10 Things That Work Like Dry Shampoo

Washing your hair every day can lead to a dry, itchy scalp. It can also strip your hair of essential oils and nutrients. But, if you have naturally oily hair or just don’t want to ‘feel’ dirty, dry shampoo is a great option. Many people turn to it to refresh their hair on days they don’t wash it. But, do you know what to use if you don’t have any over-the-counter dry shampoo in the house?

DIY solutions are becoming more popular than ever, and dry shampoo alternatives are no exception. Whether you feel more comfortable using your own ingredients, or you want to find the perfect blend of what works for you, it can be fun to experiment with different solutions.

Homemade alternatives to dry shampoo are easy to make, and most take very few ingredients. You can start to get a better idea of which ingredients work best for your hair and scalp. They are meant to absorb oils while giving your hair texture and leaving you with a clean feeling.

We will look at how to make your own dry shampoo. You probably have a lot of the ingredients in your home already. With a few simple recipes, you can save some money and create your own personal brand of dry shampoo to keep your hair clean, healthy, and oil-free.

What Are the Homemade Dry Shampoo Alternatives?

Let’s dive into some easy and effective DIY solutions for dry shampoo. We’ll explain why each ingredient works to keep your hair healthy and fresh.

  1. Flour

Flour can be used for more than just baking. It makes an excellent dry shampoo ingredient. Think about how easily flour mixes into liquids and absorbs them. It will do the same to the oils and grease on your hair and scalp. Plus, there are many different types of flour. You can try everything from ‘all purpose’ to rice flour to find which one works best for your hair texture. Flour can also help to give your hair a little extra volume.

One potential drawback is that flour might ‘clump’ a bit. If you have darker hair, you may notice it. You can remedy that situation by mixing the flour with a little bit of cocoa powder before applying it to your hair. Place the dry mixture into a shaker of some kind and sprinkle it gently all over your hair to reduce the risk of clumping.

  1. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is one of the most popular DIY solutions for dry shampoo because it absorbs liquids so well. It’s also one of the easiest methods to dry. To use cornstarch effectively, sprinkle a bit of the white powder directly on your roots. Gently blend it through your hair with your fingers. In just a few minutes, it will start to absorb excess oils.

After the cornstarch has soaked up the oil and dirt from your hair and scalp, run a soft-bristled brush through your hair. This will help to get rid of the cornstarch, so it doesn’t clump up and remain visible. But, it will also help to remove the dirt and oils clinging to the cornstarch. Your hair will feel lighter and refreshed as a result.

  1. Baking Powder

Baking powder is great for neutralizing the pH levels of your scalp. This can help to reduce the possibility of infection and get rid of any odors caused by a debris build up. It does more than just absorb odors. It also absorbs oils.

It’s extremely cost-effective and will give your hair volume. One of the biggest concerns of people who don’t wash their hair each day is that it will start to smell. When you use baking soda, you don’t need to add anything else to it. It will get rid of smells and won’t mask them with something else.

  1. Baby Powder

Did you know that many dry shampoos are just talc powder and some type of fragrance? Often, it’s the chemicals within the shampoo that cause a buildup, to begin with. So, why not get rid of the chemicals and get the same absorbing effect?

Baby powder is nothing but talc powder, and it doesn’t have to have any fake fragrances or additives to make it effective. When you need to absorb debris from your hair and scalp, sprinkle baby powder on your roots.

It will become invisible after a few minutes as it soaks up any build up. You can then brush your hair as you normally would. You can keep baby powder with you wherever you go as an easy and safe alternative. Plus, you can purchase it for a fraction of the cost of over-the-counter products.

How to make your own dry shampoo at home

  1. Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a natural absorbing agent, much like a fine flour or cornstarch.

You can massage it directly into your scalp, and even onto the ends of your hair. It won’t leave a gunky build up behind. It will absorb oils quickly and leave your hair with a bouncy, soft feeling. While most of it should come out when you brush your hair, you can also run a damp cloth over your hair to get rid of any of the excess powder.

  1. Cocoa Powder & Cornstarch

We’ve already covered the effectiveness of cornstarch. In fact, it is probably the most popular DIY solution for dry shampoo. But, you can create more complicated recipes containing some of the ingredients in this article to suit your hair better. This particular mixture is often used by people with darker hair.

To create a special dry shampoo blend, combine the following:

  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa (for people with dark hair)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon (for people with auburn hair)

Shake all ingredients together in a mason jar, or stir gently in a container that can be sealed. You can keep it in your bathroom for quick, regular use. If you keep it in a mason jar, simply poke holes in the top and use the jar as a type of shaker to sprinkle it directly on your roots.

Depending on what you add (cocoa or cinnamon), it will blend into your hair easily without creating any obvious white clumps. Plus, cocoa and cinnamon are great at absorbing liquids, too, and can leave your hair smelling great naturally.

  1. Dryer Sheet

A dryer sheet might be one of the unique solutions to make this list.

It’s one of the only ones that doesn’t include some type of powder or something to sprinkle directly on your head. But, consider what a dryer sheet does. It is meant to do more than just make your clothes smell better. It absorbs odors and everything from lint to moisture will cling to it.

The next time your hair is in serious need of a refresher, don’t reach for your over-the-counter dry shampoo. Grab a dryer sheet instead.

Gently wiping a dryer sheet against your hair will tame frizz and flyaways. If you rub it against your roots, it can help to remove dirt and give you more volume. Plus, it will leave your hair smelling great; more like clean laundry and less like fake chemicals from a can.

Multiple beauty uses have been found for dryer sheets over the years, and this one is definitely at the top of the list. It’s a great reason to keep a box of dryer sheets in your bathroom as well as in your laundry room!

  1. Baking Soda & Oats

You can either use baking soda in the same way you applied the cornstarch method, as listed above or create a ‘mixture’ containing oatmeal.

To create this solution, mix one cup of baking soda with one cup of finely-ground oats. Keep the mixture in a sealed container that allows you to sprinkle it over your hair and roots. It will absorb debris quickly, and you can brush it away before you leave the house to get rid of excess dirt and oil.

It’s important to make sure the oats you use are finely ground or it could lead to clumping. The better the oats have been pulverized, the easier it will be to use a shaker for this homemade recipe.

  1. Hand Sanitizer

While hand sanitizer may not be considered a ‘dry’ substance, it falls into this list because you don’t have to rinse it away after using it. Hand sanitizer uses antibacterial ingredients to cleanse your hands each time you use it. It can cleanse your hair and scalp as well.

Instead of absorbing the oils like many of the powders listed, the alcohol in hand sanitizer will break them down. Simply massage a small amount of the solution directly onto your roots. It will go to work right away breaking down the oils and debris, leaving your hair looking and feeling refreshed.

  1. Perfume

Perfume works double-duty as a ‘dry shampoo.’ Again, you don’t have to rinse it out of your hair after using. Spritz a small amount onto your roots where it’s needed most. Again, the high alcohol concentration will help to break down oils and leave your hair smelling fresh.

Use the perfume solution as a dry shampoo sparingly. Alcohol can dry out your hair over time, so it should mostly be considered in emergency situations.

Bonus Tip – Paper Towels

If you’re really in a bind and don’t have any of the ingredients, try using paper towels. While you obviously won’t leave the towels in your hair, think about what they are used for; absorbing liquids and cleaning up messes.

Try to separate your hair to get down to your scalp/the roots. Then, gently blot the paper towel against your skin. It will help to absorb some of the excess oils and will lighten up the feel of your hair, making it appear less greasy. It may not be ideal to wick away debris, but it works in a pinch and can be done and re-done as needed throughout the day without any negative side effects.

good alternative to dry shampoo

How to Apply DIY Dry Shampoo

Whether you’re using an over-the-counter product or a homemade solution, dry shampoo and its alternatives work best when applied correctly. Use the following step-by-step guide to make sure you’re making the most out of your DIY alternatives.

  1. Apply whatever solution you’re using around your hairline. Starting with dirty hair, gently sprinkle your homemade solution directly along the hairline. Don’t get it too close to your face, and don’t go too heavy with whatever solution you’re using.
  2. For best results, separate your hair into sections. It’s not always enough to just sprinkle some type of powder all over your head. You want to make sure to get as much coverage as possible. That requires separating your hair.
  3. Once your hair is parted, take one section at a time, and lift it gently to expose your roots. Try to work with some sort of method for this part. A good rule of thumb is to start with the sections at your natural part, taking up to two inches at a time, and working toward the back of your head. Apply whatever solution you’ve decided to use to your roots underneath each of these sections.
  4. After you’ve got full coverage on all your roots, flip your hair upside down. Use the tips of your fingers to gently and quickly massage your roots. This will evenly distribute your homemade dry shampoo. It will also shake away any excess to avoid clumping. Finally, it will allow powders to move down to the ends of your hair.
  5. Flip your hair back over, and go through it very gently with a soft-bristled brush. You can run your fingers through your hair one more time to style it how you’d like, but try to avoid touching it after that. The more you touch it, the more oils will continue to be deposited from your hands.

This step-by-step method works on just about any of the DIY solutions. It can take a few minutes to apply a dry shampoo alternative, but it’s worth it. Your hair will feel and look better almost immediately. Remember that the excessive use of a dry shampoo can be drying for the scalp.

What Are the Long-Term Solutions for Greasy Hair?

Some people tend to have oilier hair than others. The reasons why can be different for everyone. They range from genetics to lifestyle choices and habits. Even if you have dry hair, though, washing it every day with shampoo can be harmful. The combination of chemicals and preservatives from hair products and the drying effect of hot water can not only cause frizz and brittle hair, but it can do long-term damage to your scalp.

Washing your hair every day also encourages your scalp to produce more natural oils so that it can create a buildup regardless.

So, if you can’t wash your hair every day and you shouldn’t use dry shampoo every day, what can do you? There are several long-term habits and choices you can use to fight back against dirt and oil buildup on your hair and scalp. Take the following tips into consideration to take care of your hair all the time.

  • Don’t play with your hair. It can be tempting to brush the hair away from your face, twirl it around your fingers, etc. Most of the time, you probably don’t even realize it when you’re playing with your hair, but it’s a habit that can cause a lot of grease and oil buildup. Your fingers contain natural oils of their own. They also pick up grease from things like food and other objects you touch on a daily basis. When you touch your hair, you’re transferring those oils to your tresses.
  • When you wash your hair, finish it with a final rinse with cold water. As stated above, hot water can strip your hair of its oils, so your body will compensate by producing more. Cold water won’t provide that same stimulatory action to your scalp so that it won’t produce oil as quickly.
  • Use natural hair care products. Many times, greasy hair comes from a product buildup that is mixed with dirt and sweat. Some hair care products contain chemicals that will just ‘sit’ on the scalp. They don’t allow your follicles to breathe and can cause thinning and hair loss. If you have naturally oily hair, try using products that are made from organic ingredients, such as Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo.
  • Make sure you’re choosing the right diet for hair health. Healthy fats and carbs are necessary, but too much fatty, greasy food will lead to equally-greasy hair. Try to stick with lean proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

DIY dry shampoo options

Dry Shampoo Hacks to Keep In Mind

Now that you know how to make your own dry shampoo substitutes and how to apply them correctly, there are a few more ‘hacks’ you can use to keep your hair looking great.

  • Use dry shampoo at night. Many people choose to use it in the morning as they are getting ready for their day. By applying it at night, it will absorb all the excess sweat and oil from your scalp by the time morning rolls around. You can either apply more as needed or simply brush your hair and finish getting ready for the day.
  • Add some natural scents to your homemade dry shampoo by using a few drops of essential oil (like lavender) or crushed up dried flower petals. You can get creative with your own concoctions and determine what looks best, works best, and smells the best for you.
  • If your dry shampoo substitute leaves clumps or a white residue behind, it’s likely you’re not massaging it well enough into your roots. Be sure to section your hair properly and give it time to absorb oils from your scalp. If you still notice a residue, take your hair dryer and turn it to a warm (not hot) setting. Blow the warm air over your hair for a minute and you’ll notice any white residue quickly disappear.

Will DIY Dry Shampoo Work as Well as Store Bought Products?

The solutions above can be used in place of over-the-counter dry shampoos. Everyone’s hair is different, and yours may react better to a specific home remedy than another. Most of the items listed are designed to absorb oils and dirt from your hair so there isn’t a buildup of debris.

One of the biggest problems with store-bought dry shampoo is that it still contains chemicals. Unfortunately, these chemicals can create an even bigger problem for your hair and scalp. They leave a build up behind. That can lead to limited hair growth, dandruff, or even certain types of fungal infection. At the very least, your scalp may start itching. Scratching at your scalp can lead to bleeding and even more hair loss.

The dry shampoo substitutes utilize mostly natural ingredients or ingredients you can find around your house. They are quick solutions to combating greasy hair on a daily basis. The best thing you can do is find a long-term solution to fight back against excess oil on your hair and scalp. But, when you’re in a pinch, one of the DIY remedies here can offer a lot of help lightening up your hair and leaving it looking fresh.