First, rice water is simply the starchy water you get by rinsing your usual rice, most online sources have no suggestions of the exact type of rice you should use, we just use the long-grain white rice. Believe it or not – one of the most amazing hair care remedies has been sitting in your cupboard for years!
I have been battling with returning my hair to it’s thick, curly, easy-to-just-wash-and-forget natural state for many, many years now!
15 years of dying, heat, bleaching, weaving, relaxing, you know – all the crazy things we ladies have been doing to our hair in the past two decades – really took a toll on my hair and it became almost a quarter of its natural thickness over time. I had just about given up on ever restoring it, settling with just living life using clip-in extensions until I decide to let go trying altogether and resort to wear a pony-tail that really would not have much of a tail with the hair I had left.
My answer came through my very intelligent eldest daughter Kiki who is always on-the-look-out for new, trending, natural hair care ideas. I noticed her hair getting thicker and longer over the course of only 4 to 6 weeks and I had known that she was keeping a glass jar of rice water and she mentioned it several times that she was putting it in her hair – I just really didn’t dig in to it much more than that and did not think much of it at the time because I am accustomed to my teen girls coming up with some new hair and skin concoction that they start and forget in a few days.
Well this routine she stuck to for several weeks; within the first two months her hair had grown almost three inches (I kid you not!). Knowing my daughters hair and the fact that it is more on the slow-growing side and seeing how it had grown and became overall more lustrous – I now have several jars of rice water and proceeded to do a little bit of research on this amazing natural hair care remedy that is quick and easy to make and use!
My only warning about rice water is that you can expect a not-so-pleasant smell, and fermenting it in a glass jar for 2-3 days before using it is highly recommended. Read on to find out why rice water is so fantastic for hair (and skin!).
QUICK HISTORY OF RICE WATER USE FOR BEAUTY
Who can dispute the fact that women from Asian countries have some of the most beautiful, long and fast-growing hair on the planet?! Could it be possible that centuries of using rice water as a hair rinse, wash and solution has something to do with it? In my experience with rice water, I surely would not doubt it plays a big role. It can be said that rice water has ancient “roots” indeed.
The hair care beauty practice of using rice water came into existence when women farmers in China, Japan, and other southeast Asian countries bathed in the water used for cleaning rice and also used the rice water retained from rinsing rice as a solution on their hair before brushing or combing it.
Interestingly enough, the Yao women from Huangluo village in China have an average hair length of about 6 feet!!! These ladies made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘world’s longest hair village’ or “the Village of Rapunzels”. As if having six foot length here is not wonderful enough, these women do not have grey hair until their late 80s.
The Yao women insist that the fermented rice water, which they used to cleanse their hair, is what keeps their hair dark, shiny and long. Using the rice water helped these women to detangle and manage their long hair.
WHAT MAKES RICE WATER HEALTHY FOR HAIR?
Advocates [like me!] of using rice water for hair believe it:
- detangles the hair
- makes hair smoother
- increases shine
- makes hair stronger
- helps hair grow long
Rice grains contain 75–80 percent starch and starch is said to close the cuticle of the hair and therefore helping to protect it.
Rice water is the starchy water that remains after soaking or cooking rice; it is thought to contain many of the vitamins and minerals contained in rice. These include:
- amino acids
- B vitamins (B1 to B6)
- vitamin E
Research has shown that in addition to the above nutrients, fermented rice water also contains plenty of selenium, magnesium, folic acids, niacins, and vitamin K – using rice water is like applying one of the best hair vitamins directly on to your hair and scalp.
HOW TO MAKE RICE WATER
If you search the internet you will find numerous suggested ways to make rice water; below I have summed up the top three suggested ways that I have found online for making your own rice water for hair care purposes.
- I make my rice water simple by saving the water I would usually pour down the drain after rinsing my rice before cooking it. In my large family we cook rice often so I typically have a fresh batch everyday. I just put the rice in to my pot, add water and pour the water out, but now I pour the water in to a glass jar and place it in my bathroom to be used on my hair during my before-bedtime show. So far I have not been washing my rice water out after leaving it in for 2 or 3 minutes; I leave it in until my next hair wash and I usually wash my hair every 2 to 4 days.
- Some people suggest boiling a cup of rice in 2 cups of water; do not boil it until cooked. Just bring the water to a boil and then pour it off in to a glass jar or spray bottle. Let it cool and then apply it to your hair. Some people suggest leaving it in until the next wash, others suggest washing it out after having it in for a few minutes or hours.
- This method is how my daughter makes hers; 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup water, place the rice and water in to a jar and ferment for 12 hours. Then she would pour it on to her hair and leave it on until the next wash.
HOW TO USE RICE WATER FOR HAIR CARE
You can spritz it on with a spray bottle or just pour it on in the shower and massage it in to your hair and scalp. Decide whether you will be rinsing it out, or leaving it in until your next wash.
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP RICE WATER STORED?
I can guarantee that you would not be happy about any rice water kept out of the refrigerator for more than 1 day. If you make a batch of rice water and plan to have it longer than that, first ferment it in a glass jar for 12 to 18 hours and then refrigerate. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 7 days, after that, throw it out.
ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES TO USING RICE WATER?
The biggest draw-back I have learnt about so far is that excessive use of rice water as a hair solution will dry your hair out. So far I have not experienced drying, but my hair is quite oily anyway and I have never really had issues with dry hair. After I apply rice water in the shower, I use natural oils on my hair which also help to conceal the scent of the rice water.
Rice water also does not have a great scent – who could expect it to since it’s fermented though, right? haha. But using a scented hair moisturizer or oil can help with that issue.
My experience with rice water so far has been mind-blowing, especially after so many years of wanting to find a great product to help with my hair falling and slowed-growth. I am also happy about finding something great to do with the water I usually throw away when rinsing rice because I am a minimalist and I do not like wasting water or food – big no no’s for me!
I am so grateful to my resourceful princess for keeping me informed about these things because the last place I was gonna look to find a solution to my hair problem would have been my kitchen cupboard haha.
Though scientific evidence about using rice water as a hair treatment is inconclusive and more research is needed to prove the benefits of using rice water, it is good to know that using a rice water hair rinse is safe to try at home and may also be used on the skin. It has also been found to promote skin health in people with dermatitis.
So what do you think? Have you tried rice water on your hair before and what was the experience like?