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.
Last Updated July 15, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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. Meanwhile, the oil-loving “tails” dangle inside the cluster.
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 than powder alone
- 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
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
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. You can use the vodka brand that’s closest to 50% alcohol available in your area.
You can also use a high-proof grain alcohol like Everclear if you have access to it. Simply dilute it with distilled water to achieve a 50% alcohol percentage.
Why I don’t recommend witch hazel as a vodka substitute
Please note that I don’t recommend using witch hazel in this dry shampoo. It might be a popular ingredient for DIY beauty products, but it’s not a suitable substitute for vodka.
Even undiluted witch hazel extract contains only a maximum of 14% 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. I like using witch hazel extract in my homemade micellar water.
Will the alcohol dry out my hair?
While it’s true that alcohol can be drying, the scalp’s natural oils help 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 dry shampoos can leave hair too wet, creating a whole new issue to deal with.
And since store bought dry shampoo sprays also use alcohol as their base, it’s difficult to create a comparable homemade product without alcohol.
That said, if you have bleached, very dry, or extremely damaged hair, tread carefully. It’s up to you to discern whether using this recipe is safe for your particular hair type.
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.
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 in the section below.
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:
- Ylang-ylang extra oil
- Sweet orange essential oil
- Vanilla oleoresin
- Pink grapefruit essential oil
- Bergaptine-free bergamot essential oil
- Steam distilled lime essential oil
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 botanical ingredients and must be used with care. Using them at a high concentration can lead to skin burns and irritation.
This dry shampoo contains corn starch and water. The combination of the two is a breeding ground for bacteria. So despite this recipe’s high alcohol content, a preservative should be used for safety.
I chose paraben-free Leucidal Liquid SF. 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 adding a natural pigment.
I’ve seen countless dry shampoo recipes that suggest using cocoa powder for dark hair. This works for some people, but personally, I don’t recommend it. Cocoa does not possess the same drying quality as corn starch, so it can leave hair feeling sticky, not clean.
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
- Australian black clay
- Brazilian black clay
- Black kaolin clay
- Volcanic black clay
- Cocoa brown illite clay
For brown hair
- Rhassoul clay
- Cocoa brown illite clay
For red or auburn hair
For blonde hair
DIY dry shampoo spray recipe
For exact measurements and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Poly Suga Mulse D9
Leucidal Liquid SF
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
How to make DIY dry shampoo spray
- In a clean, sterilized spray bottle, combine vodka, essential oils, Poly Suga Mulse D9, and Leucidal Liquid SF. Swirl gently to combine.
- Using a 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.
Corn starch and clay will clog and ruin fine mist spray bottles such as the ones shown in the photos. 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 tsp 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.
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, wide-tooth comb, 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.
More DIY hair care recipes
Looking for more natural homemade hair care? Check these out:
- DIY Micellar Cleansing Water for Hair
- DIY Mint Vinegar Hair Rinse
- Rose Petal Vinegar for Skin and Hair
- DIY Shimmer Spray for a Pearly Glow
- In a clean, sterilized spray bottle, pour in vodka. Then, add Poly Suga Mulse D9 and swirl gently to combine.
- Add essential oils if desired and shakle gently to disperse. Poly Suga Mulse D9 is a solubilizer and will suspend the oils throughout the solution.
- Add Leucidal Liquid SF and swirl gently once more.
- Using a small funnel, slowly add the corn starch into the spray bottle. Replace the lid and shake well to combine and remove any clumps.
- If colouring your dry shampoo with clay, add each colour slowly until you reach your desired colour. Shake between each addition to avoid clumping and/or settling.
- Screw on the spray nozzle and shake well until all clumps are dispersed. Your dry shampoo spray is finished. Don't forget to shake well before each use.
Health & safety
As always, be sure to start with clean, sterilized supplies before making this recipe.
How to choose a spray bottle
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.
How to colour dry shampoo
- If you’re adding clay to your dry shampoo spray, start with 1 tsp and work up to your desired colour.
- See my tips above for customizing your dry shampoo for all hair colours.
Shelf life & storage
- Store your dry shampoo spray in a cool, dry place. If adding essential oils, protect it from light or use a dark coloured bottle.
- This recipe is preserved and can be safely stored at room temperature.
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