September 16th, 2009

Dry Shampoo and Mad Science

The other day I was asking for dry shampoo recommendations. Today I will give you the results of my inquiries and subsequent experimentation. But first, because I’m tired of answering this question — let me explain the idea of dry shampoo.

For most of my life, I washed my hair every day just because, well, that’s what I thought you were supposed to do. But you don’t have to. And I don’t anymore. In fact, I only wash my hair a couple of times a week, if that — and sometimes I try to time the hair-washings so that the hair will look spiffy for a special occasion … which means going an extra day or two without any suds. I’ll be the first to admit that after a stretch, my hair starts to look manky. Usually, I bust out the bobby pins and hairspray; but sometimes, the mane is just too greasy to salvage.

This is where dry shampoos come in. Usually, dry shampoo comes in a powder or a spray which you dust or spritz onto your roots, then fluff up your hair and brush it out, and thus the worst of the weekly mank is brushed away — leaving your hair refreshed, if not squeaky clean.

My hair dresser recommended Tigi’s “Rockaholic” spray and it worked all right, but after a few uses it clogged prematurely and became quite useless.* So I did a little digging around and learned that these sprays are basically aerosol formulations of cornstarch and baking soda, so, yeah. No wonder the clogs. A few more emails and webpages later, I found a good number of do-it-yourself recipes for homemade dry shampoo, some of which sounded downright gourmet.

But across the internet, the people cried out: What of the brunettes? What of the redheads? This white powdery stuff mostly brushes out, but it shows up quite starkly on darker hair. Some sites recommended using cocoa powder as a base, but I don’t want to smell like a cookie (mmm…cookies) and the dark brown wouldn’t look any better on my hair than white powder would, so I discarded that idea as well.

As a bluenette (at the moment) I pondered this problem. I researched. I considered SCIENCE. And last night, while watching TV, I sat around and made my own batch of dry shampoo for next to nothing. Now I share my SUPA SECRET PROCESS with you. Ahem. Here’s how to make your own dry shampoo on the cheap.

    You’ll need:

    1. Corn starch
    2. Baking soda
    3. Sidewalk chalk
    4. Heavy-duty Ziplock baggies and a hammer, or a good blender

    You’ll proceed:

    1. Take two parts corn starch and one part baking soda (I used tablespoons)
    2. Select a chunk of sidewalk chalk that most closely matches your hair
    3. Throw these things into a blender if you have one, and hit puree
    Or: Stick all three into a Ziplock baggie and whack it with a hammer until all is powder**

Pretty blue shampoo powder The end result was a nice blue powder (which is actually a little darker than the picture would imply), of a fine consistency and a pleasant, clean smell. The baking soda treats your scalp just like it treats the inside of your fridge (freshens! removes odors!) and the corn starch sucks up oil like a champ.

Obviously, you can use whatever color of sidewalk chalk moves you or matches you. It’s cheap. I paid about $4.50 for a rainbow pack at Target; and everything else I needed to make this stuff I had sitting around at home.

Storing most of it in baby powder bottle To store and dispense my new creation, I went looking for a small-sized Parmesan cheese shaker but couldn’t find one, so instead I resorted to a sample-sized baby-powder bottle.

These are easy to come by, and cost about a buck at your local drug store — but they’re a little tricky to open. I got the lid off mine by jamming a corkscrew down through one of the holes and prying it off that way. Save the little slider inside; it probably won’t break, and when you’re done, you can just reassemble the thing to work as it would’ve before you dumped its contents and replaced them with your own.

Anyway, there you go. That’s my dry shampoo hack, and I’m pretty pleased with it. I dusted myself down last night, let it sit a few minutes, then brushed the heck out of my hair … and it was immediately less greasy and more fluffy. It’s not going to replace soap and water for me, anytime soon, but I’m definitely glad to have an inexpensive, effective version of this stuff in my personal hygiene toolbox.



* This is a known and prevalent problem with literally every other dry shampoo spray I researched. And since most of them cost a pretty effin’ penny, I wasn’t willing to drop another 25 bucks on something that’d run out or die after half a dozen uses.
** What? I don’t have a blender … and I’m pretty sure the husband would’ve killed me if I’d chucked everything into the coffee grinder.

[Crossposted to/from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so either here or there.]

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September 16, 2009

Here’s today’s progress on my modern pseudo-noir police procedural about a neighborhood full of mutated freaks, a sexy former court reporter, an aging cop who’s being forced into retirement, and a multiple murder that took place thirty years ago in an all-night diner called “The Rathole.”

Project: Fort Freak “Remember the Rathole”
New Words: 2387 (ugh)
Present Total Word Count: 21,792 words
Goal: 30,000 words
Due date: October 15

Things accomplished in fiction: Wrapped up Section Eight. This section, too, was too long - but not as badly too long as Section Seven. But again, this was one of those bits where lots needs to happen, so that’s just how it’s got to be right now. Mantra: I can edit it down later … I can edit it down later … I can edit it down later …

Things accomplished in real life: Spent another morning desperately trying to do day-job work while six-foot segments of steel pipe were cut out of my office area and things were patched; moved around furniture, fish tank, etc. to facilitate the previous; got some exercise before it got dark cold and rainy; did a little housework; exchanged copious business emails (it’s just the season for it); restrained self from taking a nap even though I wanted to REALLY BAD.

Other: I completely forgot about an event I’ll be doing on Sunday, at the Tukwila Barnes & Noble, with some friends of mine. Details later. Whulp. That’s just one more thing to stick on the calendar. It’ll be fun, and that’s cool — but boy howdy, things just aren’t slowing down.

[Crossposted to/from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so either here or there.]

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