Rice Water for Skin: Is It Worth the Hype?

Rice is an easy-to-make staple in most households, and the new viral rice water trend has people wondering if using the leftover water after cooking rice is beneficial for your skin and hair. In this article, we discuss how rice water became a popular trend on TikTok and whether silky water is beneficial for your skin.

Key takeaways:

What is rice water?

Rice water is the starchy water that is left over after soaking or boiling rice. It has been used for centuries in various cultures, particularly in Asia, as a beauty treatment and for its potential skincare benefits. Rice water is believed to contain various vitamins, minerals, and compounds that could be beneficial for the skin, such as antioxidants and amino acids.

Potential benefits of using rice water

There are some potential benefits of rice water for the face. These benefits are mainly reported by TikTok influencers who use the product regularly and also show before and after photos.

  • Skin brightening. Rice water is often praised for its potential to brighten and even out skin tone. The starch in rice water may help to soothe and reduce redness, resulting in a more radiant complexion and "glowing skin."
  • Hydration. The water content in rice water can provide a boost of hydration to the skin, helping to keep it moisturized and plump.
  • Anti-aging. Antioxidants present in rice water, such as ferulic acid, may help protect the skin from free radical damage, potentially contributing to anti-aging effects and reducing the appearance of dark spots.
  • Soothing properties. Rice water can have a soothing effect on irritated or sensitive skin, potentially reducing inflammation and redness.
  • Acne treatment. Some TikTok influencers have reported that rice water helps them manage acne and control excess oil production. The starch in rice water may have a mattifying effect on the skin and could help control excess oil from sitting on top of the skin and causing acne breakouts.

Does rice water really work: What does science say?

Rice water has been used for hundreds of years, and many people swear by using it for its potential anti-aging properties. Influencers and those who promote the use of rice water say it can have anti-aging benefits, such as dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkle reduction, and even can be used as an acne spot treatment. However, there is not a lot of data to support this.

Although the studies are limited, one study suggests that rice water can positively influence the elastin on the skin surface, meaning it could decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Another study noted the positive impact it has on wrinkles and showed a reduction in the appearance of age spots on the skin’s surface.

How to use rice water for your skin

If you're considering using rice water as part of your skincare routine, there are a number of great ways to incorporate it into your morning or nighttime skincare regimen:

  • Rice water toner. After cleansing your face, use rice water as a toner by applying it with a cotton ball or pad. Gently wipe the rice water across your face, focusing on areas that may need extra care. Allow the rice water to air dry on your skin before proceeding with the rest of your skincare routine.
  • Rice water facial mist. Pour rice water into a spray bottle and use it as a facial mist throughout the day to refresh and hydrate your skin. Mist your face with rice water after cleansing, before applying makeup, or whenever your skin needs a boost of hydration.
  • Rice water face mask. Mix rice water with other natural ingredients to create a nourishing face mask. To create a paste, combine rice water with ingredients like honey, yogurt, or aloe vera gel. Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for about 1520 minutes, then rinse off with water.

Should you leave rice water on your skin?

Rice water used as a toner can be left on the skin overnight and washed off in the morning. It can also be applied before makeup or as a typical toner. Using rice water can be more drying than other options due to the starches in the water. If you experience dry skin after applying rice water, it could be beneficial to rinse off after application or even dilute the rice water mixture to achieve a version that could be easier on the skin.

Some influencers also like to add a few drops of their favorite essential oil to the rice water for added fragrance and potential skincare benefits.

How to make rice water yourself

Making rice water toner is a simple process that involves soaking or boiling rice to extract the beneficial components into the water. It’s ok to eat the rice that you cook, too.


Rice water is simple to make and only consists of two ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (any variety)
  • 2 cups water (tap water is fine, or you could use filtered water)

Follow these steps to make the rice water:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water to remove dirt, debris, and excess starch.
  2. Cook rice according to the directions in a standard rice cooker or saucepan.
  3. Allow the rice water to cool completely.
  4. Add the rice water to a large mason jar or spray bottle.

Feel free to experiment with the soaking or boiling times and the dilution level to find what works best for your skin. You can also test out different varieties of rice to see which one works best for your skin.

How to store rice water

As mentioned above, you can store the rice water in a clean, airtight container, such as a mason jar or spray bottle, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Although it may be inconvenient to keep skincare products, such as rice water, in the fridge, this will allow the rice water to stay fresher longer.

Side effects and risks

It’s important to note that while many people find rice water beneficial for their skin, individual results can vary. Some people may experience positive effects, while others may not notice significant changes. Additionally, like with any skincare product, there is a potential for allergic reactions or irritation, so it's advisable to do a patch test before applying rice water to your entire face. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, discontinue use.

If you have specific skin concerns or conditions, it's a good idea to consult a dermatologist before incorporating new products into your skincare routine, especial those with limited medical data.

Although there are not a lot of scientific studies to back up the claims made on TikTok with regard to rice water for facial care, rice water has been used for hundreds of years with positive effects for those who try it. There are very few side effects, and it’s very simple and cost-effective to make yourself. If you want to test out rice water, it’s worth trying and witnessing its benefits yourself.

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