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Everything you need to know about rice water

Rice water has been a hot topic for years. It’s a protein treatment that makes your hair stronger, softer and grow faster. It’s an ancient Japanese tradition, and is still used by the Yao women in China to keep their hair long and healthy. But it’s adopted by beauty lovers around the world too, who wanted to find out if rice water really can beautify and strengthen hair. You can make it yourself at home and the only ingredient you need is rice – making it a great budget tip too. So in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about rice water.

Also read: Everything you need to know about curls

In this article:

In this article:

What is rice water?

Rice water is the starchy water that remains after soaking or cooking rice. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and amino acids. You can easily make it yourself or buy it in the store.

What does rice water do for hair?

There’s a town in China called Huangluo Yao Village, which is home to the Red Yao tribe. The Yao women are known for having beautiful hair that averages 6 feet long. 

Their secret? They bathe their hair in rice water.

Rice water is mainly known for stimulating hair growth. In addition, it increases the elasticity of your hair, making it less brittle. 

It also provides shine and volume, and it protects your hair against external influences. A regular rice water rinse ensures visible healthier hair.

There are a lot of benefits of a rice water rinse. Rice water:

  • Promotes and stimulates hair growth;
  • Is a gentle, mild cleanser;
  • Has moisturizing and repairing properties;
  • Increases hair elasticity and resilience;
  • Strengthens the hair;
  • Adds volume, curl definition, softness and shine;
  • Smoothes the hair cuticles;
  • Reduces dandruff;
  • Reduces hair loss;
  • Relieves dry, irritated and itchy scalp;
  • Repairs the hair from within;
  • Continues to repair damage after use;
  • Improves the general condition of the hair;
  • Stimulates blood flow to the scalp;
  • Ensures less hair breakage when washing.

Do you have curls and are you following the Curly Girl Method? Then you want to watch your protein moisture balance. 

A rice water treatment gives your hair a protein boost, so doing this too often can create a protein overload.

Also read: Protein overload: what is it and how can you fix it?

How to make rice water

Want to know how to make rice water for your hair? It’s super easy and you only need water and rice. 

Preferably use organic white rice, because the proteins in this rice have a smaller molecular mass than brown rice and can therefore penetrate the hair better. 

There are three ways to make rice water: soaking rice, cooking rice, and fermenting rice. We explain all three:

Soaking rice

  • Add 1 tbsp rice to 1/2 cup water 
  • Let this soak for 45 minutes 
  • Stir the rice well 
  • Pour the water into a bowl and let it cool down

Boiling rice

  • Add 1 tbsp water to 1 cup water
  • Cook the rice for about 15 minutes
  • Drain the water into a bowl and let it cool

Fermenting rice

  • Add 1 tbsp rice to 1/2 cup water 
  • Soak for 24 to 48 hours in a sealed container
  • Stir the rice well
  • Drain the water into a bowl and let it cool

Fermenting rice releases more antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. This rice water also reaches a lower pH value, which is in line with the pH value of the scalp. So fermented rice water is meant to be the best of the three and gives the most dramatic results, but do be careful with this. Because if the fermentation is not carried out properly, pathogenic bacteria can develop.

Rice water can be stored in the refrigerator for about five days.

How to use rice water

Use rice water after you’ve washed your hair. Clean hair ensures that the rice water will be absorbed better. 

Once your hair is towel dry, you can start with the rinse. If there is still too much water in your hair, it will dilute the rice water and reduce its effectiveness.

Pour the rice water over your hair and squeeze it in really well. Also pour it over your scalp and massage it in. 

Once all of your hair is soaked with rice water, put your hair in a bun. Use a thermal heat cap or put a plastic cap on for best results. 

After half an hour, rinse and follow up with a protein-free deep conditioner for at least 20 – 30 minutes. Otherwise your hair can feel quite dry.

You can also pour the rice water into a spray bottle if you find that easier. Make sure your scalp and hair are completely soaked. 

This method is a lot more economical: you can do a rinse twice with the same amount of rice water.

Also read: 5 tips for deep conditioning your hair

Rice water results

Curious about rice water results? Three people share their experiences:

Sayn van MijnKrullen

In this video Sayn shares her rice water results. She used homemade fermented rice water for her hair for three months, and it did quite a bit! Make sure to click on subtitles as the video is in Dutch.

Stephanie Voltaire

YouTuber Stephanie Voltaire shows her results in her video about rice water. “I am so shocked at the results. My hair has grown a lot! I don’t know if it’s the rice water, I don’t know if it’s something else that I may be doing that’s retaining length. I don’t know. But I’m going to put my money on the rice water, because that’s all I’ve been doing.”

The Chic Natural

Kim from TheChicNatural says she couldn’t believe the difference that she saw, she was shocked at the results. Her hair has never grown so fast in one month.

Rice water before and after

Want to see more rice water results? We found a few rice water before and after pictures:

@grownandsexyketo achieved this result in just three weeks:

@@veevee__b used rice water every day for a week and this is the result:

@oui.hairstimulants decided to take very good care of her hair during the lockdown. This is her rice water result in three months:

Do you have any questions about rice water? Let us know on Instagram!

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