“Can I get away with not washing my hair today?” A question as old as time. Luckily, it’s never been easier to be lazy with long hair: Dry shampoos from brands like Drybar and even Dove have saved many a busy morning over the last several years. I love trying out new products, and Drybar’s Detox formula smells like heaven. But it just so happens that my favorite dirty hair hack is the same DIY dry shampoo I’ve been using for ages: corn starch.

Corn starch is one of a few common pantry ingredients usually recommended as DIY dry shampoos, the other two being baby powder and baking soda. I’ve tried them all over the years, and corn starch is by far the best dry shampoo DIY in the kitchen. It’s fragrance free, soaks up excess oil instantly, causes no scalp irritation, and rubs in nicely. It’s also easy to infuse with essential oil, if fragrance is your thing, and even easier to darken for non-blondes.


To use corn starch as dry shampoo, take it easy — you can always add more. There are several ways to apply it to your roots. Since I’m lazy, I just use my fingers. I keep a container of corn starch specifically for this use. I dip my fingertips into the powder, then I just tousle my roots until the powder is is evenly distributed. After I’ve brushed and fluffed my hair as usual, I can’t see the corn starch anymore — just soft, clean hair where I used to have greasy strands.


If your hair is darker than mine, it may take more tousling for the corn starch to disappear. Red heads and brunettes can make it easier on themselves by adding cinnamon or cocoa powder to the corn starch so there’s less of a contrast. To upgrade another notch, you can store your corn starch in a shaker or use a clean makeup brush to dust it at your roots before you rub it in.

Using corn starch as dry shampoo is one of my favorite beauty hacks, especially because when I found it, I’d been trying to use baby powder as dry shampoo for years. I never liked the texture of baking soda on my scalp (though I use baking soda for a million other things), but the vintage paperbacks I loved as a kid taught me the old retro trick of dusting baby powder at the roots between washes. Baby powder does the job, but I’m a fragrance-free kind of girl and that’s not on my list of exceptions. With corn starch you get the same benefits and no noticeable scent. Perfection!

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