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Rice Water for Hair Growth – Everything You Need To Know

Rice Water for Hair Growth – Everything You Need To Know

It may surprise you, but you probably have one of the most amazing hair products lying idle in your kitchen cabinet. Rice water is a natural treatment that has been recently gaining popularity among hair enthusiasts across the globe.

Besides having a whole host of benefits for hair growth, rice water for hair care is a simple DIY concoction that’s fairly easy to prepare and use. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take a close look at everything you need to know about the magic of rice water and how it will transform your hair completely. 

But before you ditch your favorite conditioner, let’s first get you up to speed with all the fine details of adding rice water to your hair care routine. Enough talk. Let’s dive in!

What is Rice Water?

Just as the name suggests, rice water is the cloudy liquid you get from soaking either uncooked or cooked rice in water. The starchy concoction also contains several nutrients that are beneficial to hair and scalp health. 

What Does Rice Water Do to Your Hair?

In a nutshell, treating your hair with rice water results in stronger and shinier hair that doesn’t break easily but instead grows longer and faster! Rice water hair treatment comes with a long list of wonderful benefits that you’ve probably been missing out on all this time. 

If you have some doubts about rice water’s effectiveness for hair growth, a little celebrity endorsement might just change your mind. Kim Kardashian recently revealed that rice water is one of her secrets to achieving gorgeous hair. What’s more, her sister, Kourtney Kardashian, also learned this from Kim and was generous enough to share it on her blog called Poosh.

A Brief History of Rice Water for Hair

The concept of using rice water to beautify and add strength to hair is not as novel as you may imagine. It dates back centuries, which is why we probably shouldn’t raise our eyebrows too much in doubt. The fact that it has stood the test of time is just proof of its power to nourish the hair and scalp.

Research on the ancient Heian period in Japan (794 to 1185 CE) revealed that court ladies were known to have stunningly long hair that draped all the way to the floor. They managed to keep it all healthy by bathing in Yu-Su-Ru (rice water).

A modern-day equivalent of this story can be found in China among the Yao women. These women, who live in China’s Huangluo, are renowned for their remarkable hair that averages 6 feet. Their hair is also famed to retain its natural color for much longer.

Is There Science to Back it Up?

“Is there more to using rice water for hair growth than mere anecdotal evidence?” you may be asking softly in your head.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a healthy dose of skepticism. However, scientists, researchers, product developers, and beauty advisers are growing increasingly fascinated by this hair treatment. As the body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of rice water for hair nourishment grows each day, more people are embracing this trend.

For example, a 2010 peer-reviewed article indicates that rice water may limit surface friction and enhance hair elasticity, thus contributing to healthy, longer hair. To make your life much easier, we’ve worked hard to comb through these findings to give you what’s been proven to work.

What Does Rice Water Contain?

Before you reap the healing and nourishing benefits of this amazing hair treatment, you might want to know what it contains. For starters, rice water contains up to 80% starch. However, it’s also thought to contain a wide range of essential vitamins, trace minerals, among several other nutrients that promote healthy hair growth. All this goodness saturates the water when rice is left to soak. 

Here’s a quick rundown of all the constituents of rice water:

  • Amino acid
  • Antioxidants
  • Folic acid
  • Niacin
  • Selenium
  • Trace minerals like zinc and magnesium
  • Vitamin B groups
  • Vitamin E

So, What Are Those Awesome Beauty Benefits?

Treatment using rice water is great for your hair due to several great reasons. For starters, rice water effectively treats the scalp, therefore creating a healthy scalp environment. This is the foundation of healthy hair growth. 

Another significant impact of rice water treatment is its de-frizzing effect. It makes hair smoother, shinier, stronger, and longer. Let us take a closer look at the main benefits of rice water:

Assists in Hair Growth

The antioxidants in rice water are proven to nourish the hair and repair worn-out cells. This improves the scalp environment, the condition of the hair cuticle and strengthens hair.  Rice water also plays a crucial role in permitting the optimal performance of hair follicles which is exactly where hair growth starts. 

It is also thought to nourish and strengthen hair follicles resulting in high-quality hair that is much less susceptible to breakage.

Boosts the Shine of Hair

One of the major causes of dull hair is split ends. If you have color-treated hair that’s dull and dry, rice water is the ideal solution. The starch that is abundant in rice water is effective at conditioning dry scalps. It will help improve hydration and limit the appearance of split ends. Consequently, the shine of your hair will improve substantially. 

Improves on Scalp Health

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that a healthy scalp is essential for healthy hair. Whether it’s a scalp scrub or rice water rinse, you first need a healthy scalp. Adding rice water to your hair treatment routine is a big step towards creating the ideal scalp environment for healthy hair growth. 

Rice water treatment is a simple way of infusing the scalp with amino acids and various trace minerals, and vitamins. For instance, niacin contains vitamin B3 that’s known to strengthen hair and prevent dullness. Although found in tiny quantities, selenium also promotes hair growth and reduces dandruff formation.

Calms Irritation from Other Treatments

Certain chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfates can take a massive toll on your scalp’s health and could result in awful conditions such as dermatitis. Luckily, rice water may come as an awesome relief by soothing inflammation of the skin. When carefully used together with oils and emollients, rice water comes in handy by offering extra skin nourishment.

Makes Hair More Manageable

Nobody wants hair that’s stubborn and messy. We all treasure hair that’s easy to detangle. Rice water is incredibly useful when it comes to reducing friction and can help you achieve improved elasticity, shine, and softness.  

Strengthens Hair

Like protein, rice water forms a coating around hair strands such that it effectively strengthens hair shafts and thickens hair. The high starch levels in rice water imply that the hair shaft is coated, ultimately adding to strength. Besides, folic acid helps in strengthening and thickening hair.

Additional Benefits

Leave alone the beauty benefits for the hair. The abundant starch in rice water could possibly help repair damaged skin for people with dermatitis conditions.

Fermented Versus Fresh Rice Water

Don’t freak out when someone advises you to use fermented rice water. Although fresh rice water contains antioxidants, the fermented version undoubtedly has them in larger amounts. Studies have proven that antioxidants are more abundant in fermented substances.

It is these antioxidants that combat the damage of hair and skin cells. Don’t you ever wonder why they’re a key ingredient in most beauty products?

In case you are wondering how you’ll ferment rice water, we’ve got you fully covered. Read on to discover the different methods of preparing rice water.

How to Make Rice Water for Hair

You’re probably feeling bogged down with enough information and wondering when you’ll get to make your own rice water. Well, this is perhaps the most exciting part. You’re about to learn various methods of preparing rice water for hair so you can choose whichever suits your needs and preference. And the good news is: we’ll take you through step by step so you can see the best possible results. 

Let’s get our feet wet!

Soaking Method

This makes use of plain rice water that’s just been freshly obtained.

What You Need

  • 1 cup of uncooked organic rice (white, brown, basmati, etc.)
  • 1 cup of soaking water

Step 1

First, rinse the uncooked rice and drain thoroughly to remove any dirt and impurities that you don’t want to be mixed with your precious hair. Now add the washed rice into a clean medium-sized bowl.  

Add one and a half cups of clean water and stir till it becomes pretty cloudy. Next, leave the mixture to sit for at least an hour up to 10 or 12 hours.

Step 2

Carefully strain the rice, reserving the water this time around. As for the rice, you can cook it up if you want!

We’re not just trying to achieve lustrous hair. Eating soaked rice is healthier as it minimizes the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Step 3

At this stage, your magical DIY concoction is pretty much ready to use. Just store a portion of the rice water in a travel-sized bottle of shampoo or a small jar that you’re prepared to use. Refrigerate the rest for later use. Just don’t keep it there for longer than a week.

Fermenting Method

As we’ve already covered, fermenting your rice water properly allows it to accumulate a substantial dose of antioxidants. For this, we need whichever rice is available in your kitchen, just as before. The amount of water required doesn’t change either.

Step 1

Rinse and strain your rice, discarding this first round of water altogether.

Step 2

Mix the strained rice in a medium-sized bowl filled with clean water (1 cup).

You stop stirring once the water has turned a bit cloudy. Strain the rice again and reserve the water. You can cook your rice at will. But hey, it’s the hair first.

Step 3

Transfer the rice water into a plastic container and cover it. Let it sit in that condition at room temperature for between 12 hours to a whole day. We have a very low opinion for leaving it beyond that.

Step 4

And just like that, we’re all done. Just transfer part of the rice water into a small bottle while keeping the rest in the fridge.

If you forget to carry your batch of this fermented concoction to the shower even once, throw it away if it goes past a day without refrigeration. But even if you do refrigerate it, make sure you’ve used up all of it within a week.


This is perhaps the quickest method if you can’t wait to get your hands on this wonderful DIY hair treatment. However, it’s crucial to note that the ratios might differ here a little bit.

Step 1

Wash your uncooked rice and drain thoroughly to remove dirt and impurities.

Step 2

Place the rice into a pot, place twice as much water (2 cups water for 1 cup of rice), and boil. Check the water for a cloudy formation from time to time during boiling.

Step 3

When the water turns sufficiently cloudy, strain it into a clean bowl.

Step 4

Allow the rice water time to cool and transfer it into your containers of choice for storage and immediate use. Remember to keep the excess under refrigerated conditions.

How to Use Rice Water on Hair

Now that we know how to prepare rice water for our hair, let’s brush through its application process. Fortunately, there are hardly any intricacies here. You don’t even need to change your washing schedule around the rice water rinse. 

Simply shampoo and condition your hair as you’ve always done. Here’s a quick breakdown of the process you should follow for the best results:

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse with plain water.
  2. Shake the bottle containing rice water very well before use. Next, take your rice water and massage it carefully into the hair and scalp. If you have longer hair, massage a generous amount. You could even use the entire portion of your tiny travel-sized bottle.
  3. Let the rice water sit in your hair and scalp for 10 to 15 minutes, but there’s no standard duration.
  4. Finally, rinse your hair again, and you’re good to go. You’ll probably notice how strong and thick it feels almost immediately

Tip: During the application, the trick is to focus on the scalp and work your way out skillfully. You need to massage the rice water directly onto the scalp and allow adequate contact time for maximum penetration.

Other Tips and Tricks

Be sure to rinse off the rice water thoroughly, just not in excess, since relatively higher quantities of protein compared to moisture may dry out your hair.

You can start by using rice water only twice or thrice a week and monitor the progress. If your hair feels dry, reduce the usage of rice water. Instead, use more conditioner to restore moisture. Increase usage progressively until you figure out the perfect balance for your hair.

Possible Results

From experience, your hair will likely feel different a short time after you’ve used rice water. You might notice a thin outer coating on the strands that seems to protect the hair as you brush through it. With just a couple of rice water treatments, you can pretty much forget about those annoying flyaway strands.

And in case you fear de-frizzing brushes, you can be confident that your hair will hold out incredibly well. Most people prefer hair that’s softer, thicker, and more easily manageable. In just a week and with just three to four rice water rinses, you can achieve hair that’s fuller and much more noticeable.

Many hair enthusiasts swear by this treatment, reporting that it not only reduces breakage but also promotes shinier hair. After trying out numerous treatments, one Reddit user found that only rice water could help them achieve their desired length. 

The best way to see the benefits of rice water to your hair is by trying it out yourself. However, don’t be disappointed if you don’t experience the magic with a single rinse or in a couple of days.

Hair Type Considerations

Because of its remarkable mildness, rice water is safe for use across various skin and hair types, regardless of curl and texture. This being said, people with dryer scalps should limit rice water usage.

What’s the Odor of Rice Water? 

Fresh rice water has no remarkable smell. But if you let it ferment beyond 24 hours, it may develop a foul smell. Anything 48+ hours will probably result in an order similar to that of a rotten rice marsh. So how do we make it smell better?

Can I Improve the Smell of Rice Water?

Absolutely! Here are some different ways to make the smell of rice water much more pleasing:

Vanilla Extract + Cinnamon Oil

To your bowl of rice water, add one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and 5-6 drops of cinnamon oil.

Orange Zest

Add 10 drops of orange oil to your bowl of rice water to add the scent of citrus fruits. You could also try lime oil.

Floral Essentials

If you want to mask the natural smell and enjoy a pleasant floral experience with rice water, simply add 5-7 drops of Chamomile, jasmine or lavender oils.

Does Rice Water Expire?

Short answer: yes. Even if you’ve got it refrigerated, don’t use it beyond 5-7 days. When kept at room temperature, it will go bad faster (typically after 2 days).

Are There Side Effects?

There are no adverse side effects of using rice water on hair. However, a handful of ladies achieve less-positive results. Some people have complained of dryness, brittleness and breakage (very fine hair), flaky accumulation on the scalp, and protein overload on the hair cuticle.

Wrapping Up

Rice water offers incredible benefits to your hair and has been used historically among many Asian cultures. By reading this article, you’ll have all the information to start reaping the wonderful benefits of rice water for your hair, including greater growth, increased strength and shine, improved scalp health, and so on. 

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