Homemade Shampoo With Rye Flour: Natural Pro-V for Thick, Shiny, Healthy Hair!


In our day and age shampoo is a necessity.  Everyone has it, and everyone uses it frequently.  Most commercial shampoos are made of a number of ingredients, almost all of them being chemicals, and almost none of them being natural.  Shampoo is actually a detergent, rather than a soap.  If you read the ingredients, you won’t find soap in there at all.  Many of the ingredients are questionable as far as our health goes, including potential carcinogens and developmental and reproductive toxicity such as glycol, diethanolamine DEA and cocamide DEA, methylparabens, propylparabens and formaldehyde.  Shampoos contain many thickeners, artificial fragrances and colors, and known skin irritants such as sodium laureth sulphate and alcohol.  If you can’t pronounce the words on the ingredient list, chances are you shouldn’t be pouring it on your scalp at regular intervals.

The good news is that there ARE alternatives.  Many of you have probably heard about washing your hair with baking soda.  This works in that it cleans the oil out of your hair, but it is also a strong base on the pH scale, and can dry out your hair if you use it long enough.  Some people also complain that it changes your hair color.  I used baking soda for 2 and a half years.  I liked using a 1-ingredient product that I was familiar with, but eventually I started noticing it was drying out my hair, and I started using conditioner to help with that.

Then I came across an article from another green blogger. Sonya from Kanelstrand shared her experience using rye flour. This article has inspired me to write this post.  In fact, it has brought me to great levels of excitement and I can’t help but tell everyone I see…

Rye flour.

Yes!  3 heaping tbsp. of organic, finely ground rye flour mixed with water so that it resembles a runny paste.  Rub it evenly onto your scalp and let it sit a few minutes while you finish your shower.  Then rinse off very well with warm water.

It is as easy and as cheap as that.

Does it work?
Yes!  Check out my pictures!  It leaves my hair squeaky clean, and adds a shine and softness incomparable to baking soda, or anything else.  No greasy roots, no dry ends.  No stripped hair.

Why does it leave your hair shiny and healthy?
Rye flour is loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals.  You remember all those Pantene ads on TV where they talk about the Pro-V they add to their shampoo?  Well, the pantothenic acid they add in synthetic form is actually present in rye flour, in its natural form.  You can actually buy synthetic pantothenic acid vitamins to add to your hair to increase the strength, shine and overall health.  While those versions are man-made these occur naturally in rye flour, helping restructure dry and damaged hair, boost shine and improve manageability. Click here for more information on how pantothenic acid benefits hair.

Rye flour also contains all the vitamin Bs, vitamin E, and phytonutrients such as lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins which are also used to help with hair re-growth and even skin regeneration.

Rye flour is naturally perfectly pH balanced.  This is a huge reason why you should use it over baking soda.  Rye flour tests 5.5 on the pH scale which is the same as our hair, and so will not dry it out or strip it of its natural oils.

What kind of rye flour to buy?
I use certified organic dark rye flour that is finely ground.  (ie. you can’t see bits of husk in it).  I have a flour mill so will likely try grinding my own soon…

Who shouldn’t use it?
Those with Celiac disease should not use it since rye flour contains gluten.

Is it easy to switch to using rye flour?
As with the baking soda method, you may experience a period of time when your scalp and hair adjust to the change.  If you have been shampooing every day with a regular commercial shampoo you may notice a few weeks where your hair gets greasier faster, but you may not experience it at all.

Can I use a conditioner with it?
Yes you can.  Or you can use apple cider vinegar (with a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tbsp. vinegar) as a rinse.  Pour it on your hair, let it sit a moment, then rinse well.  Once your hair dries, it no longer smells like vinegar.  Apple Cider Vinegar works as a detangler.

Tips:

  • After washing with rye flour, rinse VERY WELL to make sure there is no flour left in your hair.  It will itch… I have done it.
  • Do not use if you have Celiac Disease.
  • Make sure the flour you use is finely ground and doesn’t contain bits of husk or you’ll be brushing that out of your hair forever.

For more information on washing your hair with rye flour read:
Kanelstrand: Homemade Shampoo Review: Rye Flour
Washing Hair Without Shampoo: Rye Flour

This post has been shared on From The Farm Blog Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #112, and Heritage Homesteaders Blog Hop #4.

 

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Comments

  1. Bobbi Kennedy says:

    While the AC doesn’t smell after rinsing it out, I have noticed the smell comes back very strong after sweating. Embarrassed myself to death while out dancing one night!! :) How is going to an acidic extreme with the AC not stressful on the hair? Do you use an ACV rinse or conditioner w/the rye wash?

    • Bobbi you are right. The ACV might be throwing off the ph so you could try going without. I sometimes use conditioner and sometimes ACV. I have also gone without and had good results.

    • I noticed that too. Do you rinse out the vinegar, or do you leave it in?

      What worked for me was; I rinse out the vinegarsolution, and I take a cup op clean water, add a few drops of essential oil (any kind you like, I prefer peppermint;) and pour it over your hair. Leave in for a minute or two, and rinse out (or keep it in, depends on how strong you want the smell to be).

      Totally removes the vinegar-smell :)

  2. Shannon WishIwasfishing says:

    This is what I've been looking for! It works so well I have long dark hair, it leaves my hair shinny and soft. It cost next to nothing. I found it at several different stores. It is very easy to use. I put it through its paces, waited till my hair was greasy to try it and was so surprised it worked like a commercial shampoo it was so squeaky clean. There was no adjustment time for me. I used it three times already (I don't wash my hair but every four to five days) and I'm still loving it. I keep getting compliments on how beautiful my hair looks and what shampoo do I use. Lol you should see some people's face when I say rye flour. Thank so much for the post one less thing to worry about!

  3. Love this idea! I have never heard of using flour before, but I am totally going to try it! Baking soda has been sooo drying on my hair, too!

  4. Won't the flower crust and harden in your drain pipes?

  5. Hi :) I also found this from Kanelstrand and have been using it the past month, I love it. My only problem is that sometimes my hair comes out feeling over-conditioned & separates into sections, I'm wondering if I should try something other than vinegar (flour only was rather tangly). But this doesn't always happen, so I haven't pinpointed the cause.

    I am curious – you use 3 tablespoons? Your hair is really beautiful, and around the same length as mine (though I have hair loss from trichotillomania), maybe I should try using that amount. I've made it very watery – I figured "3-4 tablespoons" meant three fourths of a tablespoon rather than 3 to 4 whole ones, since OnBeauty says two thirds of a tablespoon, so I went with three fourths. Goodness, I'm bad at being brief. Anyway maybe my other problem will be solved if I just use more flour, but I'm afraid to use too much as it'd get significantly more expensive.

    Sorry for the novel. <3

    • Hi! Yes I use 3-4 tbsp. Quite a bit. I haven’t had any issues with the ACV but you don’t really have to use it at all if you don’t want to. I never put ACV on my roots either. Good luck!!

    • Kylie-Joe says:

      I add about one and a half teaspoons of Aloe Vera Gel to my “shampoo”, and I don’t need any conditioner or detangler afterwards.

  6. Angela Roshto Parker says:

    I have never ever heard of this method!!! I love it. I even have Rye flour… I'm going to have to try this soon. Thanks for sharing at the From the Farm blog hop!

  7. Can you mix up a larger batch of this at a time…enough for a week or so? Does it store okay? I was thinking of trying it for my kids and it’d be easier if I didn’t have to mix it at the time.

  8. This sounds like what I have been looking for. Have you tried adding essential oils to the shampoo. I think EOs could heighten the benefits.

    • it tends to wash out when you use it in the mix and then rinse it off your hair, but you could certainly put it on after when you are brushing your hair. If you want to get the benefits from using them then go ahead and add them to the mix. They fragrance just doesn’t last well. I was also thinking it would be good to use a tea as the water you mix your rye flour into. Chamomile, or sage etc… there are lots of herbs that are good for your hair!

      • yes I was just thinking the same (to use tea). I will try it with stinging nettle tea if I can find rye flour any time soon.
        Also I was thinking that instead of rinsing with apple vinegar afterwards you could put some in the rye water mixture. Did someone try that already?
        Thank you for this tip its great and I can not wait to try it out myself!

  9. I tried Bobs Red Mill and couldn’t wash all the flour out! Is this brand too course? Maybe I need to mix it with more water, can you give an estimate of how much water to add? Thanks

  10. I have tried numerous DIY shampoos and all resulted in disaster. My quest has now come to an end. The rye flour is awesome. Day 1 my hair was unbelievable soft. I have used it about 10 times and love the feel. I have great hope in using this forever!
    All I need now is a DIY conditioner. My hair is extremely thick and I have long spiral curls. No matter what shampoo (DIY or not) I use, I have tangling & knots after shampooing (even the rye flour). I have tried ACV and other recipes I found on line and nothing works. The ACV was so bad it took an entire bottle of store bought conditioner and nearly 2 hours to de-tangle. Any suggestions for DIY conditioner?

  11. I want to start using rye flour on my hair but I can’t find organic dark rye flour fine grind anywhere in the stores or online. Can someone please tell me what brand to get? I was going to buy the Red Mills brand but it looked like there were big pieces in that would get stuck in your hair. Thank you for any help.

    • You won’t get clumps stuck in your hair, but the bran from the rye (the darker flecks) are harder to wash out, and if the rye isn’t milled super fine, you may end up brushing the tiny bits of bran out afterwards. I use a brand that comes from Westpoint, but I am Canadian so that may not help you.

  12. Hi – I have been using rye flour to wash my hair for about 2 weeks now (washed 3 times) and condition with ACV rinse. I had been no-poo for 1.5 months prior to that (BS and ACV) and had worked through the transition. My hair is not coming clean with the rye flour. It feels like there is build major build up on my hair. It looks unclean and greasy, but feels brittle at the same time. I have hard water. Do you use a shower filter? Do you have any suggestions for me? I don’t want to go back to BS, and I don’t want to buy a clarifying shampoo. Thank you!

  13. This sounds amazing! I have been using BS/ACV for a few weeks but just read an article explaining how BS is highly basic even when diluted, rye flour sounds like the perfect solution. My question is; can you premix up say 4 -5 washes worth of the rye flour paste? I put my BS+water in an old shampoo bottle and it could stay there in the shower so it doesn’t feel like you’re doing all this extra prep, could the same be done with this method?

    • It might last for a little while, but flour and water are prime breeding cultures for mold so I am not sure it would last long enough to be worth while storing.

      • Yup, I had mould grow on my batch in a couple of days and I threw it away. Very inconvenient to mix it up daily though. Do you think I can add anything to it (like vinegar) to prevent the mould?

  14. Hi! Ive been using rye flour to wash my hair, but I have trouble rinsing it all off. I feel it in my hair and see it in my brush. This could be because I stupidly used rye meal the first few times, or maybe the hard water. But lately I’m thinking it might be because I dont rinse long enough.
    So I’m wondering, how long do you rinse off the rye flour? How many minutes?

    • It depends partly on how fine the rye flour is, but I have experienced this too. It brushes out nicely though. I rinse for a couple minutes.

      • Thanks for replying so quickly! It doesn’t brush out very nicely in my case.. It kinda sticks. I think it’s either an issue with my mixture or how long I rinse. I guess I’ll make the mixture more runny! Could you tell me the ratio rye flour : water you use? Also do you think rinsing 4 minutes is enough? Last question: do you use distilled water to mix it?
        Sorry for all the questions! I really want this to work.

        • No I don’t use distilled water, just warm tap water. I make it fairly runny… so it would pour out, not clump out of a cup if that makes sense! And rinse rinse rinse! I hope it works for you!

  15. Lyn Chambers says:

    Ok, so I bought the Bobs Red mill stone ground version and had dandruff all day despite vigorous rinsing. I then took that flour and ran it through my Blentec blender 3 times on high speed…….it was actually hot when I finished. I ran it through a sieve. I STILL have dandruff today. This is really frustrating as I really like the way my hair feels. Where can I get FINE ground Dark Rye Flour?

    • I think the problem will persist since you can’t brush it out because you don’t brush your hair :(

    • Kylie-Joe says:

      I add Aloe Vera Gel to mine, and so far my dandruff has not come back. I only add about one and a half teaspoons. I also rub the mixture onto my scalp for a few minutes, add a bit of water and rub in more before I rinse. I massage my scalp while I rinse as well. Perhaps the added ingredient and paying more attention to my scalp is what helped me.

  16. Lyn Chambers
    OK, so I bought the Bobs Red mill stoneground version and had dandruff all day despite vigorous rinsing. I then took that flour and ran it through my Blentec blender 3 times on high speed…….it was actually hot when I finished. I ran it through a sieve. I STILL have dandruff today. This is really frustrating as I really like the way my hair feels. Where can I get FINE ground Dark Rye Flour? (PS I don’t brush my hair when it’s dry as it’s very curly and i would have a big frizz so I can’t brush the stuff out). I do use a conditioner comb in the shower to try and get all the bits out but it’s not working….need a finer grind. Thanks.

  17. Catrina Lankford says:

    Any problem with drain clogging? The gluten…..I've used the rye flour and ACV combo a few times and my hair feels great! But I have old pipes and I'm a little nervous.

  18. Catrina Lankford says:

    Bobbie Stump Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?

  19. Oh my gosh! I LOVE this idea. But, I DO have celiacs, but have a variety of chemical sensitivities as well, so I’m trying to use alternative body care products. I’ve tried the BS/ACV routine, but it didn’t work very well for me. Right now, I’m using a clay rinse that I make, but it can often leave my hair sticky and coated feeling. Do you think that another gluten-free flour (corn, oat, etc.) would work the same way? Has anyone tried this?

    Thanks!

    • I read somewhere that you can also use gram flour (made from chickpeas), instead of rye flour.

      I haven’t tried this, so I can’t promise anything though ^_^

  20. Christy Sanders says:

    Ummm… sorry to burst the hippie bubble but the law of physiology still applies. Hair is DEAD and cannot absorb vitamins and nutrients. Sorry.

    • Stephanie Meyer says:

      Yes, hair does not absorb nutrients so don’t hope for that. however, typically you are scrubbing this into the scalp which is not dead and can absorb nutrients. Yes the nutrient claims of shampoos are marketing scams, but there is validity to nutrients being applied to skin.

    • Phoenix Green says:

      A nutrient filled “Hippie Bubble” is always much better than a chemical filled “Consumerist Bubble”, dear. I’d rather pour “useless” nutrients on my head than a bunch of things I cannot pronounce, and have no clue where they came from.

  21. Gopika Ath says:

    so can I use styling products after using this type of shampoo and ACV?

  22. seriously? wow I'm shocked. what else did the industry tricked me into?

  23. Any additives recommended to prevent mould growth or to slightly increase “storage” life? Thank you very much!

    • Because you are mixing it with water which is a contributor to bacterial growth, no I don’t think there is anything, at least not anything natural, that would maintain the neutrality. Adding vinegar would just make it more acidic.

      • Stephanie Meyer says:

        You might try essential oils that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Rosemary, Grapefruit, and Tea Tree Oil come to mind.

  24. Happy Hairdresser. says:

    For the last month all I have used is the rye flower shampoo. I’m a hairdresser and have had a few customers that have stopped using conventual shampoo, their hair looked and felt great. I thought that I needed to look into no shampoo so that I could answer questions, and inform myself. So I stopped using conventual shampoo. What I have noticed is that my hair colour has faded, this most likely is from using the ACV. However I love the rye flower, and use a combination of Avocado oil, essential oil as a conditioner on my hair ends now, and only use the ACV once in a while. I talk about and recommend using the rye flower shampoo to my customers.
    Thanks for your post.

  25. Lori Green says:

    I have been using bs/acv method for a few months and things are well, but I thought I’d try a method with a ph more suitable to our hair.
    I did the rye wash per your instructions, last night w/acv rinse and my hair is great!.

    How long have you been using the rye wash method?, as I am a little concerned about protein build-up, and how I would rectify it, if it happens.

  26. thank u for this article! i was using baking soda for a year or two but w/out the vinegar and instead tried to just use a very moisturizing conditioner. i loved how baking soda would clean my hair and even lightened it which i didnt mind…but i just couldnt run my fingers thru my hair at all and always had to have it in a bun….i grew out my hair down to my waist and i couldnt enjoy it? thats when i decided enough was enough. even putting argan oil in it wouldnt keep it healthy for long and plus its expensive….so i gave up on it and tried this rye flour….wow! after one use i cant stop topuching my hair and can let it loose, and i know itll only get better…whoever discovered this is a genius

  27. Those with gluten issues can use Gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, which can be found at Indian stores or possible a health food store. Actually any bean flour will work too.

    Benefits of Gram Flour for Hair
    9. For healthy hair:

    Do you know that besan can be used to maintain healthy and shiny hair? Prepare a hair pack by mixing 1 egg white, 2 teaspoon of besan, 1 teaspoon curd and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix it well and apply the pack all over the hair concentrating on the tips. Allow it to dry and wash off with cool water.
    10. For long hair:

    Use this simple home remedy for long and strong hair. Make a nourishing hair pack by mixing gram flour, almond powder, curd and a teaspoon of olive oil. If you have dry and damaged hair, add 1-2 capsules of vitamin E oil. Apply it and rinse with cold water after it dries. Repeat it twice a week

  28. Stephanie Meyer says:

    I tried rye flour mixed with Bentonite clay and hated it. It was clumpy and crusty and I rinsed twice for a long time, brushed like crazy and am still picking residue off of my scalp. I used ACV after and it still was hard to comb. I hated it so much that I’m scared to try it again. My hair was sticky and tangly and completely unmanageable, however it did look clean if you don’t look close enough to see the flakiness on my scalp. Maybe I will try the flour alone. Bentonite is alkaline like baking soda so it might be responsible for making my hair feel bad (though BS didn’t leave my hair with this bad). It felt like I had glue in my hair and it was almost impossible to dry. It was by far the worst natural shampoo experiment. I have ordered rhassoul clay which you can use as a paste but I’ve also read that you can dilute it much like the baking soda and use it in a spray bottle, which would be far cleaner and more convenient. Maybe you can do that with the flour too? Rhassoul clay has a ph of 7, which is about the same as tap water…baking soda is 9. I am also going to try a soapwort root infusion, which is a lighter cleanser and ph balanced for the body. It might be nice between paste applications if that’s what it comes down to. Aloe juice is also a good alternative for ACV. Not only does it not smell so intense, but it also helps with hair loss. If you have hard water, you may not want to rinse the ACV (will smell a little longer) or aloe out, as applying alkaline water can negate the benefits. Hope this helps!

    • Thanks for the aloe tip. I am going to try that. As far as clay goes, clay is a desiccant so I am not surprised it is drying out your hair. It naturally pulls moisture out of things which is why I use it as a desiccant in homemade laundry detergent etc. :)

  29. Do you know if rye flour shampoo can damage hair oder create dandruff? I dont know if the little hairs that are sticking out are breakage oder just newbies.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Are you able to make this ahead of time? Say, the night before, or even a full sized bottle of it to last for a few days?

  31. Anonymous says:

    I've used hairspray with no issues. I make my own though (out of sugar and water) so not sure how much of a difference it would be with commercial hair products.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Oh now Christy, that may be true but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't use the most nourishing ingredients that you can to care for your hair. The hair may not be able to absorb those nutrients, but it does make a difference when you compare the results from using chemical based products.

  33. Leona McEachern says:

    Christie thanks for the label. A hippie bubble hey? Have you tried the rye flour yet? If it works, wouldn't you rather use it than a load of chemicals from byproducts, some of which are known to cause cancer? Anyway, back to my hippie bubble..

  34. Leona McEachern says:

    Yes.

  35. yellowalien says:

    I tried rye flour to wash my hair and it was absolutely amazing!
    2 months ago I bought a shampoo for dry hair. My hair is not dry, but my scalp is, so I tried this shampoo and my dandruff reduced a lot, but in the same time my hair became grasey :( I have never had greasy hair in my life!! :((
    When I tried the rye flour solution, I was afraid that it won’t totally clean the grease. After I rinsed my hair, it felt kind of not squeeky, so I panicked and I was veeeryyyyy afraid it’s still greasy :)) But after it dryed out, I noticed that I had the most amazing hair ^_^
    I also tried some years ago some indian plants for hair wash, grinded and mixed up with warm water, but they were pretty expensive and I had to keep the mixture in my hair for about 20 minutes. They were greenish-brownish and my bathroom was always a mess during this procedure :)
    In my opinion, rye flour does an excelent cleaning solution for my hair, it’s not expensive at all, the hair remains clean and nourished, the husk flakes fall off after drying, is gentle with my scalp, my roots are not greasy and my ends are soft. I also use a plant-based 99% natural conditioner, but I’m sure the rye flour can go without it.
    Thank you for your article. I am going to use rye flour whenever I can (I often go in mountains and travel so I have to use regular shampoo sometimes). :(
    I am also going to try it with honey as a face mask and as a face cleanser ( I never use cosmetics and soap for my face).
    Regards,
    the yellow alien

  36. yellowalien says:

    I also have a question about this…
    Is it ok if I make a hairmask with almond and coconut oil and them wash it away with rye flour? It is strong enough to remove the grease?
    I am waiting for the answer of whoever tried this ^_^ Thank you!

  37. I live this product ,but hate the tangled hair
    How can i tackle that.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Can you use light rye flour as it is finely ground?

  39. Your scalp isn't dead, maybe the skin and hair follicles benefit. Also, your skin does absorb chemicals from the commercial shampoos.

  40. Brianna Bass says:

    actually… it does absorb things. It all depends on whether or not the cuticle is open or closed. Hair is actually very absorbent. Dead, yes. But still very absorbent. That's how you get moisture over-load… or protein over-load… both real things.

  41. you can pre-prepare batches of this stuff. All you have to get is a dozen or so small plastic storage containers and add the flour for one wash’s worth to each container, just add water to the container while you shower!

  42. Jackie Foster says:

    more than anything it is the Ph of the substance and the closing of the cuticle. And I priced the flour and it is way cheaper than what I normally use. Imma try it. I have color on my curly dry hair, the idea of NOT drying it out with chem is very attractive….

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