Starch as Non-Aerosol Dry Shampoo

I switched away from conventional, aerosol dry shampoo well-before the news broke that the dry shampoo cans have been spewing poison at an uncomfortable rate. Instead, I use tapioca starch as non-aerosol dry shampoo to minimize oil between washes.

Non-aerosol dry shampoos have been available for a while. However, many of them come in the form of foam that claims to dry quickly. I haven’t tried them personally as they seem impractical; even if they dry fast, damp-looking roots can still be a problem. If I have time for damp hair, I would prefer to wash and dry it quickly.

Instead, on Jean’s advice, I use tapioca starch decanted into a few containers that I apply with a brush or puff. I realize this might sound like lunacy, so here’s more detail on HOW I go about using it:

Starch as Non-Aerosol Dry Shampoo

This inexpensive tapioca starch makes a great, non-aerosol dry shampoo!

First, get some tapioca starch. Alternatively, you can use corn starch if you have that handy. Do not use flour.

Powder Container for your Non-Aerosol Dry Shampoo

Store your non-aerosol dry shampoo in one of these.

This is a little ornate tin that has two lids. There’s the outer lid which matches the body, and there’s an interior lid that closes off the powder chamber. It comes with a puff that can sit between the lids, but I felt it was too large for this purpose and don’t use it.

That, and the kitten decided she was obsessed with it before I could try.

Instead, I use a decommissioned blush brush. I took one that I didn’t care for for blush, and use it instead. You could use plenty of brushes that you already have but might not be performing the way you hoped or the way they once did. Dip the brush in the powder, tap off the excess back into the tin on the inside of the rim (important!), then tap into your hair with the brush.

Like conventional dry shampoos, use your judgment on how much you need. Massage in, shake out, done.

Compact for On-the-Go

Alternatively, you can use one of these compact sifters to bring some non-aerosol dry shampoo with you in a purse or gym bag.

I also have this clever sifter compact to store some in if I need to bring some with me. Granted, I haven’t needed to do that in quite a long time at this point, but still.

Rather than a firm plastic with holes in it, this sifter is a fine, bouncy mesh. You gently tap a puff to the top of the mesh and pick up a modest amount of product with no mess. You could tap harder and get more, I imagined, but you don’t really need to.

Then, same thing – tap it on, repeat as needed, massage in, shake out.


Now, I realize that for some, fragrance is part of the goal of dry shampoo – to help mask smells. I don’t have that particular need, so I typically don’t bother with adding it to my non-aerosol dry shampoo. But you can add fragrance to your non-aerosol dry shampoo starch and I have experimented with it myself just for novelty.

Here’s how:

  • Put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the tapioca starch in a bowl.
  • Add a few drops (no more than 5) of rose water, orange blossom water, or fragranced oil, and mix gently.
  • You can add more if desired, but no more than 1-2 drops at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  • The mixture should still be powdery, not wet, sticky, or tacky.

The Bottom Line

It is inexpensive, lasts forever, you aren’t adding a bunch of perfume to your head*, and you aren’t adding a bunch of garbage and carcinogens to the air for you, your family, and your pets to inhale.

If you have pets, this is especially important. So much of the stuff we are accustomed to using all the time creates awful air quality conditions for them, and they deserve better than that.

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