We are excited to share with you our findings on the very popular trend of rice water for hair growth. What is rice water? Is it a fad or does it really work?
The History of Rice Water
Rice water is leftover water from washing your rice. It was commonly used by women in Japan and China for hundreds or thousands of years. As rice farmers, this was very convenient for them. The women who use this rice water have extremely long hair. Especially the women of the Yao tribe – their hair is several feet long. i.e most women have hair on their head that when stretched out, is taller than them. Some say it is partly genetic, others say it is because of rice water.
Now that people of all races are using rice water, is it really an effective hair growth treatment? Africans, Caucasians and people of all ethnicities are using rice water.
We spoke with scientists in a particular lab that creates raw materials for hair products for Africa. They shared that the proteins or nutrients found in rice are effective for elongating hair. There are scientific studies that show that rice has those properties whereby it can significantly aid in hair growth. We may not get hair that is several meters long like the Yao women because theirs is partly genetic. But for of us whatever ethnicity and hair type or hair style – permed, locked, natural, relaxed – consistent use of rice water really does work.
How should it be used
There are a lot of fads and misinformation going on YouTube, on blogs and in Facebook groups. Some of the information is not safe or effective for your hair. There are also some health and sanitation concerns that need to be addressed.
One important key is to first of all pour out the first water from the rice because it is dirty.
Number 2, after washing the rice, let it sit in water for about 30 minutes and then sieve it. Cook the rice if you so wish. Leave the rice water to sit overnight at room temperature and then you can use it and discard any left over.
Do not use more than ½ a cup of rice. Do not make it in bulk because you will create a breeding ground for bacteria. You can spray it on, apply it in the shower. Leave it in for 30 min to 1 hour ideally. Rinse off, condition and style as usual. That will give you the same benefits that we all want which the Yao women have… long hair.
Rice water also helps in resolving scalp issues because of all the nutrients it contains.
Rice water also really helps the skin. All these Asian women, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, tend to look really good and not age as fast as other races, and tend to be wrinkle-free. According to some reports, they may also use rice water as a toner.
How to Prepare Rice Water
- Get any rice – white rice, brown rice, pishori, basmati, pilau, biriani, fat, short, broken rice … literally any rice. The broken rice will still work well and is gentle on your pocket.
- Rinse the rice and pour the first water. This is very important. Pour the first rinse down the drain. Don’t use it on your hair. This is because that first rinse washes away a lot of the dirt in the rice. Sometimes that water can be brownish in color.
- Pour in the second round of water. Swish it around a little bit and let it sit for about 30 minutes until the water turns white and cloudy. Strain this water into a container. If you so wish you can cook the rice for normal consumption.
- You can use the rice water immediately. However, it is best to let it ferment overnight or for at least 24 hours. Put it in a jar, cover it and leave it to ferment at room temperature. Do not put it in the fridge.
Why ferment the rice water
The pH of fermented rice water is 5.5. Tap water is at a pH of 7. pH levels of 5.5 are ideal for closing cuticles, and is healthy for one’s hair.
HOW NOT TO USE RICE WATER
While it is okay to put rice water in a spray bottle, it should not be kept there for extended periods of time.
You cannot keep rice water for more than 3 DAYS. If you must keep it for up to 5 days, keep it in the fridge. Throw it away after that.
Don’t use it as a leave-in conditioner. Rice water is beneficial because of the starch it contains. That cloudy white colour is the starch. That starch has the mineral, (inositol?), folic acid, magnesium … the profile reads like one of these hair vitamins. However, when sprayed on the hair and used as a daily spritz, this starch will continue to ferment on the hair. This makes your hair a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
A healthy scalp is the cradle of good hair therefore we don’t want to be covering our head with food for bacteria.
The maximum amount of time you can leave the rice water on your hair without creating an environment for bacteria is 18 hours. Some rice water devotees use the rice water as an overnight treatment then wash it out the following morning.
Until a way is found to preserve rice water without it being a breeding ground for bacteria, it is highly inadvisable to use it as a leave-in. This is where you pour out the rice water currently sitting in your spritz bottle.
There is a lady on Facebook who had been using rice water on her clients for two years now and she says all her clients have been experiencing phenomenal results. She has seen it for herself as a beautician. Her method is to take the fermented rice water and spray it on after shampooing and let the client sit with a shower cap for an hour after which she rinses it off and styles as usual. She recommends you do that once a week.
If you are really passionate about hair growth and you want to accelerate the process, the maximum recommended usage is twice a week. It is important to wash your hair after using the rice water. You can sit with it for 30min, 1 hour, but you cannot spray it into your hair and leave it and go about your business as usual as mentioned earlier. Ultimately rice water contains ingredients that are beneficial for hair, but the best form is if you buy a properly formulated product that contains these elements of rice water as well as an effective and safe preservative.