Hair fall is a common problem that we experience in our everyday life. We often overlook our hair care products due to clever marketing. Most of these products (with or without paraffin, salicylates etc) cause hair fall and other hair problems. Women from Yao ethnic use rice water for hair care and have the longest hair in the world.
Rice water provides good results in hair regrowth and enrich hair quality. Its benefits in hair care are attributed to its effects by reducing surface friction and improve hair elasticity. Rinsing hair with rice water also prevents flaking, as it helps educe friction and make the hair smooth. It prevents hair damage due to its inositol content. Inositol is a carbohydrate that stays inside the hair even after washing hair with rice water.
What is Rice Water?
Before you cook rice, you wash rice in water and sometimes, you soak rice in water. The water in which rice is washed or soaked is called rice water. It is a milky liquid and contains starch residue of rice. So, next time when you cook rice, keep this water for hair rinsing.
It can also be used for drinking. It is the most common adjuvant used in Ayurveda for women’s health problems and skin diseases. Drinking rise water has cooling and calming effects when taken orally. The most common benefits of rice water include enhancing hair growth, makes your skin rejuvenated and improves skin luster.
History of Using Rice Water in Hair Care
Rice is the most common grain used for eating due to its rich carbohydrate content. It provides a great caloric value and used everywhere in the world. However, rice is also a common ingredient of the most common home remedies used in hair care, especially preventing hair damage and hair fall and boosting hair growth. It is commonly used in India, China, and Japan for this purpose. In these countries, many people use rice water for bathing and washing hair.
In the Huangluo in China, Yao ethnic women have very long hair. Some have 6 feet long hair. They hold the world record for the longest hair village in the world in Guinness World Records. These women also don’t get their hair grey until the late 80s. They use fermented rice water to cleanse hair, which helps them to have long and dark hair. It helps to untangle matted/knotted hair and prevents hair breakage.
How to Make Rice Water
Yon can make rice water in three different ways:
- Washing or Soaking rice
The most common method for making rice water is washing and soaking rice.
- Rinse uncooked rice to remove its dirt if any. Rinsing rice one time is sufficient and better to preserve inositol content.
- Now, take 3 cups of water in a bowl and add one-time washed rice in it. Stir the mixture.
- Leave this bowl with soaked rice for 30 minutes.
- Stir the water and rice in the bowl for several times, so nutrient content seep into the water.
- After 30 minutes, stir the water and filter the milky and cloudy water using a clean cotton cloth.
- Rice water is ready to use for rinsing hair and other purposes.
Fermented Rice Water
Fermentation process increases the antioxidant action of rice water. Therefore, fermented rice water can provide better benefits as compared to plain rice water. Let’s discuss how to make fermented rice water:
- Take half a cup of uncooked rice and wash them to remove its dirt.
- Now, put rice into a bowl with 3 cups of water. Stir the mixture.
- Leave the bowl with soaked rice for 2 days for allowing natural fermentation at room temperature.
- After 2 days or 48 hours, strain the fermented rice water into a clean bowl.
- Now, it is ready to use.
Making Rice Water by Boiling
|6 to 8 Parts
Generally, the most types of rice require 4 parts of water to cook. While making rice, you can add some additional water or 6-8 parts of water. The excess water or 2-4 parts of water can be separated once it starts boiling. The separated rice water can be used when it becomes warm. Usually, it is concentrated and can be diluted in warm water for washing hair.
Benefits of Rice Water for Hair
Rice water hair rinse helps to strengthen the hair by improving the elasticity of the hair and reducing the tendency of knotted hair after hair wash. It prevents hair fall and hair breakage. Here are some major benefits of rice water for hair:
Prevents Hair Breakage and Hair Fall
Many people come across the problem of hair breakage. Generally, it occurs after hair wash or due to shampoo that produces excessive hair dryness. It results in matted and knotted hair. When you comb hair, it causes hair breakage and excessive hair fall. It is preventable if you wash your hair rice water. Rice water prevent friction caused by hard shampoo or excessive dryness, which makes easier to comb hair. Thus, it prevents hair breakage and hair fall.
Improves Hair Growth
Rice water also contains nutrients including Vitamin B, C, and E amino acids. These amino acids in it help in hair regeneration and enhance hair growth. For getting maximum benefits, you should rinse your hair with rice water after washing hair with shampoo because the maximum content of inositol will remain into your hair. Washing hair with rice water twice a week will be highly beneficial for providing benefits in hair growth.
Eliminates Split Ends
The most common cause of split hair is excessive heat or heat treatment. Curling hair with iron or hair straightening with hair straightener can cause in split ends. Other causes can include mechanical stress. It can also occur due to chemicals, several shampoos, hair colouring, etc. In addition, pollution may also cause hair damage and may also result in split ends.
Rice is also a good source of amino acids that can help to prevents split ends and repairs hair damage. In case of split ends, soak hair in rice water for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse hair with same rice water. It should be repeated for 2 to 3 times a week and positive results can be seen within 2 to 3 months.
Rice Water acts as a conditioner
Rice water hair treatment is an excellent hair conditioner. It reduces effects of heat and pollution on hair. In addition, conditioning hair with rice water provides the following benefits:
- Improves detangling
- Provides smoother looking appearance
- Enhances shine and lustre in hair
- Preserves moisture in the hair fibres
- Adds softness to hair
For using rice water as hair conditioner, you can also add a few drops of essential oils. If hair fall is the main concern, rosemary oil is the best. If dandruff is a major problem, tea tree oil and cedarwood oil can be added.
Directions to Use: Apply rice water to the hair and on the scalp. Leave it for 15 minutes. Wash it off with cold water. Repeat it twice a week.
Eliminates Static Electricity
Rice water keeps the hair hydrated and smooth. It reduces static charge on hair fibres. Static electricity in hair causes flyaway hair. The static charge usually occurs due to low humidity and dry environment, which also reduces hair hydration. Rice water helps in hydrating hair and restores moisture in hair fibres.
Washing hair with rice water helps to make hair smooth and silky. It contains amino acids, which also helps to strengthen hair roots.
Dandruff is an embarrassing problem that also causes scalp irritation and itching. The most common cause of dandruff is dry scalp skin. Some hair products may also cause dandruff. Rice water hair rinse helps to combat dandruff by reducing dryness of the scalp skin and providing nourishment to scalp skin and hair roots.
Prevents Hair Damage
As discussed above, rice water reduces surface friction in hair and enhances the elasticity of hair fibre. This action is attributed to inositol content in the rice. Inositol content also remains in hair even after washing off rice water. It makes a covering around the hair that protects hair from damage and hair loss.
Yao ethnic women have very long hair. The secret is behind the use of fermented rice water for hair care. Rice water also helps to manage their long hair because it helps in detangling hair and preventing knots in hair. Washing hair with rice water strengthens hair roots, nourishes hair fibre, restores moisture in the hair shaft, and provides shiny look. It can be used as natural shampoo for cleansing hair that provides awesome benefits to hair.
So, next time when you cook rice, remember to get some rice water and use it for a hair rinse. It helps you to get beautiful, long and shiny hair.
- Inamasu R. Ikuyama Y. Fujisaki K.I. Sugimoto, Journal of Cosmetic Chemists (SCCJ), Volume 44, No. 1, 2010 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00605_3.x
- Development of Hair-Care Products from Rice Water, SPring-8: Infrared Materials Science (BL43IR), http://www.spring8.or.jp/pdf/en/indu_appli/p10-11.pdf
- De Paepe K1, Hachem JP, Vanpee E, Roseeuw D, Rogiers, Effect of rice starch as a bath additive on the barrier function of the healthy but SLS-damaged skin and skin of atopic patients, Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12353708