In this article I want to talk about using rice water to grow your hair.
Bear in mind there is zero data for using rice water to actually grow hair. So if you are somebody who has pattern hair loss or hair loss related to either genetics or some underlying medical condition, do not be misled into thinking that rice water is going to correct that issue and regrow your hair.
However, rice water has a ton of compounds and active ingredients in it that are actually very good for not only your hair but your scalp. It’s actually a good thing to try if you’re interested in making your hair look shiny and healthy.
As a matter of fact, many of the compounds in rice water can be found in many over the counter products that are marketed for thickening and increasing volume. You’ll see a lot of these ingredients that rice water naturally has.
At the end of the article I’ll talk about how to make rice water to use it in your hair but let’s just go over what exactly is in rice water.
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What’s in Rice Water?
The most obvious ingredient in rice water is starch. Rice water is very starchy. Starch can coat the hair shaft, making it shiny and glossy. It also can help hydrate the hair shaft quite a bit and not only the hair but the scalp itself.
Rice water has a carbohydrate called inositol in it that actually stays in your hair after you’ve rinsed the rice water out.
Rice water also has a ton of amino acids that can deposit on the hair shaft and help strengthen it and reduce hair breakage, hair fragility and frizz. You will see amino acids as ingredients in strengthening shampoos and strengthening conditioners.
Those amino acids also help to add shine and smoothness to the hair and help with reducing frizz, especially after shampooing. One of the unfortunate things that happens with shampooing while it helps to cleanse the scalp is that it deposits a negative charge on the hair shaft. That’s why you can get a lot of static.
Conditioners and conditioning products are basically aimed at neutralizing that charge from shampooing. You can achieve a lot of that using rice water because it has these amino acids.
You may notice that if you use rice water, you have improvement in hair volume, just by building up on the roots and creating a little bit of a lift.
Rice water also has vitamins A and E, which can help not only in hair shaft hydration but also in manageability and reducing frizz.
Beyond strengthening your hair shafts and helping volumize your roots, rice water can help mend split ends very well. Similar ingredients are found in things that are marketed towards taming split ends.
Interestingly it might also be helpful for folks with seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. There was a study that looked at rice water in terms of its ability to inhibit malassezia, that little yeast that lives on our skin and causes seborrheic dermatitis not only on the scalp but also on the face.
They show that rice water actually can reduce the growth of that little pesky yeast. It hasn’t been confirmed in clinical studies and it’s not an approved treatment for dandruff or seborrhea, but it’s compelling and it wouldn’t surprise me if you might see modest improvement in dandruff using rice water.
Is Rice Water Good For Hair Growth?
But to reiterate what I said at the beginning of the article, don’t be misled into thinking that this is actually going to regrow your hair and affect the hair cycle in any way and change hair growth.
I guess one potential way that it could help things is that some of these compounds are also anti-inflammatory. So it can help reduce irritation on the scalp using something like this. Inflammation and irritation can contribute to pushing the process of hair loss for conditions like androgenetic alopecia or pattern hair loss.
It’s not a true treatment for hair loss. It basically just strengthens your existing hair, reduces breakage and creates that volumizing effect.
It’s similar to castor oil. People believe that castor oil regrows hair. It doesn’t. It doesn’t affect the hair cycle at all. But it coats the hair so much that the hair looks thick and it creates this illusion of increased hair density to a certain extent.
Rice water is doing a lot of the same thing. Any product that you buy over the counter that is marketed to be conditioning and strengthening and volumizing, they all do the same thing as rice water.
But rice water unlike castor oil is not irritating. There are a lot of adverse outcomes reported with castor oil, like contact dermatitis and matting of the hair. But rice water is pretty benign so to speak and well tolerated and has many of these great ingredients that are present in products that you buy. But doesn’t have fragrance or certain preservatives that are common in hair care products that people develop allergies to.
Downside of Using Rice Water
One potential downside of using rice water on your hair that you should be aware of is that it certainly can lead to a buildup.
While all these things like amino acids, carbohydrates and starch locking onto the hair shaft and helping with shine and volume are great and they yield great cosmetic results, all that build up over time can actually lead to increased hair breakage.
It’s important that if you’re using rice water, just as with any other hair strengthening product, to do some sort of once a week clarifying, like a clarifying shampoo. That can help get around that issue.
Incorporating Rice Water Into Hair Care Routine
How do you go about incorporating rice water into your hair care routine?
This is not necessarily something that you need to do on a daily basis to attain benefit from. It can be done once a week. If you’re somebody who eats a lot of rice, this is really easy for you to keep up with.
How to Use Rice Water For Hair Growth
There are a few different methods that you can use.
You can do just a basic soak of rice.
You take half a cup of rice. It doesn’t matter the type, white rice, black rice, brown rice, jasmine rice and soak it in two to three cups of warm water for approximately 30 minutes. Then you want to filter out the rice and collect the water.
You might want to put the water in a spray bottle just to make it easier to put on your hair. When you wash your hair and after you rinse out the shampoo, go ahead and spray the rice water on your hair, up by your roots, massage it into your scalp and let it sit on there for approximately five to ten minutes and then rinse it out.
Depending on your hair type, you might find that you still want to come in with a conditioner afterwards or you may find that this alone is enough to keep your hair manageable on the day that you do it.
As I said, it’s not really something that you necessarily need to do on a daily basis. That might get you too much build up. Think of it more as a deep conditioning treatment for improving shine and strength of the hair.
The next method that you can do is pretty similar. It’s the boiling method.
Take half a cup of uncooked rice. Again any type is fine.
Put the rice plus two to three cups of water on the stove over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and then allow the rice to cook.
You can either collect the water off the top of the rice, scoop it all out or you can do the straining thing once the rice has cooked fully and strain out your rice.
Allow that water to come to room temperature, pour it into a spray bottle and do the same thing.
The third method takes a little bit more time and patience and that is a fermentation method. This method has the advantage in that it enriches the rice water with antioxidants, which can help in combating free radical damage on the scalp and reducing inflammation.
Also this method acidifies the rice water, making it more compatible with the pH of your scalp. So this is actually better but it takes a little bit more time and patience.
Soak half a cup of uncooked rice in two to three cups of water for 30 minutes and then strain out the rice. Take that water and instead of putting it into a spray bottle, you’re going to put it in a jar and leave it for 24 hours at room temperature.
After 24 hours, store it in the refrigerator and you don’t want to keep it beyond two to three days. Make sure that you use it right away.
You can just pour it into a spray bottle and spritz it on your hair after you’ve washed it and rinsed out the shampoo. Again, leave it on for five to ten minutes and then rinse it out.
I am pretty enthusiastic about the use of rice water for hair care. I always caution against certain DIY remedies that have potential risks, but this unlike many of them is actually very logical and low risk and there’s a lot of benefit that you can derive from this very simple inexpensive DIY hair care product.