How to Make Your Own Hair Powder

Like any red-blooded American woman, I have spent the last couple of years intrigued by the “dry shampoo” trend. Caught in the fantasy of a world where blowdrying one’s hair each day (OK, every other day, but still) is not a necessity, I cruised beauty blogs and drugstore clearance shelves to find this mythical product. Trying out half a dozen varieties left me with but one that actually worked, but it was prohibitively expensive.

just two of the many failed dry shampoos

Then, somewhere online, I read a passing remark about how all this stuff was basically baby powder. I’ve used that in my hair before, but hate the smell. Then it occurred to me that baby powder was basically cornstarch. A lightbulb went off: I HAVE CORNSTARCH! I began Googling in earnest.

That was about a year ago, and I’ve eventually cobbled together a dry shampoo formula that works incredibly well for me. It’s a lifesaver after a hot summer bike ride, and it is NOT $12/oz. Intrigued? Read on!

the ingredients, minus cornstarch, which is camera shy

Since I make my hair powder in a tiny sake cup for some reason, I deal with tablespoon measurements. But there’s really no reason not to make a large batch, if you want. Everyone’s scalp/hair is different and you might want to tweak the ratios a little bit. Here’s what the individual ingredients do:

Baking soda: deodorizes
Cornstarch: thickens, absorbs grease
Corn meal: same as above, easier to brush out because the grains are larger—slightly changes the texture of the dry shampoo, which I like
Cocoa powder: optional, alters the color of the powder to make it less noticeable on darker hair

The bulk of my dry shampoo is cornstarch. I use 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part baking soda and 1 part cornmeal. Then I add a pinch of cocoa powder (my hair isn’t very dark). If you use more than a pinch, there’s a chance your hair might smell like chocolate (learned this when I was more heavy-handed on one batch). This is not necessarily a problem!

Mix the ingredients well, and store in a mini cocktail shaker or an old baby powder bottle. If you want it to be scented, spritz with a bit of your favorite perfume and let dry.

To use, just liberally sprinkle the powder on your hair, rub it into the roots and let it sit for a good 5 minutes. Then brush vigorously! Seriously, you do not want that corn meal freaking out your coworkers later. Do not do this while wearing black.

Your hair should be shiny and look cleaner. It might even have more volume! Some sites say that applying heat (a quick hit with the blowdryer) boosts the benefits, but I haven’t found this to be the case.

Do you dry shampoo?

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14 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Hair Powder

  1. Lauren says:

    Oooh, I’ve never considered actually mixing up a batch of dry shampoo- I usually just use straight cornstarch (and you can totally tell when it’s time for a hair washing, as my roots will be noticeably more grayish than the rest of my hair lol). Going to try this, thank you for the how-to!

  2. Simply Bike says:

    Wow, I should try this! I’m a babypowder kind of girl. Especially with hot helmet hair in the summer, I find baby powder to work magic. But I like the idea of this homemade stuff and I would def. add the cocoa to match my darker hair color. Thanks for the idea!


    • alianny says:

      Me too I always use baby powder when I get out of the shower its just a force of habit for me but the cocoa powder will work magic since I have dark hair

  3. Gem says:

    I have to say I’m pretty happy with Batiste dry shampoo (though I don’t recommend the blonde one despite being blonde as it looked like I had gold dandruff despite all my brushing), but I find that pricey at £4.99 for 400ml (so stock up when it’s 1/2 price in my local Boots or Superdrug) but thankfully it’s still not as pricey as the one you mention. Next time I run out of current stock I will try the above out. As someone who is unfortunately naturally very sweaty when I start to move just the littlest bit & also with thick hair the last exta thing I want to worry about is helmet hair & dry shampoo definitely solves this little issue for me. Anyway hope you are have been enjoying your trip over this side of the pond so far ;-)

  4. Malvin says:

    I usually use just cornstarch and it works pretty well. Bud adding cocoa is a really great idea since I’m not blonde. Could be less worries about trying to brush it all out. Will definitely try it out!

  5. Accordion says:

    I find that my hair is OK after a long ride. It gets washed every 3 to 4 days. But my fringe! It is badly affected by the helmet. I’ve fixed this by keeping a mini straightener at work (along with spare undies, underarm stuff, makeup etc).

  6. Liz Almond says:

    What works best for my long, thick hair is washing and putting it up in a bun while it’s still wet before I set off. As it dries it seems to set in a nice shape, and because it’s clean, the sweat/grease doesn’t seem to be a problem. But dry shampoo’s really handy for camping and festivals, so I’ll give this a go!

  7. Liz Almond says:

    What works best for my long, thick hair is washing and putting it up in a bun while it’s still wet before I set off. As it dries it seems to set in a nice shape, and because it’s clean, the sweat/grease doesn’t seem to be a problem. But dry shampoo’s really handy for camping and festivals, so I’ll give this a go!

  8. […] with a diffuser or volumizing mousse. Let’s Go Ride a Bike recently published a how-to on dry shampoo, which I can’t wait to try. Looking professionally put-together after bicycling may take a […]

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