Rye flour "shampoo" is the easiest and gentlest DIY cleanser for the hair that I have tried so far. It has just one ingredient so it's really fast and easy to make. The starch is a mild emulgator and pretty effective in cleansing the hair. Most dry shampoos are based on starch! Rye also contains proteins, vitamin E and several B vitamins, and so it's also a hair mask. It also happens to be pH neutral unlike baking soda which is pretty harsh. It's also highly recommended for anyone with a sensitive scalp.
It is very gentle on the skin and after using it for a while your scalp will produce less oil. It keeps my hair fresh for several days between washings. It also gives me quite a bit of volume and texture. My hair feels very clean and soft. Interestingly most people say that the rye flour wash makes their hair very silky and smooth. In my case (my hair already has a coarser texture mainly because of all the greys and a fresh layer of henna) my hair doesn't look silky, however it is much softer to the touch and detangles easily.
Your mileage way vary, the results will depend on your hair type and on your previous hair care regime.
You need to use rye flour because other flours contain a lot of gluten which is very gluey. If your hair is thicker or curly, use full-grain rye. If your hair is fine, try a lighter (finer grind) rye flour, in Germany that would be type 1150.
Chickpea flour is also gluten free and has been traditionally used to clean the skin and hair in many cultures, but it has a weird smell. Rice flour is also an option, especially if you are histamine intolerant.
Rye shampoo recipe:You'll need:
Rye flour 4 tablespoons (shoulder-length hair)
250 ml lukewarm water, enough to make it into a runny paste.
Mix really well and let is stand. The longer it stands, the more of the beneficial vitamins get released. However the longer the starch soaks up the water, the less fat and dirt it will absorb.
In the beginning you might want to let the mixture stand for no more than 10 minutes, which will give you a paste that easily removes dirt and oiliness and product build-up from your hair. Over time you can try letting the mixture stand for several hours or even over night, then it works like a nourishing masque with mild cleansing properties.
The mixture can be stored in a fridge for a day or two, longer than that it turns into sourdough. You can use the rest of the mixture for cleaning the kitchen sink or the dishes, basically it's a great cleanser for anything greasy. Or you can make a bigger batch, freeze the rest in cubes and thaw when needed.
How to use the rye flour hair wash:Apply on the scalp and massage it in. Apply generously on the hair, but do not rub. Leave it in for 5 minutes, during the time you can use the rest of the paste as a body cleanser. It leaves behind a nicely silky skin.
Rinse out very very thoroughly and turn on your shower head to full strength. Take your time with this step. Don't forget to clean behind the ears!
This mix will not block your bathroom pipes as the flour does not contain gluten and dissolves very quickly.
Depending on your hair type you may or may not need to use a conditioner after the rye shampoo. I'd recommend going without the first time, so that you can see what effect the rye shampoo has on your hair.
If you have hard water, it makes sense to do an acidic rinse once a month (1/5 liter water + 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice).
If you find that after your hair dries some hulls are still on your hair, shake or comb them out. Next time try a finer kind of rye flour, or sieve the flour before use, and mix a runnier paste. The hulls are noticeable on darker hair. Another option would be to try washing your hair with rye tea -- you mix he rye with more water, let it stand, and then strain it. They you use the liquid to clean the hair.
In the next post I'll be talking about tweaking the rye flour shampoo to your hair needs.
Have you tried rye flour to cleanse your hair? Or any other no-poo methods?