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This Ancient Secret For Long, Beautiful Hair Still Works Wonders

rice water

A few years ago my team introduced me to the myriad of benefits to rinsing your rice before cooking it, which came as a big surprise since I’d never actually given it a try. It turns out that rinsing your rice before cooking does make it fluffier and less sticky when cooked, but there are also other reasons to rinse rice that go way beyond a single meal!

Rinsing rice is also a crucial step in making rice water (as well as fermented rice water,) which many believe possesses powerful beauty benefits, especially when used on hair. So today, we’ll be exploring the use of rice water for your hair here in this post.

By the time you’re done ready, you’ll know how rice water can benefit your hair, how to make it, and three different ways to put it to good use!

rice water

What Is Rice Water?

To make rice water, you simply soak rice in water for a short period of time. As the rice soaks, it infuses the water with starches and nutrients like amino acids, vitamin E, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The starches and nutrients in rice water can be highly nourishing for both hair and skin, and it has been used this way for a surprisingly long time! During the Heian period in Japan (794 – 1185 AD), courtly women used rice water to help strengthen and maintain their glossy, floor-length hair.

rice water

Benefits Of Rice Water For Hair

In addition to providing hair with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, rice water also contains inositol, a carbohydrate that can help reduce surface friction between hair strands and improve hair elasticity. It does this by leaving behind a thin, starchy coating on the hair shaft, which results in added body and shine while also helping to control frizz.

For these reasons, the benefits of rice water may be especially noticeable for those with dull, dry, or brittle hair types. Those using rice water for hair care claim to experience a number of hair benefits, including fewer tangles, smoother and less frizzy hair, shinier hair, stronger hair, less breakage, and even hair growth and reduced hair loss!

rice water

What About Fermented Rice Water?

Many people believe that using fermented rice water has even more beneficial effects than the standard stuff. When rice water is allowed to sit out for a while, the fermentation process shifts its pH level closer to the natural pH of your hair and scalp, which is thought to positively impact hair growth and scalp health.

So now that you know what all the fuss is about, it’s time to see how it’s done! Here’s how you can make your own fermented rice water at home.

How To Make Fermented Rice Water

rice water


1/2 cup organic rice, any variety
2 cups water

rice water


  1. Start by rinsing the rice under cold running water to rinse off any dirt or impurities that might be clinging to the surface of the grains.
  2. Next, place the rinsed rice in a bowl and add the water. Swirl the rice around the bowl a few times, then let it soak for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the rice away from the starchy water and set the rice aside. At this point, you can either keep your rice water as is or you can ferment it.
  4. To ferment your rice water, loosely cover the container and leave it out at room temperature for at least 4-5 hours, or up to 2 days. (Any longer than that and it will start to smell very unpleasant!)
  5. Whether you fermented it or not, store your finished rice water in an airtight container in your fridge where it will keep for about one week.
rice water

3 Ways To Use Rice Water For Hair Care

1. Hair Rinse

Rinsing with rice water is a super simple way to add shine and keep your hair strong and healthy. After shampooing and conditioning your hair as usual, pour a generous amount of rice water over your hair and gently massage it into your scalp, then rinse thoroughly with water.

Repeat this rice water hair rinse once or twice a week for stronger, healthier locks.

2. Hair Conditioner

You can also use rice water to condition your hair. After shampooing, apply rice water to your hair along with a few drops of rosemary essential oil or lavender essential oil.

Let the rice water and essential oils soak into your hair for 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water for smoother, shinier hair.

3. Nourishing Treatment

If you have damaged hair that needs some serious TLC, try using rice water as a nourishing hair treatment. After shampooing and conditioning your hair as usual, pour rice water over your hair, paying particular attention to covering your scalp.

Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for 15-30 minutes to give your scalp time to absorb all those beneficial nutrients that can help your hair grow long and strong. Afterward, rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water.

Have you ever used rice water for its beauty benefits?

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Beauty Tips

  • What about the arsenic in rice? Aren’t you getting this in the water? Rice has a very high arsenic content, so health enthusiasts recommend soaking rice overnight, then discarding that water (or now saving it for the hair) before using new water to cook it.

  • I’ve seen videos of women in the Far East using fermented rice water on their very long hair. They ferment it about a month! I ferment mine for several days and add essential oils to take out the unpleasant odor. Regular rice water is also good for diarrhea. I know, TMI!

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