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Is there a childhood activity any more quintessential than homemade playdough? We certainly don’t think so!

We love making playdough at home, and so does our toddler. Whenever we set her on the floor with a few colored balls of playdough, her imagination goes wild and she turns into a little Picasso!

Making play dough is also one of those activities that fills up a lot of time – it really is a huge blessing during rainy days when we can’t get outside.

Even better than making playdough at home?

Making a super easy playdough recipe with only 2 ingredients (3, if you count the optional food coloring).

A tower of 3 homemade playdough balls are stacked on a wooden table covered in cornstarch. The bottom playdough ball is yellow, the middle is pink and the top it blue. The photo is part of an easy playdough recipe for 2 ingredient playdough

This easy playdough recipe is made from just 2 ingredients:

  • 2 parts cornstarch
  • 1 part hair conditioner

There’s no cooking required, no flour required, and not that much time required, either.

You can add food coloring if you want, but you can also keep it au naturale.

A hand holding a bottle of blue food coloring, and dropping food coloring into a glass jar full of play dough. The photograph shows one step in making easy playdough at home. There is a jar of yellow playdough on the counter as well.

This really is one of the simplest make-at-home activities you can do with your little one, and young kids can even help mix food coloring into the conditioner as a first step.

For slightly older kids, it’s a great example of diffusion in action!

Tips for Making Our 2 Ingredient Hair Conditioner Playdough

Don’t Waste The Good Stuff

For most people, there’s no reason to use expensive hair conditioner when making this recipe.

Any old bottle of drugstore hair conditioner should work, with a few notes.

A photo showing an empty jar, hair conditioner, a box of corn starch, food coloring, and a metal measuring cup on a marble table against a white wall.

If anyone in your house has fragrance sensitivities related to phthalates or VOCs, we suggest using a hair conditioner that isn’t going to aggravate that (i.e. Honest Company’s fragrance free conditioner).

During the kneading process, it will get all over your hands, and any sort of fragrance will get on your skin.

If you want to keep it off your skin (and, just as likely, off your kids’ skin), it might be worth splashing out on a higher quality “free from” conditioner for this recipe.

Don’t Use This Playdough Recipe If You Think Your Kid Might Eat It

If your kiddo is in a ‘put everything in their mouth’ phase, then this is not the right easy play dough recipe for you.

Hair conditioner is most definitely not edible!

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment a Little

This recipe calls for 2 parts corn starch to 1 part hair conditioner, but you might want to experiment a little to find the perfect consistency for you.

If dough is dry, you’ll want to add more conditioner. And if feels too soft, add some more cornstarch.

The nice thing about this is it’s hard to mess it up. Just keep experimenting until you have a super silky ball of dough that’s good for playing with!

3 homemade playdough balls are arranged on a wooden table covered in cornstarch. The balls are colored pink, yellow and blue. The photo is part of an easy playdough recipe for 2 ingredient playdough

Make in Small Batches for Easier Management

Personally, I think it’s easier to work in small batches with this recipe.

Instead of making one giant batch in a big mixing bowl, I suggest you make a few small batches concurrently using mason jars or reusing empty (and well-cleaned) jars from grocery store sauces.

A photograph of 3 glass jars showing pink, yellow and blue homemade playdough in glass jars. They have stir sticks in the mixture.

Conditioner First Works Best

With most food recipes, you add dry ingredients together first.

Don’t make that mistake with this recipe!

It works best if you start with the hair conditioner.

I recommend adding 1/2 cup to 1 cup conditioner, and then using the food coloring to dye it before you add the corn starch.

A photograph showing homemade playdough with drops of blue food coloring in the mixture, but not yet distributed. There is yellow playdough in the photo as well, along with bottles of blue and yellow food dye on the counter.

Once the food coloring is in the conditioner, you can use a spoon or stir stick to mix it all up. By doing it this way, you’ll get a more even color throughout the dough.

A photograph showing a hand using a stir stick to mix blue food dye into homemade playdough in a glass jar.

Now that you have the color you want, you can add cornstarch slowly, mixing as you go.

Again, the ratio should be about 2 parts corn starch to 1 part conditioner, but you’ll want to tweak it as you go.

A photograph showing a hand using a metal measuring cup with corn starch in it to mix more corn starch into blue homemade playdough in a glass jar.

And voila! Beautiful (and super easy) homemade playdough!

3 homemade playdough balls are shown on a wooden table covered in cornstarch. The balls are colored pink, yellow and blue. They look as though they have been nkneeded but not shaped fully. The photo is part of an easy playdough recipe for 2 ingredient playdough
3 homemade playdough balls are arranged on a wooden table covered in cornstarch. The balls are colored pink, yellow and blue. The photo is part of an easy playdough recipe for 2 ingredient playdough

Our Soft and Silky Easy Playdough Recipe

3 homemade playdough balls are arranged on a wooden table covered in cornstarch. The balls are colored pink, yellow and blue. The photo is part of an easy playdough recipe for 2 ingredient playdough
Yield: 1 batch

Soft & Silky Easy Playdough Recipe: 2 Ingredient Homemade Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Parts Cornstarch
  • 1 Part Hair Conditioner
  • Food Coloring (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Add hair conditioner to a clean glass jar. I like to start with about 1/2 cup of hair conditioner. If you plan on using multiple batches and colors, repeat this step across multiple jars of conditioner.
  2. Mix in food coloring, using a stir stick or spoon to evenly distribute the dye.
  3. Slowly add cornstarch to the mixture, using a spoon to evenly distribute.
  4. Continue adding cornstarch to the mixture until you achieve a soft and silky play dough texture.
  5. Once you get close to achieving a dough-like texture, take it out of the jar. It will be too thick to stir with a spoon, so use your hands to continue kneading it into a dough.
  6. Let your kids have fun with it!

Notes

This recipe works just as well with or without food coloring, so there's no need to dye it if you don't want to.

If dough is dry, add more conditioner. If the dough feels too soft, add more cornstarch.

If you're concerned about fragrances and chemicals in hair conditioner, use a “free from” conditioner for this recipe.

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