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It’s quarantine (still), and showers are sometimes tough. Especially if you’re struggling with mental illness or a lack of motivation, just thinking about taking a shower can be draining. Even if you get in and wash your body, then you may feel obligated to wash your hair since you’re already in the shower. If you have dense, long, curly hair like me, it’s a massive chore. So, over the last few years, I’ve tried out a bunch of different kinds of dry shampoo.

Here’s what I found:

  • Sprays: My hair ended up with a white powdery coating on it and was still greasy, but they’re a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-find product.
  • Foams: The dispensers often failed before I got even halfway through the container, and they’re really expensive! They work acceptably, but for the price and issues with packaging, I felt there was a better substitute.
  • Powders: Not only are they hard to find, but they can also be very expensive! They do tend to work well, but aren’t always in easy-to-use packaging.

What makes dry shampoo effective is usually one of two things: something to absorb the oil or something to break apart the oil. These items are usually ingredients like starch or alcohol. So, with that in mind, I started experimenting.

Here’s what you’ll need to make a simple but effective dry shampoo:

  • An empty spice container with the sprinkle top/lid (If you don’t have a container like this, plastic wrap or wax paper with holes poked in it also works. Just secure it to the top of your container with a rubber band. You could also punch holes in the top of a mason jar lid!)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

Making it is very simple! Just mix all of the ingredients in the spice container! 

To apply it, just sprinkle some along the part of your hair, especially super oily areas. Rub it in to get rid of the “powderiness.” Style as usual and go about your day!

Let’s look at how the ingredients function:

  • Corn starch: absorbs oil and creates dryness
  • Baking soda: absorbs and neutralizes oil
  • Cocoa powder: adds cocoa oil for moisturizing and makes the powder a more natural color to blend in more seamlessly

You can definitely substitute the cocoa powder with other ingredients to better suit your hair color. For darker hair, you can either add more cocoa powder or introduce a bit of charcoal powder (but just use a tiny amount). For red hair, cinnamon works well. For lighter hair, you may not even want the cocoa powder. Experiment to find the best color for you!

Any time your hair gets too greasy, just apply some of your own dry shampoo! 


Annika G.R. Bunney is an interdisciplinary creator focusing on traditional writing, nature-based creations, and assorted textual pieces. She is a second-year in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her ever-evolving work draws on classic literature, folklore, and mass media. When not working on academics, she can be found taking care of her many cats and playing with her rescue dog. She also loves wandering in the outdoors, curling up with a good book, or playing video games.
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