The Best Dry Shampoo For Brown Hair Is This DIY Recipe

If you're sick of hair powders looking too obvious on your dark hair, this cocoa and arrowroot combo will pretty much change your life.
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If you're sick of hair powders looking too obvious on your dark hair, this cocoa and arrowroot combo will pretty much change your life.

It’s not a secret that I can’t shower or wash my hair nearly as much as I’d like. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my hair goes limp faster; it seems to go from fresh to manky with one misplaced roll in a mosh pit. Dry shampoo has been a saviour, even during the dry winter months--I probably use it twice a week.

These are sad, greasy times

These are sad, greasy times

But I’m stuck on a few things:

●Smells like teenage girls (sorry girls, you just all smell very sweet)

●Weird additives I don’t want to put on my precious hair or scalp

●Doesn’t last

I’ve tried a few brands, and--don’t get me wrong--they are life-savers, but I haven’t found one for use with darker hair that I actually liked. 

Darker powders leached out if I was dancing and sweaty, which looks like a weird Bodysnatchers-type problem. I like smelling like glittery pineapple-y throw-up never. Most of all, most dry shampoos I’ve tried don’t have a very lasting effect. I like Suave's and Bumble and bumble's, but any moisture in the mix and they both fall flat. 

But I have a DIY hair powder recipe that's more portable and more effective than an aerosol dry shampoo.

You will need:

●Arrowroot powder


A bowl might be helpful…

A bowl might be helpful…

I’ve seen a lot of recipes for dry shampoo that use cornstarch, but let me convince you right now that you don’t want to put that on your scalp. Cornstarch has close to 10 times the carbohydrates than arrowroot powder, and while I get you’re not eating it, someone might be. Or something, rather: Malassezia furfur to be exact. Totally a real thing--it’s a fungus, and one of the leading causes of dandruff. 

There’s no hard evidence that the fungus is feasting on dry shampoo, but even if it isn’t, several types of yeasts or bacteria that naturally occur on your skin might be, so it’s best to avoid giving them easily digestible, nay nutrient-packed cornstarch. Arrowroot powder is easy to come by in any health food store or even supermarket baking section.

When choosing cocoa, I chose Dutched; it’s processed with alkaline, and it dries the cocoa significantly. You want this, as the whole point of dry shampoo is that it will soak up extra oils on your head. Downside: some Dutched cocoa is really red in tone. I don’t mind this, and I don’t think it shows up on my hair, but Hershey’s does a good non-Dutched cocoa that’s more neutral colour.

Using a whisk, combine two parts arrowroot powder to one part cocoa. This blend works well with my hair colour, but you can darken it by adding a teaspoon of cocoa to approximate your hair colour. Remember, it doesn’t have to match perfectly, but just be less noticeable.

And you’re done! I store mine in an old mineral makeup jar; it makes it portable, and easy to use with or without a brush.

Such a big difference in texture!

Such a big difference in texture!


Don’t wait until your hair is super-greasy to apply dry shampoo. It doesn’t work as well, and it certainly doesn’t last. Around day three, when you begin to notice some limp activity, dust up.

For the love of all that is holy and good in the world, don’t put this directly on your scalp. The heinous buildup from dry shampoo can be tough to get rid of, especially if you’re on a delicate cleansing routine. Dust it on using a blush or powder brush at least half an inch from your scalp. It helps to part and dust it section by section.

Brush it out. Unless you want the ditch-wizard texture of dusty, matte hair, brush it out. 

If you’re styling a beehive or a serious bouffant, then it’s helpful for keeping backcombing rocking all night long. If you’re in a pinch, you can shake some on in a bathroom, just fluffing and finger-combing will help you look like less like Louis XIV.

It’s just about the easiest, most useful DIY product I’ve made to date. I’ve got a ginger friend that uses cinnamon instead of cocoa, but I haven’t tried it. I would like to smell like a snickerdoodle, so I might...