DIY Beauty Bar: Dry Shampoo For Everyone

queer-beauty-bar-graphic2Most people I know either consider dry shampoo their super secret weapon or are convinced it’s not for them. Up until a few months ago, I fell firmly into group two. But recently, I’ve been using a homemade version that keeps my hair looking bouncy and all-around good wayyy after I last washed it.

If you’ve got straight hair, chances are you love this stuff. Why? Well, it’s a lot easier for the oils that your scalp makes to travel down a strand of straight hair, meaning that your hair gets oily faster. Dry shampoo gets out the grease that starts showing up before the end of the day.

Curly and kinky hair is harder for oils to get to the bottom to, so it’s usually drier. Some of us wash our hair every day, but most of us with a little or a lot of curl can get away with a lot more time in between washes. Personally, I wash my hair about once a week. It keeps my hair from totally drying out while stripping away product and general dirt that accumulates throughout the week. While most of my hair looks still looks shiny and bright on wash day, my edges right near my temples tend to get a little too shiny.  This is where the beauty of dry shampoo comes in. Dabbing a little bit  on my hair right above my ears (and occasionally on the top of my head after I’ve been wearing a hat or a scarf) whisks away the oil and stretches out the time before I have to go through the who laborious process of  washing my head.

Even with all its benefits, dry shampoo still gets a bad rap. You can’t really blame its detractors, though. Take a look at the ingredients of a store-bought dry shampoo.


Allow me to translate: Isobutane is used as a refrigerant and lighter fuel, propane is a common ingredient in lighter fuels and some gasolines, alcohol 40-B is denatured alcohol and is also used in lighter fuels and household cleaners and butane is… suprise! an ingredient in lighter fuels. I try not to be an alarmist about this kind of stuff but, um, gross. Besides, in addition the whole becoming-a-walking-match downside to using this stuff, alcohol is a pretty harsh way to dry your hair out. So in the interest of your health and safety, we’re going to make our own version!

Dry Shampoo


Ingredients for Light Hair
2 T of Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
2 T of Baking Soda
2 T of Oatmeal

Ingredients for Dark Hair
2 T of Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
2 T of Baking Soda
2 T of Oatmeal
4 T +/- a little depending on your color of Cocoa Powder



1. Pour the ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the resulting mixture is fine enough to go through a salt shaker.

2. That’s it! To use it, shake or pat it onto the areas of your scalp that need a little help and massage it in. If you have straight hair, comb the powder out over a sink. If you have curly hair and don’t like to separate your curls, flip your head over and help it out by gently rubbing your scalp to help it out.

Resources: Free People, The Weather Girl Life, Crunchy Betty

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. One of these days I need to wrangle my posse and convince them to DIY Beauty Bar all the things with me.

  2. i’ve bought and really liked drugstore dry shampoo, but never considered a diy version. this is something i want to try, though i’m not sure i’d be able to use it when i’m away from home, which is when i tend to use it most often.

  3. The cornstarch is a good standby. Also, talcum powder or baby powder can take the oils out. An old trick amongst us desert rats is just good, clean sand. Pour it in and comb it out. It also works for cleaning pots and pans when you can’t find water.

  4. YAY THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!! I have naturally curly hair that I wash once or twice a week. If it’s a one-wash week, it gets a bit greasy towards the end. Luckily I work with infants so they don’t care, but sometimes I want to venture into public with other adults, and I don’t want greasy hair.
    I’ve been avoiding buying any dry shampoo from a store though, because I am pretty adamant about not using any beauty products that are tested on animals (everything from my shampoo to toothpaste), and so far I’ve only seen dry shampoo from companies who aren’t nice to animals.
    So hurray for this! I’ll make some in the morning! :D

    • just go with brown! the idea is to get it out in the end so it’s not going to hang out in your hair looking like little clumps of dirt.

  5. I’ve always wondered. How does dry shampoo work for someone who works out. If I let my hair dry, would it get all of the salty sweat off my hair or does it just remove excess oils?

    • I’m pretty sure it just removes the oils. As long as your head was dry, it couldn’t hurt though, and the cocoa would smell nice.

    • i work out! after working out, i use this and then massage a little bit of peppermint oil dilluted in jojoba oil into my scalp to kill anything potentially gross and salty.

  6. Thank you SO much for this!
    I have been using a translucent face powder from that super cheap e.l.f. brand as a dry shampoo. I bought it as a setting powder but the “translucence” apparently didn’t work on my face as well as it did on my almost black hair. It has been a life saver but I’m sure has some funky ingredients.
    My oily DC-humidity tortured hair is thanking you graciously!

    • That’s exactly what I use! It’s brownish so it doesn’t have that white residue like most store bought dry shampoos or baby powder.

  7. because it is hot and humid where i live, hair tends to get oily by mid day. so i end up washing my hair twice a day which strips away all the natural oil of the hair which makes my hair bipolar. too oily or too dry. in short, i cant wait to play with chocolate flavored dry shampoo

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