Dry Shampoo recipe
Homemade Waterless Shampoo

I won’t easily forget my first dry shampoo recipe or homemade waterless shampoo, whatever you would like to call it.  Picture this: Summer of 199Something, backpacking through Europe. Almost at the end of my trip my shampoo is finished, as is my money (well almost, but I chose bread over shampoo… am I weird now?) I’m wearing a baseball cap most of the time to hide my hair and bumming shampoo from fellow travelers whenever I can 

At some point it must have been so bad that the landlady of the small French hostel I’m staying in, grabs me by the arm and drags me into her small kitchen. In her most motherly voice she tries to explain about personal hygiene (I assume; was too embarrassed to really pay attention) and finally that you can clean your hair with THIS...she pushes a glass jar in my hands filled with an undefined powder. ‘Put it in your hair, massage it in for a few minutes and brush it out.’ I don’t know how fast I got out of that kitchen, but it was at world record pace

In my room I applied her dry shampoo as instructed, brushed it out and was completely blown away. My hair looked clean and washed, without a drop of water and without shampoo!

 Needless to say I thanked her from the bottom of my heart and asked her what was in that jar. The dry shampoo recipe she gave me, I cherish it to this day. It is the first one on the recipe list below and it’s still my all time favorite


Now you are here looking for a homemade waterless shampoo recipe and I’m all too glad to share some of the easiest and fun ones with you (not that I’m saying you need it like I did… ;-)

We have the recipe you bring the energy 

…and the ingredients plus some kitchen utensils please

What is a dry or waterless shampoo?

The name dry or waterless shampoo is basically self-explanatory. It is a shampoo for which you don’t need water to rinse it out but still cleans and treats your hair. Most of these dry shampoos are in powdered form with the odd exception. And you know what, they are getting more popular by the day, everyone and their cousin’s best friend’s neighbor’s goldfish seem to be talking about it and trying it out…well just like you and me I guess

What are the benefits of a homemade waterless or dry shampoo for my hair?

You’ve been there, sometimes there’s simply no time or you absolutely don’t feel like washing your hair right now…but you need to…well that’s when dry shampoos work their magic

Of course these waterless shampoo recipes are easy to make and use, you’ll find that out in a minute. You only need a few ingredients and you’re off to the races. But more importantly, I think, is that people are slowly getting fed up with all kinds of bogus claims about the miracles of some of these commercial hair care products. Besides that they totally strip your hair of its natural oils with invasive ingredients after which you have to put some of their other miracle products back into it to restore the natural balance…(?) anybody paying attention here? Hey, Hello…So don’t disturb the natural balance…duh!

Not to speak of that moment you’re in the hair care isle and notice the prices. To be honest, that is more money than I am willing to spend on something that you can easily make yourself…for a fraction of that price

...yes, yes, very nice, but what do they actually do?

But what do these homemade dry shampoos actually do? Most of them are (a combination of) dry products that absorb excess oil or sebum from your scalp and hair, and clear it from grease and dirt. So called wet-dry shampoos work basically the same way, but mix the oil and dirt absorbing ingredients with an easily evaporating liquid like rubbing alcohol or vodka. In some cases you can use witch hazel, which is also an excellent natural hair cleanser and helps against psoriasis, eczema and dandruff

Most important however is that the ingredients you are going to use show much more respect for the natural environment of your hair and scalp than most commercial shampoos

And finally, hair that is “washed” with a dry shampoo is clean, but because it kept the natural balance, it is easier to manipulate when you style it than after washing it with a regular shampoo

Natural hair recipes
Choose your Dry Shampoo recipe

I really treasure my dry shampoo recipes, they're so powerful, convenient, simple and...let's say the C word...Cheap...there I said it. These can be the beginning of your homemade or dry shampoo journey, or the very end of a looooong search for that one shampoo recipe that works for you. You'll find out in a moment

A few things before we start 

Before we dive into the very dry world of waterless shampoos I have some tips to keep you afloat (how’s that for dry wordplay…and again… ;-)

Most of the recipes consist of dry powdered ingredients, so when you brush it out, it WILL make a bit of a mess. So for most of us the shower/ bathroom is the best place to dry wash our hair

Because of the same reason, don’t wear the clothes you’re going to wear that day. Put on an old shirt if anything or if no option, cover your clothes with a towel

These dry powder-based shampoos can be stored for a long time in a jar, container or sealable bag. When you use perishable ingredients like egg whites storage is not an option  

You can apply the shampoo powder with an old powdered sugar shaker/ dispenser or something alike. I heard of someone using a refillable make up brush to apply the powder to the hair…smart

Transition period

Be aware that your hair might need a transition period ranging from instantaneously to 8 weeks (not for sure.) It all depends on the recipe, the state of your hair, your previous shampoo etc. In this period your hair needs to find its new natural balance after all these years of chemical and harsh products. Make sure you monitor your progress and take appropriate action when needed


Having said all that…It's now official home spa pampering time! Gather the ingredients, invite some friends over, turn off your phone, turn on your favorite music, pour that drink you love, shift your mind to the good things in life, put on a smile and most importantly:

Think positive, happy thoughts and relax...

this is actually half the secret of these recipes!

Enjoy and have FUN!

Homemade shampoo recipe

Oatmeal, Baking soda & Lavender dry shampoo recipe

First on my list because it is hands down my all time favorite homemade waterless shampoo recipe. The reasons, it is so incredibly powerful, simple to make and the story about how I came about it (see intro above)

What do you need:

  • ¼ cup Oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Lavender (or fragrant herb of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda


How to do it: 

Crush the lavender in a mortar and add the other ingredients. Grind everything together and there you go, dry shampoo ready (you can also use a coffee grinder) 

Use enough to sprinkle it on your hair so it covers all of it. Massage it for about 5 minutes into your hair and scalp

Brush it out thoroughly…DONE without one drop of water!!

Homemade shampoo recipe

Basic Cornstarch dry shampoo recipe

The most basic homemade waterless shampoo is of course to use just 1 ingredient. In this case that would be cornstarch. Cornstarch absorbs the oil and dirt from you hair


What do you need:

  • ½ cup Cornstarch


How to do it:

Simply take a bit of cornstarch and massage it into the scalp and roots of your hair, then work your way through the rest of it. Leave it for a minute or two to absorb the oil and dirt, and then brush it out. It doesn’t get simpler than this. Always good to use as regular quick freshen-upper, in hair “emergencies”, or when you’re outdoors and there’s no water to wash with liquid shampoos


Tip: If you think it’s a bit too dull and bland, you can always add a few drops of your favorite fragrance oil to make it a nice fragrant waterless shampoo

Homemade shampoo recipe

Basic Arrowroot dry shampoo recipe

Plain Arrowroot is a very suitable waterless shampoo for oily hair. This white powder has more or less the same cleaning and absorbing properties as cornmeal

What do you need:

  • Arrowroot (powder)


How to do it:

Massage it into your scalp and hair and let it absorb for a few minutes. Then brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Dry shampoo recipe for Light hair

This homemade waterless shampoo is for the fair-haired boys and girls among us

Arrowroot is a very suitable dry shampoo ingredient for blonde hair

What do you need:

  • 4 tablespoons Arrowroot
  • 5 drops of Chamomile essential oil (or fragrance of your choice)


How to do it:

Gently mix the arrowroot with the chamomile essential oil drops…Done!

Apply to the oily parts of your hair, mostly the roots, brush or comb through and style as usual 

Store in a sealable container

Homemade shampoo recipe

Dry shampoo recipe for Dark hair

A dream of a homemade waterless shampoo! 

Unsweetened cocoa powder works like a miracle on oily dark hair


What do you need:

  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa powder (pure, no additions)
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 5 drops Vanilla essential oil (or any fragrant oil of choice)


How to do it:

Mix the Cocoa powder with the Cornstarch. Then gently mix in the lavender essential oil drops

Apply to the oily parts of your hair, mostly the roots, brush or comb through and style as usual

Store in a sealable container

Homemade shampoo recipe

Dry shampoo recipe for Red hair

A waterless shampoo for red hair? I looked around and found that you can use cocoa powder however that could show up too dark. So someone suggested a mix of arrowroot and finely powdered beet root or hibiscus


What do you need:

  • Arrowroot
  • Beetroot (powdered) or
  • Hibiscus


How to do it:

Use the arrowroot as a base and add the beetroot or hibiscus until you have the color that might fit the shade of your hair 

Distribute through the hair and massage into the scalp

Let it sit for a few minutes and brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Straight up Cocoa powder dry shampoo recipe

The dressed down version of the dry shampoo recipe above is as simple as it sounds delicious! Unsweetened cocoa powder works like a miracle on oily brown and dark hair. I’ve heard it even held up during sweaty fitness and power yoga classes, making people smell slightly like chocolate fudge brownies…or that’s just my imagination? ;-)


What do you need:

  • Cocoa powder (pure, no additions)


How to do it:

Simply apply the cocoa powder on your scalp and hair let it do its work and brush it out after a few minutes

Homemade shampoo recipe

Egg white dry shampoo recipe

If you’re looking for something else than a powdered waterless shampoo you might want to try this egg white dry shampoo. Egg white is good to treat oily hair. It makes it look soft, light and clean. You could see it as a natural shampoo conditioner. It is slightly easier to control than powdered shampoos when applied to your hair, but then again it takes a bit more preparation


What do you need:

  • 1 big organic Egg

How to do it:

Separate the egg white from the yolk and whisk the egg white until you get a stiff foam (a meringue.) It has the right consistency when the foam doesn’t drop back when you pull out the whisk and it stands up like a peak

Now massage the foam/ meringue into your hair and wait until it has totally dried out. (You might want to use a towel over your shoulders)

Then simply brush out the dried egg white and you’re done

Homemade shampoo recipe

Spray on dry shampoo recipe

Okay, technically this is not a dry shampoo because we have to use some warm water to make this shampoo sprayable. But the main idea is that you don’t need water in the traditional way for rinsing etc. So let’s compromise and call it a wet-dry shampoo (hmmm sometimes compromises look silly ;-)

It’s a good wet-dry shampoo against oily hair


What do you need:


  • 1 cup Water
  • 4 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons vodka
  • 4 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil (or any fragrant oil of your choice)


How to do it:

Boil the water and let it cool down until it is comfortably warm. Pour this together with all other ingredients in a clean spray bottle and shake well until everything is mixed properly. Spray into your hair but focus on your roots and the oily parts

Once it is dry you can style it as you are used to


Tip: If you’re afraid the vodka will make you smell like a closet alcoholic you can replace it with rubbing alcohol (still rather smelly) or witch hazel

Homemade shampoo recipe

Salt & Cornmeal dry shampoo recipe

Again a waterless oil and dirt remover


What do you need:

  • 1 tablespoon Table Salt
  • 8 tablespoons Cornmeal


How to do it:

The salt and cornmeal granules should be the same size so if your salt is too course, grind it down until you have as fine a consistency as the cornmeal 

Now blend the salt and cornmeal until it is evenly mixed

Apply it to your hair and focus on the oily parts. Let it sit for a few minutes and then brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Orris root dry shampoo recipe

Orris root is actually the aged root of certain Irises. It smells a bit flowery like violets and is used as a fixative ingredient in perfumes and potpourris. In natural hair care recipes, Orris root is also used as a powerful grease and dirt remover. So this will make a fragrant waterless shampoo


What do you need:

  • Orris root powder


How to do it:

Distribute the powder through your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes and brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Orris root, Cornmeal & Almond dry shampoo recipe

As I explained, Orris root is the root certain Irises and smells a bit like violets. In natural hair care recipes, it is also used as a powerful grease and dirt remover

If you combine this with the power of finely ground almonds and cornmeal you got yourself a pretty hefty waterless shampoo against very oily hair


What do you need:

  • 1 tablespoon Orris root
  • 1 tablespoon Cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground Almonds


How to do it:

Blend the Orris root, Cornmeal and ground Almonds until it is evenly mixed

Massage it into your scalp; work it in the roots and all through your hair

Let it sit for a few minutes and then brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Powdered Clay dry shampoo recipe

Dry clay cleans your hair and removes excess sebum or oil. White clay, Green clay and especially Bentonite and Rhassoul seem to work very well. These are high in Silica and iron, which can work wonders on lackluster hair especially as a hair mask on curly afro hair. But for now we’ll focus on the use of dry clay as a waterless shampoo


What do you need:

  • Clay of your choice


How to do it:

Distribute the dry clay through your hair and work it into your roots

Let it sit for a few minutes and brush it out


Tip: We heard that this could turn your hair dry especially the ends so carefully experiment and see what works for you

Homemade shampoo recipe

Baby Powder dry shampoo recipe

Probably the most common and widely used waterless shampoo. Baby powder absorbs like nothing else. It is more suitable for lighter hair and might leave your hair looking a bit matt and dull. When not brushed out properly it could leave dandruff like clumps (but that’s the same with all other dry ingredients) But it is an excellent and quick in between solution


What do you need:

  • Baby powder


How to do it:

You probably know the drill by now, pour it over your hair, massage it into your roots and distribute evenly through your hair

Let it sit for a few minutes and then brush it out


Tip: You can mix it with baking soda for easier application

Homemade shampoo recipe

Almond meal & Baking soda dry shampoo recipe

Yet another combination that is easy to make and quick to use

What do you need:

  • 1 cup Almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon Baking soda
  • 5 drops Peppermint essential oil (or fragrant oil of your choice)


How to do it:

Mix the almond meal and baking soda evenly, then add the peppermint essential oil

Use as much as you need and store the rest in an airtight container 

Distribute through your hair and massage into your scalp

Let it rest for a few minutes and brush it out

Homemade shampoo recipe

Cheesecloth dry shampoo recipe

Technically not a shampoo but I heard of people using it as a “band aid” meaning it is a quick way to make you hair look less dirty, greasy/ oily. No need for kitchen ingredients just a brush and cheesecloth. I have never tried it myself, but then again I don’t have oily hair…hmmm hubby has though…


What do you need:

  • 1 piece of Cheesecloth
  • a wide Brush (preferably with natural bristles)

How to do it:


Wrap the cheesecloth around the brush and brush your hair with it. The cheesecloth will absorb the oil and remove dirt

Love it now!!

...thank me later ;-)

Some words of caution 

Before you use any ingredient from these natural hair care recipes, make sure you know what the effect is on your skin, hair and health in general; especially if you have sensitive skin, are pregnant, or have a medical condition. Also take special care in determining the right dosage 

Because you can never be too careful, always do a patch test on a small piece of skin (e.g. behind the ear) to see how you and your skin react to separate ingredients

Also beware that essential oils are powerful; make sure you know what you use, its effects and how much you use

Looking for more natural hair recipes?

Why stop at these dry shampoo recipes? We have many, many more specific natural shampoo recipes, conditioners, rinses, hair styling products, dyes, hair treatments and remedies. Take a look at our natural hair care page below. It will lead you into a whole new world of homemade natural hair care that will take your natural hair care regimen to another level and make your home spa days even sweeter

Delve deeper into our:

Natural hair care recipes

Or find here recipes for a specific shampoo or conditioner

Sweeter Home Spa Day?

If you're a real natural gal (or guy) and you want your home spa day to be even more of a treat, you might also read our other natural beauty pages and find some incredible recipes

...and always remember you're already gifted with the

most effective natural solution available:

Natural home remedies with a genuine smile

And in case that doesn't help, you can find one here at

Go from dry shampoo recipe to our natural hair care page

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Ladies & Gentlemen, choose your hair care recipe and treat your hair the natural way it deserves

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