What To Use Instead of Dry Shampoo

what to use instead of dry shampoo

Greasy hair has been around for, well, forever. But dry shampoo has only become popular in recent years. Honestly, I rely on dry shampoo more than I’d like to admit. It’s a lifesaver when I don’t have time to shower or I want my current style to last a little bit longer. 

Unfortunately, I’m no stranger to running out of products when I need them the most. I’m talking about realizing that I’m out of dry shampoo an hour before a big dinner or work event. Being in a scramble to get ready and then not having the right products to make your hair look good is insanely frustrating.

Whether you’re looking for dry shampoo alternatives or you simply want to try something new out, this post is for you. I’m also including links to some of my favorite dry shampoo brands in case you want to stock up.

What to Use Instead of Dry Shampoo

As much as I wish I could shampoo my hair every day without repercussions, I know that washing your hair too often can cause more damage than good. To keep my hair as healthy as possible, I try to only wash it a few days a week. In between washes, I try to keep it looking as fresh, voluminous, and non-greasy as possible with my go-to hair products. 

However, if you’ve done copious amounts of research on dry shampoo (like me), then you likely learned that it’s not exactly the healthiest product for your hair, body, or the environment. 

The good news is that there are a surprising number of dry shampoo alternatives. Maybe you prefer an alternative out of concern for the environment, or want to use something that won’t affect your health in the long run. No matter your reason for needing an alternative to dry shampoo, I’ve got you covered. Here is a round-up of things you can use instead of dry shampoo.

What is Dry Shampoo?

The first-ever dry shampoo, called Minipoo, was created by Stephanie Brooke Company in the 1940s. It was marketed to women who were too sick to shower, promising to eliminate the buildup of oils in their hair.

To put it simply, Minipoo was a big success. People loved that they could use it on their kids’ hair and not have to worry about soap getting in their eyes. They also found that it protected wavy hair textures. 

Minipoo was sold with a disposable mitt for application. These days, there’s no need for a mitt, as most dry shampoos can be sprayed directly into your hair.

What is Dry Shampoo Used for?

  • Preserves the natural oils in your hair
  • Minimizes the appearance of greasy, oily hair
  • Prolongs regular shampooing
  • Reduces time spent on your hair
  • Makes hair look more voluminous
  • Reduces hair color fade
  • Makes some hair styles easier to achieve
What To Use Instead of Dry Shampoo

7 Dry Shampoo Alternatives

Corn Starch

If you have a container of cornstarch in your pantry, you’re in luck! Corn starch is a safe dry shampoo alternative that can easily absorb any excess oil. It’s also odorless. Apply a very small amount of corn starch to your hairline where you need a little freshening up. 

If you have darker hair and you’re worried about the corn starch being too visible, you can mix it with a tiny amount of cocoa powder. 

Baking Soda

Mixed with corn starch, baking soda can also be used to eliminate greasy roots. Combine equal parts baking soda and cornstarch with a few drops of essential oil (like lavender or tea tree) to create a DIY dry shampoo. 

Use tablespoon measurements and apply only small amounts of the mixture at a time. Let it sit on your scalp to absorb the oil before shaking out any excess powder.

Baby Powder

Baby powder is another popular dry shampoo alternative that can absorb oil from your hair. With baby powder, a little bit goes a long way. If you use too much you’ll end up looking like you’ve suddenly gone gray (lol).

I recommend using baby powder sparingly, or no more than once a week. It contains talc, as well as some mineral oils that aren’t good for your scalp. Plus, some talcum powder has sulfur or artificial fragrances that can damage your scalp. Fortunately, there are several talc-free baby powders on the market today, so try to use those whenever possible.

Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is another great dry shampoo alternative that effectively absorbs oil. Apply a small amount to your hair line, shake to remove any excess, and style per usual

Blotting Papers or Paper Towels

If you don’t exactly love the idea of applying and leaving a product in your hair, blotting paper is an excellent dry shampoo alternative. Blotting papers are designed to soak up oil from your face, but they do a surprisingly good job at getting rid of the oil in your hair as well. 

To use blotting papers on your hair, separate it into sections, then gently rub the paper on your roots. It will likely take a few blotting papers to make a difference. 

If you’re in a real pinch and don’t have any blotting paper on hand, you can use the same process with paper towels. Just be sure to be gentle to avoid damage and breakage.

Cocoa Powder

As mentioned earlier, cocoa powder can also work as a dry shampoo alternative. It’s a particularly good option for brunettes, but I recommend only using it if you’re in a major pinch. You should use as little powder as possible and stick to pure, organic varieties. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the more surprising dry shampoo alternatives but it really does work! To use it, add eight drops of ACV to eight ounces of water in a spray bottle. Then spray your roots wherever there is excess oil.

You’ll need to give your hair some time to dry before you notice a difference. But you’ll likely be thrilled with the results, as this alternative won’t leave behind any powder or residue like some of the other options on this list. Bonus: ACV has a ton of benefits that can make damaged, over-processed hair look more smooth and healthy.

These healthier alternatives to dry shampoo are great for when you need to go several days in a row without washing your hair.

I’m interested to hear what products you use to keep your hair looking fresh in between washes. Do you rely on one of the dry shampoo alternatives mentioned above? Or do you use a product I didn’t mention? Please share any of your faves in the comment section below!

For more ways to take care of your scalp and your hair, check out my post on how to clarify your hair at home and, of course, my post on fool-proof tips for healthy, shiny hair.

You can find a ton more beauty and lifestyle tips on here. 

1 Comment

  • Sarah
    September 13, 2023 at 5:45 am

    Omg! Thank you for this dry shampoo alternative list. I am a diehard not your mothers, dry shampoo user but since moving to Dubai I can’t find it anywhere and it’s super expensive to have shipped so this was extremely helpful and way more affordable.


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