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DIY Dry Shampoo Spray (Micellar Formula)

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Refresh your hair between washes with this natural DIY dry shampoo spray. This unique micellar recipe contains micelles to absorb excess oil on your hair and scalp. It’s effective for oily hair, and its quick-drying formula means it won’t ruin your hairstyle. Whether you have brunette, red, or dark hair, this homemade dry shampoo recipe includes options for all hair colours. You can also add essential oils to fragrance, boost circulation and promote hair growth.

DIY dry shampoo spray

I likely don’t have to tell you how damaging it is wash your hair every day. For many people, especially those with colour-treated hair, shampooing too often can lead to dryness, brittle hair, and breakage.

For these reasons, dry shampoo is one of those products I can’t live without.

I had been making my own homemade dry shampoo powder for years before I created this recipe. It worked, but it still didn’t quite compare to the oil-busting aerosol sprays I used as a teenager. Unfortunately, the downside of powder is that it’s hard to apply, it gets on your clothing, and it can leave hair feeling stiff.

While I missed the convenience of store-bought dry shampoo sprays, one look at any drugstore product’s label was enough to remind me why I switched to natural products in the first place. Yes, aerosol sprays work – but not without damaging our health and our environment.

I was eager to come up with a homemade dry shampoo that could compare to aerosol products. And after thoroughly testing this recipe, I can confidently say that it does.

This natural DIY dry shampoo spray contains all of the elements that make drugstore brands work so well, but without any of the toxic additives. It uses a unique and potent ingredient to absorb excess oil – micellar water.

Yes, you really can use micellar water on your hair. Let me explain.

Dry shampoo spray for dark hair, blonde hair or red hair

This homemade dry shampoo spray can be made for all hair colours.

DIY dry shampoo spray with micellar water

Micellar water has the unique ability to cleanse thoroughly yet gently. This makes it a great makeup remover for sensitive skin – but a lesser-known fact is that it makes a gentle, effective hair cleanser as well.

I often use micellar water instead of shampoo to cleanse and clarify without drying out my hair. And since it’s streamlined my haircare routine, it only made sense to try incorporating it into a dry shampoo spray recipe.

DIY dry shampoo spray in spray bottle

Micelles’ ability to absorb oil is truly impressive, and adding them to this homemade dry shampoo spray gives the formula even more cleansing ability. (There’s science behind this too, which I will explain further below.) This recipe’s other ingredients are effective on their own, but adding micelles makes them work even better.

Don’t just take my word for it – beauty companies know this too. They’re already taking advantage of micellar water’s oil-absorbing power, as seen with niche products like the R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist and the Aveda Rinseless Refresh™ Micellar Hair & Scalp Refresher. Both formulas use micellar surfactants to cleanse and refresh hair without rinsing.

R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist

R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist

How does micellar water work in dry shampoo?

Micellar water works thanks to clusters called micelles. These clusters are made up of surfactant molecules grouped together in a liquid solution.

Each surfactant molecule has a characteristic hydrophilic (water-loving) “head” and lipophilic (oil-loving) “tail.” The water-loving “heads” like to remain in contact with liquid, so they congregate around the edge. The oil-loving “tails” dangle inside the cluster.

Diagram showing the structure of a micelle

When sprayed onto oily hair, the micelles in a dry shampoo spray bind excess oil, trapping it in their centers. This makes the hair look and feel cleaner without having to set foot in a shower.

Benefits of this micellar dry shampoo spray

  • Less messy than a dry shampoo powder
  • More effective than powder, as micelles absorb more oil
  • Lifts, adds volume and makes hair appear thicker
  • Leaves your hair feeling soft and brush-able, not rough or stiff
  • Saves money on expensive store-bought dry shampoos
  • Can boost hair growth with essential oils like peppermint
  • Fully customizable for all hair colours, red and dark hair included

Micellar dry shampoo spray with rosemary

Micelles are remarkable. I’m not going to go so far as to say this recipe makes your hair feel completely clean again, but it’s close. It’s even rescued me from a couple hair disasters.

Have you ever discovered too late that your pre-wash oil treatment wasn’t rinsed out properly? I have – and this micellar dry shampoo spray mopped up most of the damage and got me out the door.

I don’t want to admit how many days I managed to go between washes while testing this recipe. You’ll have to test it for yourself. But in my defence, at least you know that I thoroughly test the DIYs I share with you.

Ingredients for DIY dry shampoo spray

High-proof vodka

Vodka is the ideal base for a homemade dry shampoo spray. Its high alcohol content makes it evaporate quickly, leaving less time for moisture to disturb your hairstyle. This is especially important for those (like me) prone to frizz.

I used 100-proof vodka in my own dry shampoo. In Canada, this is 50% alcohol. If you’re in the USA and have access to an even higher proof product like Everclear, that’s even better. Use the highest proof vodka available in your area.

Please note that I don’t recommend using witch hazel. It might be a popular ingredient for natural DIYs, but it’s not a substitute for vodka. Even undiluted witch hazel extract contains only a maximum of 12% alcohol. This will sit on your hair, leaving it wet and frizzy.

Straight witch hazel can also have an unpleasant scent. Hair is porous and absorbs strong scents, so this isn’t ideal. Witch hazel is a wonderful ingredient, but its benefits are best experienced in skincare products.

While it’s true that alcohol can be drying, the scalp’s natural oils will provide a buffer. For this reason, I’m not concerned about vodka drying out my hair. I’ve been using my dry shampoo spray regularly with no issues.

I think it’s difficult to make an effective DIY dry shampoo spray without alcohol for the reasons listed above – witch hazel and water-based can leave hair too wet.

Dry shampoo spray with corn starch

Poly Suga Mulse D9

Poly Suga Mulse D9 (sorbitan oleate decylglucoside crosspolymer) is a biodegradable micellar surfactant that’s naturally derived from olive oil and coconuts. When added to liquid, Poly Suga Mulse disperses to form micelles that trap and absorb oil on your hair and scalp.

This gentle, multi-tasking ingredient is a staple in my DIY beauty routine. In addition to this recipe, it’s also the key ingredient in my simple micellar water for face and my micellar cleansing water for hair.

You can buy Poly Suga Mulse D9 from Formulator Sample Shop. I’ll update this post if it becomes available elsewhere.

Corn starch

Corn starch is affordable, natural and effective. I’ve found that it absorbs more oil than arrowroot powder, which is another popular choice for dry shampoo recipes.

The only drawback is that corn starch can leave a white cast on dark hair. However, by adding different types of clay, you can customize this dry shampoo spray for all hair colours. See my tips on this below.

Homemade dry shampoo spray with corn starch

Essential oils

Adding essential oils to this recipe is optional. I like to add them for natural fragrance, but some of them also have benefits for hair growth and scalp health.

For a dry shampoo spray that simply smells good, I recommend mixing any of the following essential oils:

My personal favourite is a combination of ylang-ylang extra and pink grapefruit essential oil for a sweet, tropical fragrance.

If you’re looking to promote hair growth and scalp circulation, I suggest using a combination of peppermint and rosemary essential oil.

Peppermint essential oil has been shown to facilitate hair growth by increasing scalp circulation and by inducing anagen, the hair growth phase. It also increased both the depth and number of hair follicles in this study.

As for rosemary essential oil, there’s evidence that it’s as effective as hair loss medication for treating androgenetic alopecia.

Whichever essential oil you choose, please only use a few drops – essential oils are potent and must be used with care. Using them at a high concentration can lead to skin burns and irritation.

Safe preservative

This dry shampoo contains a lot of corn starch, which can feed bacteria. So despite this recipe’s high alcohol content, a preservative should be used for safety.

I chose paraben-free Optiphen Plus at the lowest effective concentration. You can substitute a cosmetic preservative of your choice, but be sure to use the recommended amount for efficacy.

How to make homemade dry shampoo spray for all hair colours

Those with blonde or other light hair colours will be able to use this recipe as is. However, corn starch can leave a white cast on brunette or black hair. As well, those with darker shades of blonde hair may find that plain corn starch leaves their hair looking ashy.

Luckily, this white cast can easily be balanced by another pigment.

I’ve seen countless dry shampoo recipes that suggest using cocoa powder for dark hair. I don’t recommend this. Cocoa does not possess the same drying quality as corn starch, so it will leave hair feeling sticky, not clean.

Dry shampoo spray for brunette, blonde, dark or red hair

Dry shampoo spray for brunette, blonde, black or red hair

Instead, it’s better to colour your homemade dry shampoo spray using cosmetic clay powders. Clay absorbs oil, so adding clay to your dry shampoo will complement its cleansing ability.

Whether you have brunette, black, or red hair, you can create the perfect shade to match your hair colour. I used a combination of cocoa brown clay, french yellow clay and french red clay to achieve the various colours shown in the photo.

I’ve included some other suggestions below. You can choose one or a mixture of clays from each category to match your particular shade. Start with a teaspoon of clay and keep adding until you reach your desired colour.

For dark or black hair

For brown hair

DIY dry shampoo spray for dark hair

For red or auburn hair

Homemade dry shampoo spray for red hair

For blonde hair

DIY dry shampoo for blondes spray

DIY dry shampoo spray recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup high-proof vodka
4 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp Poly Suga Mulse D9
1/5 tsp Optiphen Plus
1-3 tsp clay of choice, depending on your hair colour (optional)
A few drops essential oil, such as peppermint or rosemary
Large nozzle spray bottle
Stainless steel funnel

Natural DIY dry shampoo spray

How to make DIY dry shampoo spray

  1. In a clean, sterilized spray bottle, combine vodka, essential oils, Poly Suga Mulse D9, and Optiphen Plus. Swirl gently to combine.
  2. Using a clean, dry funnel, pour the corn starch into the bottle. Shake well to combine.
  3. If colouring your dry shampoo with clay, add it slowly until you reach your desired colour.
  4. Screw on the lid and shake well until all clumps are removed. Shake again before each use.

Recipe notes

Corn starch and clay will clog and ruin fine mist spray bottles. To avoid clogging, choose a spray bottle with a large trigger nozzle, such as this one.

If you’re adding clay to your dry shampoo, start with 1 tbsp and work up to your desired colour. See my tips above for customizing your dry shampoo spray for all hair colours.

This recipe is preserved and can be safely stored at room temperature.

Bottle of natural dry shampoo spray

How to use your dry shampoo spray

Before using your dry shampoo, shake the bottle to dislodge any clumps of corn starch or clay. It’s important to shake well each time, as the product will settle when not in use.

If you have long hair, it’s best to divide your hair into sections to ensure an even application. An easy way to do this is by putting it into a half-updo.

Begin spraying the dry shampoo on your hair, aiming only at the roots. This formula is concentrated, so start with a light coating. You don’t need to soak your hair.

Either with a brush or your fingers, gently brush or rub the product into your roots. Take down the top section of your hair and repeat the previous steps.

With your head upside down, give your hair another good brush to disperse the dry shampoo. Don’t take the brush too far down the length of your hair. You only want to cleanse the roots.

Your hair should be left feeling clean, soft, and full of volume. If your hair is still too oily, add another coat of dry shampoo until you achieve your desired effect.

To treat a particularly oily area, you can spray the dry shampoo directly into your hands. Massage it gently into the area using your fingers, then brush through.

Dry shampoo spray for all hair colours

Dry shampoo spray for brunette, blonde, black or red hair

Homemade dry shampoo spray with corn starch
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5 from 3 votes

DIY Dry Shampoo Spray

Refresh your hair between washes with this natural DIY dry shampoo spray. This unique micellar formula contains powerful oil-absorbing micelles. Whether you have brunette, red, or dark hair, this homemade dry shampoo recipe includes options for all hair colours.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: DIY Hair Care
Cuisine: DIY Beauty
Servings: 1 bottle
Author: Kyla | alifeadjacent.com

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup high-proof vodka
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp Poly Suga Mulse D9
  • 1/5 tsp Optiphen Plus
  • 1-3 tsp clay of choice depending on your hair colour (optional)
  • A few drops essential oil such as peppermint or rosemary
  • Large nozzle spray bottle
  • Stainless steel funnel

Instructions

  • In a clean, sterilized spray bottle, combine vodka, essential oils, Poly Suga Mulse D9, and Optiphen Plus. Swirl gently to combine.
  • Using a clean, dry funnel, pour the corn starch into the bottle. Shake well to combine.
  • If colouring your dry shampoo with clay, add it slowly until you reach your desired colour.
  • Screw on the lid and shake well until all clumps are removed. Shake again before each use.

Notes

Corn starch and clay will clog and ruin fine mist spray bottles. To avoid clogging, choose a spray bottle with a large trigger nozzle, such as this one.
If you’re adding clay to your dry shampoo spray, start with 1 tbsp and work up to your desired colour. See my tips above for customizing your dry shampoo for all hair colours.
This recipe is preserved and can be safely stored at room temperature.

More DIY hair care recipes

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Barbora

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Hi Kyla! I am wondering, did you use any special size of the spray bottle? I tried this recipe two times and it always got stuck and I ruined the sprayer. Thank you in advance!

Kyla

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Hi Barbora, I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! This happened to me a couple times too while I was testing the recipe. The best solution I’ve found is to use a large nozzle sprayer (linked in the recipe card at bottom of post). Also, I make sure to shake the bottle vigorously before each use to make sure there’s no corn starch/clay clumped at the bottom of the bottle. I hope this helps!

Livia

Friday 8th of November 2019

Hi! I’m wondering if I can use rubbing alcohol instead of vodka? Also could arrowroot powder be subbed for corn starch?

Kyla

Friday 8th of November 2019

Hi Livia! You can absolutely use arrowroot powder instead of corn starch, but please don’t use rubbing alcohol. It's very toxic, so it’s dangerous to use it in DIY beauty products. Please get some cheap vodka instead! ?

Andrea

Sunday 13th of October 2019

This is so interesting! Has anyone tried this recipe using a Misto sprayer to make it more like an aerosol?

Kyla

Tuesday 15th of October 2019

Hi Andrea, that's a great idea. I had wondered about that, but unfortunately I don't think it would work. The corn starch makes the dry shampoo formula quite thick. A Misto creates a very fine spray, so the dry shampoo would likely clog and ruin the sprayer. I ruined a few too many spray bottles while testing this recipe!

Allysha

Saturday 12th of October 2019

Hi! Where can I buy poly suga mulse d9 ??

Kyla

Saturday 12th of October 2019

Hi Allysha! The only place that seems to sell it right now is Formulator Sample Shop. You can find it here.

Emily

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Hi I’m loving all the info that’s jam packed into this post! I’m wondering how much micellar water to use though? Unless there is an entirely separate dry shampoo recipe that uses it?

Kyla

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Hi Emily! I’m so glad you found the post informative. To clarify, this dry shampoo isn’t made with pre-made micellar water. The liquid in this recipe becomes micellar water after you add the Poly Suga Mulse.

If it’s not possible for you to get your hands on Poly Suga Mulse, you could make a less effective version of this DIY by replacing half the vodka with pre-made micellar water. So, 1/4 cup vodka and 1/4 cup micellar water.

This won’t be nearly as effective or quick-drying as my recipe, though. I definitely recommend making the recipe if you can.

I hope this helps! Thanks for reading and commenting. ?