near your roots. Use your fingertips to tussle your luscious locks to disperse the dry shampoo, and then use a comb to help move it down.


(The before is not the awesomest shot ever, but it shows how my hair was a bit shiny with grease from having been unwashed for 2 days… then the after photo shows it having been totally transformed. Subtle, but it made all the difference.)

Lather, rinse, repeat.

(Oh no wait – don’t do that. That’s what commercial shampoo companies tell you in order to make you go through their product twice as fast and then buy it twice as often. Lame.)

Just keep using your dry shampoo until you’re seeing the results you want, then style as desired, strut out of the bathroom like you’re bringing sexy back, and have a dance party in the kitchen.

Nicely done, you crazy-sexy granola crunchy hippie, you.

Now go forth and save yourself some cash.

PS. For all of you skimmers: here’s the “recipe”:

1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (adjust according to hair color)
A clearly awesome individual with slightly greasy hair

Mix. Apply small amounts. Comb and tussle hair. Continue being awesome. The end.

P.S. I no longer use the no-poo method, and wrote an update about that here. I do still use my dry shampoo regularly, though, since I don’t wash my hair every day, and my bangs get greasy faster than everywhere else.

I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.

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  1. River says

    It’s funny that I came across this article today, having made another batch of dry shampoo this morning with…arrowroot and cocoa! I recently came across an application suggestion that I really like: instead of taking a pinch and working it through your hair manually, try using a makeup powder brush to apply and then brush it in with a natural bristle brush. Works really well, and doesn’t get shampoo under your nails!

  2. says

    Only two ingredients? Wow! I have to try this, then, because that is just too simple to not at least give a shot. Very excited to see the results and maybe even change this as my regular shampoo.

  3. Stephanie says

    I have always been curious about dry shampoo! I found this recipe @, and I will admit, I am a bit anxious about it. I might just have that “but isn’t liquid shampoo the only way!’ lol. However, I will definitely have to try this recipe, given the positivity in the comments and in your great experience with it! Thanks for the awesome post – saving and sharing!

  4. VibeRadiant says

    I made a batch of this this morning, 4 tbsp cornstarch and 3 dessert spoons of cocoa, dusted the visible parts of my hair with a big blush brush and then shook it out of my hair, brushed and put my hair up in a cute little pony tail.
    I recall I had tried using baby powder last year and the constant smell of the powder gave me a headache so I put it aside and forgot about it. Until I read your post today and used cornstarch instead.
    My hair still feels weird from using baking soda and ACV, but at least it isn’t oily looking. And I smell like chocolate!

  5. Jessica L. says

    I’ve always wondered about dry shampoo but I just didn’t want to pay for it. Can’t wait to make my own! Thanks!!

  6. says

    Oh my gosh, I just found your blog looking for dry shampoo stuff because we’re in the middle of restoring one of Detroit’s infamous abandoned houses, and so for the past few months, showering hasn’t exactly been a frequent occurrence. Anyway, totally hooked on your blog now, the cuteness abounds and half of the stuff on here was stuff on my mental to-do list. Rock on!

  7. says

    Beth, you my friend, are freaking hilarious. “Get your hydroflourocardon 152A and pentane out.” xD Wish there were more characters like you.. Anyways, I love your blog!!

  8. Dianne says

    Wow, and all I’ve ever used was baby powder in between washes. I have oily hair so I don’t think I could go too long without washing, but I’ll try this to cut down to washing every other day.

  9. Ariana says

    Can I ask what the addition of cocoa powder is for? My hair is currently blue and purple (with blonde where it faded already) and the cocoa showed up pretty clearly, so I thinned it out. I just realized that I’d be putting cocoa powder on my pillowcase and worry about my dog licking it up!

    • Sophie says

      I think it is to make it blend in a little better :) I have quite dark hair and I imagine that using plain arrowroot powder would be quite obvious!

  10. says

    Heh. I just re-read this and noticed the INFP part. Yep. That’s me.

    Followed the ‘recipe’ and made this up last night. Gave it a try. Still fine tuning my application but it seemed to work pretty well! I’ve never used dry shampoo before… but as I get ready to try doing ‘no poo’ again this winter (winter = I can wear hats and cover up the mess) in a hard water area, I’m definitely going to keep this stuff around.


  11. Maria says

    Hi Beth , I was so excited to read this post that I ran to get both the arrowroot and cocoa right away. However, I think I am doing something wrong because the dry shampoo absorbed the grease but it also looks like I have light brown flour in my black straight hair….I used the comb several times and try to shake it off with my fingers and still you can see there is something weird about my hair… Am I supposed to wash it after the grease is gone? You said regular dry shampoo instructions tell you to rinse and repeat….am I suppose to just style after using this mixture? Or rinse and then style? Please please help!!!

  12. Stephanie says

    I have been using this for months & loving it. Application tip:I don’t like the way corn starch feels on my fingers so I use a powder brush. Afterwards, I just shake my hair out with my fingertips and it looks great!

  13. Ann says

    Thank you so much, Beth, for sharing this recipe! Right after reading it I jumped up and headed into my kitchen and whipped up a half batch. I didn’t have arrow root so I used corn starch instead. I have to say that your recipe worked SURPRISINGLY BETTER than my expensive dry shampoo that I (ahem) paid $20.00 for! Never again will I waste my money on dry shampoos when I have everything I need that produces a far superior result right in my kitchen :)

  14. Melissa says

    I have been skeptical of dry shampoo thus far, but your “before and after” pics have inspired me to give it a try. I can’t believe how non-greasy your hair looked in the “after” pic–like it had been freshly washed and blowdried! I’ve been no-poo for 2.5 months and am DETERMINED to get to the point where I only need to wash my hair once a week (before church!)…but I’ve been looking really greasy about 4 days into the week. I think this dry shampoo might be just the trick to get me through until my hair learns to stop producing so much grease! Thanks!

  15. Kimberly says

    Hey, what about for very white hair with some very dark underneath near the nape of my neck? Oh, and what about showering?? What do you use to keep the chemicals at bay for your bath?… just wondering. You guys do the family wipes, too, right? I haven’t done that yet. But I’m gonna. Thanks for the great info. Keep it up

  16. Tracey says

    Question, I have been no-pooing for almost a year now and have terrible frizz- even with all the natural oils no pooing allows for. Baking soda dried me out and actually caused my hair to thin a bit, and castile soap was too harsh. Does anyone have suggestions or a similar experience? I must add that I have naturally curly hair.

    • Brittany says

      I have curly hair as well, and the frizz is the worst! Baking soda and ACV work for me, so I don’t have any other suggestions for washing, although my mom is liking washing hers with coconut milk – that might be something for you to look into.

      There are a couple things I do after showering to help tame the beast. One is to not use a normal towel to dry it. The terry cloth fuzziness of most bath towels pulls to much moisture out and grabs at the hairs (think Velcro)’ thereby creating frizz. I use an old pillow case to blot or wrap up my wet hair, or you could also use an old tee shirt or any smooth cloth. After it’s all dried if I still have more frizz than I’d like, I put a little oil on my hands and LIGHTLY run it over the tip of my hair. Think hovering more than pressing in, just enough to catch all those wisps and weigh them down a bit. I’ve used jojoba, olive, and Vitamin E oil, probably any light oil would do.

      Hope you find something that helps, keep experimenting until you find what works for your hair!

      • Anagha S says

        Dear Brittany, you can try almond hair oil enriched with Vitamin-E oil…..{I live in India, so I get them easily.} It is a very light hair oil, which keeps your hair from getting damaged frequently.It will also give you a hold for your hairstyle {especially for updo’s} if you take a few drops on top of a toothbrush, preferably a clean & dry brush…..

    • Leigh says

      I used baking soda and ACV for about 2 years before I decided it really wasn’t for me… frizz and dandruff/itchy scalp, and greasy hair…. I really was sad… I found an amazing homemade recipe at Wellness Mama’s site that uses coconut milk to balance the harshness of castile soap – and I LOVE it! My curls don’t frizz, my scalp feels great – search for it and see what you think. Super easy to mix together.

    • Melissa says

      It sounds like you might be a great candidate for water-only washing. Have you tried it? I would LOVE to be able to do water-only, but I think my hair is to fine and oily for it (unless sticking with no-poo long enough gets me to the point where I can eventually transition).

    • stephanie says

      Maria, it sounds like you probably used too much, you really only need a very small amount, and try to get it as close to the scalp but not actually ON the scalp. Lastly, a boar bristle brush will draw the powder through your hair better than a comb will.

    • stephanie says

      Tracey, I just heard about shampooing with watered down honey. It softens hair and gets rid of frizz and is a humectant, and will cut down on oil a bit. You could try that. Or with just water. And a bit of coconut oil on the ends of you hair will make it shiny and help with frizz

  17. says

    Sooo…. I am eating my words. I swore off the BS method because it would be “too harsh” for my hair. Lo and behold, I have incredibly hard water. Thus rendering my castile soap waxy, and my ACV rinse (essential to remove the castile waxiness) making my hair more oily. I nearly gave up, then decided to try baking soda. Holy, crap sticks. It worked! Albeit my head is slightly itchy from being drier, and I’m on day 2 now and no greasiness (sooooo I MAY have to reduce my BS) but I was just thinking I should look into a dry shampoo and which one the group recommended. But you beat me to it 😀

    • jane says

      I have dry scalp and have used ACV straight up as a rinse for years. After pouring about a 1/2 cup onto my scalp i massage it well then rinse with cool water. No more itch from the dry scalp. (Note-my hair is short now, when it was long, I mean long, I used about 1 cup ACV.)

  18. Susanna says

    I was just talking to someone about the canned stuff and wondering if I might be able to make some instead and this popped up in my inbox! Yay!


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