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.

 

DIY Homemade Soap Recipe: The Modern Homesteader Bar with goat milk and tallow.

Soap making: A brief explanation:
Soap is simply the combination of lye and oils.  When you combine them, they produce a chemical reaction called saponification and the end result is soap.  You cannot make soap without lye.  ALL soaps are made with lye, or they aren’t soap, they are a detergent.  You can buy melt and pour soap kits, but all that means is that the saponification part has been done for  you already, and you are simply remelting the soap and adding other ingredients.  From Zest, and Ivory, to Dr Bronners and any local soap, all have been started with lye.  Soap must be left to rest, or saponify, for 3-4 weeks before you can use it.  If you use it too soon the lye might not have completely chemically changed, and you could potentially burn yourself still.

This particular soap I have called the Modern Homesteader soap.  I love the challenge of using ingredients I can produce myself, with ingredients homesteaders in my area would have had access to 100 or more years ago. The tallow (beef fat) which I rendered myself from grass-fed beef, and the goat milk from my own goat, satisfy this “homesteader” urge I have.  The coconut oil and olive oil in the recipe are available now to “modern homesteaders” because we have the privilege of transporting these products to where we live so we can benefit from them too.  Old time homesteaders in my area wouldn’t have had access to these ingredients, so this is the modern part.  Olive and coconut oil are both fantastic ingredients in a soap, making a nice, hard soap with a great lather.

Before you start making soap, make sure you read through the recipe and the notes.  Have all your material on hand and your safety precautions in place.  If you are totally new to soap making, you might want to use water instead of goat milk since goat milk can be a bit tricky to use at first.  But, if you are like me, my second time making soap I was using goat milk.

Materials:

Scale
Stick blender
Soap mold (even a shoe box)
Plastic garbage bag
Old towels or blankets
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
White distilled vinegar, in case of lye burns
Long sleeved shirt
2 thermometers
1 large bowl, 1 large pot
Spatula
Stainless steel whisk
Spoon
Several smaller bowls for measuring ingredients into

Ingredients:

44 oz. tallow
20 oz. olive oil
20 oz. coconut oil
11.7 oz. lye
27 oz. goat milk, partially frozen in ice cube-sized chunks (or water, if preferred)
1 oz. essential oil

Directions:

  1. Have all tools and materials ready and available ahead of time.
  2. Prepare your soap mold.  You can use an old shoe box or a fancy soap mold, whichever you like.  If using a simple wooden mold or box, line it with a plastic bag, trying to keep as smooth as possible.  You will be pouring your liquid into this so you don’t want it to leak.  Keep your stack of old towels or blankets for wrapping it in, nearby.
  3. Wear your gloves, safety glasses and long sleeved shirt!
  4. Measure, melt and combine tallow, olive and coconut oil.  Set aside.
  5. Combine lye with goat milk.  When adding lye to goat milk, do so VERY slowly, stirring VERY thoroughly to prevent scorching the milk.  If it starts to turn even the slightest bit orange,  back off with the lye, and put the bowl in a separate bowl of ice cubes to slow down the heating.  The milk will melt.  The key to adding milk to soap is to do it very slowly.
  6. Measure the temperatures of both bowls.  When both are between 110F and 115F, combine the lye mixture with the oil mixture.
  7. Using a stick blender, blend, in a figure 8 pattern, making sure you are blending all of the combination.  Continue to do this until the soap reaches trace. (Trace is when you lift up the blender and a drip sits on top of the mixture slightly, like pudding).
  8. Add and mix in essential oil.
  9. Immediately pour into prepared soap mold.
  10. Cover mold completely with a board, or you can lie plastic wrap or a garbage bag carefully across the top of the soap.
  11. Wrap well with old blankets or towels to prevent from cooling too fast.
  12. Store in a warm location (room temperature, no drafts) for 24 hours.
  13. After 24 hours are up, using gloves, remove from soap mold and cut into pieces.
  14. Place pieces on an old towel, with air being able to circulate between each piece.
  15. Let sit for 4 weeks, turning soap once a week.
  16. If a haze appears on your soap you can simply scrape it off after 4 weeks, or just leave it.

Enjoy!

Tips:

  1. Lye is caustic.  It is a powder, and is activated when any moisture touches it.  It gets very hot, very quickly.  Use rubber gloves, long sleeved shirt and safety glasses to prevent burns.  If you do get burnt, pour plain white distilled vinegar directly onto the burn.
  2. You want to combine your lye mixture with your oil mixture when they are both about the same temperature.  Sometimes you will have to reheat either the lye or the oils to ensure they are at the same temperature.  That’s ok!  To reheat the lye mixture, place the bowl in a bowl of hot water.  To reheat the oil mixture, put it back on the stove and reheat.
  3. When dealing with goats milk (or any milk) you don’t want to scorch your milk.  This can happen very quickly since the lye will heat up very fast.  Freeze the milk in ice cube trays, for easy measurement and a more even melting.  Allow the milk to partially thaw, being slushy when you need it.  If, when  you are mixing your milk and lye, it starts to turn orange, stop, place the bowl of milk in a bowl of ice cubes, and try again.  Add the lye VERY slowly to prevent scorching.  If your mixture is a bit orange, that’s ok… it will turn brown when it saponifies.
  4. You can replace the milk content with plain, distilled water if you prefer.
  5. If you don’t want to use tallow, don’t use this recipe!  It isn’t recommended to change amounts and types of oils in a recipe since each oil has a different way of reacting to the lye.  I will be posting other recipes that don’t use tallow shortly.
  6. This recipe is a large one, and will produce about 7 lb. of soap.
  7. What types of oils to select?  Any grade of olive oil will work.  The more virgin it is, the lighter the soap will be in color.  Pomace grade (the cheapest kind) seems to come to trace a little bit faster but may contribute to a darker, slightly greener color.  For the coconut oil, I use an RBD grade (refined) coconut oil.
  8. Where to buy your ingredients?  Mountain Rose Herbs has a lot of high quality, organic soap making ingredients.  I have linked to them in the ingredient list above.  Lye cannot be mailed since it is caustic so you will need to find a local supplier.  I have a soap making supplier who is local and I pick up the lye at her store.  The oils can often be bought at grocery stores.
  9. Soap-making isn’t scary. It isn’t hard. And it is lots of fun to do with a friend. These bars turned out to be about $1.30 each which is MUCH cheaper than buying quality, homemade soap from a store.

This post has been shared on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #17, 75th Wildcrafting Wednesday, From the Farm #34Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #75 and Homestead Abundance #9