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After a five-day hiatus while a scalp incision healed, I was desperate to wash my hair. My doctor had mentioned something about “dry shampoo,” so I googled it and discovered a whole new universe of hair care products. Apparently, countless others had already plowed this oily terrain. Perhaps they were less cheap than I, for after reading of products costing as much as $40.00, I googled “dry shampoo substitutes.” Another bonanza of advice, with lower price tags.

Some simple kitchen staples were featured prominently: cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and even baking powder and flour. I weighed my options and decided to make a cake on my head. Rather than choosing one ingredient from my pantry, I mixed the top three contenders–cornstarch, salt, and baking soda–and took the bowl outside. There, I liberally applied it to my scalp as instructed: rub well into roots of hair, wait a few minutes, and brush out. It worked! My comb and brush turned white during the last stage, but my hair immediately felt much cleaner.

In fact, I became so cocky about my success that I even tried some of the leftover mixture on Patsy, my black Labrador retriever. She had ventured a little too close to a skunk the evening before, so I thought, “Why not?” The white concoction looked ridiculous against her fur, but at least it was easy to tell which parts of her coat needed brushing. Unfortunately, my great recipe didn’t budge the skunk smell. Perhaps I should have added an egg.

This technique likely won’t put L’Oreal out of business anytime soon, but it’ll do in a pinch, unless your dog tangles with a skunk.


I live with my husband in idyllic Bend, Oregon. My favorite pastime is reading, especially mysteries. When I’m not reading, I write. So far, I’ve had four novels published: two mysteries, one romance, and one middle grade/young adult. My current project is a novel of romantic suspense. I also write personal essays, short stories, and poetry. When absolutely forced to move away from my books and computer, I enjoy travel, hiking, sailing, and cooking. Just don't make me do crafts or swim in cold water.


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