03 February 2014

Homemade Shampoo Review: Rye Flour

After 3 years of no-pooing with baking soda I did a pH test which proved that while I was saving my hair from toxic chemicals in commercial shampoo I was destroying it with the highly alkaline baking soda. Read more about the pH of baking soda and why you should not use it as a shampoo.

So I decided to find pH balanced baking soda alternatives that will help me and you keep our hair healthy while still being on the frugal and sustainable side.

Luckily for me, when I shared the findings of my baking soda pH test, Kanelstrand reader +Linnéa Ädel asked me to measure the pH of rye flour water.

I had no idea you could wash your hair with flour!

pH balanced rye flour shampoo

Benefits of rye flour for hair
Just take a look at the list of vitamins in rye:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B 1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Lutein

Some of the hair-healthy minerals that can be found in rye are
Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Selenium, and Zink, which all fight premature hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.

Rye also contains proteins, and Omega 3 fatty acids.

As you can see, rye is literally packed with vitamins and minerals that promote hair growth and keep it healthy.

pH of rye flour shampoo
The pH test showed that rye flour shampoo is very balanced. Take a look.

pH of rye flour shampoo

As you can see, the test strip shows pH 5.0 which is just the same as the pH of hair.

Here is why the pH of shampoo is important for healthy hair: 
pH (potential of Hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. pH is judged on a scale between 0 and 14. Anything with a pH less than 7.0 is acidic, 7.0 is neutral, and anything with a pH greater than 7.0 is alkaline.

Hair and skin are covered by a very thin fluid layer comprised of oil, salt and water, called the mantle, which is slightly acidic and has a pH balance of between 4.5 - 5.0.
The natural acidity of the hair and scalp prevents fungi and bacteria, and keeps the cuticle closed and healthy.
An inadequate hair product can disrupt the natural pH of the hair. If your haircare routine is too alkali your hair cuticles will stay open and your hair will be dry and brittle. But if you use pH balanced products, i.e. ones that are close to the natural pH of the hair (4.5 - 5.0) your hair cuticles will close properly which will result in healthy shiny hair.

pH balanced rye flour shampoo recipe
This recipe is suitable for all types of hair.

NB! The reason why rye flour is easy and messy-free is that it's low in gluten. Do not experiment with other flours, especially those rich in gluten, it will be really hard to take them off your hair. 

  • 3-4 tbsp. rye flour (you can adjust the amount according to your hair length)
  • some lukewarm water, enough to make it resemble the thickness of shampoo

  • Put the flour in a cup.
  • Add some water and mix thoroughly. Keep adding water and mixing.
  • Mix until there are no lumps left and the mixture is runny and resembles that of shampoo.

Rye flour shampoo application
Getting the rye flour shampoo on my hair was pretty easy because its consistency was just like shampoo. (If you feel like it's too thick for you, just add more water until you like it.)
  1. Wet your hair and put some of the shampoo on your fingers. Massage into the scalp. Focused on the scalp, massaging thoroughly and gently, the shampoo will cover the lengths of your hair when you start rinsing.
  2. Rinse generously with lukewarm water.
  3. As a conditioner use 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar diluted in 1 cup of water. Tip: Grab a bowl to capture the ACV rinse and apply a couple of times more.
Effect of rye flour on hair
I was truly surprised at how clean my hair became after I first washed it with rye flour shampoo. It was soft and manageable without any residue. Having in mind how many vitamins and minerals there are in rye flour I am sure that in time my hair will be revived and will grow thick and healthy.

pH balanced shampoo for healthy hair and scalp

Find more shampoo alternatives: 
Homemade Shampoo Review: coconut milk and aloe vera
10 ways to wash your hair without shampoo
5 Natural alternatives to toxic shampoo
7 Green ways to deal with static hair
The best treatment for dry hair
8 DIY hair treatments for dry, brittle and damaged hair
5 Natural alternatives to toxic shampoo
What everybody should know about shampoo
4 Natural remedies against dandruff
Herbal nourishing hair lotion

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