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What does rice water do for your hair?

Serena Piper
Have heard a lot about rice water benefits for hair recently. Does it really help? If yes, how do I use rice water in my hair? Tnx!

We regularly get dozens of questions about rice water for hair. Yes, it is the rice water that is believed to be a miracle for hair growth. Women around the globe share their one-two months stunning results after using different types of rice water prepared according to various recipes, and it is hard to keep away from this trend and not to try it. So, is rice water good for your hair, or is it just hype? Let’s try to separate the wheat from the chaff.

What Is Rice Water

Rice water for hair is a hair treatment, used by women centuries ago, that is in fact just some starchy water left after rice is cooked, or it can also be the water in which rice has been soaked for a while.

Rice contains Vitamins B1 and B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Manganese, and a lot of other components. The composition of rice water is rich in vitamins too, especially B and C. It also contains trace elements – potassium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, and a lot of fiber.

We need to mention the inositol here too, as it is a substance that is used to treat different medical conditions and believed to balance women’s hormones, which can help in reversing thinning hair. You may not only take inositol supplements but also feed your hair with it from the outside.

So, rice water is a real treasure trove of nutrients that nourish the follicles and repair damaged cells.

Rice Water Benefits for Hair

What does rice water do for your hair? The main benefits of rice water for locks are: creating a better scalp environment, helping in strengthening the hair cuticle, boosting the hair shine.

The available researches are not full enough to make us 100% sure that rice water is ALWAYS a cure and that it will 100% help you with hair growth. It is even said that the protein in rice water is too large to penetrate the strands and it only coats them and prevents them from drying out. So, it is the ‘length retention’, not the growth in fact. However, the results of women with different hair types who have tried rice water for their hair are quite eloquent.

According to them, regular use of rice water has many benefits for hair – it helps to remove dandruff, strengthen the strands, stimulate their growth, give vitality, and significantly improve their appearance.

Due to the fact that rice water has antioxidant properties, it helps to get rid of toxins that could accumulate in the scalp, thereby preventing premature alopecia and gray hair.

Women also notice such rice water benefits on the hair as shine, more volume, smoothness, easier detangling of the strands. And, of course, one of the best pros of using rice water for hair is that it is probably the most budget-friendly hair-care solution that really works.

Rice Water Recipes: How to Make Soaked, Boiled, and Fermented Rice Water

How to make rice water for hair at home? There are 3 most popular and effective ways to make rice water for hair. You can try all of them and choose the one you like the most. Basically, you’ll need only two ingredients!

-Soaked rice water for hair recipe.

To make soaked rice water for your hair, you will need to follow these steps:

-take 1 cup of uncooked rice; rinse it thoroughly;

-add 2-3 glasses of water; leave for 30 minutes;

-strain the rice water into a clean bowl.

This method will appeal to those who are very busy and don’t have much time.

-Boiled rice water for hair recipe.

Making boiled rice water for hair is super-easy as well:

-take ½ cup of rice;

-add 1 glass of water;

-cook the rice in the boiling water;

-strain the rice water into a clean bowl before use.

This is a concentrated liquid that you can dilute before rinsing the hair. The concentration of dilution depends on the hair length and greasiness. Usually, it’s 1:10. The oilier the hair is, the lower the concentration should be.

-Fermented rice water for hair recipe.

How to make rice water for hair that is called ‘fermented’? Do the following:

-take 2 cups of rice;

-add 2 times more water to it;

-leave the rice to soak for 20-30 minutes;

-pour the water into a glass bottle, seal it and leave in a dark place at room temperature for 12-24 hours (not more than 2 days);

-when a sour smell appears, stop fermentation and put it in a fridge to preserve all the beneficial properties obtained during fermentation (it can be kept for a week in the fridge).

Fermentation reduces the pH level of rice water to the pH level of the hair and nourishes it better due to the effective penetration of vitamins into the scalp and hair structure. Helps with oily scalp too.

How Fermented Rice Water Looks Like
By Chan

What Ingredients to Add to Rice Water

You also ask about the additional ingredients, like orange peels and essential oils. Yes, rice water can be mixed with orange peels, or several drops of your fave essential oil to help with the smell. Sometimes rice water is mixed with lime juice or aloe vera. Some women also add a natural clarifier (a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, or the same amount of tea tree oil) to prevent buildup over time. However, it is probably better to check out how rice water works on your hair without any additives. And only after the first positive results, you may do your own recipes.

How to Store Rice Water

You can store rice water in the refrigerator for a week in a bowl with a lid. Shake it well before use. Also, you can freeze it if needed.

How to Store Rice Water for Hair in Freezer
By Yeka

What Type of Rice Is the Best for Hair Care

Does it have to be white rice or can the rice water be from wild rice? Will black rice water for hair work? There are more than 40000 rice varieties. What is the best rice type for hair growth and hair care in general?

The most widely known is the Asian type of rice (scientifically called Oryza sativa). Its two main subspecies are indica and japonica.

There are whole and refined rice types. Whole rice is in its intact form, it’s black, purple, or red in color and more nutrient-rich. Refined rice is polished, and thus white. A lot of nutrients are taken away during this process. However, some of them (B vitamins and iron) are added back (sprayed) and that’s when we see the word ‘enriched’ on the packaging.

Brown rice contains more nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Black rice contains anthocyanin antioxidants – the same that are found in blueberries and blackberries.

Parboiled rice is processed in a very special way: it’s soaked and steamed with the hull, then dried, and the hulls are removed. Grains absorb more nutrients (vitamin B and potassium).

What about the wild rice? It is in fact even not rice. It is a semi-aquatic grass, however, it also contains protein (even more than brown rice), and is very high in minerals. Women also use it to prepare the rice water.

So, what type of rice to take for rice hair water? In general, you may take any rice you have on your hand. If you want the maximum amount of nutrients and high levels of protein, opt for more natural kinds – wild, brown, or black. However, to avoid protein overload, you may start with the simpler rice types, and then experiment with other species.

How to Use Rice Water for Hair

How to apply rice water to hair and how long to leave it in the hair? You can apply rice water (boiled, soaked, or fermented) after using your regular shampoo and conditioner. Pour a bit of your rice water rinse onto your scalp and hair, leave for at least 5-10 minutes (better for 20-30), rinse, and continue your usual hair washing routine.

NOTE! Some women prefer to co-wash hair before using rice water instead of shampooing, as a shampoo+rice water duo dries their hair out.

How Often to Use Rice Water for Hair

It’s recommended to use rice water for hair no more than once/twice a week. Dry, brittle, and frizzy hair as a result of rice water overuse is a reality. In this case, forget about rice water for some time and avoid any protein-packed hair products. Clarify your hair and deep condition a lot.

Rice Water Conditioner for Hair

You can also use diluted rice water as a conditioner. Apply it to wet, clean hair, massage the scalp slightly and rinse after 5-10 minutes. For additional nourishment, you can add a few drops of essential oil, such as rosemary, lavender, or geranium.

Rice Water Shampoo for Hair

To make a shampoo, mix rice water and flour and let it brew for 5-10 minutes. Use it as a stand-alone product or in a 1:1 ratio with your regular shampoo.

Rice Water for Curly Hair

Curly hair is drier and more brittle. The protein, contained in rice water, penetrates deeply and improves the condition of the hair, making it bouncy and manageable. There is no need to use rice water as a leave-in, 15-30 minutes will be enough for the useful elements to penetrate the hair and remain in it even after washing off. Since curly hair types tend to be drier, it is not recommended to use rice water for curls more than 1-2 times per week. Deep-conditioning is a must.

Rice Water for Hair: Before and After Pictures

Now let’s see the most amazing before and after pictures from real people who have tried the rice water hair treatment read the rice water for hair reviews.

-Rice water for hair results after 1 wash:

-The result of using rice water for ten days:

-The one-month result of using the rice water for natural hair:

-Rice water hair growth after 6 months:

What we can say for sure, is that this natural and affordable method of hair care can really pleasantly surprise you with its before and after effect!

Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair

As for the external use of rice water, there are no contraindications. However, this decoction can have a drying effect. Therefore, women with dry scalp should not overuse it. Consult a doctor before using rice water if you have any serious scalp conditions, irritations, or inflammations as it can heal these things or, on the contrary, make the condition even worse. Some women also report flaking after using rice water. So, be careful if you have very fine hair or low-porosity hair.

Rice Water for Hair FAQ

Time for the final Q&A section about rice water for scalp and hair.

Does rice water grow hair? Yes, rice water can help your hair to grow if you apply it regularly. This works not for all women, but you need to give it a chance, check out the results on your type of hair, and make the final decision.

How fast does rice water grow hair? You may see the first hair growth results in a week. The first hair improvements (volume, shine, thickness, manageability) you will see after just one wash.

Can you eat the rice after making rice water? The rice from the boiling method is edible, so the one that is left after short soaking (only after cooking it). Do not eat raw or fermented rice.

Can you use this on color-treated hair? Yes, sure, rice water is harmless for colored hair. It will not make it change its color either. However, if your hair is dry, as we have mentioned above, it may become brittle.

What about drinking rice water for hair growth? Drinking cooked rice water helps digestion and your overall health, but not hair growth directly.

What ingredients are not allowed to be used with rice water on hair? There are no known ingredients that can negatively interfere with any type of rice water, be it the short soaked, long soaked (fermented), or boiled rice water.

Did you know the Yao women add herbs to their rice water mixture? Normally they add cleansing herbs because they use rice water to cleanse and condition their hair. Some cleansing herbs that you may want to consider adding are airtha, shikakai, hibiscus, ambunu, and clays. @dearlovelynaturalhair

Do we need to use rice water after applying oil or before? No need to change your hair washing and hair care routines. It is a treatment applied after shampoo/conditioner and it should be rinsed off. Then do whatever you usually do.

Does rice water contain arsenic? Rice may contain arsenic, which is absorbed from the ground and water. However, arsenic in rice may be a concern for the people who EAT rice every day in large amounts. If you use rice water 1-2 times per week, you should not worry.

Can rice water be used on plaited hair? Yes, of course, you can use rice water on protective hairstyles, including braids and twists. You may spray it all over your scalp, roots, and braids, put on a plastic cap, leave for 20 minutes, and rinse out, or use it in the shower post shampooing and conditioning, and rinse out.

What will happen if you wash your face with rice water? Nothing special. Your rice water for hair will be good for the face too.

Can rice water be used daily? It is not a good idea to overload your hair with protein.

Can you leave rice water in hair overnight? There is no need for using rice water before going to bed and leaving it overnight in most cases. Protein overload (too much protein and not enough moisture) may be even worse than the lack of it.

Rice Water Hair Products

Just in case you are not into DIYs and want to buy some hair products with rice water, we have picked the most recommended rice water shampoos, conditioners, and rice water hair masks on the market.

– Paraben-Free, Cruelty-Free, and Vegan-Friendly MyKirei by KAO Shampoo with Moisturizing Japanese Tsubaki & Rice Water.

Uhuru Naturals Fermented Rice Water Spray for Curly Hair.

Shea Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner Set, and a Mask for Damaged Hair with Purple Rice Water.

HLOCare Happy Growing Fermented Black Rice Water Conditioner.

Well’s Fermented Rice Moisturizing Shampoo for Healthier Locks.

And many others. The choice is wide.

To sum up, rice water for hair is not just a trend, it is a real remedy that may be helpful for you, as it is a hair cuticle strengthener, a good antioxidant, and one of the best scalp nourishers. Try it once, twice, and then decide whether you want to continue.

  • claudia mwacha

    The rice water is magic. I have been using it for about 3 weeks now. I see a lot of changes. My hair is thicker, growing faster too. I spray every day before bedtime.

    • Nid

      Hey claudia. Do you wash it? And after how many minutes?

  • Vinita

    Rice water helps in decreasing the hair fall and promote hair growth. The amino acid present in the water helps in the regeneration of hair and makes them grow faster.

  • Deanna Jolly

    I’ve used it a few timed for my straight, baby fine, thinning, long hair and most definitely do see an improvement with added fullness and more texture. I will continue to rinse my hair with rice water to see even more positive results. Yay! I boil plain white rice with extra water than recipe calls for and drain the water off. Keep in the fridge for a week or so. I shampoo rinse and pour on the rice water. Massage it in gently, let it set for a few minutes and rinse it out. Dry my hair as usual. Major change in my hairs fullness and texture. Looks thicker.

  • Hillary Clinton

    the fermented rice water stinks! i fixed by adding crops of lavender. not all curly hair is dry and brittle. if a curly girl takes care of her hair it can be just as healthy as straight hair.

  • Kaci

    -Put rice water on hair for 15-30 min.
    -Condition well.
    Always rinse it out. Rice water can be drying I’ve read. I’ve just started using this technique, so too early to see any changes yet.

  • Amara

    try boiling the rice water with rosemary leave, thyme and mint leaves, orange peel and fleeceflower roots. Boiling for 5 to 10. Ferment every thing for 2day. Strain it out and Ferment for any 26days. Trust me there was no nasty smell at all. No essential oil

  • Sarah

    Be careful with this, friends. I’ve used rice water on my hair several times and I don’t plan to continue. My hair has become brittle and the ends are splitting like crazy! I think it completely depends on your hair type. Rice water puts protein into your hair I think, and if your hair doesn’t need protein it’s not a good combo. Try it once and watch to see if your ends are splitting, if your hair is tolerating it well.

  • Maahi

    Hello everyone.
    I’m using boiled rice water, everyday since a month..
    I’m extremely amazed with the results..
    Earlier my hair use to be brittle not so healthy and I lost my confidence over time as I saw some patches of baldness which was due to stress or hormonal as I am in my early 30s.. one of my friends suggested me to use the boiled rice water. I have started, every day before bathe I apply boil rice water well in my roots to tips on hair, it feels soothing.. I really love it..
    Then I rinse it off after 5mins thoroughly, and then again next day same.. I use shampoo once in a week.. as my hair dont get dirty much in this lockdown..
    I dont make much hair do except a simple bun. My hair is beautiful now.. Earlier I used to have headaches in spans of few days every time. But after doing above remedy. I didn’t have any headache.
    Resulting my hair growth fasten.. thick hair baby hairs grew a lot. Its more than an inch till now.. awesome remedy..