About three years ago I switched my hair care from traditional shampoo to baking soda and vinegar. I love this combo and have had great hair from it.
However, at the moment I have very limited access to baking soda and remembered something I came across about a year ago, rye flour. It seemed a bit too far off for me at the time but now, rye flour is something I have easy access to. So, I gave it a try and it works.
Unfortunately, at this point, a disclaimer: I have no idea why rye flour works and how and I’ve only been using it for a few weeks. Anyone with more insight, please comment below. I’ll just stick to describing how I use it for now.
How to wash hair with rye flour
First of all, I need a good, fine rye flour. I got mine from the baking section at the supermarket. Coarse flour could result in flakes left behind in the hair (more on this below).
For my short but thick hair, I use about two teaspoons and mix it with water. I use the same spoon I used for getting the flour out of the package and warm water from the tap. I don’t worry too much about lumps too much, a few lumps won’t hurt. But, the smoother the better because the consistency I’m going for is that of shampoo. In my first attempt, I used the flour with too much water and it ended up just running over my shoulders and not sticking to my hair and scalp. I found the shampoo consistency also easier to handle.
Next, I get into the shower and wet my hair. Again, the first time I used it, I poured the mixture into dry hair. It didn’t work as well and the water just ran down rather than sticking to my head.
With wet hair, I massage the water-flour mixture into my hair, my scalp in particular. I admit this part is a little weird because the flour doesn’t distribute evenly in the hair and seems kind of lumpy. It takes some work to cover all of my head with the mixture.
Then I tend to let it soak a bit. I don’t know if that’s necessary but that’s how I do it.
The most difficult part of using rye flour as shampoo is the rinsing part. I highly recommend to get all of the flour out and therefore rinse very thoroughly. I once didn’t rinse enough and ended up with flakes falling out when I combed my hair. It wasn’t a huge deal, my scalp didn’t itch or smell, but it wasn’t nice to look at. So, rinsing is key (and fine flour).
And once the hair is rinsed I sometimes follow-up with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. It’s the same as the baking soda method. I found though that I was able to comb my hair without it as well and I didn’t really need the vinegar. I just go with my gut.
With everything out, I style my hair as usual.
Some (maybe) potential benefits of rye flour
As I said in the intro, I didn’t find any reliable sources to quote as to how or why rye flour works for hair care. In the same vein also goes that I can’t make any definite promises about its benefits.
The only benefit I know for sure is its cost and environmental friendliness. I bake with rye flour so I always have something in the house anyway. Using a few teaspoons for my hair costs me next to nothing. I buy my flour in bulk so I avoid any additional waste from my shampoo. Also, being a food, I have no problem with washing it down the drain onto my flower beds.
Some people claim that rye flour is beneficial for their scalp. The claim here (which I can’t talk about from experience) is that baking soda dries out the scalp and can lead to itching and discomfort. Rye flour, however, is said to have a similar pH-level as our scalp so it shouldn’t dry it out.
Further, some claim that because rye flour is rich in vitamins (in particular B5), minerals, and amino acids, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and regenerating. Again, I didn’t find any study which supports this claim.
All I can say that washing my hair with rye flour works. I love using new ideas to clean my hair and flour sounds like a good one. I’ll keep you posted if it stops working for me.
And I want to hear from you and your experiences with using alternatives to shampoo, flour or not.