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Rice water for hair: what are the benefits, are they proven and how to make it yourself at home

Women in China, Japan and Southeast Asia have been using rice water for hair for centuries. But are there scientifically proven beauty benefits? This article discusses the beauty effects of rice water hair treatments and whether the claimed results are supported by scientific research.

How to use rice water for hair

Rice water for hair - What are the benefits.

Rice grains contain 75-80 percent starch. Rice water is the starchy water that remains after soaking or cooking rice. It is believed to contain many of the vitamins and minerals found in rice. These include:

  • Amino acids
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants

History: according to researchers, women in the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD) in Japan had floor-length hair, which they kept healthy by bathing in rice water. A modern equivalent of this story can be found in China. The Yao women, who live in a village called Huangluo in China, are famous for their hair, which averages 1.8 meters in length. In addition to their incredible length, the Yao women’s hair supposedly retains its color longer, as they don’t start getting gray hair until they are 80 years old. Yao women attribute the length and color of their hair to the fact that they bathe it in water made from rice.

In recent years, beauty advice websites and product developers have picked up on this tradition. Now the rice water trend is spreading.

Pros: Proponents of using rice water for hair believe it:

  • detangles the hair
  • makes the hair more supple
  • increases shine
  • makes the hair stronger
  • makes the hair grow longer

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What the research says

Rice grains contain 75-80% starch, the ingredients of which are good for hair

The popularity of using rice water for hair is increasing and there is more and more anecdotal evidence of its benefits. But are the claims scientifically proven?

At first glance, some articles suggest they might be. The authors state that water from rice can reduce surface friction and increase hair elasticity. However, the study relies on historical examples to draw unsubstantiated conclusions. Elsewhere, a research facility in Japan has developed an imaging technique that reveals the strengthening effect of inositol on hair. Inositol is found in water from rice.

Еs important to note that this research is published directly by an institution that may have commercial interests. To date, the benefits of rice water for hair have not been proven. Further research is needed to confirm the anecdotal evidence.

How to make rice water for hair yourself

Soaking is the fastest method

How to make rice water for hair yourself

Soaking involves rinsing the rice thoroughly. This is the fastest way to prepare water from rice. To use this method:

  • Take ½ cup of uncooked rice.
  • Rinse it thoroughly.
  • Put the rice in a bowl with 2-3 cups of water.
  • Let it soak for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the rice water into a clean bowl.

Normal vs. fermented rice water for hair.

Water from rice can replace a commercial hair conditioner

Some advocates claim that fermented rice water has more benefits than regular. According to one study, fermented substances have higher levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants can fight damage to hair and skin cells, which is why they are typical ingredients in beauty products.

To ferment rice water, follow steps 1-4 of the soaking method. Before straining it, leave it at room temperature for up to 2 days to ferment. Before using the fermented water, pour it into a clean bowl.

Boiling the rice is another alternative

Boiling the rice is another option: cover ½ cup of rice with twice the amount of water normally used for boiling. Cook the rice in boiling water and strain the rice water into a clean bowl before using.

How to use rice water for hair

Rice water can replace a commercial hair conditioner. To do this, a person should:

  • Wash the hair with shampoo.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Spread rice water on your hair and massage your scalp.
  • Leave on for up to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.

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Positive effects on the skin

In addition to its potential beauty benefits for the hair, rice water can also benefit the skin. One study found that the starch helps heal damaged skin in people with dermatitis.


  • Rinsing the hair with rice water is a traditional beauty treatment that is popular in many regions of Asia.
  • After attracting attention on the internet, this alternative beauty remedy is now popular all over the world.
  • Many people consider this beauty treatment to be a beneficial hair treatment. Historical examples and anecdotal evidence suggest that water from rice can improve hair strength, texture and growth.
  • Most scientific evidence on the treatment is inconclusive, so more research is needed to prove the benefits of using rice water.
  • Even though the benefits to hair have not yet been proven, you can safely try a hair rinse with water made from rice at home and use it on your skin as well. It has been shown to promote skin health in people with dermatitis.