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…
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.
- 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.