Should You Really Be Using Rice Water for Your Hair?
Used since ancient times in East Asian beauty rituals, rice water and rice milk are now being blended into mainstream haircare and skincare. The antioxidant-rich ingredient, made by soaking rice in water, is said to strengthen hair and gently exfoliate skin.
You may have seen rice water and other rice-derived ingredients like sake crop up in skincare lines (think cult-favorite luxury brands like SK-II and Tatcha), and rice water in haircare is having a moment too, in everything from shampoos and conditioners to curl creams. Here’s the scoop, whether you want to make it at home or stock up on rice water beauty products:
What are the benefits of rice water for hair?
“Rice water is rich with amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals and antioxidants, all of which have known benefits for the hair,” explains Andrew Fitzsimons, NatureLab TOKYO Brand Ambassador and celebrity hair stylist. “With regular use, you can expect shinier, stronger, smoother hair,” says Fitzsimons.
While there’s no shortage of people willing to attest to the wonders of rice water, there is little research to confirm the product’s effectiveness. Ingredients in rice water, however, point to multiple hair benefits:
- Starch helps overall hair health: “Rice water contains starch, which is a complex sugar molecule,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., F.A.A.D., president and co-founder of Modern Dermatology. The vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids “are key to hair health and are seen in many hair growth products.”
- Inositol improves hair strength: “Inositol, or vitamin B9, has been shown to penetrate the hair shaft and strengthen and repair hair,” Robinson says. One study confirms the strengthening effect of Inositol on hair, while another points to improvements in hair elasticity.
- Vitamin E boosts hydration: Robinson explains that vitamin E could explain reported improvements in shine when using rice water on hair.
- Antioxidants aid in repairing strands and amino acids prevent damage: According to Robinson, these two ingredients are good for overall hair health.
How do you make rice water?
DIY a rice water hair treatment, as explained by YouTuber Lana Summers:
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- Wash two tablespoons of plain white rice (organic or non-organic) in two cups of water.
- Swish the mixture around and leave it for about a half hour.
- Once you see milky, cloudy water, can strain it and prepare your hair to soak.
Or, you can see even better results if you ferment the rice water. Here’s how:
- Follow the above steps, but instead, leave the rice in the water for about 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, strain the rice from the water and dilute the resulting solution with more water.
Pro tip: Fermented rice water might smell foul, so Summers suggests adding in some orange peels to the mix.
How do you use rice water for hair?
- As a rinse: One easy way to use rice water for stronger strands is using it as a rinse after you shampoo your hair, but before you apply conditioner. Leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing out and following up with your normal conditioner.
- As a leave-in treatment: For hair stylists and YouTube beauty influencers, the DIY trick is to let rice water sit for up to three days and then use the strained water as a type of conditioner.
- As a hydrating mist: “My setting lotion has always been rice water,” says Peter Lamas, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Peter Lamas Beauty, who says he first experimented with using the starchy solution — which he saved from his wife’s cooking the night before — on the hair of runway models backstage in the ’70s.
Can rice water help my hair grow?
That’s the one thing experts can’t confirm. According to King, “Rice water has not been proven to help hair grow but it is possible that it may help hair look shinier and healthier.”
As intriguing as the notion of extension-length strands may be, the experts are clear that the research stops short of confirming any hair growth claims. With a healthier hair and scalp, and fewer split ends, it seems plausible at least that longer lengths could follow — but plenty of hair growth oils exist to help with longer strands in the interim.
Are there any side effects to using rice water on hair?
One of the studies notes that applying rice water directly to hair may lead to flaking on the hair’s surface (but the same study found that rice water extracts were highly effective).
How often should you use rice water for hair?
Products containing rice water extracts can be used every day, but if you attempt to make your own rice water treatment or rinse, don’t use it every day — stick to once a week.
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Published at Mon, 24 May 2021 18:40:00 +0000