Hello, awesome people! :) I see that you are interested in my rye shampoo experience. ;) No long introduction today, let’s get into it!

How it all began – why I decided to wash my hair with rye flour

Actually, the answer is easy – zero waste. I was sick of the very strong plastic shampoo bottles and the fact that it is hard to find a good shampoo that is cruelty-free, somewhat nature and body friendly AND with OK price. I have quite long hair and I washed it once in two days, so the shampoo ran out quickly enough. Also, I had a feeling that the shampoo I used at that moment was making my scalp a bit itchy so I was really excited to try something natural on my hair for a change.

Have to tell you in the beginning – I am no longer washing my hair with rye flour. I did it for a month. I’ll explain why I didn’t stick with this method :), but I want to start with the benefits of washing hair with rye flour and what my routine looked like.

Let’s start with the routine

1. I took rye flour and mixed it with brewed coffee until it had a kind of shampoo consistency.

2. Then, in the shower, I applied that mixture to my hair. I did it with small doses, parting my hair in different places and overall trying to apply it evenly.

3. Then I waited for a while ( approximately 5–10 min) and rinsed it all out.

4. The rinsing was again for at least 5–10 min to get all the rye grains out of my hair.

5. After that, I rinsed my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar (I took 1 tablespoon for about 0.5 L or more) and let it sit for a few moments. Then rinsed it out too. And voila! clean hair with the rye shampoo method.

The benefits of rye flour shampoo and apple cider vinegar

One of the reasons to use rye flour as shampoo is the fact that rye is packed with B vitamins and it does absorb excess oils. In my recipe I used coffee and caffeine stimulates your hair follicles so your hair can grow thicker and healthier. Also, I was hoping the coffee would color some of my gray hairs. :O :D And yes, I would not suggest using brewed coffee on your hair if you are a blonde, because coffee may tint your hair in a way you don’t want to.

Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, is safe for all hair colors. Its biggest downside is the smell but I myself am not very bothered by that. And, at least for me, the smell, after washing my hair, didn’t stick and my hair smelled clean and not like a salad dressing. Apple cider vinegar gives your hair a shine, helps your hair to be more healthy, and other benefits you can read in this article. :)

My experience with washing hair with rye flour

I was aware that in the first months or even half a year the hair situation would be tricky. That the hair could be oily ALL the time and not really clean, but that after months it should go away and your hair would retain its natural beauty and cleanliness. Also, I was very much looking forward to washing my hair only once a week or so (I heard that with natural hair care hair gets oily slower). Of course, I didn’t get to the part where my hair is naturally clean and nice, but here is my experience.

P.S. I was a bad blogger :D and didn’t make really good photos with my hair but I have this one. :) This is towards the end of the month of rye shampooing and right after a wash (dried naturally).

rye shampoo - Lookforsmile.com_1

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How my hair felt after washing with rye flour

Even after the first washing with rye shampoo – my hair felt clean. It was kind of a surprise for me. I did have a more oily spot where you would make your bun, but except for that, it felt kind of OK clean.

One thing people said, was that when using rye shampoo, their hair was less static. I don’t know why, but for me, it was the opposite. :O My hair usually was not that static, but after washing with rye flour, they went crazy static as never before.

Diary entries about washing hair with rye flour

Also, I made little entries about how my hair felt at the moment after the 1st, the 2nd, and so on washing. I will insert them here:

The first wash with rye flour

After the first wash with rye, the hair is quite clean. Feels NOT completely clean though. The roots are a little bit flat and feel a tad oily but weirdly not in a gross way. On touch, the roots feel clean but look a bit oily. Overall I would go out with this hair and feel totally ok and clean. Feels like the hair has more volume (but I made a braid with wet hair at night and a bun in the morning, but still).

The second wash with rye flour

After the second wash, my hair got greasy really fast.

The third wash with rye flour

The third time, I added coffee instead of water to the rye and used a brush to apply it. Applied it closer to the scalp. The hair got greasy after 2 days. The most grease happens to be right in the middle of the scalp, somewhere where the part ends. Also the second time I used a hair mask I bought from an organic cosmetics store. I used it JUST in the ends. Worked as a drugstore conditioner!

The fourth wash with rye flour

The fourth time had a little wash with a little bit of rye with essential oil. Used what was left after my BF wash. P.S. After using a bristle brush on dry hair, the hair got soooooo greasy that I had to wash them. At first, I thought I will just rinse with water but then added a little bit of rye. The hair feels fine the next day and quite clean!

A week of washing hair with rye flour

After a week of washing hair with rye flour – they are a little bit heavy – grease on the top and if I don’t use any oil, VERY fluffy in the ends. For me too fluffy. But I discovered if I use a pump of coconut oil on the ends on dry hair, it makes them shiny and smooth. Waiting to see how my hair will feel after a month of rye flour washing because at the moment they should be going through the self-cleaning phase.

So, now you know my experience with the process and that it wasn’t THAT bad.

Why I quit the rye flour shampoo method

1. I didn’t get through the self-cleaning phase

Yes, I was kind of fed up after a month that my hair is never really clean and always looks meh. Ok, not always. The hair was really GOOD and CLEAN in the first 24 hours after washing but entering the second day, they would get greasy and flat really fast.

2. It was a time-consuming process

The washing process was too much. I think I could live with making the rye flour mixture every time I wash my hair, BUT it took time to apply it. Then, I wanted to wait for it to soak in and absorb all the oils better. Then, I had to spend a good 10 or even 15 minutes rinsing the flour out. I mean, that is a half an hour shower every time I wanted to wash my hair. So, I washed my hair approximately once in three days but really wanted to wash them every day because they were not enjoyable.

3. Flour grains everywhere

Something I didn’t read anywhere when researching about rye flour shampoo – the long rinsing process is necessary because there are little grains in the flour and they stick to your wet hair like you wouldn’t believe. And if you didn’t rinse them all out (by the way, it was impossible to rinse them ALL out, just the majority), when drying the hair, they would all fall out to your clothes, floors, stick in the towel, etc. MAYBE I just had some very rough rye flour with a lot of grains but I read that rye flour is used for hair washing because they have ‘stronger’ grains (wow, what a scientific language :D ) compared to wheat flour which is more sticky when wet and more in powder when dry.

4. The plumbing

I mean, flour in the drain? In time, wouldn’t the rye flour form some kind of blockage? When doing this routine in my apartment in Riga which we rent, I was kind of careless about this fact. But when I visited my parents for the weekend and did the method there (they live in a private house), I was more conscious of what the flour could do to the plumbing as I really didn’t want to block the drains there. I didn’t research this, but I felt that is not OK.

I guess those are the four main reasons why I gave in and switched back to shampoo. I am not giving up on zerowast-y options though and am going to try Castile bar soap as a shampoo and an ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse afterward because I liked the ACV. :) Even if you are not into the rye shampoo method, if you can get over the ACV smell, I would recommend doing a rinse once in a while. With diluted ACV of course.

Pros and cons of washing hair with rye flour

In the end, I wanted to make a table comparing the good and the bad when washing hair with rye flour shampoo so you can see how it looks. ;)

The Good The Bad
A cheap method that overall works. There is a shampoo preparation time before every wash.
Zero waste and natural option for hair care. It takes time (5–15min) to rinse all the flour out of your hair.
Rye flour is packed with B vitamins and other goodies which are good for your hair. This washing method makes ridiculously long showers because of the applying process, setting time, and rinsing.
Fewer chemicals in your hair and near your head which, I think, is a big PLUS. The hair gets greasy faster (in the 1st month definitely!).
Hair could go crazy static.
For me, the hair was more oily and flat on the top and very fluffy in the ends (1st month).
Concerns about what regularly rinsing rye flour in the drain could do to the plumbing.

So, overall, it looks bad. :D But keep in mind that there are people that do this daily and are VERY happy with the results. For inspiration google “rye shampoo” and look for the images or have a look at these posts:

Have you tried any natural hair care routines or maybe you are intrigued by some you wanna try? :)

                         With love,

                               Madara

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Lola
Lola
5 years ago

Hiya, Just weighing in from a total rye flour convert: First thing, I think a lot of it depends on your hair type. I have very fine hair and think that makes it a lot easier for me to actually get the rye all around my hair – mine never feels greasy after a wash and about 2 days after. Second thing, which I have found to be the biggest success in my no poo life, was to start using white rye flour where all the grains have been sieved out. In some countries, this is the standard way to… Read more »

Maria
Maria
6 years ago

I tried the rye flour method too. Managed to keep up with it for about two weeks and then quit. Just like your hair, mine looked greasy on the second day, felt heavy and oily. And then I found this Etsy shop – https://www.etsy.com/people/annachaton – and now I’m a VERY happy shampoo bar convert! :) Not looking back at all.

Maria
Maria
6 years ago
Reply to  Madara

Yes, I’m Latvian – I just figured out that since your blog is in English, maybe it’s best to post a comment in English too, so that everybody and not just a chosen few (hahaa) can read it :) I found this Etsy shop looking for a shampoo bar made in Latvia, and yay, to my surprise, here it was! I’m super happy with their products – so far I’ve tried several shampoo bars and a conditioner. Anna (the shop owner) has a very personalized approach. She asked me specifically about my scalp and any possible skin problems before suggesting… Read more »

Leta
Leta
6 years ago

This is an interesting method, I actually haven’t heard about using rye flour to wash the hair. But I like the idea of it, it’s a shame that it didn’t work out for you. My mother used to wash her hair with this white clay from Africa or something along those lines. It surely did the trick and made her hair look clean. But she stopped after a while because it got a bit too much. Just like with rye flour, it was quite a task :)

-Leta | The Nerdy Me

Rosie
Rosie
6 years ago

It’s really interesting to read the reasons why you decided not to stick with it. I tried “no poo” a few years ago and like you, I stopped because I didn’t always feel like my hair was clean and it was greasier than usual. I read that that does happen when you switch to “no poo” but I really struggled to stick with it, and eventually went back to trying to find eco-friendly and cruelty free shampoos and conditioners. As you said, they’re really hard to find and expensive so I am thinking about doing it again.

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