I’ve been doing this nopoo thing for a little over 3 years. Most of that time I have used some variation of a rye flour hair wash because it works so well.
What is nopoo?
They say it’s a modern resurgence of washing your hair with something other than shampoo or something like that. It is most often associate with baking soda and apple cider vinegar but it’s also much more than that. Shampoo, as we know it, came into existence in the early 1900’s. Nopoo (as I define it) pulls from the global history of what people did before modern shampoo and also adding in modern understanding of hair care science. Initially I was interested in the history of pre-industrial age hair care ingredients from an anthropological standpoint. I gathered and tried many of those things, in the name of science. This is where that random interest eventually lead me. As I see more people becoming interested in this particular hair wash I thought I’d share my experience with it.
There are various brands of dark rye flour and rye flour, you just want to make sure there are no additions like gluten. I generally find mine in the health food aisle with the specialty grains. It costs me about $3 for a bag and it takes me over a year to use it all.
This is something you mix right before you use it, do not store it pre-mixed. I highly recommend you do not use this in the shower it can lead to drain clog issues. It’s best done in a kitchen sink.
Most of the time I find 1 tablespoon in a ramekin and a 3/4 cup warm water is just right. but you can adjust that ratio one way or the other.
As my scalp adjusted to nopoo and stopped the crazy oil production, the space between it needing washing stretched out considerably. In the beginning I was washing with rye every 4-6 days and now roughly every two weeks. The time frame of when to wash varies from person to person and can change over time.
I mix a tablespoon of rye flour in a small bowl with warm water. (I suggest placing a 4 qt bowl in the sink if you have really long hair to keep away from the drain and I fill that also with warm water.) Hot water just causes problems and should be avoided. I wet my hair and then work in the rye flour for about 2 minutes, focusing just on my scalp, roots and any oily areas before washing it out.
Rye flour is very good at clearing away oil and build up, it shouldn’t need to be left in your hair beyond a few minutes of scalp massaging. Rye flour is mildly exfoliating so don’t scrub your scalp in a vigorous manner that will damage your hair.
Stop rinsing when it seems like no more is coming out of your hair, not all of the rye is going to come out while your hair is wet. It’s more effective to spend your time drying your hair instead, once your hair is dry the bits fall away practically on their own, but I recommend towel drying and brushing your hair over a sink especially with long hair just as it’s going from damp to dry to remove any remaining debris in an easy to clean location.
The end result is that my scalp and hair are clean and feel as clean as using any shampoo. Rye will leave your hair feeling very soft and it shines for about the cost of a nickel every two weeks. For showers in the interim of my rye washes I will wash and scrub my scalp with my fingertips and warm water I am careful not to get any soap in my hair or hot water on my scalp.