Soft No-Cook Playdough Recipe Made with Cornstarch & Conditioner

This simple 2 ingredient no cook playdough recipe great for kids of all ages. This quick and easy homemade play dough recipe takes about 5 minutes to make and results in hours of play because it is the softest, silky play dough recipe we have made. 

text: softest play dough -Kids Activities Blog - image of finished 2 ingredient playdough recipe with four balls of playdough on wooden background in colors of yellow, pink, blue and green
Let’s make the absolutely softest play dough recipe ever!

Best Recipe for No Cook Playdough

This is the EASIEST play dough recipe because it is no cook play dough.   It only uses two ingredients and about 5 minutes to make. My kids love to mold and create with homemade play dough for hours.

Related: Traditional playdough recipe has been shared over 100K times

A bonus with this homemade playdough recipe is that after playing with the silky play dough, your hands will feel like they just had a spa treatment.

Easy Homemade Play Dough Recipe

Did we mention this is our favorite no cook playdough recipe?

This post contains affiliate links.

Ingredients Needed to Make Playdough

Watch Our Easy Playdough Recipe Tutorial Video

Directions To Make No Cook Play Dough Recipe

Step 1

Mix 2 parts cornstarch with 1 part hair conditioner in a bowl.

Steps to make super soft play dough recipe in a collage: step 1 - add ingredients together, step 2 - mix and then knead, step 3 - add color or glitter - Kids Activities Blog
These are the simple steps to making your own playdough recipe!

Step 2

Stir with a spoon then dump onto flat surface and knead with hands until combined fully.

(Optional) Step 3

If you want colored playdough, then add drops of food coloring. Keep adding food coloring until you have achieved the desired play dough color.

Playdough making tip: We have found that adding the food coloring at this stage is the easiest. You can add it in step 2, but it can be controlled so much easier in this step.

finished super soft play dough recipe shown on a wooden background with the text, 2 ingredient play dough - Kids Activities Blog

Finished No Cook Playdough Recipe

Your playdough is now ready for play!

Safety Information: This is playdough recipe is NOT taste-safe and should not be used with younger kids who are still putting things into their mouths. Check out our favorite Edible playdough recipes.

Storing Your Homemade Play Dough

Because this no cook playdough recipe’s primary ingredient is conditioner, it tends to last a little longer than food-based playdoughs. After play, store your playdough in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. If the playdough consistency changes during storage, then follow directions below to fix your homemade playdough!

How to Fix Your Playdough Texture

Since not all hair conditioners are the same consistency, you may need to alter the amounts just a bit so it is dough consistency:

  • Play dough consistency is not soft enough: Add additional hair conditioner at any step to adjust the softness.
  • Play dough consistency is too soft: Add some additional cornstarch and knead into dough.
Yield: 1 batch

No Cook Play Dough Recipe

Great Play dough recipe makes fun gift idea for kids {No cook playdough}

This super simple 2 ingredient homemade playdough recipe is the easiest and softest we have ever made. Combine the two ingredients quickly and get playing within minutes! And because it is a no cook play dough recipe, kids can help!

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • 1 part Hair Conditioner
  • 2 parts Corn Starch
  • (Optional 3rd ingredient) Food Coloring or Food Dye or even glitter


  • bowl
  • spoon or something to stir


  1. Add 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part hair conditioner in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir until combined.
  3. Knead with hands.
  4. If desired, add food coloring.

Cloud Dough Playdough Recipe

Think of this as a mix between playdough and cloud dough.   It is light and airy like cloud dough, but molds better as the conditioner helps the cornstarch become more pliable.  

Related: Toddler Safe Cloud Dough Recipe

More Play Recipes with Corn Starch

Homemade Playdough Gift Idea

We made our Silky Play Dough as a gift for a friend. We packaged the play dough up with glitter, a couple of play dough toys (rolling pin, cookie cutters, sequins, etc) and cupcake liners.  

If your gift recipient may not be able to play with it immediately, then you can create a cute make-your-own-play-dough kit that has the two ingredients packaged separately with a printable instructions card and an airtight container for storage.

recipes for play

More Playdough Recipes from Kids Activities Blog

How did your soft no cook playdough recipe turn out? Is it the softest playdough you have ever made?


  1. Love, love, love this! I cannot wait to try it out with my son and my students! πŸ™‚

      1. just found out and made some and its being played with smells lovely !

      2. Katywithay says:

        Cornstarch looks like flour, but is used a thickener in things like gravy or custard. Available from any supermarket.

      3. Donna Basaldua says:

        Cornstarch is a powder that is used in cooking things like gravy. It is usually found in the baking goods isle with the flour and stuff and is very inexpensive. It also works great on diaper rash or for men to use on their sensitive areas when they work a job where they seat alot and get chaffed.

      4. Gean Sanders says:

        LOL Y ou must not be very old It is used to make gravy It can be found in the baking supplies if you are going to use it for play dogh or for anything really get the cheapest they are all the same

        1. Not sure it’s an issue of age. More likely nationality. Here in the UK I’ve had local folks asking me to “translate” American recipes. Corn starch is widely used here, but it’s call “corn flour.”

          1. We have something we call corn flour (also in Spanish masa harina I think). What do you call that stuff?

    1. May I share this with credit to you in my monthly ArtsyKidsNEWS that I send out by email? I want to talk about how to morf it into a Valentine’s gift… MaryAnn Kohl,

    2. Hi, Can anyone tell me what they use for the colouring of the play dough?

    3. While this is a well intentioned project; Why would anyone in their right mind use hair conditioner for a child’s toy? The chemicals in hair conditioner are meant to apply to hair and rinse out, some of them are quite harsh and toxic, so much so that I will not allow anyone in my family to use anything but olive oil and/or vegetable glycerin as a conditioner. Little ones playing with this “play dough” are likely to put the stuff in their mouths, rub their faces and eyes, etc.

  2. sam smith says:

    kids inevitably eat play dough. and even when they don’t, they will put their hands in their mouth during and after using it. either way, hair conditioner is not likely to be an ingredient that you’d want your young child to ingest. the blood brain barrier is not fully formed in kids, making them more sensitive to exposure to toxic or semi-toxic substances.

    1. Children who are still putting things in their mouth should not be playing with any play dough. Most children need to be at least 3 years old before you can trust them to play with it unsupervised.

  3. I tried this — and it IS wonderfully soft, which I loved. BUT, I found that it STUCK to everything — the table, the floor — and turned out to be a bit messy, in the end. Maybe I don’t have the proportions right?

    1. same thing with me they are right just sticky

      1. roll in some flour then the stickiness is gone

    2. ours did too at first but we just added a bit more corn starch until it firmed up. πŸ™‚

    3. Its because the corn starch. When it dries it has the same effect as a glue. Depending the surface you can take it out with a razor easily. Be careful if they try to mix it with water or something, because mine did that and put it on her LEGO figures to make them dresses and it was impossible to take out that thing for a whole week!.

    4. Try a bit of salt not too sure on how much, but im pretty sure it’ll do the trick.

  4. What is the amounts you used?

  5. Yes what quantity of each?

  6. Melissa Marceau says:

    Please include the exact ingredients for I know not what I’m doing and who doesn’t want a spa experience while working with little ones, who??

  7. work very well with 300ml of hair conditioner and 500 gr of corn starch, good fun to make and play with

  8. mrsculpepper says:

    this couldn’t have been featured at a better time. i just threw out our fall play dough a few days ago and had been meaning to make some summer dough to replace it. finally made this this today and i love it! i started with a 1:1 ratio of each ingredient which was too goopy. i added cornstarch little by little till i was satisfied. still plan to add some lemon scent although the suave eternal sunshine conditioner already gives it a nice summery scent. planning to make a strawberry scented batch as well.

  9. mcgarvinncwa says:

    For us folks in the USA, the proportions by Delphine D. work out to be about 1 1/4 C hair conditioner and 2 C corn starch (maybe add 1 more heaping tablespoon.) Going to try this today!

  10. I never knew conditioner could be used to make dough. Very fun!
    Dish Soap can also be used with cornstarch to make the same thing (if not very similar.)
    It is soft, silky and when you’re done playing, just head to the sink and your hands are full of bubbles as you wash off. πŸ™‚
    My preschoolers LOVE “Bubble Dough!”

    1. Anonymous says:

      Great idea 😎

  11. Candise King says:

    I wonderful if you could add a pack of Kool Ade for colors and scent. Going to give it a try.

  12. tried this and it didn’t work. It could be because you didn’t even mention the amounts you used.

    1. Anne, don’t be snotty.

      1. Katherine says:

        I don’t think she’s being snotty, just stating a fact. The post is called “play dough recipe” yet there is no receipe given.

        1. I will fix that. Thanks for the advice!

          1. I found the ingredients at the very first of the post…great idea ~ Thank you!

        2. Are you all blind? What do you think she posted? 1 part conditioner to 2 parts corn starch IS a recipe. My god people don’t pay attention any more do you?

    2. maybe if you would have read the whole post you would have sen clear as day “1 PART CONDITIONER 2 PARTS CORN STARCH”

      This means you need to use twice as much corn starch as you do conditioner..for example if you use 1/2 a cup of conditioner you will need to use 1 whole cup of corn starch. ( this is the amoutn we used and it was a perfect amount although it was very sticky at first so we just kept adding a little bit of corn starch until it firmed up and was play dough consistincy. πŸ™‚

    3. Kelley Saulsgiver says:

      It says one part hair conditioner to two parts cornstarch…. if you add one cup of hair cond. then add two cups cornstarch… πŸ™‚

    4. rayna walker says:

      Yes she did, she said 1 part conditioner and 2 pts cornstarch… meaning ex: 1c conditioner and 2c cornstarch, 1tbs conditioner and 2tbs corn starch.

  13. mrsculpepper says:

    my second batch got moldy within days. still an easy and cheap recipe and fun while it lasts, but no longer something i would give as a gift. my 1st batch is still ok so no idea why the inconsistecy.

    1. Angela Ravenscroft says:

      Maybe if you added a bit of salt it would stop it going moldy?

  14. could one use fabric softener in stead of conditioner?? has anyone tried this?

    1. It works, but it Β΄s not the best for little hands. The chemicals in fabric softener may cause rashes.

  15. It works fine. Just mix a little at a time. Takes about 3-4 mins of kneeding the dough till it forms together. If its dry and a little conditioner. Too wet add a little stratch. I made a pure white, hot pink and light pink. My 9 year old is so excited she ran to play! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Would have been easier to have the portions to use. Going to try it.

  17. Just tried with hand cream and came out perfect!! My 3 year old can Β΄t stop touching it. He loves it!!

  18. Oh my! This stuff is amazing! My children are having a fabulous time playing with this gorgeous soft play dough. My hands feel beautifully soft and smell amazing after rolling it. I now need to head off to the supermarket to buy some more conditioner… we’re addicted! Thanks for this amazingly simple and quick recipe.

  19. The end results were lovely…very velvety and fun play dough. But it took a lot of kneading and a lot of tweaking the amounts to get it just right. And even after that, the dough did stick to everything and fell apart pretty easily.

  20. This looks like so much fun. I am really thinking about making this for our daughter if I can get the conditioner away from Mom πŸ™‚

  21. This worked out wonderfully. We added some glitter to ours as well.
    Those worried about the chemicals contained in conventional conditioners can opt for organic vegan one or others that are safe for ingestion.
    So glad to see you on HHMBH!

  22. such a great idea and it makes your hand soft that is awesome

  23. WHAT?!!! Amazing!!!! My boys would flip! Totally trying this! Thanks so much for sharing, pinning!

    ~Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

  24. Love the recipe and mine smells and feels like heaven! But can anyone tell me how long this dough remains in a good and usable state? Can I bake it to keep my artwork? Or does it dry out if you leave it for a few days?

  25. Who would have every thought! My son always loves to play with play dough and it dries out so quick I am in need of more always. I will have to try this next time.

  26. Alexis @ We Like to Learn as We Go says:

    I’ve never seen a play dough recipe with hair conditioner. How fun! Unfortunately my girls still put everything in their mouths, so I’ll have to save this recipe for later. πŸ™‚ I’m featuring this tonight at my link party and pinning!

  27. judy gardner says:

    i love this idea! i have made playdough at home but it turns out stiff. i think the kids would love the texture and it is so easy!

  28. oh my goodness! Who would have thought? This is fabulous! Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink Times Two! I can’t wait to see more of your posts and inspiration tonight.

  29. I TOTALLY want to try this! What a creative recipe!!! Wonder if it gets in the girls hair if it will help with the tangles (LOL =)

    I am featuring this on TGIF today. Thanks for linking up and sharing your creativity with all the rest of us. Have a GREAT weekend,

  30. Yay! Can’t wait to try with my girls! Featuring you at this weekend’s party! Thanks for linkin up to Sunday FUNday!

  31. How cool! I must admit that I used to love making play dough with my mom but I’ve never gotten the cooked one down. I do something wrong every time. I’ll have to try this. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  32. Just made this using regular ol baby lotion.. Smells so good and my daughter loves it!

  33. Really? I’ve tried alot of different recipes, but never seen this one. I will give it a try pronto. Thank you for sharing this recipe πŸ™‚

  34. Can I substitute lotion with conditioner?

  35. I made this for my son last night after seeing it on another page. The proportions were off for me but I just added more and more cornstarch until it was the right texture and not sticky anymore. It was really soft and fun at first, but it didn’t work well with playdough tools like cookie cutters and it did stick to everything. By the time he put it away less than an hour later, it was sort of crumbling and falling apart too.

    This is a great instant playdough recipe for kids who don’t put things in their mouths anymore, but I wouldn’t consider it the standard long-lasting kind that you can keep in the fridge or give as gifts. Still, it was great for Thanksgiving night easy fun. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  36. OMG Anne! The recipe states 1part Conditioner and 2 parts cornstarch. It’s not hard to work out.
    I love this recipe, quick, easy, smells great and the kids love it!
    For all the Aussies on here my quantities were 1/2 cup conditioner to 1 cup of cornstarch! Then I added 3 drops of food colouring! πŸ™‚

  37. This is great, my kids are older now, but I think that I may make it for me. πŸ™‚

  38. 1 part conditioner to 2 parts corn starch is a way to give the right amount without telling you how much to make. I’m not going to want to make a lot, just enough to try it out, so I’ll probably use 1/4 c. conditioner( I have mint scented conditioner that I can’t wait to try!) and1/2 c. corn starch. then, if it is too thick or too runny, I’ll add more of whichever ingredient is needed. Different brands of conditioner have different consistencies, so I’m expecting it may not be spot on first try and that I’ll have to play with the formula a bit. I’ll have to try a small batch with baby lotion as well, and see which I like better. My hands always get dry during the cold months so anything that lets me have fun with my child while moisturizing my hands is a win in my book. πŸ™‚

  39. Oh WOW! Finally an easy to make, no need to keep refrigerated, plays rough my celiac children can safely play with!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    1. Oh cool! We hadn’t even thought of gluten-free for this!

  40. Would not use this with young kids! Rubbing their eyes, ingesting it etc. bad idea!

    1. You are right! You really only want to do it with kids old enough to not put it in their mouth.

  41. lisa howell says:

    for us in the US, can you name some conditioner brands, so i can look for them? thanks for any help.

  42. Hi…thanks for sharing this. I’ll try it with my preschoolers … Question though…what’s the shelf life of this dough recipe?

  43. Does Johnson’s that makes baby shampoo also make a conditioner?-one that is safe for little ones?

  44. Linda Marcum says:

    When you say 1 part does that mean 1 cup??

    1. Yes, it can mean anything. So if you use 1 cup of one, you will use 2 cups of the other. Or if you use 2 cups of one, you will use 4 cups of the other.

  45. Yaya Washington says:

    I just tried this with my Littles and we were completely AMAZED!! This is a fabulously EASY, fool proof, FUN recipe to do. I learned that the type (i.e moisturizing) of conditioner used may matter. I used moisturizing; therefore needed to use a lil more cornstarch. I also used gel food coloring….this is by far, my new favorite recipe. We had sooo much fun, we’re doing it all over again tomorrow with our Girl Scout girls:)

  46. Can you replace corn starch with corn flour? Its what I have….I will try it and see what happens!

    1. Yes, one of our FB fans tried it and it was a different consistency, but worked fine!

  47. I really liked the idea and enjoyed myself making flowers for/with my daughter, but unfortunately it didn’t dry properly and was all cracked the day after almost sandy! How can I do to keep the creations?

    1. I don’t think this is the best recipe for keeping things. A salt dough is better for that.

  48. For people saying that there isn’t instructions on how much to use… It says equal parts. 2 parts corn starch to 1 part conditioner. Sooooo if you are using a 1/3 cup you out two 1/3 cups of corn catch and one 1/3 cup of conditioner. If you are using 1 cup then you do the same. Adjust the recipe for how much you want to make at one time. Duhh

  49. I, like others, found this recipe to be sticky, yet crumbly. In fact I still have not figured out how something can be so dry and crumbly yet sticky at the same time. It dried out before I was even done making it all! I added drops of water and flour alternately to get the right consistancy, but it doesn’t last. Sorry to say I’d skip this one…it sounds good, but the finished product isn’t worth it. I just spent an hour and a half making it and cleaning it up with about 5 minutes of play before it was unusable. Its a shame because I love how it makes my hands feel, but it is not a good play dough, period.

  50. This recipe is awful. It sticks to everything or breaks apart and did coloring stains their hands.

    1. We are so sorry that was your experience. We use this recipe all the time, but often because conditioners are of various consistencies, we have to alter the amount of starch.

  51. If you use a natural inexpensive conditioner, like 365 brand from whole foods, you can avoid the harmful chemicals, like parabens, or pthalates. Just a suggestion for the health conscious. Everything is absorbed through the skin.

    1. Very true! There are lots of conditioners these days that are chemical-free.

  52. I can’t wait to try this with my many bottles of hotel hand lotion!

  53. This dough is amazing! It took a little tweaking to perfect but it is quite easy to figure out. Mine was real sticky at first so I just added more starch one tbl spoon at a time till it wasnt sticky anymore. It became crumbly of sorts but all it took was some kneading a little more conditioner to get it just right. If its sticky add more starch. If its crumbly add a tad of conditioner.. it turned out wonderfully. My son loves it & my husband was very impressed! If you make this and you can only complain then maybe this type of project is not for you. A little patience and common sense is all you really need.

  54. Its cornstarch and conditioner not water and flour, Janine.. that could be whats wrong..

    1. some just dont get it lololol

  55. Love it! Love it! Love it! Quick and easy. Made me feel all crafty with my kid. Fun to make for both of us. Doesn’t take long to make.

  56. This play dough recipe was great on day one. Although, it did take a lot of tweaking to get the consistency just right. However, my daughter and I got it out to play with today (less than 24 hours after we first made it) and it was a crumbly mess. Won’t be making this again. Too much trouble get the recipe just right to have to throw it out the next day.

  57. Stephanie says:

    I love it! This gets all over the place if you let it. I didn’t measure just mix until you get the right consistency. I didn’t want mine too wet so I think I used more cornstarch but it did look like your photo. If you use food coloring the color does not come out vibrant so it will look more pastel. This was a great idea and I love the teacher’s comment on using dish soap to make bubble dough. It is great to try out new things for sensory play!

  58. Oh my god, worst play do ever! So disapointing, no amount of tweaking made this fun for my very disapointed 2 year old πŸ™

  59. LOLOLOL…. I think i may have to break out my calculator to see what 1 part and 2 parts add up to be…lolol… as I sit here shaking my head at all those who cant figure this out! lmbo…. and wondering what one would do if you had 3 ingredients to use. altho some actually did with the water etc. anywho…. my kids are grown and my hands stay so dry from working with cardboard… think I will have to make some for me! πŸ™‚ and its cheap enough I can just toss it out and make more the next time. dont guess Im going to squable over having to throw out about 50 cents lol… good day yall. ( I hope to never have to eat a cake some of you end up making from a recipe) HAHA

  60. I think this is such a great idea …perfect for arts and crafts. I’d like to share this on my business page to other parents that would be interested.

  61. Could you advise on how to store these? I put our finished product into a Ziploc bag and on the shelf, and two weeks later it was covered in mildew. Thanks!

    1. Keeping it in the fridge will make it last longer. One of our FB readers reports that she has had hers for over a month, but stores it in the refrigerator.

  62. I just made this was very easy to makewould recommend.

  63. Benny Sequeira says:

    Is ‘play dough’ the same as ‘cold clay/procelain’ – except with a few different ingredients. I am planning to make christmas ornaments, would your recipe work for the same, will it dry hard and stay good to be hung on trees. The recipe that I have come across for ‘cold clay/porcelain’ is : corn starch, glue, baby oil and vinegar – to keep it from molding. Please advise.

  64. I’ve just made this. Smells awesome. Took a while to get it right and even then I’m not satisfied really but my girls just declared me the best mum ever as I made cloud dough this morning too. Word of advice: If you add glitter it goes EVERYWHERE!!!!!

  65. The consistency is killing me. I think our conditioner was a little too cheap. Lol. I’m going to try a little thicker brand. Very goopy at first but my boys thought that was awesome. I have made it twice and I still haven’t perfected it. Maybe next time. The kids love making it. It smells delightful.

  66. Do you put more hair conditioner to make it soft again?

  67. I wonder if you could use coconut oil or a more natural conditioner?

  68. Wow I love it.just made both and I must say it feels so much better on hands. But I will be buying less expensive conditioner for this project. I also added a little flour for it to be less sticky and the kids are having a blast

  69. Thanks for the fun activity! I tried it with my kids and featured it on my latest blog post. Love your blog!

  70. As some conditioners are quite expensive, can you use mayonnaise, because I heard that mayonnaise can work the same as conditioners? (Plus, it can save money! LOL!)

  71. I.LOVE.THIS.STUFF!!!!!!
    It smells beautifully & keeps my 2 year old son busy for a while. Thank u sooo much!!!

  72. I love this and was cheap! Conditioner was only 1.48 and smelled of coconut! I think I love it as much as kids!!

  73. I love this idea!!! Can someone please tell me what the cupcake holders would be used for in this gift idea? Sorry for the silly question. πŸ™‚

  74. Susana A. says:

    I actually did it, and it came out PERFECTLY! Thank you so much! I can’t wait for my kids to play with it, they are going to love it! πŸ™‚

  75. I’m going to try this to use up freebie conditioners from hotels . But I think Samantha’s idea of coconut scented sounds great .

  76. Shivang Goel says:

    This is such a great and exciting activity. At this time of quarantine this can indulge people a lot and is a great timepass.

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