No poo method: rye flour as shampoo

No more plastic bottled shampoo

When I started to reduce plastic  in my life, I bought an unpackaged solid shampoo bar from a very wellknown soap bar company first.
In the beginning I found it quiet nice, but my hair was getting really dry and got more and more split ends, and itchy scalp, so I researched for more alternatives. And I read about rye flour as homemade natural shampoo for healthy and shiny hair on many Zero Waste Blogs so I thought: Why not.

I have had dry and split ended hair since years. I always thought it might have been because I dyed my hair many years in a row. From red (Henna-natural dye) to black and white (chemical alaaarm!). So I have always been on the “hunt” for better products in the shops… Bought fancy, and expensive hair masks, etc. So why not try rye flour too?

Since there is no access to bulk in every small town, I couldn’t buy rye flour in bulk, but I was lucky that they had rye flour in paper packaging in supermarkets in Germany, so I could give it a try straight away. (I also used this rye flour already)

I was surprised at first second. The moment I washed the rye paste out of my hair I could feel it was really soft already.
After a few weeks my hair had a great shimmer, and looked healthier than ever. So here I am still using rye flour after I tried “water only” and different soap bars, rye flour is still my favorite. And the best of it all? I could actually eat it. No chemicals or micro plastics or hormone disrupter to fear.

Happy-Tip: Check out my favorite no-poo products:

What is No-Poo actually? Water only?

What is the real No-Poo actually? It’s actually water only!

I was really curious to try water only. I thought that might just be the easiest solution. But hell no, it is not the right treatment for every kind of hair and scalp I guess…..

I lived in Mexico when I tried the water only treatment. Perfect to try not to wash your hair with soap because everybody walks around with beach hair here. So no need to hide it 😉 The first two weeks were great and I thought yes!!!! Thats it… But then suddenly my hair went greasy and more greasy. I tried to ask for advice and they told me to be patient, I would need two-three months until the hair get used to it… So I waited.

After 2.5 months I couldn‘t take it anymore. It looked awful! And when I brushed my hair a lot of grease and dust that got stuck in my greasy hair stuck to the brush too. Ughh….  I had never had that kind of greasy hair before. And I needed up to two months to get my hair to act normal again. A lot of soap, shampoo bars, vinegar rinse and then finally rye flour when I went back to Canada (I couldn’t find plastic free rye flour in Mexico).

So no, I guess I won’t try that again 😀
Ariana from the blog “Paris to go” who has great hair with water only, told me afterwards that water can show great success if you have thick hair, water only might not be the solution for thin hair.

So I just sticked to rye flour then and use shampoo bars now.
But if you like to read more about the water only hair routine check out Arianas blog for that. -> How to start water only hair washing

So why is rye flour good for hair?

I actually never researched why rye flour is such a good alternative, but a few days ago somebody asked and I didn’t know, so I started to do some research. I found the same answers everywhere:
  • rye flour is filled with vitamins, proteins and minerals.
  • it contains all of the Vitamin B’s, Vitamin E, Omega 3 fatty acids and phytonutrients such as: saponins, plant sterols, phytic acid, etc. which are great in helping the hair with regeneration, regrowth and skin regulation (you can basically use the rye flour as a face mask or for the whole body too)
  • pantothenic acid (known as a synthetic Pro-V in conventional shampoos) is present in natural form in rye flour.
  • Rye flour is naturally pH balanced. In tests rye flour is on 5.5 on the pH scale which is the same for our hair. That’s why it won’t strip it of natural oils or dry it out. So great if you have a dry, sensitive scalp or dandruff.

What rye flour should I use?

Get finely ground light rye flour* (preferably organic).

If you take flour thats not finely grounded or there are husks in there, you will end up with a lot of flour flakes in your hair.

I accidentally just bought the wrong rye flour in bulk the other day and ended up having all the bigger bits stuck between my hair and on my scalp 😀

Good thing is I just used the rye flour to make pancakes, so no need to throw it away!

How to use rye flour as shampoo?

It depends on how much and long hair you have. I have short and thin hair and use 2 table spoons of rye flour with double the amount of water to have a slightly running paste.

Wet your hair and then spread the paste all over your hair and scalp (make sure to not let the water run while you do so ;).

Let it sit for a few moments while you wash or shave, and then wash the rye flour thoroughly out of your hair. Make sure to get it all out, leftovers on your scalp will itch and look like flakes.
You will feel straight away that your hair feels soft.

If you like you can mix 1 table spoon of apple cider vinegar* (I like this one, it is mostly also available in a glass bottle) with 1 cup of water to use as a conditioner.

The smell will go away once your hair is dry. Just make sure to not get it into your eye, it hurts. It happened to me already…

Are there any side effects?

If you don’t have Celiac disease there are no known side effects. As with every other new shampoo your hair might need  a few weeks of washes to get used to the new treatment, but that is totally normal.

But please remember: If you have Celiac disease, please be careful. This might not be the right shampoo for you!!!! Check with your doctor and read more here.

Update: A friend of mine did have problems (side effects) with her drains in the shower. After using rye flour for a longer time it got clogged. If you are afraid about this you should try and find a good shampoo bar, or a refill option for shampoo.

Rye flour shampoo "recipe"

  • 1-2-3 tbsp fine grounded light rye flour (depending on your lengths of hair)
  • Mix with water until you have a slightly running paste (some say it works better for them if the paste is really running, I find it easier if it is not too thin)
  • Wash out thoroughly and if you like use an apple vinegar rinse too.
  • If you hair feels still dry, try and use a tiny tiny bit of coconut or argan oil to rub into your hair ends. Too much will make your hair look greasy straight away, and I can only use it the evening before I wash my hair, because else I look like I have really fatty hair. But for people with thicker hair it works great.
  • If you are in a rush and can’t wash your hair, you can mix starch with unsweetened cocoa powder plus a tiny bit of cinnamon to make your own dry shampoo.


  • Don’t make rye flour shampoo in advance. It will become kind of a stinky sour dough something. I tried it once accidentally when I made too much and kept if a few days for the next wash, it was not really fancy 😀 

Alternatives: Shampoo Bar

If you don’t feel comfortable with using rye flour you can go find a good shampoo bar. Find a few recommendations here-> Shampoo bars

At the moment, I’m not using rye flour anymore, but I am using a very nice shampoo bar from a german shop called DM (a chain you can find all over Europe).

Last but not least: Hair needs time to adapt to change

If you used conventional shampoo and conditioner for many years, your hair got used to it. So it will need some time to get used to other hair care.

Like humans need time to change habits, hair needs time too 😉 

Hair is also as individual as you and I am. So it might take a little while to find the perfect shampoo bar/shampoo alternative that is perfect for YOUR hair, but I can tell you it is worth it!

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