Rice Water For Gorgeous Hair And Flawless Skin - hair buddha
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Rice Water For Gorgeous Hair And Flawless Skin

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Rice Water For Gorgeous Hair And Flawless Skin

In some parts of the world ‘to eat’ literally means ‘to eat rice’. One of the most important food grain, rice is a staple food for almost half of the world’s population, supplying as much as half of the daily calories.

But, rice is also an important beautifying ingredient. For centuries, Asian women have used rice water to beautify their face, body and hair. Traditionally, female rice farmers in China, Japan, and other southeast Asian countries used to bathe and wash in the water used for cleaning rice.

The Yao ethnic women from the village of Huangluo in China is testament to this tradition. With their average hair length of about 6 feet, these women made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s longest hair village” (Read more here). Plus these women do not have grey hair till late 80s. The Yao women believe that the fermented rice water, which they use to cleanse their hair, is what helps to keeps their hair long, dark and clean. Rice water enables these women to de-tangle and manage their long hair, which they wrap around their heads in an elaborate high bun that is often described with names such as ‘gazing god’s bun’ or the ‘cloud bun’.

Rice Water For Hair & Skin: Evidence & Benefits

Rice water has amazing hair and skin benefits. A recent research has shown that rice water exhibit hair care effects, such as decreasing surface friction and improving hair elasticity. Rice water has inositol, a carbohydrate, that can repair damaged hair, as well as protect it from damage. Specialized imaging technique shows that inositol stays inside the hair even after rinsing, offering continuing hair protection and beautifying effects.

So, Rinsing or washing your hair with rice water will improve manageability and protect it from future damage. In addition, the amino acids in the rice water strengthen the hair roots, add volume and sheen and make hair silky smooth. These awesome benefits explains the 6 feet, healthy, long and beautiful hair of the Yao women.

Not limited to hair, rice water also has many skin benefits. Due to its cooling and soothing effects on skin, rice water is often prescribed by ayurvedic practitioners as an effective ointment to cool off inflamed skin.

Rice water also has moisturising, antioxidant, and healing properties that help to improve circulation, prevent or fade age related spots, and ease inflammation to give you healthy, better moisturised and clear skin. As long as it’s left on the skin, rice water is even believed to offer mild protection from the sun.

Fermented Rice Water

The effects of rice water is further enhanced if it is left to ferment. Fermented rice water is rice water that is left to ferment and has gone slightly sour. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, B vitamins, vitamin E, and traces of pitera, a substance produced during the fermentation process. ‘Pitera’ has grown in popularity recently, and is touted as the anti-aging elixir due to its ability to promote cell regeneration, and help skin stay young and beautiful.

This ferment rice water can be used as a face cleanser, skin toner as well as a hair rinse. The nutrients in the fermented rice water is believed to shrink pores, reduce fine lines, and tighten and brighten your skin – this is a perfect recipe to look radiant and youthful.

Washing or rinsing your hair with fermented rice water may be better than rinsing with unfermented or plain rice water. Fermentation lowers the pH of the liquid, and this is similar to our hair’s pH, which is also on the lower side (slightly acidic). So, this slightly acidic pH plus the added nutrients through the fermentation process help restore hair’s pH balance, nourish hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth, and improve overall condition of hair.

Making Rice Water: Plain & Fermented

To enjoy these wonderful beauty benefits of rice water, all you have to do is just collect the water that you use to rinse your rice. And if you don’t want to cook the rice then just grind the left over rice to make a body scrub or face mask.

To make rice water, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (brown, white long grain, white short grain, jasmine, or whatever you have)
  • 2 to 3 cups water

Instructions:

To make rice water, first rinse the rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities.

Then, place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Let the rice soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your hair and skin.

Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use.

You can either use this water for your hair or face, or let it ferment for enhanced benefit.

Fermented Rice Water: Once you have collected your rice water, leave it at room temperature for a day or until it turns slightly sour, implying that it has started to ferment. It can take any where from 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm it is. So warmer the room temperature faster the fermentation process.

To decrease the fermentation time, leave the rice sitting in the water and strain once it has fermented. (Leave it covered for 12 to 24 hours.)

Then boil the fermented rice water – this is to stop the fermentation process. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Your homemade fermented rice water is ready to use.

To boil or not to boil: The recommended use is to boil the fermented rice water, but some people don’t. Everyone’s hair is different, so you may want to try out both methods to see what works for you.

Note: Fermented rice water is very potent, so you may need to dilute it with a cup or two of warm water before use. Adjust according to your hair’s needs, use more for dry hair and less for oily hair.

Boiling Method: You can also boil the rice to extract rice water. For this, boil the rice using more water than you would normally do. Once it starts boiling take out the excess water and use; or you can also let the rice fully cook, strain, and use that excess water. This rice water will be very concentrated, so make sure to dilute it with plain water until it is just slightly cloudy.

Storage: You can store the rice water in the fridge and it will stay good for up to a week. Shake it before use.

How To Use Rice Water For Hair and Skin

Use every day as part of your cleansing and toning skin care routine, morning or evening. For your hair I would recommend you use it once or twice a week either as hair wash or last rinse, I prefer the latter.

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  • Use rice water as part of your face and body cleanser. (e.g rice water, lemon juice, and lavender essential oil mixed together to make a face or body wash.
  • It is a great substitute for your regular toner and helps in reducing the size of the pores on your skin.
  • Rinsing your hair with rice water brings shine to your hair and helps to keep it strong and healthy.
  • You can also use it as a part of moisturising face mask.
  • Make a rice bath soak along with your favorite herb and treat your skin to a fabulous DIY spa.
  • For smooth and baby soft skin, grind the left over rice and use as body scrub.

Rice Water for a Hair Rinse

Rice water – plain or fermented – is an excellent conditioner. It repairs and strengthens damaged hair shaft while providing elasticity and smoothness.

For extra nourishment, add a few drops of essential oils such as rosemary, lavender or chamomile.

After shampooing, pour the rice water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes (or up to 20 minutes if you have time). Then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water. Use it once a week as a last rinse.

Rice water shampoo: Rice water contains natural saponins, so it can also be used as a mild cleanser. For better cleansing add some shikakai powder or orange peel powder to this water.

Update: Rice water may build up on hair over time, especially if you have hard water. So, consider using a natural clarifying agent, such as orange peel powder, amla powder, shikakai powder, lemon juice* or apple juice, with the rice water. It will help remove any build up and make your hair soft and shiny. Add about 1 tsp in one cup of rice water and use as suggested.

Some people also use rice water along with black/green tea, it helps add extra shine and strength to your hair. Plus, tea is also useful to reduce hair loss.

Rice Water as a Facial Cleanser or toner

This is one of the cheapest way to pamper your skin.

Using rice water to cleanse your face is as simple as dabbing a bit onto your face and gently massaging it into your skin for couple of minutes. With regular use you will notice your skin feeling soft, tight, and radiant.

You can also use rice water as a toner. Use like any other toner – apply to face after cleansing to minimize the appearance of pores and tighten skin.

Fresh Rice Bath Soak

Treat your skin to a fabulous DIY spa with rice bath and lavender soak. Take a small muslin bag and fill the bag with 1/2 cup rice and 2 tsp lavender flowers. Place the muslin bag into the water. Soak in the tub and relax fully.

Also, instead of lavender flowers try other skin beautifying ingredients such as orange peel, lemon peel, green tea, tulsi leaves (holy basil), neem leaves, and calendula petals.

DIY Ground Rice Body scrub

Do not throw away the left over rice, simply grind it to make a nourishing body scrub. You can also add other ingredients to this scrub based on your skin’s need. Example: for soft, smooth, and blemish free skin add couple of teaspoons of olive or coconut oil, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and/or few drop of essential oils (lavender, sweet orange) to the ground rice and combine thoroughly. Use this once a week or once every 15 days.

Which Rice To Use: Every type of rice has its own benefits to your hair and skin. Plus, the way rice water is obtained – rinsing, boiling, fermenting – will also change the nutrient content and pH of this water. So experiment freely and see what works best for your hair and skin.

Enjoy your beautiful, hydrated, radiant hair and skin.

Have you ever used rice water on your hair or skin? We would love to hear your experience ...

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  • Lovely Nones

    what works best for hair? fermented or the plain one? reply pls

  • Nazneen

    I started doing this a few months ago and my hair loves it!

  • Lisa

    I have used the fermented rice water and I boil it. Its really good for scalp irritation and itchy dry scalp. And I have noticed less breakage.

  • Nazneen

    I started doing this a few months ago and my hair loves it!

  • Maggie

    Hello
    If you rinse your hair with the rice water without diluting it does it dry your hair? I used it on my daughter and it stripped her hair, it looks dry now before it was shiny.

    • Oh that’s not very nice. Is your water hard? See my instruction (rice water for hair) about using a clarifying agent along with rice water.

  • Miya Elaine Canayon

    I wash my face first then after that I leave the rice water in my face. I didn’t rinse it. Is that okay ? And between what’s the big difference of fermented and plain rice water.

    • Yes, I too leave rice water on my face and love the effect. Fermented rice water contains more nutrients. But see what your hair/skin likes, as some people prefer non-fermented water.

  • Natural MiMi

    I’m a natural hair women, and I would love to try this help my hair to grow since braking off. Can I shampoo then use the rinse? And can I detangle my hair with this and then use conditioner after?

    • Yes you can try it that way. But detangle your hair after conditioning.

      • Natural MiMi

        Ok thanks

  • Amrutha

    Mam,can we wash the hair regularly with rice water??

  • Kerri shrewsberry

    My husband always said his Dr. Had rice water for poison oak. My son had it really bad, prescription the Dr. Have seemed to make it spread and worse. I made rice water, used cotton ball to apply……cleared up in two days! I’m a firm believer in rice water.

  • ruksana cheruvath

    i use to cook the rice with salt . so is this salty rice water harm to hair?? pls rply

  • anchal choudhary

    pls tell me can i wash my face with plain water after using rice water as serum,toner,face pack etc,coz no where is written what to do after applying it.and if yes than after how many minutes.pls pls reply

    • I have tried leaving it on and it gives a good effect.
      But you can also rinse off, let it sit from 2 to 10 minutes, then wash off.

  • jenny

    Hello. I recently found your blog and can’t wait to try your rinses. The only thing that doesn’t sound good to me is boiling the water to “stop” the fermentation process. Everybody who has fermented food (kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha) knows that if you want to halt the fermentation you just put it in the fridge. If you boil it you kill all the beneficial bacteria so you just “pasteurise” it and lose all the goodness. Anyway, I swim 5 days a week and my hair is super dry even though I rinse with water after every swim. So I can’t wait to try this rice rinse, hope it helps with the dryness! : /

    • Hello Jenny, what you said is right, boiling will kill the beneficial bacteria.

      But the original Chinese recipe specifies that you must boil the rice water after fermenting. May be the live bacteria are not good for the scalp? Try experimenting both ways.

      Also, here are more options to moisturise your dry hair.

      • freedomdove

        I’m wondering if the reason they boiled it to stop fermentation was because there was no refrigeration back when this first started being done. I, too, cringed when I read the instructions to boil the fermented water. I think I would just put it straight in the refrigerator because that’s what you do to all ferments to stop the action. It doesn’t kill the organisms; it just slows them way down.

  • vivi

    I have tried a soap with natural rice and milk ingredients since last month. And now I rarely get pimples and red skin, though honestly I have sensitive skin. Then I found out about rice water for hair and skin treatment too.
    I had a little bit pimples, dandruff, and itchy scalp. But, after I use rice water before bathing for my hair and body, all this problem had gone. I love my skin and hair now..now my hair and skin are felt and looked smooth and shiny.
    It is really really good for sensitive skin.. ^_^

    • Pursham Amarjit Singh Sidhu

      I am having acne n it is very itchy… Does rice water can help me to get rid of this problem.

  • lemcee

    I was wondering, can I use the cooked ground up rice as a facial mask or would that be too much for my skin? I have combo skin.

  • Sarah Crowe

    Why can’t you use orange peel instead of orange peel powder?

  • zainab

    Mam ! plz tell that with use of water rice how much length hair increase in a month?

  • ishy

    Can I use conditioner post the rice water hair rinse? Or would that fail the whole purpose?

  • Eliza Fajardo

    love this! I showed this to my 66 yr old mother in law, she is raving about how it has helped with her mature dry/damaged skin. I am 26 and have noticed all postive effects!!

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  • I have used Asian beauty products with rice water in it and they have been wonderful, but it has been mainly for the skin. I would love to try a DIY rice water treatment on my hair to see how that turns out. Thank you for this post!

    • Hi Nena, I too love using rice water for my skin.
      Let us know your experience on hair.

  • sana

    Can we drink fermented rice water?

    • Sana, Yes you can drink fermented rice water. It’s called Rejuvelac.

      To make this, first sprout the brown rice. Then soak the sprouted rice in water for about one or two days. Strain and drink this.
      You can also use other grains such as: wheat, quinoa, barley, and millet.

  • Edith Thurman

    So I take it regular white rice wouldn’t work so great, seeing it has no nutritional use what so ever. Or am I wrong??? Ive been eating basmati brown rice organic, and I did notice when I rinsed it there was no starch at all, just a tiny bit of color! I have never been able to wash rice that quick in my life. So would the white rice work? I’m wondering, because I have some and regular brown rice thats been in my cabinet forever and will not use, unless I can use it for this!

    • Hello Edith, White rice is not devoid of nutrition. It just has lesser nutrition compared to brown rice.

      And you are right is saying that when you wash white rice you have more starch come out.

      I would suggest soaking brown rice for longer, and hopefully that should work.

      Let me know how it goes.

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  • mady34

    I have just used the rice water on my face and it looks much better and clearer already. Also very smooth. I love it, have also just used as a hair rinse and so far so good. I have some fermenting now. Very excited about this.

    • Alexia M

      I’ve only used the plain method and it works very well, I’ll try the fermenting one (:

  • shawn machimura

    HI there! so I’ve read other posts about Rice Water but one thing made me really search deeper. Some sites said that the rice water would be more effective if the rice is boiled with more water rather than rice being merely stirred. What do you think ?

    • Hello Shawn, Everyone’s hair is different, so what might work for me may not work for you. I would say try all the methods and see what works best for your. With only a couple of treatments you should be able to determine if it’s for you or not. If it feels okay with one treatment then give it a second try. If it feels bad, I would bother trying it second time.

  • Daniela

    Hi !, i just found your site and i love it !! = )
    I wonder if i can freeze on ice -cube tray ? = ) Thanks for all the tips !, i have curly hair and i love all natural recepies ! = )

  • jenny

    hi, I read an article similar to yours but it said that you have to boil the water after it is fermented in order to stop the fermenting process. I dont know if this step is important or should I skip it?

    • Hi Jenny,

      I am so glad you brought this up. I was meaning to try it for long. I have put it on my list. If you are up for experimenting and try both ways do share your results with us. Thanks!

      • Heather

        Why would you want to stop the fermentation? Is there a benefit to that? I assumed it was the bacteria that made fermented rice water better and you would be killing them by boiling.

  • checkitout

    what will happen to my face if i use INORGANIC rice instead of organic one? does it have less effect if use Inorganic??

    • If you can eat it than you can use it on your face/hair. Just rinse it once to get rid of the impurities.

    • JENICE

      Please use organic rice!! You don’t want nasty fertilisers and pesticides on your face/hair!!

  • Testingout

    Is the fermented rice leave the hair smelling? I have not try it yet so I am not sure, just want to see if you can let me know. Since the water leaving out for at least 24-48 may have smell to it. Thank you so much… I tried the 1st time rice water as a toner just now… thanks for the tip…

  • jess

    I did this for 3 days for my face and my pores are smaller skin more smooth with more even clear skin tone I’m going to try on my hair next

    • That’s awesome! thanks for sharing, Jess.
      And do let us know your experience on hair.

  • lakshmi lechu

    I love this, first time hearing the benefits of rice water, i have lots of skin and hair problems eagerly waiting to try this, but i have a doubt is shampooing compulsory to use rice water or is it enough dat we simply pour rice water into the scalp and rinse???

    • Thanks Lakshmi. You don’t have to shampoo, just use rice water as a hair wash. Let us know how it goes.

      • lakshmi lechu

        Mam, i was using the water dat is produced after boiling rice i used it as a hair nd skin wash ,,but was futile… i tried it almost one month no chnages in my skin d hair….

        • Just use plain or fermented water as described in the post. And add 1 tsp shikakai and 1 tsp amla powder to it.

          • lakshmi lechu

            are they compulsary mam, shikkai and amla powder?

  • hk gwee

    wonderful write up. i love it.

    • Minaz Aslam

      Thank you hk gwee!

  • rose

    Very nice.will try definitely. Thanks for sharing.

  • eno ayoola

    this is a wonderful site. am totally sold to this. will surely try it. thanks for sharing

    • Minaz Aslam

      Hello Eno, thanks for commenting, appreciate it 🙂

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