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 kind of shampoo consistency.

2. Then, in the shower, I applied that mixture into 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 ( I would approximate 5 – 10min) and rinsed it all out.

4. The rinsing was again for at least 5 – 10min 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 0.5L or more) and let it sit for a few moments. Then rinsed it out too. And voila! clean hair with rye shampoo method.

The benefits from rye flour shampoo and apple cider vinegar

One of the reasons to use rye flour as a 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 to 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 colours. 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. :)

I was aware that 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 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 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


My experience and description of how hair felt

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

One thing people said, 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.

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

After the first wash with rye, 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 looks a bit oily. Overall I would go out with this hair and feel totally ok and clean. Feels the hair has more volume (but I made a braid with wet hair at night and a bun in the morning, but still).

After the second wash, hair got greasy really fast.

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 drugstore conditioner!

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 my hair got soooooo greasy I had to wash them. At first I though I will just rinse with water but then added a little bit of rye. Hair feels fine the next day and quite clean!

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 in the ends in dry hair, it makes them shiny and smooth. Waiting to see how my hair will feel after a month of rye flour washing because ATM 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.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. 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 while I applied it. Then, I wanted to wait for it to soak in and absorb all the oils better. Then, I had to spend good 10 or even 15 minutes rinsing the flour out. I mean, that is a half an hour shower everytime 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. 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, don’t they really don’t 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 afterwards because the ACV I really liked. :) 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.

In the end, I wanted to make a little 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 plumming.

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,


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  1. 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 buy rye flour but in others, you have to buy the whole meal flour and sieve it through a fine-mesh sieve yourself (I used the kind that is normally used for powdered sugar in baking). Before I started using only the white flour, I also it very ineffective and tiring and annoying and wasteful that I had to spend so long combing it through in the shower but now, it’s my favourite thing in the world! Also, it clogs your drain less if you only use the very fine grains.

    If anyone is interested, this is how I used rye flour shampoo:
    Mix white rye flour with water to a shampooey consistency using a fork. Let sit for at least 20 minutes and max overnight (otherwise it might start to ferment). Mix through with fork and possibly add more water. I like to nake mine quite liquid so that it’s easier and faster to apply.
    In the shower, wet your hair thoroughly and apply the rye mixture and let sit for just a couple of minutes before rinsing out. I always use my hair brush to comb through while under the shower head.

    And tada! That’s how I do it 😊

    • Madara Reply

      Hi Lola!
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I am so happy that no poo rye flour method works for you! :) I am sure someone will find your rye flour “shampoo” recipe ad tips useful, thank you for sharing your experience. :)

  2. 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.

    • Madara Reply

      I’ve heard you have to stick with this method for at least a half a year, but the transition is really hard. :/ That looks like an awesome etsy shop, I will definitely check out their products. And it is a made in Latvia!! :) Are you from Latvia as well? :)

      • 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 the right product. Iesaku! :)

        • Madara Reply

          oh, yes, that was a really nice thought of you! :) Now you have really, really intrigued me with that etsy shop. ;)

  3. 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

    • Madara Reply

      Yeah, looking back, I kind of liked the method, it felt so natural and smelled amazing (some commercial shampoos have such a strong smell, that I wonder why :/). But the downsides were a bit too much for me. African clay sounds exciting too! :O There are many, unbelievable alternatives to shampoo if you just start looking. ;) Some people even live with just a water rinse and are happy. :)

  4. 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.

    • Madara Reply

      Yeees, I read that too, that you need to stick with it for a long period of time to finally see the results, but when you are in the process, it feels like your hair will never be really clean. :D If I will find a really good alternative, I will definitely share it here on the blog. Btw, I would like to try a Lush shampoo bar, but I live in a country where there are no Lush stores anymore. :D Maybe you would like that, if Lush is available for you? Don’t know is it any good though.

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