How to Wash Your Hair With Rye Flour — and Why

In this post, I am sharing with you how and why I have been washing my hair with rye flour so that you can do it successfully, too!

Did you know that you can wash your hair with rye flour?

If you’re raising your eyebrows right now, hear me out …

I have been washing my hair with rye flour for a while now and I am so happy with it that I want to share it with everyone. I often go 5+ days between washings and my hair doesn’t get oily.

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Why wash your hair with rye flour?

It works. That should be the top reason. Why would I want to do anything if it doesn’t work, right? Not only does it wash your hair, but it also leaves it soft, shiny, and easy to comb through.

It also helps especially if you have oily hair, an itchy scalp, or dandruff.

Inexpensive. There are many good shampoos out there but many of them are very pricey. I love anything that’s inexpensive!

Sustainable. Rye is an easy-to-grow resource.

Natural. I know that these days that term gets thrown around quite a bit. However, it doesn’t get more natural than milling grains into flour and washing your hair with it.

No plastic. If you know me, that’s a very important reason for me. There is so much plastic out and I love any and every chance to cut down on single-use plastic.

pH balanced. Rye flour has the same pH as your skin. That is great news for your scalp and helps your hair grow healthy.

No fuzz. Washing your hair with rye flour is as simple as mixing it with some water and applying it to your hair. Your rinse just like you would any shampoo. Done. Very simple.

What do you need to wash you hair with rye flour?

All you need is rye flour. You might be able to find it in your local grocery stores. If you don’t you can easily find it online.

I actually prefer using rye berries for a number of reasons: the berries will keep for months if not years. Also, I can use them for bread baking or sourdough starting. I can even sprout them and then use them in my bread. Since I have a grain mill attachment for my Kitchen Aid, I don’t mind grinding the rye into flour in bigger batches. I then keep the flour in the cabinet ready to go when it’s time to wash my hair.

rye berries in a bowl

Again, you might be able to find rye berries in the bulk food section of your local grocer, in a bakery supply store, or online. Obviously, the more you buy the less expensive the rye berries get.

If you do buy the whole berries, grind them into the finest flour you can. Then sift out the bran and keep it for other uses (you can use the bran in your greased loaf pan for extra crunch and ease of removing the bread, add to your cereal for extra fiber, or simply compost).

How much rye flour do you need for hair washing?

As a rule of thumb, I recommend using

2 TBSP of rye flour for short hair,

4 TBSP for shoulder-length hair, and

6 TBSP for long hair. Once you get more comfortable with washing your hair with rye flour, you can tweak and adjust those measurements to your liking.

How to apply the rye flour to hair?

Put the rye flour into a bowl or container. I simply use a big glass measuring cup. If you’re not comfortable with using glass in the shower, you can use any other metal or plastic container.

I like to mix everything up once I am already in the shower. I simply add enough water to create a consistency similar to regular shampoo. Using my hands, I apply the rye flour mixture to my scalp and roots until my head is covered. Kind of like applying hair color. Then I massage it in well. If I have more time, I like to leave the rye mixture in my hair for longer.

applying rye flour to hair
hair wash with rye flour

Then, using the highest water pressure I can get, I rinse the rye mixture out. I like to make sure I get all the sections. This might take a bit longer than washing out regular shampoo.

At this point, your hair might feel a little different, too but don’t worry!

If you like, you can now use an apple cider vinegar rinse (1 TBSP of ACV in 1 cup of water).

Brushing it out

Even though I use very fine flour, I often find little pieces in my hair still after rinsing. I like to brush them out. Otherwise, they would show up as little specks that look like dandruff. Sometimes, I brush out my hair right in the shower or I do it afterwards with just my head over the bathtub. I have also brushed out my hair outside on our front porch. Any brush will work but I recommend something like a boar-bristle brush.

You can now blow-dry your hair or let it air dry or style it any way you like.

Mistakes to avoid and tips:

Use only rye flour! Do not use wheat or spelt flour! Those contain gluten and create a gooey mess in your hair that you’ll have a hard time getting out.

You might need to give your hair time to transition. Especially, if you have oily hair and have been using shampoo for that. It strips your hair and scalp of oil and as a result, your scalp will make more oil. And then you wash more often … you get the drift. Washing your hair with rye flour will soothe your scalp but it might take a while. If your hair becomes too oily in between washings, you could use dry shampoo or if you’re starting in the winter, simply wear a hat.

You can mix the rye flour with water and use it immediately or let it sit for up to one hour. People have been reporting slightly different results but honestly, I have not been able to tell a difference.

If you’re using whole rye berries, make sure to sift out the bran. The less bran you have in your flour, the easier it is to wash out.

You can also wash your face with it!

I really hope that you will be giving the rye flour hair washing a try.

Let me know all your questions and comments below!

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How to Wash your Hair with Rye Flour - and Why

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29 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this article and your video! I have had an oily scalp since I was a teenager and no matter what I have tried, conventional or more natural products (clays, Ayurvedic herbs, etc.), I have had to wash daily. I love how you present this, no hype, just you showing us what you do and the results, you are so cute and honest. Something about your low-key approach and the way your hair looks made me really want to try this and boy, am I glad I did. I got light rye so had no issues with any flakes or residue, my hair is soft, shiny, and bouncy. The miracle for me was my hair was not oily by the end of the day or when I woke up the next morning. I

    I rarely leave comments on blogs and had to remember how I found yours again to leave this comment but I was determined to thank you, this is something I have been trying to achieve for decades!

    1. That is so great to hear! It is often said that stripping your hair of oil only makes your scalp produce more oil. Regardless, I am glad you’re enjoying the rye flour wash ~ Anja

      1. I think that is what is so great about the rye flour. Other things that dried my scalp also dried out my hair, this does not do that at all, my hair feels soft and silky. It seems the flour does not open up the cuticle and dissolve the oil the way saponins or detergents do, instead it absorbs the oil, allowing it to then rinse away. But enough oil remains or perhaps it’s the small amount of protein in the flour that conditions my hair so perfectly. I don’t like the feeling of conditioner on my hair but this is very different, not waxy like conditioners tend to be.

        Another thing that must be just right about rye flour is the pH. I have tried so many things that claim to be pH balanced but they give such a wide range, such as from 4.5 to 5-5 – it doesn’t sound like much of a difference but pH is logarithmic and the difference between those two numbers is exponential, huge. I have never figured out what the right pH is for my hair and scalp but anything acidic, like a very mild ACV rinse, makes the oil flow in a couple of hours.

        The rye has kept working, too, I’ve washed with it three times now and there is no crunchy buildup like I got with the Ayurvedic powders. I don’t even get hat head now, my hair has so much body. And it is incredibly shiny.

        Again, thank you, Anja, this is life-changing!

  2. Awesome info!! It’s on my hair now and been no poo for 6 weeks now cause I’m in menopause & removing all hormone disrupters to make life a little easier

  3. Thank you for your informative article! I have been experimenting with various no poo methods over the past 2 months and finally have rye flour a try. Having very hard water, normally, I only wash & rinse with deionized water. Since I was concerned about difficulty rinsing out the flour, I caved & used tap water to rinse thoroughly, but followed with an ACV deionized water final rinse. After air drying, my hair feels unusually soft & clean. I will definitely wash with rye flour again! Many thanks for the excellent write up!

  4. Thank you Anja, I will definitely experiment 🙂 Just 2 more questions please: 1. how much water do you put with your 6 tablespoons of rye flour? 2. How long did it take before you were able to go 6-7 days between washing you hair, or were you able to do this even before the rye flour?

    1. Sure! 1. It’s a bit hard to say. Start out just adding a little water and more as necessary to create the consistency of commercial shampoo – or pancake batter 😆. 2. For me the positive effects came right away. I don’t seem to need a transition period. However, everyone is different. I’d say just try it out. If your hair gets too oily, simply wash it. I am sure it will get used to it over time – or maybe will love the rye treatment right away. Hope this helps and good luck!!

  5. Hi

    Thank you for the informative video!

    Do you always apply the mixture on dry hair first and when then add water little by little in the shower?

    I have been using rye flour for 2 months now after using rhassoul clay for years, but the clay was too drying. At this point my hair gets oily too soon (day 3), it is blonde and fine. I think my mixture is too runny – yours seems way more “stodgy”.

    1. Hi there, while I like to apply my rye flour mixture to my dry hair (it sticks better) I am sure you could apply it to wet hair, too. Just make sure your mixture stays and doesn’t run off immediately. Maybe you need to experiment a bit to see what works best for you. Hope this helps!!

  6. Hi Anja,
    Looking for natural ways to decrease inflammation I have in one of my finger joints I came across your youtube video. I liked the way you presented it, and I’ll give it a try. Now I’m checking your website and I see that you wash your hair with rye flour, well, I would like to try this too however, I have a question before I try it. Do you know if this works on Goldwell Elumen colored hair, temporary color, which lasts several washes? Years ago, I had a reaction to regular color products that contain peroxide and ammonia.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Where are you located?
    Hoping you are well.

    1. Thank you, I am glad you find all this helpful! I think they rye flour would work really well on colored hair but honestly, I have not tried it on temporary color. You could always do a strand test or simply try washing your hair a few days before you’d color it again. Hope this helps!!

  7. Now this is something I’ve never heard of. My hair needs conditioning, does the rye flour alone work like a shampoo alone? This is so interesting!

    1. I am not sure about conditioning but my hair doesn’t need it. Rye won’t strip the hair of its natural oils and has vitamins and proteins in it that are good for your hair. Maybe you want to try it out? Remember that there may be a transition period, though!

  8. This is very interesting! Where does this come from? Is there a history of washing your hair with rye flour from somewhere?

    1. That is such a good question to which I don’t know the answer. I know that a lot of people in Germany are washing their hair with rye flour. Maybe you’d like to try it out and see how you like it?

  9. I’ve been washing my hair every four or five days. I guess that means I’m ready to try this. This does make me nervous. 😂 But I love the all natural approach. So do you ever use shampoo?

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