When it comes to beauty we often anticipate immediate, life-altering results from the products we use. The beauty ritual of rinsing hair with rice water dates back to ancient Japan and has resurfaced when bloggers talked about the magic of the natural ingredient.
If you’re on the quest for lengthy strands, keep on reading for the benefits of rice water on your hair.
When it comes to hair growth, there is no instant gratification. According to experts, there are no scientific studies to prove that rice water can grow your hair, but it provides the nutrients that will strengthen your hair, making it look shinier, fuller, and healthier.
A Brief History of Rice Water
In 794 to 1185 CE, Japanese women in the Heian period bathed their floor-length hair with rice water to keep them strong and healthy.
But, do you know that the modern-day hair ritual can be found in Huangluo, China too? The rice water has been used for decades in Eastern cultures to treat the hair.
In fact, the Yao women are known for their 6-feet long hair, which doesn’t begin to gray until they reach their 80s. They credit the rice water tradition for their hair color and length, which made the natural ingredient popular across the globe.
Rice Water—and Its Benefits for Your Hair
Rice water helps hair to grow stronger.
The rice water is the starchy water that is left after the rice is soaked or boiled—and is believed to have antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, and vitamins B and E.
Do you know that rice grains contain 75 to 80 percent starch? Rice water advocates believe that it can help hair grow stronger while keeping it smooth and shiny.
Experts say that the vitamin E in rice water could contribute to hair’s shine while antioxidants and amino acids are great for overall hair health.
It gives the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients your hair needs.
Do you know that the rate your hair grows is mostly determined by your genes, health condition, and lifestyle?
If you want to grow your hair faster and make it healthy, you must focus on these factors instead of looking for a miracle ingredient or product. Hair growth is a process, and your hair needs the right minerals, vitamins, and nutrients for it to grow.
Rice water strengthens the hair shaft.
According to experts, the follicle is the focus of hair growth treatments, and rice water can’t do anything about it. But still, its vitamins and amino acids can be helpful in strengthening the hair shaft.
If you’re prone to hair fall, think of incorporating the rice water into your routine. After all, the stronger your hair shaft is the longer your hair can grow before it breaks.
It hydrates the scalp and keeps it healthy.
Rice water might not add inches to your hair in weeks, but it nourishes your hair with nutrients it needs. Do you know that the rice proteins can strengthen your strands, keep your follicles healthy, and seal your split ends?
In fact, it can absorb better in your hair and scalp than a vitamin can, since the rice water is in liquid form. Also, the starches can coat the surface of your hair, adding strength and gives hydration to the scalp.
Rice water can repair damaged strands.
More than that, studies have found that rice water contains inositol, which repairs damaged strands, and prevent further damage.
If you’re styling your hair with heat tools on a regular basis, rice water can protect your strands by keeping it stronger, smoother, and more manageable.
It doubles as a setting lotion and hair conditioner.
Some hairstylists even use the rice water as the setting lotion, which also holds the style without weighing down the hair. After all, the mix of vitamins A and E improves hair texture by taming frizz and keeping your hair smooth.
How to Use Rice Water for Your Hair
There are different ways to make rice water—soaking, fermenting, and boiling. Regarding the type of rice to use, choose long-grain white rice, as instant grains have fewer nutrients and brown rice has too much protein.
Get an easy hair fix with rice water from soaked grains.
When it comes to the soaking process, you just need to place ½ cup of uncooked rice in a bowl with 2 to 3 cups of water. Rinse thoroughly, and let it soak for 30 minutes.
Once the rice water is ready, you can use it to wash your hair. Just leave it for 30 to 45 minutes and rinse with tap water.
Ferment the rice water for higher nutritional benefits.
Some rice water advocates claim that fermented rice water contains higher levels of antioxidants like folic acids, vitamins B1 to B6, selenium, magnesium, niacin, and vitamin K that fight hair damage, compared to plain rice water.
To ferment rice water, soak it for minimum of 12 hours to 2 days instead of 30 minutes. After 12 hours, the nutrients from rice are pulled out, but you need to refrigerate it after 24 hours, at a max of three days.
Get starchy rice water that doubles as a hair conditioner.
Another way to make rice water is by boiling the rice. Just double the water you usually use for cooking rice. When the rice water gets starchy, strain it to a clean container and let it cool before applying to your hair.
You can wash and condition your hair, as usual, spray your rice water, and massage your scalp before rinsing. If you want to go natural, add tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar to rice water to prevent buildup over time.
Think of adding essential oils for fragrant hair.
Some women even add essential oils to the rice water for more hair benefits and fragrant scent. If you’ve got some hair issues to deal with, you can make rice water a regular part of your hair care routine.
Shea butter, castor oil, black seed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, argan oil, and silk proteins are great ingredients to add on your hair care routine too.
However, if you are suffering from hair loss, better seek professional care than a home remedy. Most of the time, underlying issues like anemia, thyroid disease, and vitamin deficiency affects our hair growth, and rice water isn’t the hair growth miracle.
How Often Should You Use Rice Water?
You can leave the rice water on your hair for 30 to 45 minutes.
The rice water is wonderful for all hair types and textures, but don’t overdo it. If you think of putting rice water in your hair every day or leaving it overnight, think again.
Protein overload can harden your hair, cause brittleness and breakage. Experts suggest leaving the rice water for 30 to 45 minutes before rinsing.
Also, you can skip the shampoo when using rice water treatment on the same day to avoid stripping your hair’s natural oils.
Use rice water once a week if you need a protein treatment.
If you have a coarser hair texture and don’t struggle with protein overload, you can leave the rice water in your hair for a couple of hours, but don’t sleep overnight with it.
If you need a protein treatment, you can use rice water once a week to nourish your hair. You can target different drier areas in your hair and deep condition them with rice water.
Consistency and moderation are the keys.
Hair types and conditions vary, but it is proven that rice water can nourish your hair. After one minute of wash, you’ll likely notice that your hair seemed to have some sort of thin coating, which lessens the friction when brushing.
After a week of washing, your hair texture will look smoother, thicker, and more manageable. On regular moderate use, rice water can lessen the breakage such as split ends and hair fall.
When you’re having a short hair, looking for a quick fix to get lengthy locks isn’t the solution. After all, hair growth is a process, and a miracle ingredient doesn’t exist. But still, rice water will give essential nutrients to your hair, so you should definitely add it to your hair care routine.
Can rice water get rid of gray hair?
Some women claimed that rice water prevents premature graying of their hair, but there is no scientific evidence to support the claim.
A great thing, the rice water does wonder to the hair by keeping it healthy and nourished. Also, it reduces the surface friction on your hair that contributes to increased hair elasticity and less hair fall.
Are there vitamins or topical treatments with scientific backing when it comes to hair growth?
According to experts, Rogaine, Tricho Complex, and prescription Propecia pills are proven to increase hair growth, though you can still seek other treatments from your doctor.
When looking for hair vitamins, look for key nutrients like biotin, copper, iron, caffeine, and L-lysine, which support hair growth. In fact, caffeine detoxifies your scalp and stimulates blood flow, strengthening your hair follicles.
Rice water can still be helpful in keeping your hair healthy—that’s why there are lots of hair products that contain rice protein and inositol.
You may even look for plant-based shampoos made with rice and rosemary extracts that can be beneficial for your hair and scalp. There are some scalp therapies that promote healthy hair and scalp, encouraging hair growth too.