We see it everywhere – on Tiktok, Instagram, and blogs. Rice water has made its way to the western world, and it is lauded right, left, and center for all the healthy benefits your hair receives.
Rice water isn’t anything new. It was first noted as a beauty ingredient in the Heian Period (794-1185) when Japanese women cared for their long hair with rice water rinses. Today, many societies in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia still use rice water to clean and protect their hair. A prime example is the Yao women in China, whose hair averages six feet long.
What is rice water?
Rice water is leftover water from boiling or soaking rice. This starchy liquid may contain many of the nutrients from rice, including antioxidants, vitamin E and B, and amino acids.
For maximum benefits, the water needs to be allowed to ferment for at least two weeks. It’s optional to toss in a few pomelo peels to mask any unpleasant smells. Grapefruit peels are also an option if pomelos are not accessible.
What are its benefits?
People who rinse their hair with rice water regularly say that their hair grows faster. Other benefits include increased shine, strength, and smoothness.
According to one study, “Exposure to rice-starch-containing bathwater led to a 20% improvement on the healing capacity of damaged skin.” Rice water has the added benefit of protecting and nourishing our skin’s barrier. For those with scalp issues, rice water can help repair the scalp to make way for healthier and stronger hair.
How does rice water work?
Inositol, an element found in rice water, is the magic ingredient in this rinse. Inositol can repair damaged hair and help protect it from future damage.
According to another study, Inositol can penetrate the hair follicle, staying behind after the rice water is rinsed out. This property allows rice water to protect and nurture hair over time.
How do you make rice water?
- Clean your rice. Rinse it a couple times just as you would when preparing rice to eat.
- Measurements may vary. Try 1 cup of rice with 3-4 cups of water and leave it to soak for about 40 min.
- With clean hands, massage the rice for a few minutes until the water gets to a milky consistency.
- Drain the water into a pot, add your pomelo or grapefruit peels, and boil for up to 8 minutes.
- Once cool, transfer to a jar and let it ferment for two weeks to a month.
For more recipes regarding rice water, check out The Spring Beauty (click here).
How to use rice water:
This healthy-hair solution can be a monthly treatment. If your hair is on the oily side, you may want to shampoo before a rice water rinse, but, there is no need to use shampoo/condition after rinsing your hair with rice water. You don’t want to strip out those great benefits.
- Pour the fermented water into a basin.
- Dunk your hair in the rice water with your head upside down.
- Massage the rice water into your hair and scalp. Squeeze out the excess.
- Leave in for 20 min to 1 hour. If your hair is longer, or you don’t want your hair to drip, we’d recommend covering it with a shower cap.
- Rinse with clean, fresh water and towel dry.
Rice water can boost hair growth, soothe scalp issues, and increase your hair’s strength and shine.
While rice water is all the rage, it is important to do your research to see if this technique is for you. Always patch-test any new ingredients to see if it causes any irritation or reaction.
If rice water is the next game-changing hair solution, we’re down to treat our hair once a month. It’s a perfect at-home treatment that you can make from kitchen leftovers. Who’s ready for strong, healthy, luscious hair?