Fair Hair Care

Does Rice Water Help Hair Grow? How Do I Use It?

You have probably seen people try rice water for hair growth all over Facebook, YouTube, or on Instagram and must be wondering does this even work? How can something so ordinary have such a strong impact on how our hair grows? Does rice water improve hair’s texture and shine too? How long do I have to do this in order to see actual results? Today, I will tell you whether all that hype is actually true or if it is just… noise.

We are always looking for products or supplements to buy when it comes to targeting our hair loss problem because we feel as though it is the fastest and most convenient way to achieve results. It might not always be safe, though. Why not try something that is natural, easily found in our homes and is safe? Rice is something, I am certain, all of us have currently in our homes and is considered to be safe. Why else would we be consuming it, if it wasn’t?

In this article, I will explain how rice water helps your hair grow and the various ways of using it.

Benefits of Rice Water on Hair

Ok, but why is rice water so special? What is the link between rice water and hair growth? Rice water is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that strengthens the hair roots, increases the thickness of hair, and makes the hair shiny and smooth. What else do you want?

Inositol, found in rice water, is a carbohydrate known to repair damaged hair. The way this carb works on hair is quite amazing. It penetrates deeply into damaged hair and repairs it from the inside out. What is even better about it is that when you rinse your hair with rice water, inositol remains on the hair protecting and shielding the hair from further damage. This is why hair is left silky and smooth with an added shine after a rice-water rinse!

Fermented rice water has a high quantity of nutrients that are extremely beneficial for hair and scalp health. What does fermented rice water mean, you ask? When you allow the rice water to sit for an extended period of time (usually 12-24 hours), you will notice that the water itself becomes milky-white in color. This is because the rice grains, as a result of being soaked release all the hair-yummy nutrients like amino acids and vitamins into the water and this water, over time, gets fermented.

The water from our shower head is quite harsh and damaging on our head as it messes with the pH levels of our scalp. This is why conditioning our hair is super important. Pitera, a by-product of the fermentation process, helps bring down the pH level of rice water to match that of our scalp. Maintaining this balance allows for a healthy scalp, eliminating dandruff, dermatitis, and other scalp conditions and this, in turn, reduces hair fall significantly. Pitera also acts as a conditioner for our hair, providing nourishment to the hair follicles so that new hair grows stronger and thicker!

Back In The Day

Rice water may have gained a lot of popularity lately but it is not really a newly discovered trick for hair loss. In fact, it is an ancient home remedy for hair growth, shine and overall strength practiced by many women across the Asian continent.

During the Heian period in as early as the 9th century, the women of the Japanese Imperial Court were known to have long, luscious, and beautiful hair because they washed and combed their hair with “Yu-su-ru”, Japanese for fermented rice water rinse.

This tradition was passed on to generations and across cultures until it reached a Red Yao tribe in the Chinese village of Huangluo. The Chinese women of this tribe have been notoriously known to have extremely long, shiny, healthy and thick, black hair that maintains its length, health, AND color well into their 80’s!

When I say “long” I mean longer than 6 feet! Yes, I am talking about hair length. To put that into perspective using myself as an example: I am a little over 5 feet tall so it baffles me to know there are women in this world who have hair longer than my entire body’s length! And this is only because they wash and nourish their hair with rice water- nothing else! No haircuts, ever. No other hair product. Just plain and simple, rice and water. That is it.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You may have seen pictures or a video doing rounds on social media of these women with amazingly long and bouncy, shiny hair? Yes, they exist; it is absolutely real! In fact, there is an entire village filled with these Rapunzels!! So much so that the village has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for “World’s Longest Hair Village”! Could you imagine having hair that long? What a dream!

It Is Worth A Try

With all these wonderful benefits mentioned, wouldn’t you want to give it a try yourself? Now, you won’t immediately turn into Rapunzel overnight, so please keep your bedroom windows closed. You will, however, notice your hair become softer, shinier, and more manageable after just one rinse. This was the case for me, at least.

However, keep in mind that rice water is highly potent so always use it in a diluted form by adding extra water or by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can add a Vitamin E capsule if you have extremely dry and brittle hair. This will act as a natural and effective conditioner that adds the much-needed moisture to your locks.

One thing that a lot of bloggers and YouTubers fail to mention in their attempt to promote rice water rinse is that rice water smells really bad! I always add rosemary or lavender essential oils to my rinse before I use it to mask the pungent smell. Trust me, you will want to as well! Consider yourself warned!

Results May Vary

I have had great results with rice water but the way I use it may differ from a lot of people and also the results I have had may not necessarily be the results you will have. The key is to know your hair type in order to know which method of rice water application to use. Certain hair types that are sensitive to protein may not be able to tolerate a high intake and this will cause their hair to become more dry and feel more damaged. If this is the case, I would suggest using it as a hair mask and then wash it off with a shampoo and conditioner. It will take trial and error to find a method suitable for you.

Ways To Use

Let’s move on to my 3 most effective methods to use rice water to improve the overall health of your hair.

1. Boiled Rice Water

Take one cup of rice and rinse it with water once to remove all the dirt and impurities from the rice grains. Soak it in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Put this mixture to a boil with 3 more cups of water. Cook the rice as you normally would and once it is ready, do not throw the water. Instead, strain the starchy, milky-white water from the cooked rice and allow it to cool to room temperature. This is your boiled rice water and it is now ready for use.

How to use: Add a few drops of essential oils and another cup of fresh water to the boiled rice water so that it gets diluted. Take it to your shower. After shampooing your hair, pour the boiled rice water over your head in little parts. Massage for a few minutes on your head and hair and leave for 2-3 minutes. Then, rinse off with water again for a final rinse. Your hair will turn out glossy and smooth once it dries!

2. No-Boil Rice Water Soak

Take 1/2 cup of rice and rinse it with water once to remove all the dirt and impurities from the rice grains. Soak this rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain the rice and save the rice water as a rinse. That is all there is to this method. It is the quickest and most simple way to make rice water.

How to Use: Take the rice water to your shower and use it as a rinse after you shampoo your hair just like in the previous method above.

3. Fermented Rice Water

This method requires a few additional steps but it is all worth it in the end! Prepare the rice water in the same way as the no-boil method above but this time, leave the rice soaking in the water overnight. This will allow the water to ferment and it will smell quite unpleasant (consider this a second warning!). The next day, strain the water from the rice and transfer it to a glass bottle or jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. I like to keep mine in a spray bottle for easy application.

Reminder Again: Fermented rice water is highly potent. Always add another cup of warm fresh water to the rice water before using it on hair so you are not using it as its full strength.

How to use: You can use it as a deep conditioning final rinse like the above mentioned methods or you can use it as a hair mask for 15-20 minutes and then wash your hair with mild shampoo and conditioner. Make sure to massage your scalp for a few minutes to stimulate your hair follicles.

Final Thoughts

How ever you plan on using rice water, the benefits will remain on the hair even after you wash or rinse it out. This way you do not need to concern yourself with any kind of build up and instead, you will notice your hair become shiny and smooth and this will help make your hair grow stronger.

I personally, started to see new baby hair growing in my bald spot and this was a huge win for me! I would highly suggest you use only 1-2 times a week and make small batches so it doesn’t go bad so quickly. It took about a month for me to see new growth, but yes, it definitely did make my hair grow!

How many of you are going to try this? Let me know what your experiences are or if you have already tried it in the past, what your results were. As always, I am always looking forward to hearing from you! Feel free to leave me a comment down below if you have any questions as well!

Good Luck! Great hair is just a few rice grains away! 🙂

P.S. you can use ANY kind of rice. White unpolished rice is the best.

8 Comments

  • Yoana

    Hi Sasha,

    I will definitely try using rice water for my damaged hair. I have never heard anywhere else about these many benefits rice water has for your hair!
    I think my favourite way to use it from what you have mentioned would be as a hair mask or conditioner.
    Thank you for this information. I am going to incorporate this in my hair care regimen and I will let you know the progress.

    Kind regards,
    Yoana

    • Sasha

      Don’t forget to add some drops of essential oils when you use the rice water! I was surprised to know about all the benefits as well! Good luck 🙂

  • Hannie

    I have never heard of this method. Interesting!
    And I was just about to ask if the type of rice mattered, when you answered that question in the last sentence. 🙂
    I have what my mother used to call “Melkboerenkeeshondenhaar”. It roughly translates as Milkman’s dog hair. LOL, obviously not meant as a compliment.
    No curl, no growth. And I am even allergic to a lot of things! But who knows, I should try this method and see what happens!
    Thanks.

    • Sasha

      Milkman’s dog hair? Oh gosh, your mom is a savage! I am sure it is an exaggeration, though!

      I would highly suggest you dilute the rice water and do a patch test at the skin behind your ear to rule out any kind of allergy. Proceed with applying to the rest of your scalp if no irritation or itchiness. I am hopeful that you will see hair growth in a few weeks *fingers crossed*!

      Cheers,
      Sasha

  • Minaher

    I am so glad I came across this topic Sasha. A friend of mine applied your third method on her hair for a month and as she says, her hairdresser saw results! She has short hair, though, and does wash her hair every other morning. It was her, who recommended me the method, as I have a hypothyroid problem and my hair is falling out rapidly. Although, I must confess- I tried it once or twice and considered it too much twiddling, so I “forgot” about it.
    I consider this article a second warning-to start implementing this ancient remedy for the benefit of my wearing off hair.
    Thank you so much for this excellent post and the great detailed explanation. I cant wait to try it!

    • Sasha

      Hey Minaher,
      So happy you found my post useful! Yes, do try the fermented rice method but make sure you do not do it every day. Give your hair a break for a few days. Also, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to use before you begin since you mentioned you have hypothyroid concerns.

      Good Luck! 🙂

  • Russ

    Hi. I really enjoyed your post. Does this work on men also? I have a friend who’s losing his hair and he may benefit from this post. His hair loss is hereditary. Do you know if this would help him ?

    • Sasha

      Hey Russ, great question! Hair loss in men is quite different than hair loss in women. To be totally honest, I am not sure if this will work for men but I don’t see any harm in trying it as it is a natural remedy. Let me know if it does work; I would be pretty interested to know what the results are.

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