The secret to longer, stronger and shinier hair might be in your kitchen cupboard. Using rice water as a hair care product dates back centuries in Asian culture and recently boiled over as a TikTok trend, with #ricewater gathering hundreds of millions of hair-flipping endorsements. The name of this hair elixir also serves as the ingredient list. Rice water is the starchy liquid created when rice is soaked or cooked in water. The cloudy concoction holds many of the nutrients that make rice one of the world’s most important food sources.
Rice is one of the most popular grains eaten around the world. Fortified with folate, a B-vitamin best known for treating some forms of anemia and essential for helping the neural tube form during pregnancy.2 So how does that translate into promoting healthier hair, exactly? Well, TBH, The benefits of rice water are not fully understood, and remain unproven. However there is growing anecdotal evidence about its benefits (although more research is needed to support it). It definitely makes the hair stronger. Just as protein is an essential part of maintaining a balanced diet, it also plays an important role in keeping hair healthy. The protein in rice water is believed to help improve the overall condition of hair (read: harder, better, faster, stronger). Also based on anecdotal evidence from advocates of rice water, the starchy solution is believed to lend luster to dull locks. It can help the hair grow: Rice water may promote hair growth because it contains amino acids that support hair regeneration. It also contains vitamins C, B, and E, which promote hair growth as well. Vitamins C, B, and E help strengthen the hair shaft, and the stronger the shaft, the longer the hair can grow. Not to mention it also smooths hair: Damaged and/or high porosity hair has difficulty retaining moisture, which can result in frizz and split ends. However, the nourishing proteins found in rice water may counteract this, reducing breakage and therefore, improving hair’s texture
How to Make Rice Water for Hair
Since rice water only requires two ingredients to make, whipping it up at home—Cardi-B style—seems like a no-brainer. Rice water acts like a protein treatment, you’ll want to apply it as often as you typically use masks and treatments formulated with protein to avoid brittle, dry hair. Try replacing a regular conditioner with rice water about once a week. The DIY recipe involves either boiling or soaking; however, the latter method is thought to wield the most benefits.
1/2 cup of rice
2 cups of water
1 container with a lid
A spray bottle
Directions for Soaking:
Pour 2 cup of uncooked rice in a strainer
Place rice in a bowl with 2 cups of water
Soak for up to 24 hours at room temperature
Strain the rice water into a clean bowl
Funnel rice into a spray bottle and refrigerate until you’re ready to use
Wash hair with shampoo and rinse
Towel dry hair
Pour the rice water onto the hair
Massage into hair and scalp
Cover with a plastic cap or bag (a shower cap works, too)
Leave on for up to 20 minutes
Rinse thoroughly with warm water and style as desired
Some rice water advocates claim fermented rice water has more benefits than plain rice water. According to a 2012 study, fermented substances have a higher amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants may combat hair and skin cell damage, which is why they are typical ingredients in beauty products. To ferment rice water, follow steps 1–4 of the soaking method. Before straining, leave the rice water to stand at room temperature for up to 2 days, allowing it to ferment. Strain the rice water into a clean bowl before use.
How Your Hair Looks After!
After one minute: Your hair will already feel different. It will seem to have some sort of outer coating, or a thin shell, around each strand, protecting the hair as you brush through it. Usually your hair may be breaking as you work through a detangling brush. But this time, it will hold the hair down.
After one day: The morning after your first rice water rinse, your hair will start to look brighter and blonder.
After one week (approximately four washes): Your hair will start to feel thicker, fuller, and more manageable. You can also experiment with blow-drying your hair, which you’ve bever down before due to instant broken flyaways that usually frame the head immediately afterwards.