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Here’s What Happened When I Only Washed My Hair With Flour


When I first gave up shampoo, three and a half years ago, I had no idea there were so many natural alternatives. In fact, it took me months of gross locks to figure some of these out. Even after having written a book about giving up shampoo, every so often I am still presented with new options.

One ingredient having a big moment on the Shampoo-Free scene (it’s true, there’s a scene, it’s full of glam women shaking their gorgeous tresses!) is rye flour. It’s strutting about, twerking its organic self all over the red carpet.

 Yeah! Flour! Is this for real?

Despite raving reports I couldn’t help but feel a little dubious. Flour is for baking, right? Or, at a push, making glue or old-school wallpaper paste or gnarly clay. All things that you would never, ever take into the shower with you.

The Internet tells me that it is the mixture of the naturally occurring saponins within rye, combined with its slight abrasiveness that turns it into a goo shampoo alternative.

As well as this, there does seem to be lots of other great properties in rye flour. Pantothenic acid occurs in it naturally–an ingredient often added to enhance skin and hair cosmetics and it boasts almost every well-known skin and hair vitamin going. It’s also the perfect pH level for our scalp. But can it clean? I’m not sure I believe it.

The experiment

I start by sifting 2 tablespoons of dry organic eye flour through my tea strainer. This will get the worst of the flakes out. Then I mix it with enough water to make a paste. I jump in the shower, wet my hair and then massage the paste into my scalp. See my Before and Afters in video form right here.

The experience

I expected it to feel so, so wrong. Like working dough through my locks. Although it smells like dough it doesn’t actually feel that way. In fact, it feels good. More like traditional shampoo than any of the alternatives I have used in the past.

I can feel it getting soapy in my hair, and there are even bubbles as I wash it out.

It does take a while to rinse out. My arms ache from the effort. (Mind you, getting buff arms from washing your hair has to be a bonus.)

Once I’ve washed it out I do get that silky feeling that is instant proof my hair is clean. However, when my hair is dry there are still a few flakes left in leading to another workout brushing them all out. I have been warned that rye flour shampoo can result in a bit of a flake-fest, but this isn’t the case. The tea strainer does seem to have done most of the work.


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