DIY Dry Shampoo {with essential oils}

Sugar Scrub with Essential Oils

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Want to know a secret?  I don’t wash my hair every day.  In fact, sometimes I don’t even wash my hair every other day.

It’s true.  Not washing my hair every day saves lots of time, not to mention that it’s much better for my hair and scalp to be spared a daily stripping.

Stripping Oil Produces More Oil

Did you know that stripping hair of its natural oils every day actually causes the scalp to produce more oil?  It might seem counter intuitive at first–that oily hair should be washed less frequently– but when you really think about it it just makes sense.  (The same is true for the face, which I’ll be discussing in greater detail in an upcoming post about my facial cleansing routine.)

Having said that, it’s still true that my second and third day hair tends to look greasy at the roots, especially around the face.  Here’s the fix for that: Dry Shampoo.

My Old Dry Shampoo

I’ve been using dry shampoo for years, but there were two problems:

1.  It was white.  My hair is dark brown.
2.  Commercially produced dry shampoo contains nasty ingredients, as you might imagine.

Obviously, they now make dry shampoo for dark hair, but there was still the problem of the ingredients.  Well, guess what: it’s super-easy to make your own nontoxic dry shampoo!

Here’s how…

DIY Dry Shampoo {with essential oils}


  • 2 TB arrowroot
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 2 TB rice flour
  • 2 TB cocoa powder (for dark hair only)
  • optional: 6-10 drops essential oil (I used lemon.)


  1. Whisk together all dry ingredients.
  2. Add essential oil and stir well.
  3. Store in a glass container.
  4. To use, “paint” shampoo onto your roots using a foundation brush.*
  5. Use your fingers to rub the shampoo into your scalp.
  6. Use a natural bristled brush to lightly brush your hair from roots to ends.
  7. Style hair as usual.
  8. Do something productive with all that time you just saved!

*First, I stored my DIY Dry Shampoo in a recycled spice jar with a shaker top.  That shaker top was sort of a disaster.  The holes were way too big and it made a *bit* of a mess every time I used the shampoo. Finally, I realized that a brush would work much better.  And it did!  I highly recommend using a makeup brush–it allows for a much more precise application of the powder.  I use this one: EcoTools Flat Foundation Brush

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This is my Second Day Hair, after an application of DIY Dry Shampoo.  (Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself in the mirror without showing the camera!?)

This next picture is from our recent trip to the National Zoo in honor of Little Brother’s 4th birthday. We wanted to leave the house as early as possible in order to nab one of the limited parking spots. Therefore, I decided not to wash my hair that morning, even though it meant I’d be sporting Third Day Hair for our big trip (and the inevitable pictures).

As it turned out, the results of my DIY Dry Shampoo were so successful that I decided to institute more three-day stretches between hair washings.

Here’s another shot of Third Day Hair–you’ll notice I did not crop out my baby bump. 🙂  That’s Baby Brother, scheduled to arrive on May 27th–about seven weeks from the date of this photo…

So there you have it!  An easy, nontoxic way to space out your hair washings without looking like a greasy mess.

And by the way, a cute jar of DIY Dry Shampoo paired with a foundation brush would make a fun, inexpensive gift, don’t you think?  Check out this post for more of my favorite DIY gifts: 9 Favorite DIY Recipes for Gift-Giving.

Have you tried dry shampoo?

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Stacy on 04/24/2014 at 11:25 am

    I have been using bentonite clay, works like a charm! Never thought of adding oils to it though, going to have to try it! Thanks

  2. Jen Anderson on 04/24/2014 at 12:01 pm

    Great recipe! I’ve only used dry shampoo a handful of times with very little success. I have really fine/thin hair. I’ll definitely have to give this a try once I pick up the rice and arrowroot powders. 🙂 Arrowroot has been on my shopping list for quite some time, but this might push me to actually get it.

    • Kathleen on 04/25/2014 at 11:19 am

      Jen–Let me know if you try it! 🙂

    • Kathleen on 04/25/2014 at 11:20 am

      Great idea to use the clay. 🙂

  3. Josie Gregg on 03/24/2015 at 3:17 am

    I just found your website, and I love it so far! So many great tips that I want to try. I have a very similar hair color as yours and exactly the same issues with the dry shampoo. I wanted to try and mix a version with what I already have on hand. I have the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and some oils. Is there a specific functional reason to chose the lemon oil or is it just for scent? I have a bunch of oils that I’ve used in making sachets, body perfume, and lotions. Have you tried it without the arrowroot and wheat flour and just the cocoa powder and cornstarch? Thanks so much for your advice and sharing your experience!

  4. Erika S. on 04/14/2015 at 8:18 pm

    I stumbled, (literally, I fell into the computer!), and was looking at home recipes/remedies,and I LOVE THIS SITE! I have always been into the “Natural” side of things and have even tried my hand at making Rose Oil. This is SOOOOOOO much EASIER! Thank you! Do you also have “Giveaways” and things?

  5. kathy kennedy on 11/12/2015 at 12:32 am

    Hi Kathleen,

    I’ve been using your recipe for a while now, and was just sending it to a friend. I wash my hair every 3-5 days so it comes in handy. I stopped using shampoo over a year ago after I read the history of shampoo – a fairly modern invention – and that it’s not good for your hair. I use a honey and water mixture now. I went through an ugly hair period for a couple of months but it was worth it!

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