Can You Use Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo?

Written by

We’ve all been there. We’re going on day two (or three) of unwashed hair and we reach for our trusty dry shampoo, only it’s all out. Now, we need to resort to an alternative, the most common one being baby powder. Yes, baby powder has often been used in place of dry shampoo to soak up excess oil and grime on our scalp. But, is it really safe to do this? We wanted to know, so we reached out to Manchester-based trichologist Kate Holden to answer this question (and a few more) once and for all.

White person pouring baby powder into their cupped hand to use as dry shampoo
(Image Source: Getty)

So, Can You Use Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo?

The biggest question you want an answer to: Can we swap dry shampoo for baby powder? Kate says yes! “If you’re in a pinch, baby powder can be a lifesaver for greasy hair.”

This is because both powders have a pretty similar makeup. “Baby powder is usually made from talcum powder or corn starch, plus fragrance,” notes Kate. “Similarly, dry shampoo is often based on corn or rice starch. In both baby powder and dry shampoo, these ingredients are designed to absorb grease and moisture.”

Those with “thick and light coloured hair will likely find these powders easier to use,” Kate points out. More on that below.

Are There Any Hair Types That Should Avoid It?

Still, this method isn’t for everyone. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Kate shares that those with darker hair may have a tougher time blending in the powder to their strands. You’ll likely be left with a “grayish tinge,” she mentions. Additionally, those with fine hair may need to overdo it with the powder, leaving them with hair that feels “cakey or matted.”

Kate strongly advises those with colored hair or a scalp issue to avoid baby powder at all costs because “baby powder isn’t formulated for the scalp or hair specifically.”

What Should One Look for in a Baby Powder?

If you’re able to use the white powder or are really desperate, be sure you use one without talcum powder. “There are some health concerns over talcum powder and cancer risk so you might prefer to opt for a cornstarch-based baby powder instead,” she shares.

Anyone with a sensitive scalp should steer clear of powders that contain any sort of fragrances. “Fragrances can also be irritating to the scalp, particularly in products that sit on the scalp like dry shampoo,” Kate says. “If you have a sensitive scalp, you should look for a fragrance-free baby powder instead.”

Are There Other Dry Shampoo Alternatives That Aren’t Baby Powder?

For those who are hesitant to use baby powder, Kate shares you could try cornstarch or cornflour. “ common household ingredients and a base for many dry shampoos.” But if you’re still unsure about putting anything on your scalp that isn’t dry shampoo, there are other routes you can take.

“If you don’t have time to wash your hair, you can always rock the grease by putting your hair in a braid or slicked back look,” shares Kate. “Sometimes blasting your hair with a hair dryer can help freshen up your hair too.”

Whether you use baby powder, dry shampoo, or something else, you want to make sure you’re using the best product for your specific strands. HERE is how to pick the right dry shampoo for your hair type!