Your Complete Guide to Using Rice Water for Your Hair

How Does Rice Water Benefit Your Hair?

The use of rice water for hair health is quite a common practice in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Kate mentions that “Women in Asia have used rice water on their hair for centuries,” with the Yao women being the most well-known for utilizing rice water for both hair and even skincare benefits.

“Advocates claim that rice water can increase hair smoothness, add shine, and reduce breakage,” Kate notes. “The thinking is that rice water contains some beneficial ingredients that are often used in shampoos and conditioners, such as vitamin E, B vitamins, and proteins.”

But while rice water contains these useful vitamins and proteins, Kate is quick to mention that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims of rice water’s hair benefits. “Any effects that are claimed are anecdotal only,” she says. These are the believed benefits of rice water for your hair:

• Strengthens damaged hair strands preventing breakage for overall healthier hair

• Revitalizes dull strands by removing buildup, thus increases hair shine and softness

• Prevents (and can neutralize) “hygral fatigue” or overly moisturized and vitamin-rich hair

• Promotes hair growth and regeneration through vitamin C, B, and E and amino acids

Creates a smoother hair texture and detangles. “Rice water can help to reduce frizziness and it can balance your scalp’s pH levels, which can help to reduce oil buildup,” says Kee.

Your Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use Rice Water for Your Hair

Step 1: Gather your ingredients.

In order to make rice water, you will, of course, need rice. But if you’re wondering which type of rice works best, there isn’t a consensus about which type of rice works better than another. The DIY recipe on Poosh suggests sticking with organic rice, though this can be any type of organic rice. You’ll also need a bowl and a strainer to create the rice water. If you’re lucky enough to already have those ingredients at your disposal, keep scrolling. If you need to head out for a quick trip to the store, bookmark this page and come back to it once you have everything you need.

Step 2: Rinse the rice.

Take a half cup of rice and rinse it thoroughly before draining it. Once the rice has been drained, place it in two to three cups of water in a clean bowl. As an added precaution, Kate suggests boiling your rice water, because “Raw rice can contain harmful bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Although I haven’t heard of any rice water rinse–related food poisoning, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Step 3: Soak the rice.

The rice will need to soak in the water between 30 minutes to an hour, though Poosh notes you can let it sit for up to 24 hours. If you’re eager to use the rice rinse as soon as possible, you’ll leave it in for a shorter amount of time. But if you really want to reap the benefits of this hair care hack, you’ll want to make fermented rice water.

Step 4: Ferment the rice water.

Traditionally, the Yao women use fermented rice water. Studies have shown that fermented rice water contains a high amount of antioxidants that can combat hair damage. To ferment your rice water, you’ll follow the same steps above, but instead of letting the rice soak for an hour, leave the rice to soak at room temperature for up to two days. This is what creates the starchy consistency.

Step 5: Strain the rice.

After you’ve allowed your rice to soak in water for your chosen length of time, it’s now time to strain it. Be sure to use a clean, dry bowl as your vessel for your strained rice water. You can even place it into a Mason jar or any reusable container you have lying around to make storage easier.

Step 6: Shampoo your hair.

Before you apply the rice water, you’ll want to shampoo your hair. You can use any shampoo, so long as you make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Step 7: Apply the rice water to your hair.

You’ll then use the rice water as a sort of hair rinse after you’re done shampooing. Be sure to massage the rice water into your strands and potentially your scalp. Kate cautions that “It’s sensible to steer clear of home remedies in case of irritation” for those with “sensitive skin, an itchy scalp, or scalp problems, such as dermatitis or psoriasis.”

Step 8: Leave the rice water on your hair for 20 minutes.

Kate suggests “not leaving rice water on the hair for longer than 20 minutes,” so as not to cause additional irritation. Though the steps for using rice water aren’t all agreed upon, many people suggest leaving it on your hair for only 20 minutes. Once your 20 minutes are up, you can rinse out the rice water.

Step 9: Finish with conditioner.

When you rinse out all the rice water, complete your hair-washing routine with your choice of conditioner and bask in the glow of your new and improved natural hair.

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