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).
If you want edible playdough or non-toxic playdough brands, check out this guide.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
And voila! Beautiful (and super easy) homemade playdough!
Our Soft and Silky Easy Playdough Recipe
- 2 Parts Cornstarch
- 1 Part Hair Conditioner
- Food Coloring (Optional)
- 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.
- Mix in food coloring, using a stir stick or spoon to evenly distribute the dye.
- Slowly add cornstarch to the mixture, using a spoon to evenly distribute.
- Continue adding cornstarch to the mixture until you achieve a soft and silky play dough texture.
- 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.
- Let your kids have fun with it!
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.