Design by Lauren Park

When you don’t have much time or you just can’t be bothered, washing your hair can be a real chore. So it’s no surprise that dry shampoo has become a savior for many.

But recently, there’s been backlash against the product. Claims that formulas could be damaging hair are building up, leading some to venture into DIY territory.

Commercial dry shampoos often contain a bunch of chemicals, including propane and isobutane. Alcohols, some of which can be drying, also tend to be included to soak up any oily or greasy patches.

With frequent use, commercial dry shampoos may leave your hair dry and more prone to breakage.

Making your own dry shampoo can help to avoid some of these issues. An added bonus? It’s super inexpensive.

Making your own dry shampoo is pretty simple. It includes one main ingredient: powder. This is used to remove oil.

You can choose from any of the following powders:

  • arrowroot powder
  • corn starch
  • rye flour

Take 2 tablespoons of your chosen powder and mix it with a spoon until it’s smooth. And there you have it — your very own dry shampoo.

These powders will work for any type of hair, but they might give darker hair an ashy appearance.

If your hair is on the darker side, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mix. Its magnesium content may combat hair growth, but there isn’t much evidence to back this up.

Those with jet-black hair can use charcoal as an alternative. Renowned for its oil-absorbing qualities, charcoal can also give hair a deep clean and prevent dandruff from building up, according to research.

When it comes to charcoal, you may need to experiment with the amount. It only takes a small amount to alter the color, so play around until the dry shampoo formula matches your hair.

If you want to stick to the basic recipe, apply it the night before to banish the gray look. Too much of an effort? Give the dry shampoo at least two hours to absorb and you should be good to go.

What about natural hair?

Natural hair loves moisture, which is hard to find in dry shampoo. You can fix this by only using 1 tablespoon of powder and adding about 4 tablespoons of water. Pour the entire mixture into a spray bottle for easy use.

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Light-haired folks don’t need to make any adjustments to the basic recipe. However, you may want to opt for arrowroot powder as your absorbing ingredient — it’s finer than the other options.

Redheads can simply add cinnamon to their chosen powder. Not only does it prevent an ashy look, it may even help with hair health and growth, according to a recent animal study.

The exact amount of cinnamon depends on your hair color, so try a 1/2 tablespoon at a time until you find your match. If it’s still not quite right, try combining cinnamon and cocoa powder together with the base.

Before using the dry shampoo on your hair, do a patch test. Apply a small amount of the mixture to spot on your inner arm and leave for 24 hours.

If your skin looks fine after 24 hours, carry on. If not, it’s best to throw your DIY work away or give it to someone else to try.

Applying dry shampoo

Once you’ve determined you aren’t allergic to your creation, follow these steps to put it to use:

  • Find your application device. You can use your fingertips, a large makeup brush, or, if you’re feeling fancy, a cocoa shaker.
  • Gently dust the dry shampoo onto your scalp. Remember not to apply too much. If you really want to hide any evidence of the product, brush it underneath the layers of your hair.
  • Massage it into your roots. This will evenly distribute the mixture and help the ingredients absorb into hair strands.
  • Brush or comb the powder through your hair. This is a particularly useful step if you’ve accidentally applied too much.
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Homemade dry shampoo may be better for your hair than a store-bought version, but it’s probably best not to use your DIY mixture every single day.

Instead, only use it when you have to. If you start treating it like a replacement for regular shampoo, the ingredients may eventually build up in individual hair strands and clog pores on your scalp.

It goes without saying that you’ll still need to wash your hair in the same way as before, mainly because dry shampoo doesn’t sufficiently clean the scalp, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Making your own dry shampoo is easier than it sounds. Plus, it could be a healthier — and less costly — alternative to commercial products that contain chemicals.

But try not to rely on it too much. Think of it as a temporary help, not a permanent solution.