It turns out that rice is a lot more than just a favorite high-carb food product. In fact, rice has been used in China and Japan for centuries as a hair care regimen. Just look up “Yao women in the Chinese village Huang Luo”.
Rice water is packed with proteins, vital vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamin C helps produce sebum which moisturizes the scalp, and vitamin E coats the hair creating soft, silky tresses.
Rice also contains inositol. Inositol benefits your hair in three ways:
- Inositol increases elasticity by making your hair more flexible with better defined curl patterns.
- Inositol decreases surface friction. Rice water helps keep the hair strand’s surface smoother so that strands glide by each other with less friction leading to fewer knots and tangles.
- Inositol remains inside your hair strands even after the rice water has been rinsed out. Many notice improvement after the first use.
How to rinse with rice water (recipes below)
It is best to use the rice water on clean hair without product build-up. First, wash your hair. Then coat hair and scalp with the rice water rinse (using a brush to evenly distribute over the hair). Put on a shower cap, and let the rinse stay on for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse it out and optionally apply conditioner.
The rice water rinse has a high amount of protein and should be used as a supplement to your hair regimen, specifically as a protein treatment. It is not a replacement for a conditioner.
Rice water can make your hair dry and stiff
As rice water is high in protein, it is considered a protein treatment. This means that the protein molecules are too big to enter the hair strand and instead create a thick protective coating over each hair strand. This explains why so many have experienced what they perceive as increased growth. The coating minimizes hair breakage allowing your natural growth to show more clearly – this treatment does not actually cause your hair to grow faster. However, the protein coating will eventually dry and harden. If the old coating is not removed, it will prevent moisture from reaching the core of the hair strand. Hair will feel dry and stiff. This is commonly referred to as protein overload.
In addition, rice is very starchy, and when it is boiled the starch is released into the water. Starch will quickly build up and create a thick crusty coating on your hair. Starch combined with protein will cause your hair to feel dry and stiff.
Rice Water Rinse Recipes for Curly Hair
There are three ways to make a Rice Water Rinse: the boil, wash, and ferment method. Use organic rice to avoid dangerous pesticides and toxins such as arsenic, typically found on processed rice. The rice water can typically be stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, but shake the container before using the rice water.
The Boil Method
Rinse ½ cup of rice
Put the rice in a pot and add 2-4 times the amount of water
Boil until the water becomes cloudy
Strain out the cloudy water and put it in a bowl or cup.
After the rice water has cooled, pour the rice water onto shampooed hair while catching it with another cup or bowl underneath OR dip the length of your hair into the bowl of rice water and squish towards the scalp.
Repeat this a few times until you feel all your hair has absorbed enough of the rice water or you run out of rice water.
You can wait a few minutes or rinse off right away.
Deep condition and continue with the rest of your routine.
The Wash Method
- Rinse the rice to remove dirt.
- Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water. Don’t worry about the measurements, just make sure the rice is completely submerged.
- Soak the rice for at least 30 to 40 minutes, while swirling it occasionally.
- After 30 minutes confirm that the water is cloudy.
- Strain the water
- It is now ready for use.
The Ferment Method
For enhanced benefits, take the prepared rice water and place it in a dark spot at room temperature. Leave it for a day or two until it tastes sour. The warmer the location, the faster the water will ferment. If the rice water tastes too potent – you can dilute it with water, don’t worry it will still work.
You can now use the water. However, if you are storing it, it may be advisable to boil the water to stop the fermentation process.
Scientific and Other Sources We Find Useful:
- The science of rice water and hair growth