A quick scroll through #hairtok and we’re just swooning over TikTok creators’ ultra-long, silky-smooth, shiny, healthy tresses; a common practice, for many, is that they don’t wash their hair every day.
The myriad of reasons not to wash hair every day has left us trying “hair training” – prolonging the time between washes so that hair gradually gets less greasy, and picking up bottles of dry shampoo to support our no-wash days.
But with the safety of dry shampoos ambiguous to consumers even today (we’ll get to that later), TikTokers are banking on natural, DIY concoctions to suck up their hair’s grease – no need to spend on a bottle of dry shampoo.
The two-ingredient DIY shampoo on TikTok has cooked up a viral storm – and because it uses only two ingredients that can be found in the kitchen, really, anyone can try it.
The secret ingredient: cocoa powder
A recipe that’s safe enough to eat, TikTok’s DIY dry shampoo hack uses a quick mix of cocoa powder and cornstarch to absorb the grease from the roots.
It’s nothing new that people are reaching for cornstarch as a safe dry shampoo alternative.
Corn flour, baby powder, baking soda, and arrowroot powder are also popular kitchen ingredients to be dusted onto the roots to get rid of oiliness. Although cornstarch is the most popular choice on our FYP, these other kitchen ingredients pop up ever so often too.
But, cocoa powder? This one’s surprising, and it’s what makes TikTok’s two-ingredient DIY dry shampoo so special.
Cocoa powder’s role is this: it makes the DIY dry shampoo appear less obvious on darker hair. Instead of being covered by a white, powdery cast, the hair’s roots will look a natural brown that blends with the rest of the hair.
Plus, TikTokers are saying that it makes their hair smells delicious too.
TikTok’s cooking up dry shampoo
Equal parts cornstarch and coco powder :)
@simply.kikii demonstrated this hack by mixing equal parts cornstarch and cocoa powder in a jar and applying her DIY dry shampoo with a brush.
She parts her hair and brushes the powder along her hair’s parting, doing this several times until her entire scalp is covered. After letting it sit for one or two minutes, she brushes her hair out, and – boom, her hair is transformed from flat and oily… to fluffy and voluminous.
Other creators have also tried their hand at this hack with much messier results: powder strewn across the table, on the sofa, and all over their T-shirts.
In @alyssamariepena’s TikTok video, she nervously taps her powder-dipped brush several times before brushing her own mix of cocoa powder and cornstarch onto her roots.
She later sweeps the residual brown powder off her table – our Asian mums would be mad – as she lets her dry shampoo sit on her hair. It might have been messy, but her final verdict was that it worked.
Trying TikTok’s DIY dry shampoo, three ways
Argo Corn Starch was the cornstarch I spotted in several DIY dry shampoo videos on TikTok, but as I couldn’t get my hands on it, I substituted cornstarch for another popular powder alternative – cornflour.
I poured an estimated equal parts cornflour and Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder into a jar, mixing the powders together with a wooden chopstick.
Since the brush method – applying the DIY dry shampoo to the hair using a fluffy brush – looked a tad too messy on the videos I saw, I turned to the pepper shaker method to find out whether it was less messy.
I screwed on the lid of the pepper shaker and shook the dry shampoo concoction onto my hair, along the parting, and then tousled it in. The powder still got onto everything else besides my hair.
Next, I tried using the sock method, pouring the cocoa powder and cornflour mix into a clean sock and then patting it along my hair’s parting.
This method was supposed to be less messy, but it didn’t work too well for me as the powders took a long time to fall through the fabric. Perhaps, choose a sock made with a thinner cloth or one with more loosely woven fabric so that the powder falls through a little easier.
Finally, I tried the OG brush method, picking up my fluffy brush, dipping it into the DIY dry shampoo mix, and sweeping the powder onto my hair.
This method sent powder falling like rain: best, choose a wide-mouthed jar so that you can easily tap your brush against it and let the excess powder fall into the jar instead of everywhere else.
It’s messy, but it works
Granted, it was my first time trying out TikTok’s homemade dry shampoo, but I made a big mess when trying it out.
I even took this hack outside my house because I knew my (Asian) mum wouldn’t approve. Still, with some tweaking and practice, you might just find the best way to apply the powder onto your tresses minus the mess.
Since I hadn’t washed my hair for about two days, my roots were looking really oily and greasy. It took quite a bit of cocoa powder and cornflour, tousling, and brushing before my oily hair started to fluff up. I say, let the powder sit for a longer time so that it absorbs the grease fully before you brush it out.
Ultimately, TikTok’s natural dry shampoo worked – and it should – to soak up my hair’s oil and make it look fluffier and less greasy.
It’s written in the books: cornflour works as dry shampoo. Odourless and absorptive, cornflour has been a natural alternative to store-bought dry shampoo for a long time coming.
But, even though edible, you should note that cornflour and cornstarch can contain GMOs. Check before buying if you’re particular about using an all-natural mix.
Don’t overdo it like I did either: use a small amount of powder instead of dumping a huge amount onto your roots. I’d overdone it and each time I raked my fingers through my hair after that, I got cocoa powder trapped underneath my nails.
I did, also, end up smelling like cocoa powder the rest of the day, which made me crave a hot chocolate drink wherever I went. Mum even asked why I smelt like chocolate when I passed her by. Even though TikTokers say it smells delicious, a chocolatey fragrance isn’t really my cup of tea (sorry).
The surprisingly great thing about the cocoa powder is that it gave my black hair a sun-kissed brown tinge right at my roots.
And because I got a little too excited about the hack, the residual powder fell over my forehead and gave me a bronzed summer “tan”. Not what I was looking for, but it was a nice filter-worthy effect born out of all that difficult dusting.
Are dry shampoos really bad for your hair?
The reason dry shampoos have a bad reputation is because they’re used wrongly. Relying on them for fluffier, cleaner-looking hair often means neglecting the traditional lather-rinse-repeat in the shower.
Dry shampoos work by sucking up the hair’s grease and offering what some call an “aesthetic cleanse”, but they remain on the scalp after. Since the scalp requires regular, proper cleansing to stay healthy, dry shampoos simply don’t stand as an alternative for getting into the shower.
It also helps to choose dry shampoos with a safe ingredients list, which is one that’s free from aerosols, talc, alcohol, siloxane, silicones, octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, phenoxyethanol, and fragrance – to name a few.
If a cocoa powder DIY dry shampoo just doesn’t cut it for you, here are some safe store-bought dry shampoos that might!
Safe dry shampoos in Singapore
Acure Dry Shampoo
Certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the Acure Dry Shampoo contains organic ingredients like corn starch and arrowroot powder to absorb oil from the hair safely.
Its ingredient list is also easy to follow: sodium bicarbonate and kaolin soak up moisture, and rosemary leaf and peppermint essential oils add a pleasant scent to the hair.
The dry shampoo is 100% vegan and free from parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, petrolatum, and formaldehyde.
Acure Dry Shampoo retails for S$11.98 on iHerb.
Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo
Fluff up your limp hair with the Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo, which is best loved for its super-volumising powers on even hair that’s thick, oily, and dirty.
This dry shampoo contains Fuller’s earth, organic tapioca starch, star anise, and vanilla. The citric acid in the dry shampoo also works to lower pH levels, which can help to keep hair healthy and reduce frizz.
What’s special about Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo is it has a squeeze pump applicator that sends out a strong puff of powder, allowing you to direct the dry shampoo onto your roots without making a big mess. It’s definitely less messy than using a pepper shaker.
Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo retails for S$49.50 on Lookfantastic.
Beauty by Earth Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder
Certified USDA Organic, Beauty by Earth’s Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder contains mostly organic ingredients including cornstarch, arrowroot powder, and turmeric.
There are two types available, one for dark and red hair colours, and the other for blonde and light hair colours; that’s to say, you won’t have to turn to cocoa powder to hide a white cast.
The slim tip also lets you dispense the powder right where you want it to be without making a mess. Compared to TikTok’s DIY dry shampoo, this one gets a tick on the “mess-free” pros list.
Beauty by Earth Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder retails for S$31.74 on Amazon.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo
Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo uses a variety of powders like rice starch, cornstarch, kaolin clay, and tapioca root starch to get rid of excess oil on the hair and scalp.
It’s also infused with charcoal for deep detoxification action and biotin to provide nutrients to the hair follicles to support healthy hair growth.
Even though this one’s a non-aerosol dry shampoo, it has a spray applicator for easy application of the powder to the scalp. Rest assured, it’s phthalate-, paraben-, and sulfate-free too.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo retails for S$44 on Sephora.
Feature image credit: Daily Vanity, @simply.kikii/TikTok