For centuries, women in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia have used rice water not only for skincare but also to wash and rinse their hair. Even today in the Huangluo village in China, Yao women are famous for their exceptionally long dark hair, which is said to retain its color even up to the age of 80 years old.
Now also a bonafide TikTok trend, this natural hair hack is being tested by young beauty aficionados across all social media to accelerate the process of hair growth, leaving it silky smooth and shiny in a matter of weeks.
Rice water owes its fame to a rich combination of antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients such as vitamin B and E, and traces of pitera, a substance produced during the fermentation process of rice. Slightly sour, this water is considered by many beauty experts as an anti-aging elixir for its promotion of cell regeneration. The beneficial properties of rice water provide hair elasticity, easy detangling, and decreased surface friction as well as hair softness thanks to a carbohydrate called inositol, which protects hair from damage while also repairing it.
If you want to try this inexpensive and safe-to-try remedy at home, you just need two simple ingredients—water and rice. In a container, pour two cups of water and half a cup of rice and let it soak for 30 minutes. Stir it a little until the water becomes cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for the hair. Then, strain the rice from the water and let the rice water obtained rest at room temperature for up to 48 hours, preferably in an airtight glass container. After two days at room temperature, the solution should develop an opaque white color and a sour smell—which are symptoms of acidity and fermentation—and can be ready for use. If you'd like to save some of the rice water for use at a later time, you may store the liquid in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
You can either use rice water as a shampoo or as a final rinse. For shampooing, apply the rice water diluted with some tap water on damp hair and gently massage the scalp with your fingertips for five minutes. Make sure you wet your hair completely with rice water. Then rinse your hair with cold water. After washing your hair, do not use the hair dryer and let it dry naturally instead.
As a final rinse, pour the rice water diluted with a little tap water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp with your fingers for 5 minutes (or, alternatively, wrap your hair with cling film and leave on for 10 minutes). Rinse your hair thoroughly with water and proceed with this treatment two or three times a week.
And don’t worry about the smell of fermented rice water on your hair. The sour odor disappears once the hair is dry, but you can also add a few drops of lavender oil to the solution. After the treatment, your hair is left strong, long, and smooth.