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Rice Water For Hair Care & Repair : Expert’s Tips

How to wash one’s hair with rice water is one of the top trending searches for hair care recently, but it is actually an ancient hair care method with a long history in Asia. Japanese women in the Heian period (794-1185 CE) had floor-length hair and they kept their hair healthy by soaking it in rice water. Chinese women in a village called Huangluo in China generally have hair over 6 feet long, and they don’t even get gray hair until they reach their 80s.

At the end of this article, you will learn how to prepare rice water for your hair and tips to make the best use of it!

Rice Water - fermented rice - natural hairPhoto via Pinterest

What is actually rice water?

Rice contains 75-80% starch and is a great beautifying aid. And rice water is the starchy water after the rice has been left to soak in it for a certain amount of time. It is said to be packed with rich nutrients that soothe inflammation in the scalp and dryness in the hair, including:

•      Amino acids

•      Vitamin B

•      Vitamin E

•      Minerals

•      Antioxidants

Advocates of hair treatments using rice water believe that:

•      It makes hair smoother and detangles the hair

•      It makes hair stronger and increases luster

•      It helps hair grow longer faster


Although it is rich in nutrients and used throughout history as a hair care ingredient, are all the beneficial values of rice water promoted on the internet true?


Myth: Does rice water help hair growth?


Except for the two Food & Drug Administration-approved chemical growth treatments available on the market, anything placed on the surface of the scalp will not make your hair grow. Hair growth is related to your genes and proper hydration of your body.


However, the rich nutrients such as inositol (vitamin B8) and protein in rice water can penetrate hair strands and help close the pores and gaps in the cuticles of damaged hair, preventing breakage and strengthening the hair. By reducing the breakage of hair, it helps retain hair and increase the hair volume that makes your hair appear to be growing at a faster rate. In reality, your hair grows at the same normal rate but looks more luscious and more voluminous as there is a decrease in hair breakage and hair loss.

rice water recipe for hair growth - rice water - natural hair - Moose PhotosPhoto via Moose Photo from Pexels

8 simple steps to make rice water for natural hair:

1. You can use any type of rice: White rice / Brown rice / Wild rice / Basmati / Jasmine organic rice, etc.

2. Rinse the rice to wash out dirt and impurities with water.

3. At this stage, simply drain the water without letting the rice soak in the water for a long time to avoid the loss of nutrients.

4. After draining out the “dirty” water, add fresh water to the rice to soak. Depending on your preference, this is the range of ratio for making rice water:
•  1 tablespoon of rice to 1 cup of water, or, 1 jar of rice to 3 jars of water
•  You can use any type of containers but you must be able to cover the soaking rice with a lid or a cover to seal the container.

5. Not everyone likes the strong smell of rice water, so you can add some citrus peel and a few drops of essential oil to the water (we recommend putting 1-2 drops of essential oil per ounce/30ml) to balance the scent.

6. Let it sit (covered) for at least 30 mins.

7. Stir it slightly or knead the soaked rice lightly until the water turns cloudy to help vitamins and minerals seep into the water.

8. Drain the freshly made rice water into a clean bowl or container for use.

Rice water - hair growth - hair growth treatment - Ika KenesPhoto Via Ika Kenes from Pexels

You can even further ferment the rice water for better hair care performance!

Fermented rice water enhances the level of nutrients contained in the rice water. It is richer in antioxidants, minerals, vitamin B, vitamin E, and other substances that make it more beneficial and powerful than freshly made rice water.

2 more steps make fermented rice water:

1. After the first 6 steps above, instead of draining your rice water into a clean bowl, drain it into an airtight container.

2. For fermentation: Store in a warm dark place for 12-48 hours (i.e. allow half a day to 2 days for fermentation).

Depending on your hair type, you can boil the fermented rice water (or not) before you use it on your hair. Try both options and see which one works better for you. 

If you decide to boil the rice water, the smell of the water will be even stronger. You can add some citrus peel to the rice water while it boils and adds a few drops of essential oil after the water has been boiled and cooled. Stir until the essential oil is evenly distributed in the water.

Beware that as fermented rice water can be very potent, you may need to dilute it with warm water before use.

citrus peel - rice water - hair growth - rice water for hair receiptPhoto via Robin Kumar Biswal from Pexels

Store You Rice Water

You can store the rice water in the fridge for up to one week and shake well before use.

Ways to use Rice water / Fermented Rice Water

• After shampoo, use it to rinse your hair and massage gently. We suggest a quality paraben-free, silicon-free and sulphate-free shampoo. The Iles Formula shampoo ticks all these boxes and is for all hair types.

Frizzy hair - Anti-frizz curls - summer hair - orange hair - Iles Formula ShampooIles Formula Shampoo – Click the above picture to see the reviews and details



Exclusive tips for you: Pay attention to your Hair type before using rice water!


People with dry and sensitive scalp

• People with dry and sensitive scalp should not overuse rice water. Restrict the use of rice water for no more than once or twice a week.


Protein-Sensitive hair: Avoid using too much protein

• Rice water contains a lot of proteins that may lead to protein overload.

• Protein and moisture treatments are very different and excessive use of one of them can eventually harm your hair.

• Usually, if your hair is stringy and limp it means that your hair needs more protein, whereas if your hair is hard and coarse, it generally has too much protein.

• If you have protein-sensitive hair, your hair will turn even more dry, stiff and brittle quickly after using hair products with too much protein. Once this happens, stop using any protein products for a while and just use moisturizing products until an optimal protein-moisture balance is achieved.


Opting for the Niche Remedy

In the end it may be more appealing to just opt for a high performance niche brand that does all the hard work for you.

Iles Formula Signature Hair Mask contains a cocktail of raw virgin ingredients that provide moisture and repair for all hair types. Rare and harvested ingredients specially made to suit all hair types such as Silk Proteins from Japan, Macroloba seed extract, Tucuma butter from the Amazon rain forest, and pure nut essences from Australia are infused with a nutrient mix of vitamin E, B5 and panthenol to give your scalp and hair an instant excellent moisture balance without risk of harming your hair.

It only takes 15 minutes for Iles Formula Signature Hair Mask to deeply repair your strands, leaving you with nourished scalp and repaired hair that feels like spun silk.


Keep taking good care of your hair: It is after all your crowing glory!


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    Tips and Tricks by
    Wendy Iles