Dry Shampoo: Breaking Down the Basics

Liana Werner-Gray

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

The “No Poo” movement has taken the natural beauty world by storm. These days, adults seem to talk about “poo” even more than toddlers! It might sound intimidating to go commando where shampoo is concerned, but major perks come to those who skip the lathering, rinsing and repeating. Using less shampoo or switching to a dry alternative helps your hair retain its own natural oils, keeping it silky and shiny. It also saves you time, money and energy.

Dry Shampoo: Breaking Down the Basics

With so many potentially harmful chemical ingredients in conventional shampoo products, you’ll be happy to know dry shampoo can be made with safe, natural products you’re likely to have in your own kitchen. Just splash in a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and you’ll have a powder shampoo that smells as lovely as any kind you got off a shelf.

Still not sure pantry staples can keep your lovely locks clean? Don’t fret! Here’s a breakdown of common ingredients:

  • Arrowroot flour: Found in rain forests, arrowroot is a large perennial herb.
  • TigerNut flour: Not a nut, but actually a root vegetable and superfood, tigernuts are a good source of potassium and iron. They are also high in fiber, giving your hair a great lift.
  • Brown rice flour: Ground up brown rice is high in protein.
  • Oat flour: Rich in dietary fiber, oat flour is great for the hair and gives it a nice build.
  • Tapioca flour: Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root. It adds a nice thickness to the hair.
  • Potato starch: Containing vitamin C, potato starch is great for healthy hair.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda cleans the hair and absorbs odors and dirt.
  • Bentonite clay: Also called fuller’s earth or montmorillonite, bentonite clay absorbs debris and build-up from the hair.
  • Cacao powder: Cacao is high in antioxidants and magnesium. It makes an excellent addition to dry shampoo recipes for brunettes.
  • Cinnamon: A beautiful spice obtained from the inner bark of trees, cinnamon is used to make red hair dry shampoo.
  • Activated charcoal: It is used to make dry shampoo for black hair. Activated charcoal is a safe-for-consumption type of charcoal that has been specially treated with oxygen, resulting in a fine powder. Besides being used as a supplement, activated charcoal is often used in the same way as baking soda to absorb unwanted odors. It is also used for gray and black hair.
  • Essential oils: These oils are a natural and safe way to scent many things, including dry shampoo. Recommended oils include lime, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, lemon, rose and tea tree.

So, you’ve rummaged through your kitchen and bathroom and found your perfect dry shampoo ingredients. Now what?

Basic Dry Shampoo Recipe


4 Tbsp. powder of your choice
6 drops essential oils


  1. In an airtight container or jar, mix powder and essential oils with a spoon or shake until fully incorporated.
  2. Massage dry shampoo into scalp using your fingers or a wide brush.