While the world gushes over creams and potions sold in a bottle, Asia’s easiest and the worst-kept secret is literally all you need for glowing skin and lustrous hair. Rice water – which is nothing but water in which rice has been left to soak/boil for a while – contains benefits galore, and adding it to your personal care regime will only enhance your skin and hair in the most natural and chemical-free way.
There are two very simple ways to make rice water at home.
- In a large vessel, soak a cup of uncooked rice in double the amount of water, and leave for about half an hour. Strain the water into a bottle – this is rice water.
- In a cooker, boil rice in twice the amount of cooking water that you normally use for cooking. When it is half cooked, strain out the water into a bottle, and use it as rice water.
Storage: Rice water should be stored in a jar, vessel or bottle with a lid at room temperature in a dry place. It can be consumed immediately, or over 4-5 days. The older the solution, the more concentrated, so you may need to dilute it with water with each passing day. Rice water should be thrown away after 5 days, and a fresh batch whipped up.
Tip: It is preferable to use organic rice, clean filtered water, and rinse the rice thoroughly before use to get rid of any topical pollutants and pesticides. White rice is preferred over brown or red rice – since the water from the former has more extensive benefits.
How Often Use
Rice water has a multitude of components with nutritional value for the skin and hair. Around 16 percent of these are proteins, the building blocks essential to cell health. Triglycerides and lipids each make up 10 percent of the rice water composition, while starch (an extract still used in Japanese cosmetics), is present at 9 percent. Carbohydrates, inositol, phytic acid and inorganic substances are other components in rice water. This is what you get when you boil an average handful of white rice in two cups of hot water and strain out the residue liquid.
Rice water can be used twice a day every day as a skin toner, once a day in a skin mask or as a facial rinse. It can also be used as a shampoo as often as you shampoo your hair, or as a final rinse.
Over the years, various studies have been testimony to the fact that rice water, part of Asia’s culinary legacy, is also part of its beauty legacy. And for good reason. Its has immense skin benefits.
The potent antioxidants it has is the best bet for protection against premature aging. It does so by neutralization of free radicals and also goes by the properties of elastase (the enzyme that damages elastin and makes it bouncy).
It also soothes and improves impaired skin barriers and keeps it hydrated. There are several benefits to using rice water for the skin.
1) It soothes skin conditions in sensitive skins, including acne and pimples
In 2002, a study determined that patients with skin conditions like inflammation, rashes and dermatitis benefitted greatly from taking a bath in rice water twice a day. So people with sensitive skins, rejoice! It is the most natural astringent you can ever imagine, thanks to its high starch content, and is good for people suffering from chronic acne and pimples as well.
2) It keeps your skin safe from the sun
Rice water is a natural sunscreen, protecting from the harmful effects of UV rays. In addition, rice water can be used to treat sunburns. Just apply it to sun-damaged skin, and it will help your skin recover faster. It also helps tighten open pores.
3) It is an anti-aging solution
Skin texture is greatly improved, and elasticity is restored by using rice water, especially in the case of dry and dehydrated skin. Rice water is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. In addition, it contains ferulic acid and allantoin, all of which are necessary for skin function.
4) It improves the complexion
One of the key functions of rice water is brighter skin and an even skin tone. If you dip a cotton ball in fermented rice water and massage it into your face, it really works wonders. You’ll find sun spots, pigmentation, hyperpigmentation and freckles lightening.
5) It protects against skin cancer
Not only does it promote cell growth and regeneration, keeping your skin supple and smooth, but it also has antioxidants, which keep various skin cancers at bay and also act as an anti-aging agent.
6) It benefits the skin on your body, not just your face
You can use it as a bath soak – just add two cups of rice water into regular water that’s in your bathtub, and finish up with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Soak for about half an hour to reap the skin benefits of rice water all over the body, while the lavender lulls you into a comfortable sleep-like state.
1) Say goodbye to frizzy hair
In 2010, a study was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, where researchers clearly stated that using rice water as a hair treatment offered several benefits including improved elasticity, texture and lesser friction and frizz. This is largely due to the presence of inositol, a carbohydrate.
2) It is a chemical-free hair cleanser
Using it as a shampoo to wash out your hair may not be as convenient as a store-bought shampoo, but it comes without chemicals and preservatives, and you don’t even need to follow it up with a conditioner.
3) It balances your scalp’s pH levels.
Rice water keeps your hair’s natural oils intact and its pH levels are similar to that of the scalp! For added benefits, a few drops of your preferred essential oils can be added to rice water, and this mix can replace your regular shampoo.
When you use rice water, you are using a by-product of boiling rice – and this is a single ingredient trick, which means you’re not really digging into anything else. What’s more, you don’t have to deal with the implications of using disposable plastic waste that just reaches landfills, and you can spare the earth of that many more toxins and toxic waste.
If you actually cook for a cartload of people, don’t even throw away the water used to rinse the rice – you can even just store it in a bucket and use it to bathe your body. Also, rice water costs virtually nothing! Instead of opting for expensive store-bought serums and toners, just use this really affordable (read, free!) DIY product and you’ll find you don’t really need to clutter your bathroom shelf with much else.
What Are The Cons?
Rice water is not a miracle cure, but a slow, healing process. While you’ll see visible benefits using it for a few days or even weeks, to reap its real benefits means making a lifestyle change. It’ll need to be a part of your daily routine just as much as eating breakfast or brushing your teeth.
Also, try to get certified organic white rice, since non-organic versions may have extensive traces of dirt, pollutants, bacteria and pesticides that you are privy to, resulting in skin problems like eczema and so on. Since the product is homemade, it doesn’t contain preservatives. So you’ll need to keep an eye out for when it’s going bad and whip up a fresh batch every couple of days.