What Is Arrowroot Powder? Your New Favorite Natural Beauty Ingredient, That's What

If you hand me a list of instructions, I am sure to quickly scan through the list, nodding my head in understanding and then do almost the exact opposite. This is why I only know half the things my cell phone can do. This is why I do not bake. If there is one item that I've ignored in most of my recipes, it's because the ingredient is unhealthy, unnatural... or not in my kitchen. One ingredient in particular had been nagging me for some time: arrowroot powder. What the heck is arrowroot powder? Where does one even BUY arrowroot powder?

Of course, curiosity eventually got the best of me, so I kept my eye out for the stuff on my journeys to the health supply stores. For the most part, no one had any idea what I was talking about. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon arrowroot powder while looking for red pepper flakes at the Market Basket in my parent's small New Hampshire town. It was just when you finally give up on your dream winter coat and suddenly you find it where you'd least expect it... OK, it was slightly nerdier than that.

Arrowroot powder is a perennial herb that is almost 23 percent starch, which means you're likely to use this powder as a natural thickening agent for sauces. However, now that I've purchased some myself, I'm also adding this powder in my DIY beauty recipes. Unlike traditional baby powder, arrowroot doesn't contain talcum powder, which is unsafe when inhaled. Sure, most of us aren't running around huffing baby powder, but better safe than sorry.

Arrowroot an underground plant that's dried out in the sun to get the powder, which is about as unprocessed as you can get. It's not all about starch either; arrowroot actually contains several B vitamins and vitamin A, which means antioxidants. Our skin loooooves antioxidants.

You don't need to be a DIY Beauty Guru to want arrowroot powder in your life: Arrowroot can be used on its own and in a variety of clever ways that will save you time and cash.

1. Lighten Your Powder

Like many makeup wearers, I've had to purchase a summer foundation powder and a winter foundation powder. You can add a small amount of arrowroot powder to your existing foundation to lighten the color of the powder. This seriously works wonders.

2. Dry Out Blemishes

Arrowroot is actually a great alternative to baking soda when it comes to zapping zits. Many people find baking soda to be extra drying and irritating, mainly because it's so alkalizing. If you've got beef with baking soda, try dabbing some arrowroot powder on your next zit to absorb extra oil and bring down the inflammation.

3. As a Natural Alternative to Baby Powder

Whenever you are about to reach for that OTC baby powder with a long list of ingredients on the bottle, remember arrowroot. Arrowroot can be used for diaper rashes (yes, adults can get them too, especially those who wear pads during their period), to keep your shoes smelling fresh, and to absorb sweat.

4. For Deodorant

Speaking of absorbing sweat, arrowroot powder is an excellent addition to your DIY deodorants. Mix your favorite carrier oil and arrowroot powder together or, if you've got a recipe you love, adding arrowroot is a great thickening agent to help get a deodorant-like consistency.

5. Fix Oily Roots

Sprinkling arrowroot on the roots of your hair can diminish the oily appearance. If you aren't trying to shampoo too often, I highly recommend using arrowroot as a dry shampoo (although, it will just remove oil build-up, it won't actually clean your hair).

Image: Ahmad Fuad Morad, Caitlin Regan, Sarah Gilbert/Flickr; Walmart; Giphy; Kristin Collins Jackson