Washing Hair Without Shampoo: Rye Flour.


Have you ever thought of turning to natural ways of washing your hair? After all, shampoo has not always existed. In  fact, it’s a pretty recent invention, as even my gran remembers the alternatives.

I have always had a bit of a problem with shampoos. The normal synthetic ones made my head itch, and the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ ones are rather pricey. So, I decided to try something completely different, and delve into the world of home remedies and recipes in search of a completely natural and healthy way to wash hair.

If you are like me, then you probably like to experiment with random beauty recipes 🙂 It’s always great fun! (And sometimes not so fun when things go wrong). So if you would like to find out some recipes I have tried and tested for natural hair washing and conditioning, then follow my posts!

Washing Hair With Rye Flour:

This is really simple and easy, and works really well, so I can safely say that it’s one of my favourite methods! Rye contains a whole range of vitamins and nutrients-most importantly a whole complex of vitamin B, which is one of the most important for our hair. Rye is also a flour low in gluten, therefore will not get ‘doughey’. This recipe is suitable for all types of hair.

What you need:






  • 2/3 Tablespoons of Rye Flour. (Try to get the finely ground version, otherwise you may end up with bits stuck in your hair.)
  • A little warm water. (Definitely NOT hot water, or the flour will get lumpy.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cognac *Optional.  (This is best for brunettes/darker hair. This recipe works fine without it too! It’s just a pleasant extra, at it’s very good for your hair, smells lovely and adds shine. My preferred brand is Hennessy, it’s good, and easy to find.)

How to make:

Put the flour in a cup/bowl/whatever, keep adding a little bit of water and mixing. Try to get it as lump-free as you can. It should have a runny consistency, kind of like shampoo. Add the cognac last, if you choose to use it.

How to use:

  1. Simply use it like a normal shampoo. Wet your hair and apply, concentrating on the roots. You don’t really need to apply this to the lengths of your hair, they will be washed when you are rinsing the flour out.
  2. Give your roots and scalp a good massage. The texture of this ‘shampoo’ should be a little slippery. It’s not going to bubble (obviously), but trust me, it washes hair perfectly.
  3. Rinse your hair after you are done. This ‘shampoo’ rinses out very easily. If you are worried that this concoction will get stuck in your hair and become dough, don’t worry yourself 🙂 To make dough, you need a flour with a high glycogenic index (which rye is not), eggs and a whole lot other ingredients…
  4. Use a natural or a home-made conditioner.


Do not try with any other flour! Or you may end up having to wash dough out of your hair…


Enjoy natural ways of washing hair! And subscribe if you are interested in more natural shampoo recipes, as well as much much more!


30 thoughts on “Washing Hair Without Shampoo: Rye Flour.

  1. You can also do this with gram flour, (made from chickpeas). I am having success with it, and it is well used in India. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hello!(: Can I ask what brand of rye flour you use? I’ve heard of some successes and some failures using rye, and I don’t want to get one that causes difficulty removing flakes.

    • Hey! It varies, though I tend to stick with Doves Farm Organic flour. They do a finely ground kind, as well as a ‘flaky’ kind, so make sure to get the right one 😉

  3. Hey there! I’m really interested in trying this out. Would whole grain rye flour work, as long as it’s finely ground?

    • I am indeed! It’s still my favourite method 🙂 Everyone always comments on how healthy and shiny my hair is! For quickness sometimes I do settle for an organic shampoo, but whenever I have time I always use rye flour.

    • Hey, I have never had this problem, however I always take extra care and use drain unclogging liquids once a month or so in my house anyway, always have!

    • Hey! Currently, due to a lack of time, I use organic conditioners that I have purchased. However, when I get plenty of time to myself I use home made nourishing masks instead, I’ll do a post on them as soon as I can 🙂

  4. Can you tell me how often you wash your hair with the flour? I tried it yesterday for the first time and am happy with the results. With baking soda I was washing my hair every 2 or 3 days. But my hair was getting dried out. Thanks for the information!

    • This is definitely something that will vary from person to person. I usually wash my hair every other day as I was ‘blessed’ with limp oily hair, however it has definitely improved since I have stopped using shampoos regularly!

  5. Hi! How much better is rye flour compared to baking soda? I’ve been using baking soda recently and I just read that it might be messing up my hair’s pH balance. (And I’m having this theory that maybe using apple cider vinegar cancels out whatever the baking soda does to mess up the pH balance, but I’ve tried ACV on my hair with the baking soda once and my neck and shoulders started itching like crazy, so maybe ACV isn’t for me.)

    Also, another question: what can I use for conditioner? My hair gets really dry so I’d like to have alternatives for conditioner. Right now I still use Pantene, but I would definitely like to stay away from that as well.

    • Hey Franceen 🙂 Rye flour is infinitely better than baking soda, as it does not irritate (or change PH as you mentioned), but is very mild and nourishing, and it contains micronutrients which are great for your hair. Apple cider vinegar is a great way of doing a final rinse of your hair after washing, but it MUST be very diluted, something like a tablespoon to a litre of water, I can’t quite remember now, as I’ve not done it for a while.
      You’re quite right to be wanting an alternative to Pantene, it’s actually one of the nastiest on the market, as it’s formulated to leave a chemical coat on your hair. Great natural conditioning masks can be made of honey, egg yolks and bananas (they all wash out very well), or even just using some olive/peach/argan oil on your fingers and running them through your hair once it’s semi-dry. When I have no time I just use an organic conditioner from shops such as Lush, Burt’s Bees or Neal’s Yard.
      Hope I could answer your questions.

      • Okay, so I have another question. Haha Sorry .-.
        Where can I find rye flour? O: I’ve tried going to my local grocery store and I’ve tried Trader Joe’s as well, but I didn’t find any…? ):

      • Hey Franceen, sorry for getting back to you so late. This depends on which country you live in… In the UK I usually get it from health food stores, and some bigger supermarkets have it. If not, online has everything!

      • No worries! I actually haven’t tried rye flour yet, but I’ve given up on baking soda. I’ve actually started just water washing my hair and it feels great! (: No shampoo, and no alternatives either. (: My only problem now is how to make my hair smell good. It doesn’t smell bad, but it doesn’t smell like anything now and I loved having good-smelling hair. ((:

      • Instead of the banana for the mask can i replace it with mayo?
        I heard and egg olive oil and mayo worl great for a hair mask or conditioner?.

        Currently for my hair I am putting coffee in my hair to darken it and it makes it feeling nice and soft anthem I had a little and oh olive oil for moistureand leave it for a week and then do the olive oil, egg and mayo.
        do you know if my method may ruin myhair?
        Im planning on once I find the rye or gram flour to use the after my coffee washes. Why I do coffee is I heard it darkens your hair and leaves it soft. Then I’ll wait a week or so amd then that week do my egg , olive oil and mayo mask . And wait a week and do my coffee/flour, do you believe this is safe?

  6. This is so exciting…especially since I have the same hair. Fine and gets oily quickly. I am so excited to to try this! 🙂 What is the purpose of the alcohol? Would you recommend an ACV rinse?

    • Hey! Hope this works for you 😉 I do an ACV rinse sometimes, or lemon water rinse, or camomile rinse… There are so many 😀
      As to the purpose of the alcohol:
      in small doses it speeds up the growth of hair, as it stimulates the blood flow of your scalp and therefore improves the activeness of the hair follicles.It also decreases the oiliness of hair, as the alcohol gets rid of the excess oils on the scalp and roots of the hair. And finally, it adds a natural shine, as alcohol dissolves the build up of products (like styling products etc), as well as reversing the effects of hard water. Alcohol also tends to increase the absorption of other nutrients, so it’s a good idea to use it with something extra healthy like rye flour which is packed full of them. 🙂

  7. You might have saved my hair! I am just converting to no/low-shampooist and was about to make my first baking soda wash when I read you article about rye flour. My hair is damaged, wavy and has high porosity level, so BS wash might have ruined it for good, so thank you again for sharing this much gentle option. (And I have rye flour in my cupboard already as I love rye bread too)
    Anyways, as I am a novice I`m in need of some advice. How often should I use this method as I`m just a beginner (I was thinking of castile soap washes once in a while too)? I usually wash my hair 2-3 times a week since it`s so dry. And can I use it for mineral hair remover with ACV rinse? (My house has old plumbing and copper pipes) Also, should I take deep oil treatments(cocoa oil/castor) before or after RF wash?
    Thanks for the information and the last minute rescue of my hair!

    • Thanks for your wonderful comment Annie, I am so glad I helped 😀
      I would stay away from baking soda too, especially with porous hair 😦 I wash my hair about 3 times a week with rye flour (or sometimes with a raw egg, this is awesome for dry hair), though I used to do it nearly every day when I used shampoos, so RF has significantly helped in that matter. A castle soap wash would be quite good once in a while too, either for quickness, or just for a nice change, or an extra squeaky clean wash. There are some wonderful recipes out there for home made castle soap based shampoos. Yes you can easily use RF with an ACV rinse, I often do (and with lots of other rinses too). Copper pipes in the house shouldn’t be a problem, but keep an eye out and use a gentle drain cleaner every now and then, this is what I do and haven’t had any problems. Realistically, i should have clogged my drains by now, with the amount of crazy stuff I try 😉 As for the deep treatments, I usually do them beforehand, as RF will wash them out very gently and leave your hair with just enough oils and nutrients without leaving it greasy. Perhaps, seeing as though your hair is dry, you could run a tiny bit of coconut oil through the ends after washing it. Just experiment, see what works best for you – this is the nice thing about natural products like rye or oils, you can’t possibly do any harm. Hope this helps 🙂

  8. I have been using only rye flour for over a month and a half now. I’m still finding that my hair is producing more oil by the end of the day than when I used shampoo, making it difficult to ever skip a day. Is anyone else having this result? Or is there a different natural method that might remove oil better?

  9. Hi!

    Well, I took your idea and tweaked it, so here goes…

    I already had on hand Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot Cereal w/ Flaxseeds. So, I put a half cup in a coffee grinder and ground it down to a fine powder. Then, I put it into a glass and added warm water, stirring until the water started to become a milky consistency. I added more water to make enough liquid to pour onto my wet hair. Next, I poured the contents of the glass (cloudy water and wet grinds) through a hand-held small strainer into a shatterproof cup to use in the tub.

    So, I wet my hair and added first to my hair a pre-shampoo treatment that has a combo of natural butter and oils in it that I have come to like, and I followed up with some aloe Vera gel, and then the “5 Grain Cleansing Rinse” concoction I had made. This was followed with a leave-in lightweight conditioner.

    Results? Wow, wow, Wow! My fine, curly hair was very clean and full of body! Couldn’t ask for more! I could even go with less styling products.

    I will write back to share how long these great results lasted. My hope is 3 to 4 days.

    Thank you SO much for blogging about this, Kristina!

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