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.

Well.

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.

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2 ingredient play dough from Our Best Bites

2-Ingredient Silky Smooth Play Dough

5 from 7 votes
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!

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Place the cornstarch in a large bowl.
  • 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.
  • You may need to add more conditioner as you go. Use food coloring to color as desired. Keep covered when not in use.

Notes

  • 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.
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I made this with my six-year-old son today, and we both LOVED it!! It’s our favorite play dough that we have made so far. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. 5 stars
    I wanted some green dough—so I used some green and yellow food coloring-mixed it into the conditioner with my electric mixer —then slowly added some corn starch, mixing again with the mixer. About the last 1/2 cup I mixed with just my hand and I was so pleased—no green hand. Great dough!

  3. Great recipe! I test made an individual golf ball size amount and we plan on using this for a library program next month. So easy!

  4. Thank you for this recipe. I used Tapioca starch because a family member has a corn allergy. It turned out nicely. I used Trader Joe’s citrus conditioner, which smelled great. I had to play around with the portions a bit, but it wasn’t hard to zero in on the right texture. This is great for kids who can’t play with regular play dough due to the wheat content.

  5. If you are working on a table that needs a little protection, some parchment paper taped down with duct tape works well!

  6. My 12 year old daughter just made this with some left over conditioner I had. Turned out perfectly with the 2 cups of corn starch and one cup of conditioner. It makes quite a bit so she divided it up to make 3 different colors. The trick is to not use too mach food coloring so your hands don;t stain. She just used a bit to make pastel colors and it did not stain her hands at all. This was a nice break from slime making. I cannot wait until this slime making phase is done. I have ordered so many gallons of glue from Amazon and now we always have about 20 containers of slime all over the house! It was nice to use materials we already had lying around the house! Thanks!! 🙂

  7. I eyeballed a small amount of cornstarch and hair conditioner and got exactly what you described: a silky ball of play dough.
    Not at all sticky or crumbly. Thank you!

  8. I let my 3 year old granddaughter mix this up. It turned out sticky. She added more cornstarch and it was crumbly. Then more water and it was sticky. She had so much fun mixing and making a big mess. It was great.

  9. does it have to be that same type of conditioner because there are different ones please reply

  10. I made a trial run today….to make sure it works before I let me kiddos in childrens church try. AWESOMENESS!!!! I used cheap dollar store cornstarch and Suave strawberry conditioner. They will absolutely love it!!!? Silky soft and plyable! Thanks! Wish I could post a pic!!!!!

  11. Thanks so, so much for this amazing recipe. My 18 month old grandaughter and myself tried this plat dough recipe out today and it was such a success. She loved the silky, smooth texture and pliability of it. This is a clear winner for little ones whose hands are not as strong as the bigger children, who can easily play with firmer dough.

  12. I made this with two of my clients during OT today. It was SO fun and they loved it! Used cheap V05 from Dollar Tree and skipped the food coloring, easy peasy to get the ratio right. It was great to draw letters and numbers in and one of my kiddos used a small toy backhoe to scoop it up, made “rocks”, and had a blast using his imagination.

  13. It definitely was silky-smooth! But it doesn’t act the same as play-doh. when I tried to “stamp” letters onto it like play-doh, it would come off into the molds. I tried with other molds, too. Same thing. Fun to play with, but mostly just mushing it up. And, yes, I would avoid food coloring if possible.

  14. A great recipe to do with your kids! My kiddos had so much fun making it and we played with it all day. If you are looking for playdough that feels store bought I would use a recipe with creme of tar tar. It makes really good playdough but it takes the fun out of making it with your kids because it can get pretty hard for them. Best kid friendly recipe ever!

  15. Meanwhile in Canada we all be like….” what’s a snow day?”…. 😉 thanks for the recipe! Excited to give it a try!

  16. I just made a batch and it worked out great!! I am planning on making it with my preschool class tomorrow.
    THANK YOU!!

  17. My kids and I just spent an hour making this…and remaking this…and adding conditioner to this…and then adding more conditioner…and repeat…
    In our experience, the ‘playdoh’ stays soft and pliable for 5 minutes and then starts flaking off everywhere. We tried adding more conditioner but each time, it only remained playable for a few minutes.
    The concept is great…but this is one recipe we will definitely not be attempting again.

  18. I found it to be a little sticky even at the right consistency. Little bits would stick to my hands. So I made a batch of the cooked playdough (flour, salt, cream of tartar) and mixed this in. Perfect.

  19. All the kids are asking when I get more cornstarch and conditioner! We are going to try to not have too much fun and follow the instructions ???

      1. The most AMAZING play dough we have ever tried, and believe me, we’ve tried them all! You are a genius!! <3

  20. We had some fun today, we got the vo5 conditioner 2 strawberry for the girls and kiwi green for the boys! All the kiddos followed the instructions I read, but of course you have to have a little cornstarch fun while waiting for everyone to measure their conditioner ?The kids had such a blast cornstarch was just every where!!!! We do fun and crazy stuff outside, live and learn? That way I don’t have to worry about spilling or through ingredients at each other so my point was the girls was super red with glitter and just sticky as can be. While the kiwi experiment came out perfect ! By the way I drenched the girls in red food coloring! It was too stick to see there hands anyway for a while! What to do with sticky good smelling glittering fairy dough, you try by writing and painting the concrete just to get it of your hands! I actually snug some sticky dough to and wrote my name on the ground! We had so much fun?By the way since we been trying to through it at each other, it doesn’t stick to fabric but really good on skin! Thank you so much for such a great time with all the kiddos! Easiest good smelling cleanup ever!

  21. Very nice recipe. I made this while trying to find the perfect ingredients. After I made it I looked for it inline too and found this. I suggest that if you use a lotion try it out in your hands first. If ut turns clear and oily in your hands then it won’t work we’ll. if it stays creamy until absorbed into hands it Will work. You can also use pure baby cornstarch powder instead of baking cornstarch.

  22. Our school has enrichment classes for an hour during this whole week. I found your recipe. It’s so inexpensive. I bought coconut White Rain conditioner and corn starch at the 99cent store. Food coloring at target for 1.50.I mixed the corn starch and conditioner in front of them so they can see how easy it is to make. I made one batch and all 19 students received a ball of dough. I placed a few drops of food coloring of their choosing. Their hands were stained but soap and water cleans it up. They loved the smell. They cleaned their desks with baby wipes. They absolutely loved it. My room smelled so good. Thank you so much for the easiest, most inexpensive and creative recipe!!! I did this with kindergarten- 3rd grade. All of them loved it!!!!!

  23. I’ve made this many times and love it. We added glitter too! Mine has lasted months in a plastic storage container. Whenever it starts getting a bit crumbly I just bring out a bit of conditioner, add a squeeze, the kids get mushy all over again and voila! Back in business!!! ADORE this stuff!

  24. I loved this recipe! It was super easy, super soft and you can adjust it if it is too sticky of crumbly. I mixed in the food coloring with a spoon first or you can use plastic gloves. I used coconut conditioner, it smelled great!

  25. Used Wal-Mart brand corn starch approx 2.5 cups
    Approx. 1 cup coconut scented White Rain conditioner
    Came out nice and smooth. Kids enjoyed it very much.
    It did start to break up easier as they played with it so I had them roll it back into a ball and gather the pieces.
    Overall a cheap, easy and fun play doh recipe 🙂
    Thank you!

  26. I worked with children and definitely I try this magic Mon . Thanks.I will let you know the results soon.

  27. Just had an awesome thought… If you smooshed this stuff into a little balloon and tied it up nice and airproof, it would probably make a GREAT stress/squish-ball.

  28. I love this stuff! Never heard of the recipe before but had to try it immediately. I didn’t measure anything but started with a few spoons of cornstarch in a bowl and added St. Ives oatmeal and shea butter body lotion because it has a mild scent and I thought it would be soothing to my hands to play with. I just added a few squirts and mixed, and again and again until the consistency was right. It is SOOOOOOOO smooth and soft to play with! Definitely not like regular Play-Doh, which is much firmer and would be better for rolling pins and cookie cutters. This is more something to just fidget with. But I really LOVE it!