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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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Rosalie Cassella

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Too many people don’t know that fast hair growth amino scalp therapy shampoos (of course with no sulfates, no parabens, no DEA) even exist. We all now may enjoy longer hair and have more possibilities. For sure worth looking into it.

If you're addressing alopecia, damaged hair, avoiding skin disorders, hair growth, hair care more often than not, very similar ideas apply.

In most cases, you should try to stay away from hair treatments and products that contain chemicals like parabens, DEA and sulfates.

What's good for your hair is good for your skin all the same.

For obvious reasons your content here is spot on for various reasons. It stays away from the usual mistakes and traps so many fall into- buying bad alternatives. Thank you!

Stephanie D. Lewis

Thursday 6th of April 2017

Loved this entire piece! Yay for your grandma! And I'm a raven-haired brunette or should I start saying a Dark Chocolate brunette?!! Lol- gonna try the cocoa!

Anna Jane

Saturday 17th of June 2017

I would love to know what you think of the cocoa!

Amber Harrop

Thursday 25th of August 2016

I never knew you could make your own - I know my daughters sometimes use baby powder !


Wednesday 24th of August 2016

I love your recipes for dry shampoo and I cannot wait to try them!! I also love baby powder! It's always been my best friend! :)

Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Love this! Your hair is lovely for sure. I use talcum powder in mine too! I have very dry hair so I try and be as careful as I can with styling it.

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