Rice Water for Long, Shiny Hair

Q: Is rice water good for hair? How does it work?
A: I have not personally tried rice water on my hair yet, but the anecdotal evidence surrounding its use is quite compelling. Rice water has been used for centuries by Chinese women. The women of the ‘Pan’ tribe who use rice water as their shampoo and conditioner, are world famous for the length and strength of their hair. Some of them have hair as long as 2 metres, and most have hair longer than 1 meter. Rice contains inositol, a carbohydrate that can repair and protect damaged hair. It also contains saponins, or mild soap-like substances, which result in a cleansing and conditioning effect on the hair. Additionally, rice water contains amino acids which strengthen the hair from the roots. Specialized imaging revealed that these substances remain in the hair even after rinsing. To use rice water for your hair, wash your rice as you normally do. Let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain out that water and let it sit overnight. Use it as the final rinse after your usual wash routine. For added benefits, the Pan women boil it again before using. This is to make the rice water ferment, but it is an optional step.

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