There’s almost a cult like following that’s sprung up around the use of rice water rinse.
Youtube videos extolling its benefits are all over. Advocating rice water for growth, thickening and shine.
But watch a few videos and you’ll soon notice there’s a lot of misinformation about what a DIY rice water rinse can do for hair.
Problem is if you do it wrong you can fry your hair. Too much protein will do that to strands.
But if it works for you your hair care routine may never be the same.
So is this legit? Is this a trend you should get behind or not?
It may be if you want stronger strands.
Here’s how rice water helps your hair. First studies like this one show this DIY protein treatment has the ability to effectively smooth the surface of your hair cuticles. That reduces surface friction which helps with shine, cuts frizz and leads to fewer tangles. Second it strengthen your strands. Third it’s said to soothe your scalp and leave you with a softer feeling mane.
Notice I didn’t say anything about how it helps your hair grow. That’s a whole ‘nother topic.
And if you aren’t quite sure what this stuff is we published another Q&A post explaining just what is fermented rice water anyway. Answering more common questions to help you get up to speed.
It is also important to point out that the touted benefits are for the most part anecdotal.
Which means there is no scientific research to back them up. Something to keep in mind before rushing headlong into this traditional method expecting big things from it. Despite what the raving fans swear it does for them.
Still if your hair could use a much need lift maybe you want to give rice water rinse a try but don’t know how? Well hang on. Here’s what you’ll know after reading (and watching) this quick overview.
Quick Section Navigation
- Best Rice Water Recipe For Hair
- What Kind Of Rice Do You Use For Fermented Rice Water For Hair?
- Why Use Boiled Rice Water For Hair
- How Long Should You Let Rice Water Ferment?
- VIDEO: How To Make Fermented Rice Water For Hair
- How To Apply Rice Water On Hair
- VIDEO: What Is Inositol In Rice And What Is It Good For?
- How Long Can You Store Rice Water For?
We’ve also tried to make it more fun by throwing in seven quiz questions to test your rice water rinse know how.
Now almost every article about rice water mentions the Yao women in China. They are renowned for exceptionally long hair that they care for in part with their version of a rice water rinse.
Which is what has given hope that this method may be the holy grail that produces healthier hair on heads all over.
Ready to dial it in? To do so, first, you need a proven recipe.
Best Rice Water Recipe For Hair
For sure people want to know if there’s a best rice water for hair recipe. If so what is it?
Ever notice this? There is quite the diversity of thought on what makes a good recipe.
So here’s your choices. Which do you feel is your best bet?
If you chose either of the answers using uncooked rice you’d be correct.
Uncooked rice matters. Otherwise much, if not most, of the goodness that escapes from the grains of rice would be absorbed back in when cooked.
On the other hand not sure organic matters. Unless the thought is to avoid arsenic – which is a problem some are concerned with. I am not.
What about the amount of water?
I personally don’t feel the amount of water has to be too precise. So don’t get hung up on that. The idea is to get the beneficial vitamins, amino acids and other helpful hair essentials to transfer to the water.
Plus everyone’s hair is different anyway. Some may need different concentrations of vitamins, starches, minerals and antioxidants in their rinse. The best level of potency for you can only be determined by trial and error.
Yet the best way to vary the potency is to vary the amount of water you use.
Oh and one more reason to go with more water is if you’re worried about applying too much protein to your hair.
Regardless it seems the most common recommendation is one cup of uncooked rice to two cups of water.
What Kind Of Water Do You Use For Rice Water?
Yao women use river water. If you happen not to have a river handy which order would you rank your choices?
Obviously spring water would be best, right?
Failing that filtered tap or distilled water should be fine.
What you want to do is try to avoid straight from the tap water due to the minerals and stuff
So how’d you rank?
What Kind Of Rice Do You Use For Fermented Rice Water For Hair?
Made your selection?
If you selected white rice give yourself a star!
The other options, brown especially, have a protein problem. They’re too protein rich.
Plus there’s the matter of getting all the goodness past the hull of brown rice.
Yet I’ve seen many articles advising you can use any of those types of rice. Which means many of them are simply wrong. White is what you want to use.
But about now you should be wondering how long you should boil it for. Should you even boil it at all? Both would be a great questions.
Why Use Boiled Rice Water For Hair
Fact is the Yao women do boil their rice water.
Boiling the rice causes the grains to release everything good you want in the rinse.
What’s not clear is for how long. Given that what’s your guess for best results?
I would say simmering for 10 minutes with time to cool down in the pan would be about right. You want to the desired ingredients to leech out without having them be reabsorbed.
Next up is fermentation. It’s a Yao thing. Of course the 64 million dollar question is
How Long Should You Let Rice Water Ferment?
This is a key step. Get it wrong and you’re only cheating yourself. Because you’re not letting the rinse get as good as it might be.
So how long do you ferment it for?
The answer varies depending on who you ask. Which of these do you suspect is the right answer?
Okay a decent amount of time for this is about a week.
Don’t pay attention to those who claim if you leave it to ferment beyond two or three days it will go bad.
To make this happen you want to keep it in a warm place with a lid tightly screwed on. Then let nature take its course.
Backing up a step it can be helpful to see the whole making it process from start to finish. So here’s
How To Make Fermented Rice Water For Hair
This quick video guide attempts to mimic what the Yao women do. See what you think.
So the entire rice water rince process comes down to
- One cup uncooked rice rinsed
- Add 2-4 cups spring or filtered water
- Scrub the rice for up to five minutes
- Strain out the rice leaving the water
- Add the peel of grapefruit or some kind of citrus
- Boil for 7-10 minutes
- Cool down with the pot covered
- Dump it all into tightly sealed jar and let the fermentation happen
There’s not a lot to it. After boiling you’ll want to give it time to ferment for maximum effect. And by that I mean get to a lower pH, among other things, which can help to seal the cuticles of your hair.
As you know fermenting is easy. It just means leaving it sit in a sealed jar letting nature do the rest.
Oh and I know she added an essential oil. You can. Just understand boiling that likely eliminates any benefits other than making your rinse smell incredible. Adding it just before leaving it to ferment may be best.
How To Apply Rice Water On Hair
Okay. Now that you’ve got it how do you use rice water on your hair?
It’s probably best to use it as the next to last step in your hair washing routine.
Step 1 – Shampoo
You want to wash your hair to remove any oils, dirt or product. You know to get rid of anything that might keep your strands from absorbing the ricy goodness.
Step 2 – Apply Rice Rinse
You can do this several ways.
You might fill a spray bottle and while in the shower spray all your hair. The idea is to saturate your hair and your scalp.
Some use two bowls. From one they dump the rice water onto their hair. The second catches it. That lets you repeat the process a two or three times for maximum effect.
Or best of all you can just dunk your hair into a bowl full of rice water for maximum penetration. But you do still need to pour it over the back of your head to insure the hair back there gets some rice water love.
If you do either of the last two squeeze out the excess so your hair isn’t dripping.
Step 3 – Shower Cap Time
Next you’ll want to cover your hair with a shower cap. Letting the heat from your head help with absorption.
Here’s another common question.
How long can you leave rice water in your hair?
Your options are:
You want to leave it be for like 15-30 minutes to encourage absorption. So if you said 20 minutes would be about right. Good for you!
But honestly, what’s best for your hair you’ll only discover through experience.
So the first time leave it on for say 10-15 minutes and see how that goes. From there adjust the length of time based on the results you get.
Which raises another often asked question…
Can I Leave Rice Water In My Hair Without Washing It Out?
But I’d say that’s not necessarily a good idea.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing after all.
On the plus side there’s the ability a rice water rinse has to help your hair hold a style.
On the negative side it can be drying. For some very drying.
So to be on the safe side you will want to thoroughly rinse it out.
Now much like everything rice water isn’t a one size fits all beauty product.
Which is why it’s not a bad idea to proceed with caution. Apply it and then monitor how your hair feels. If it starts to feel dry cut back on how often you use this rinse. And if you’ve not been start rinsing it out.
Because for everyone who raves what this does for their hair there’s likely to be someone who rues the day they started doing so.
Step 4 – Rinse Out
Nuff said. We just covered this.
Step 5 – Deep Condition
As mentioned before, rice water is in essence a protein treatment. So it’s essential you follow up the rice water rinse with deep conditioning. When I say essential I don’t mean optional.
Fail to provide post rinse hydration and your risk drying out your strands. It’s that simple really.
So you need to follow up with a rich, protein-free deep conditioner. You want to leave it on at least 20-30 minutes.
What Is Inositol In Rice Good For?
One of the touted ingredients in rice water is a simple carbohydrate called inositol.
So what is inositol good for?
Some claim it has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft strengthening it from the inside out.
It may also offer protection from future damage since it has a smoothing effect on the surface of the strand reducing friction. Less friction means less breakage.
Less breakage can eventually mean longer locks.
If you wish to know a little more this quick video clip that shows the a view demonstrating the difference between strands that have absorbed inositol and those that haven’t.
It suggests there may real science behind this inositol stuff.
There’s may be an additional but seldom mentioned benefit to inositol strengthened hair. Less frizz.
How Long Can You Store Rice Water For?
Again answers vary all over the place. How many days do you think is safe?
If you answered 5 days give yourself a hand. 7 days can work but that might be pushing it.
Some would strongly suggest keeping it in the fridge. Which is probably a good idea. That will help it to last longer. Because if you leave it out on the counter, just know that it will continue to ferment and ultimately reach the point of no return – if you know what I mean.
Still I feel the safest thing would be to get your recipe down to where you make enough for one usage. If you are doing this even once a week it’s not like it’s this huge burden to create a fresh batch every time.
For more ways to make your hair look gorgeous from all angles why not check out our tips and tricks board on Pinterest. Think of the heads you’ll turn when your hair has WOW factor to spare.