In many countries, rye flour was used as a natural shampoo long before the invention of conventional shampoos. Indeed, it is one of the most traditional ways of washing hair alongside kefir, eggs, soapnuts, and some other natural remedies.
As more people learn about the benefits of switching to “no-poo” (no sham-poo) methods of washing hair, the rye flour “shampoo” becomes popular again as a cheap and effective alternative to conventional shampoo.
I am a big supporter of “no-poo” method, which means quitting the sham-poo and washing hair with natural ingredients instead.
There are a few reasons why you would want to go “no-poo”. Some of them are:
- Natural ingredients are usually better for your hair and scalp health than the conventional shampoos
- It is usually better for the environment as we are not polluting the water with chemicals
- It can be beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing, as when you stop putting harsh chemicals from commercial shampoos on your scalp, you have fewer of those chemicals in your bloodstream
- Can be cheaper, depending on the ingredients used
- Hair’s and scalp’s health improves – you hair can get more shiny, manageable, and voluminous, dandruff and scalp irritation/itchiness can go, also you can find that you need to wash your hair less (I went from washing my hair every day to washing it every 5-7 days, and I have heard that some people can even go weeks without needing to wash their hair on “no-poo”)
- The process is very creative – you can find more about the cleansing properties of plants and experiment getting your perfect shampoo formula
There are some disadvantages with “no-poo” – most of them are temporary, and the benefits usually outweigh those temporary inconveniences, however, it really depends on what you are looking for, your way of life, and dedication to the process.
Here are a few disadvantages and solutions I have come up with.
- Takes time to adjust – in the short run hair might become greasier. Unfortunately, it is the case for most of us. As the scalp gets used to commercial shampoos “stripping” nearly all the oils off our scalp and hair, it can take some time to adjust to a new method where not all, but only some oils are washed off the hair and the scalp. “No-poo” is considered a much safer way to wash your hair as it leaves some oils essential for scalp’s and hair’s health. However, for a couple of weeks – months (depending on the hair type, scalp type, etc.) you will have to come through an adjustment period with oilier hair. There are a few tricks that I have found useful in this case. You can wash your hair more often and then over time extend the period of time – it is one of the most universal advises for anyone trying the “no-poo” method.
- In the preparation for his method (described below), you will need to first put the rye flour through the strainer to get rid of the flakes, however, you will not be able to strain all the flakes, so when your hair will be drying you will see lots of flakes falling out everywhere. You will also need to take extra time to comb the flakes out once your hair is dry. Hence, even though this is by far the best “no-poo” method I have tried (read more below), it is not for everyone as it can be messy and time-consuming.
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar are one of the most popular “no-poo” methods (you can read more about how to do it and my experience with it here). Using these two ingredients helps get the hair looking clean and shiny, is inexpensive, and requires little time. However, after have been using this method for months, I noticed that my scalp got drier, and I even started having the itchiness. I read more about it and, apparently, many people experience the same reaction. Unfortunately, baking soda tends to dry out the hair and the scalp, so this reaction is common, and many people don’t recommend this method. In my research, I also found many people who were using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for years and did not experience any adverse reactions.On the other hand, in my research I also found many people who were using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for years and did not experience any adverse reactions, so I think you need to choose what works best for you.
Unfortunately, baking soda tends to dry out the hair and the scalp, so this reaction is common, and many people don’t recommend this method. On the other hand, in my research I also found many people who were using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for years and did not experience any adverse reactions, so I think you need to choose what works best for you.
After trying the rye flour method, I noticed that my hair became silkier, and my scalp dryness and itchiness was gone. It gave hair nice volume, and yet did not completely “strip” the scalp of all the oils. It took me some time to get used to rye flakes in the hair after washing, but now I use rye flour hair washing method all the time and completely stopped using baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Ingredients (per wash):
2 tablespoons rye flour (I use this organic one)
water (approximately 1/2 cup, but might use less or more)
container (can be a cup, a bowl, anything that you will be ok with using in the shower)
- Strain 2 tablespoons of rye flour into the container using the tea strainer
- Put a bit of water to create semi-liquid mass, mix well together
- In the shower, wet your hair, then apply the rye flour mix to the scalp and hair, massage thoroughly. I then wait for about 3-5min for it to penetrate, it also acts as a hair and scalp mask. I then wash it off with warm water. You can then rinse your hair with 50-50 vinegar-water solution for extra shine and conditioning, but it is not necessary as rye flour shampoo usually conditions well.
- Dry and style hair as usual.
I found this great 3-minute video where you can see step-by-step instructions to how to make rye flour shampoo; it also shows hair before and after.
Have you ever tried “No-poo” hair washing method? If so, which one did you try? Did you find it helpful?