My 20 Year Love Affair with Dry Shampoo


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Let me start by saying, I have never been a trendsetter. However, dry shampoo is all the rage right now and I have been doing it for 20 years! I guess you could say that I am a dry shampoo hipster – I loved it way before anyone else knew about it.

In case you have any other questions about my qualifications to write this article, I would like to refer you to the Edmond Memorial High School Year Book, circa 1999. There you will find my picture with the caption “Best Hair.” That’s right, my friends, while others got “Most Likely to Succeed” or “Most Likely to Become a Rocket Scientist,” I got “Best Hair.” Take that, everyone else!

I do have good hair though, and I firmly believe that is, in part, due to the fact that I use dry shampoo instead of washing my hair every day. Dry shampoo allows my natural oils to stay in my hair while not looking greasy.  It also reduces wear and tear from drying and styling.

Let me set the stage for this love affair: I was a greasy-haired 14 year old, at my friend April’s house, reading one of her mom’s magazines, and there it was — an article about putting baby powder in your hair. It claimed to soak up oil so you don’t have to wash it every day. I was elated! It turns out that my grandma used dry shampoo starting in the 40’s to stretch out how often she had to go to the salon. It was called “minipoo,” short for “mini shampoo.” (I remember the name because it had the word “poo” in it…I was 14, haha, let me be immature!) So, I guess my grandma was the real hipster. When I decided to write this article I went to the Googles and looked for a history of dry shampoo. It turns out that people as far back as the 15th century used powdered clay on their hair and in their wigs. It started in Asia, so some Asian person is the lucky hipster.  Sorry Grandma. (I also found information about Minipoo, here.)  It has a picture of the container and other info. But enough about the past, let’s talk about the here and now! Dry shampoo is the thing to do so let’s get started!

Up until recently I have used baby powder. Plus side: It is cheap, easily accessible and they have travel-sized containers. Down side: It smells like baby powder, which gets old after a while. When dry shampoos were making a comeback a few years ago, I started trying the spray stuff; Suave’s dry shampoo was my main go-to when I didn’t use baby powder. Plus side: smells better than baby powder. Downside: costs more and you run out sooner. With this in mind, I delved into the world of DIY and here is what I found…

For a good powder-based dry shampoo here is what you will need:
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oil of your choice
  • Cocoa powder (if you have dark hair)

Dry Shampoo ingredients needed

Combine equal amounts of everything but the oils. I would start with 2 Tbsp of each powder to see if you like it. Then add about 10 drops of oil.  Whisk it and store it in some kind of container.

DIY Dry Shampoo whisking ingredients

Here are my before and after pics. I only applied it to the front of my hair. To apply, I stuck my fingers in the powder and then rubbed it on my scalp like I would if I was shampooing it. Ideally you would put it in some kind of salt shaker or something and shake it on. You can also use a large make-up brush and dab it on. Either way, you will want to rub it in with your fingers and then brush it out (though I didn’t brush it out in these pics).  Added bonus, the rubbing and the powder gives you extra volume!

dry shampoo before photo

Dry Shampoo after

Ta-da! I smell like an English garden.

For a good spray dry shampoo you will need:
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Corn Starch
  • Water
  • Alcohol based perfume or body spray

Dry Shampoo spray ingredients

Combine 1 Tbsp of Alcohol, 1 Tbsp of corn starch, 4 Tbsp of water, and 1 Tbsp of body spray (if you use actual perfume, add several sprays or drops of it until you like the scent).  You don’t want it to be too overpowering.  Don’t worry, the alcohol smell goes away.  Shake it until it is mixed and spray on your roots.

dry shampoo prep for spray

It will feel wet, so let it air dry while you put on your make-up or whatever. OR if you are like me and don’t want to wait, just blow dry it for 30 seconds or so. Again, rub it in like you would if you were shampooing your hair. Make sure and shake it before each use as the contents will settle after sitting for a while.

Here are my before and after pics.  It must be said that these pics were taken after 3 days of not washing my hair. If you use the dry shampoo on day 2, it will work much better and you can touch up on day 3, if necessary. In the winter, if I pull it up, I can sometimes make it to day 4, though I am a professional so don’t be too ambitious. ;)

Dry Shampoo spray before photo


Dry Shampoo 'spray after use photo

Glorious! Well, passable, and it doesn’t smell like ew.

In summary, Dry Shampoo is where it is at and I would encourage everyone to try it! I like all three of these methods of soaking up the oils on my scalp, however, baby powder will remain my first love as it works so well and is just so convenient.

Dry Shampoo Baby Powder favorite

Originally posted August 26, 2015

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Anna Jane

Anna Jane

Anna Jane Perrey is a lover of many things. She is passionate about travel, food, various forms of entertainment and cheeseburgers. She is married to a nerd (the cool kind) and has a gorgeous 5-year-old named George. Her life goal is to have hair like Tami Taylor. She works part-time as an online facilitator for ACU's Conflict Resolution program and full-time as a mother, preacher's wife, and schnoodle owner. She resides in Cordell, OK where the closest Target is 1.5 hours away. To make up for this tragedy she uses Amazon Prime...a lot.
Anna Jane

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  1. I have yet to venture into the world of dry shampoo. I have curly hair, and can go several days without washing, but it would be fun to try something new! Do you have any curly-headed friends who have tried this, with success?

    • My sister-in-law has super curly hair but mainly used the dry for when she straightens it. She says she just puts it in a bun when it’s curly, haha. I would recommend going with the spray and then drying it with a diffuser. Once dry, I would rub any white spots you see with your fingers and keep it really close to the base of your head so that you wont be messing with the main curls.

  2. Hi Anna Jane! I just recently heard about dry shampoo (where have I been, I know!). So I haven’t gotten around to buying any and I’m so glad because I want to try your recipe. What I’d like to know is 1) do you like the dry or wet formula the best? and 2) Where do you find Arrow root powder? & 3) if you use cocoa wouldn’t you smell like chocolate all day or drip brown if caught in the rain? Thanks! ~andrea

    • Hi Andrea! Dry is my go-to. However, one thing I like about the wet is that you can make the scent stronger and it is much more versatile in that area than the powder. There are only so many essential oils that would smell hair appropriate, in my opinion. I would check for arrowroot powder with the fancy/gluten free flours and stuff. You can definitely find it at a Natural Grocers, Sprouts, or any of those fancy stores. But also, you can make it without the arrowroot. It just might take a bit more application, depending on how greasy your hair is. The arrowroot does bring an extra something to the mix, though. Good luck!

      • Oh, I forgot to answer about the cocoa powder. There might be a faint cocoa odor but it will not be strong because of the other ingredients. I also, don’t *think* it will run brown if it gets wet. Chances are you won’t use enough for that to be a problem though I have lighter hair so cannot say for sure as I don’t add the cocoa to mine.

  3. I remember the baby powder from a certain summer we spent together riding around in a van and singing with smelly boys! You are a pioneer!

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