Exploring the Benefits of Rice Water for Hair

Rice water has trended on TikTok due to its impact on hair health. It’s simple to create at home and is made with ingredients that are pantry staples. Whether you’re a beauty guru or looking to strengthen your hair, read on to get the details on rice water.

Key takeaways:

Benefits of rice water for hair

Herbal shampoos are becoming more popular. Many current shampoos contain chemicals that cause dryness and hair loss with long-term use. Rice water, a centuries-old staple in Asian countries, is gaining attention as a natural alternative.

Huangluo Yao village, located in China, holds the Guinness World Record for the "Longest Hair Village." The women in this village wash their hair with fermented rice water, which shows how beneficial rice water can be for hair health. People all over social media are now exploring the benefits of rice water, which include:

  • Improving hair texture and shine
  • Strengthening hair and reducing breakage
  • Preventing the formation of gray hairs
  • Promoting hair growth

The science behind rice water for hair

While many have anecdotal evidence of the benefits of rice water for hair, the benefits have not yet been scientifically proven. Small case studies have been performed on the rice water components that are thought to be beneficial to hair.

A significant component of rice is inositol. It is available in foods like fruits, meats, and other grains. Studies have shown that inositol can repair damaged hair, strengthen hair follicles, and promote growth.

A separate study suggested rice water helps prevent gray hairs. Rice water may activate the hair's natural pigmentation, called melanin, and reduce the pH level to help preserve hair color.

Research on the efficacy of rice water for hair is ongoing. In the meantime, you can try this home remedy in your next hair care routine.

How to make rice water at home

There are different ways to make rice water. The most common method involves soaking the rice for a short time:

  1. Take a half cup of uncooked rice and rinse to remove debris, dirt, or bugs.
  2. Place the rice in a bowl with two to three cups of water.
  3. Soak the rice for 30 minutes to two hours at room temperature.
  4. Using a strainer, transfer the rice water into a clean bowl.

You can also choose to boil or ferment the rice. When boiling, heat the rice with water in a pot on the stove for 15 minutes. Allow the water to cool down before straining and transferring the rice water into a bowl. For fermented rice water, follow steps one and two above. Allow the rice to soak for no more than two days before straining the rice water into a clean bowl.

Once you make your rice water, place the solution in a closed-lid container or a spray bottle. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week.

Which rice water method works best?

According to Cleveland Clinic, soaking rice may be the best method. Boiling could decrease the nutrients. Fermentation can increase the risk of developing bacteria. Other studies suggest that fermenting boosts antioxidant levels. Further studies are needed to investigate the efficacy of fermented rice water versus non-fermented.

How to use homemade rice water in your hair

Before using your homemade rice water, wash your hair with shampoo and rinse. Afterward, you can pour the rice water over your hair. Massage the solution into your hair and scalp. Leave the rice water on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Use rice water once a week.

How to choose products with rice water on the market

If you’re not into making homemade rice water, you can always go for what’s in stores. Products with rice water are available in many cosmetic forms. The formulation comes down to your preference and hair goals.

Hair type

There are a variety of rice water shampoos available for different hair types and needs. Identify if your hair type is dry, oily, curly, fine, or color-treated. Focus on whether you are seeking strengthening, volume, hydration, or growth. Each product should target specific aspects of hair health.

Review the ingredients

You can look over the list of ingredients. Rice may be present as rice bran oils, rice extract, rice starch powder, or hydrolyzed rice protein. Many cosmetics also include other herbs in their products. For instance, you’ll find aloe vera, rosemary leaf extract, moringa, and other elements for added benefits to aid the hair and scalp.

Price and reviews

Looking over the reviews of a product may feel time consuming, but it can help you understand how well the product works. It can also help you to decide whether to choose a budget-friendly option or invest in a more expensive product.

Precautions and possible side effects

Current studies share that rice water is tolerable for all hair types. A possible side effect when using rice water is scalp irritation. Irritation occurs from drying the scalp, likely from starch buildup and poor rinsing. When using rice water as a hair wash, leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Individuals with conditions such as dermatitis may find rice water irritating. The best approach is to perform a patch test on a small scalp area first.

Rice water is a natural ingredient that may suit your hair. Its high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants helps to nourish the hair and scalp. Whether you’re using rice water as a rinse, a shampoo, or as an ingredient in a cosmetic product, your hair could receive a wide range of benefits.

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