View Full Version : No-poo with rye flour - has anyone else tried this?

May 2nd, 2015, 08:34 AM
About a month ago, I decided to try going poo-free because my favorite shampoo was no longer available and I haven't been able to find a nice alternative. I went the baking soda/ACV route initially, but then decided to to some research before I fully committed. I discovered that, long term, it's actually quite harsh and can be very damaging. I am darn close to knee-length, and don't want to risk irreparable damage. So, in looking for alternatives, I came across this blog: http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2014/02/testing-diy-shampoos-rye-flour.html. It suggests using rye flour instead of baking soda. The benefits of the vitamins, pH-balance, etc. we're very intriguing to me.

I found other sites recommending this method, most of them referring back to the original site I found.

I've tried it for two weeks now with finely sifted flour that I've let infuse for a few hours in lukewarm water (although next time I may use chamomile tea instead of plain water). My vinegar rinse is chamomile tea (I'm a blonde who doesn't dye, but I wanted to punch up the color a bit), ACV, and a bit of raw honey. I like how it feels the first few days and was surprised how good my hair looks and feels. I'm only "washing" once a week, and I'm still in that somewhat awkward, oily, phase that accompanies a switch to no-poo. I'm a little surprised that the awkward phase has lasted so long because I'm usually a once a week shampooer, anyway, so I expected the transition to be a little easier. I'm hoping things calm down in another week or two. I still need to buy a new boar bristle brush; I'm just using my tangle teezer right now.

I was just wondering if anyone else has tried this method, or a no-poo cleansing method that doesn't include baking soda? What do you think of your method? Any tips for a new no-poo gal? I know about CO and WO, but those don't appeal to me at the moment. Who know what the future holds, though? :)

Just looking for some input. Sorry for the über-long post. Thanks in advance!

May 2nd, 2015, 08:59 AM
I definitely agree that baking soda is a silly idea for washing hair - long-term, it is highly likely to cause damage on all but the most resiliant hairtypes.

I've never heard of rye flour as a washing method. Personally, I can't see how it would work (except, maybe, if used as a dry shampoo and then brushed out with a BBB - some people do that with corn flour). I find the "pros" listed in the link a bit silly - it doesn't matter how many minerals and vitamins there are in a shampoo or cleansing method, it's not going to affect your hair or nourish it or fix damage and it's not going to cause your hair to grow in thicker or healthier. You need to ingest the vitamins and minerals for them to do that!

I also dislike her definition of "balanced pH" - it's a non-scientific nonsense term.

Personally, I'd be suspicious. Yes, there may be a few good reviews. However, there were a whole bucket-load of positive reviews for the "no poo" method to start with. Things really need to be used consistently and long-term before problems will occur and damage will show. That's true with all methods - be they masses of 'cones (which look great to start with but if overused without clarifying eventually result in tangles, dryness and damage), baking soda (dryness and damage, but only after a good few months or more), or whatever.

May 2nd, 2015, 02:03 PM
That's a good point about the vitamins. I mean, hair is dead, after all, and won't benefit from them. But I figured having the vitamins on my head can't hurt and just might benefit my scalp and/or new growth. A lot of things can be absorbed via the skin, and that was what I found appealing in the vitamin/mineral angle. You're certainly correct about vitamins and minerals needing to be ingested to be most beneficial.

I've got pretty healthy, virgin hair. I just can't find a good sulphate, etc. free shampoo that my hair likes. Most of it makes it feel gummy or limp, so I was looking for a decent homemade remedy. Maybe the natural shampoo would work better if I used the ACV rinse with it. I didn't start using it until I decided to try the no-poo approach...

chen bao jun
May 2nd, 2015, 05:11 PM
I haven't heard of cleaning hair with rye flour, but I have heard that not too long ago, slavic people used to clean their hair with rye bread.
Don't ask me how, but instructions are probably on the internet somewhere.
Have you thought about washing with aloe vera, or perhaps an egg, one of those methods like that?
my shampoo seems to be made out of water and coconut oil and shea butter and aloe and it works fine. It's shea moisture.

Deionized Water, Decyl Glucoside(Coconut Oil), African Butyrospermum Parkii (shea Butter)*, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Argan Oil, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Rosemary Extract, Sea Kelp Extract, Vitamin E, Guar Gum, Lonicera Capifloium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, ...

chen bao jun
May 2nd, 2015, 05:16 PM
Here you go. rye bread washing


russians discuss how to do this. You have to scroll down a bit. the top part talks about washing with shampoo that just smells like rye bread, the bottom explains how people's grandmas used to actually wash with rye bread. It must work, slavic women are famous for their gorgeous long, thick hair, traditionally, anyway.

of course, when you scroll down farther still, the thread deteriorates into bun jokes and jokes about beer hair washing.

the bread apparently was full of healthy herbs and it made very fine hair a bit coarser and thus easier to manage (braid)

chen bao jun
May 2nd, 2015, 05:24 PM

Nadine <3
May 2nd, 2015, 05:41 PM
I've never tried rye flour, but have you tried egg yolks as a wash?? I can't use it because my SD needs sulfates but it does work really, really well as a cleaner. You can customize it too, I liked adding EO's and honey when I did it. If I could, I would just forever wash with eggs.

May 2nd, 2015, 05:59 PM
Just like Nadie said, egg yolk washing can totally work.
I did the experiment for half a year and worked awesome... soft shiny hair. But my scalp felt greasy after some months and sometimes the chalaza would get tangled on my hair no matter how carefully remove it when separaring the yolk from the white. Hair itself loved it, but scalp was complaining.

If u try rye flour and experience success I ight give it a try. Just because I like natural ingrediens on my hair.

May 2nd, 2015, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the info, ladies! That bread technique is fascinating!

Chen, I have tried the Shea Moisture. I *loved* it, but my hair hated it. I had terrible slip with it and had such extreme loss that I was concerned something was wrong with my health. I switched back to a regular shampoo and conditioner (full of cones and sulphates) and the problem stopped immediately. I had a similar problem with an Argan shampoo. I've got really fine hair, and, unfortunately, extra moisturizing natural shampoos just seem to make my hair gummy or sticky.

I've only done the rye method for two weeks (two washes) and have been shampoo free for a month. It certainly feels gentler than the baking soda and my hair is clean. I'm just in that awkward phase where my scalp is adjusting. I did go to Sally's and bought a boar bristle brush today, so I'm sure that'll make a difference. After I've used the method for a while, if I like it enough, I'll post my method for anyone who's curious. Besides, it's a way to use up some of my rye flour. ;)

March 27th, 2017, 06:41 PM
I'm a bit late to the party, but yes I tried rye flour to wash with last week and will likely do it again.

Method I tried: 4 Tbsp rye flour in 6 Tbsp water, used like shampoo

Pros: Hair felt shampoo-clean without being stripped, cheap, easy to make and apply

Cons: Length felt a bit tangly, more flakes than I would have liked

What I would do differently next time: Since I used dark rye flour which I have since learned is harder to rinse out than light rye, I will either sieve the flour through a fine tea strainer before mixing with water or mix flour and water in a jar and strain before use. I will also follow it with an ACV rinse to see if that decreases the tangly feeling.

March 28th, 2017, 06:56 PM
Hi there! I have been using rye flour "shampoo" primarily for the past few months to wash my hair. It is so far one of my favorite no-poo methods. What I do is mix about (or at least) 1/2 cup of sifted, fine-ground rye flour (I tried stone ground and persevered for WEEKS until I ran out, but never again...) and hot tap water until it is a little thicker than shampoo. I like it thicker rather than runny for some reason. I then let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to get all soaked in, and then I mix in a few drops of essential oils. I figured out how to do scalp-only washes, which help IMMENSELY with the amount of flakes. I just put my hair into two braids, with the braids beginning at about collar bone length so the hair on my scalp is loose. I tie those two braids together and hoist them over my head and just tie them up in my shower. This stops the flakes from getting in the bottom half of my hair, basically.

I get my scalp wet and do a bit of preening, and then start glopping the "shampoo" on. I'll take a handful with one hand, slap it in top of my head, and with my other hand kind of lift my hair up from my scalp and smear it down from where I just put the big glob. I will also scoop some with my fingers and push it up into my scalp from below. Basically I get it in there, all over my scalp, as best I can. I also make sure to get the entire length of my bangs coated. And then I'll let it sit for a few minutes. I also like to get it a little bit wetter and do some rubbing/scrubbing. Something about adding more water when my hair is saturated in the rye helps almost make it sudsy. And then I do my best to rinse it out, but not all the flakes come out until my hair is dry and I can comb through it.

@Ophidian, one thing I do to help with tangles and dryness after all this, is I will mix up a spoonful of honey in some warm water, and add 2-4 drops of almond oil and some essential oil. I mix in the oils as best I can as well, and then dip and soak my ends in it. I will make sure the most of it gets on my very ends, a fair amount in the middle, and I just dump the last little bit right over my head.

March 28th, 2017, 10:53 PM
Awesome, thanks for your reply Reyn127!

I was really pleased by how clean this got my hair, and it gave tons of volume too. My biggest concern was the tangly feeling, which my hair is not usually prone to. I will try it again with a rinse afterwards. I was thinking of ACV because that tends to make my hair pretty slippery, but I like your idea too. My hair loves honey in all forms. Might do an ACV rinse with some honey in it and have the best of both worlds :).

I'm playing around with Indian herbs too (which I am also really liking) but rye flour is very appealing because I can get super cheaply from several grocery stores in my area and not worry about shipping.

August 13th, 2018, 12:42 PM
I am going to try this technique to shampoo my hair. I only want to use organic products and feel like rye flour will definitly work for me.

August 13th, 2018, 02:12 PM
I was no-poo with rye flour and ACV for about a year and a half (until last summer). It was a great transition from washing with shampoo and conditioner every day - but it's hard to say how much of the improvement I saw was from the rye flour itself and how much was from stretching washes and no longer using silicones/sulfates daily.

My hair was definitely softer and shinier for the first year or so (I was washing with rye flour and rinsing with diluted ACV about every 5-10 days, and rinsing with water only in between), but after that I started noticing the tangles and flakes that others mentioned. My ends also seemed super dry and stuck together a lot. At that point I started clarifying every 2 months or so with a sulfate-free shampoo, which would make my hair look amazing for about a week and then it would deteriorate again.

Ultimately I realized that I could get the same benefits by just doing water-only washes every other day, using a BBB and my fingers to distribute oils daily, and alternating a sulfate-free clarifying wash and an silicone/protein-free SMT (conditioner, aloe vera, and jojoba oil) every other week. I no longer get the flakes, tangles, or weirdly sticky ends anymore. I've been using that routine for about 6 months now and my hair has never felt or looked this consistently good. I still occasionally use my left-over rye flour when I don't want to fully clarify but my roots are feeling a little too oily to just brush out.