2-Ingredient Silky-Smooth Play Dough

We’ve had 3 snow days this year. The first two were fantastic. We stocked up on treats and wore our coziest clothes all day and stayed inside and read and played games. It was like something out of Gilmore Girls.


Our third snow day was not so perfect. I had one sick kid, a toddler in a terrible mood, and the third just bouncing off the walls. I was tired and sore from working out and we were all just kind of off a notch or two.

Turns out all we needed to make two of the three happy (the third needed Sprite and saltines) was making this play dough. I used to make this way back in my babysitting days and it was just as fun as I remembered it. We have a plethora of unused beauty and personal grooming products from my husband’s work, plus a plethora of cornstarch from that time I waaaay overestimated how much cornstarch I was going to need for a recipe (plus a plethora of piñatas, but that’s irrelevant here), so we had everything we needed.

Let’s make some cornstarch conditioner play dough!

You’re going to need some hair conditioner and cornstarch.

How to make corn starch condition play dough

There’s no need to use anything other than the cheapest (or free-est) stuff–save your Bumble & Bumble for your hair. But I would use something that smells good to you because this play dough will have a strong scent and it will stay on your hands.

Place the cornstarch in a large bowl and add your conditioner.

Recipe for cornstarch condition play dough

As I should know by now (and as you guys may have noticed), I perpetually underestimate how large my mixing bowls should be and I end up transferring them to a larger bowl later on. It works wonders for my dirty dish workload. So use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need, and don’t think that only a Pyrex measuring cup will do the trick, because it won’t. Mix in the conditioner with your hands–it will just start coming together and it will be pliable and very, very smooth. You may need to add more conditioner as you go).

cornstarch conditioner play dough

Use food coloring to color as desired. Keep in mind that food coloring may discolor skin, which is troublesome to some people. It’s non-toxic and will come off soon, but you might want to be mindful of it when deciding to add color or how much color you want to add.

Silky Play Dough from Our Best Bites

Keep covered when not in use.

Need more great kids activities? Get this recipe, +49 other kids activities in our free Kids Activities download!

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2 ingredient play dough from Our Best Bites


This silky-smooth 2-ingredient play dough can be made in just a few minutes with stuff you already have in your house–hair conditioner and cornstarch!


  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • About 1 cup inexpensive hair conditioner
  • Food coloring (optional)


  1. Place the cornstarch in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the hair conditioner with your hands–it will just start coming together and it will be pliable and very, very smooth. If desired, add a drop or two or food coloring.
  3. You may need to add more conditioner as you go. Use food coloring to color as desired. Keep covered when not in use.


  • Don’t use the expensive hair condition or lotion, but I do recommend something that is either scent-free or a scent that you/your kids like.
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


  1. I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I’M SEEING! Conditioner and cornstarch make…play dough? The Suave conditioner is, like, a dollar at Wal Mart. You’d better believe I’m trying this out tomorrow. Thank you so much for the fun, magic recipe!

    1. Unfortunately, I made this yesterday only to find a bag of crumbles left this morning! Definitely not playdough to make if you are expecting it to last for more than one session! And I did bag it up right after my son was done playing with it yesterday. It was pretty crumbly to begin with though- even after I added much more cream.

  2. Hey! What a great idea! Just made it with the dollar store raspberry bottle of shaving cream that I buy so that the kids can “paint” the wall in the one shower that has that plexi- glass door. Perhaps the concentrations are quite different from using the conditioner?? I used approximately 10 cups of shaving cream to the suggested 2 cups of corn starch that I started with, and it finally held together- mostly! Should I just try conditioner next time? Your picture looked beautiful! And it is quite smooth!

  3. How do I have a 2.5 year old child in daycare and NOT know about this??? We’re making playdough this weekend, that’s for sure. = )

  4. This is a favorite at our house too, especially when they get out the cute ice cream shop playdough set we found at Ikea a few years ago and they play “ice cream parlor”. Thanks for posting this. I need to make this again for my kiddos!

  5. Hahaha! “Would you say you have a plethora of piñatas?” Love that show. 🙂 This looks fun! Glad you found a way to survive another snow day.

  6. Love this recipe! Like I actually enjoy playing playdough with it because it doesn’t suck every last drop if moisture from my already dry winter skin! Thank goodness for Costco sized tubs of corn starch!

  7. Does the food coloring stain little hands or will it keep to the play dough? I worry about making this and then having a multi-colored toddler.

    1. We made this last night and I had the same problem as a couple of the others. It was either too sticky or turned to crumbles after a while (I tried adjusting the amounts of conditioner and cornstarch). It smelled wonderful and was really easy to clean up, but stuck every where when sticky and then crumbled everywhere when too dry.

        1. I have had it with even play dough, I tell my students “Help Mommy with the dishes tonight, it will help” They are usually very excited to tell me the next day that it helped lol.

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