Rice Water For Hair, Benefits and Side Effects

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Rice water for hair? What’s next!? When I noticed the new TikTok trend supported by celebs Cardi B and Kim Kardashian, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is this the new rice lobby campaign or what? But I was going bald, and you cannot know until you try.

So I became a lab rat and tested the method on myself. I had nothing to lose other than my precious remaining hair, so I dived right in and have shared my whole experience below, including:

  1. How I homemade rice water
  2. How I applied it to my hair
  3. The benefits I noticed
  4. And the side effects

Rice Water for Hair… in Time

You can bet I was not going to put something on my hair just because some shady celebrities and TikTokers were selling it…

Interestingly enough, I found that rice water has been used as a hair product for millenia. In Japan, it dates back to the Heian period, known for the neverending mane of court ladies. Their alleged secret was rice water, making it strong and shiny even though it draped the floor. 

Even more surprisingly, it is also used today in China, where Yao women have hair as long and shiny as the Japanese Heian court ladies. Not only is their hair strong, but it also keeps its color until their 80s. 

At this point, I had to go for it.

How I Homemade Rice Water

There is a simple reason why rice water for hair is trending: it’s so damn easy to make. Even for someone as clueless in the kitchen as me. 

In fact, it is as simple as boiling rice.

When you cook rice, water absorbs its vitamin and nutrients, including:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Selenium

Different types of rice also have different vitamins and nutrients, so the key is to check up the components of the different varieties (black rice is high in antioxidants, for example), and choose the best according to your preferences.

I followed these easy steps:

  • Put 1 small glass of rice in a bowl
  • Rinsed it
  • Added 3 small glasses of water
  • Let it soak for 20 minutes 
  • Put it in a bottle

I figured out that rice water is also a basic ingredient of many hair care products you can find in any shop. The thing is there’s many other products inside too and I have never found rice water sold by itself (and probably never will, as it will always be much cheaper to make it at home), which means you will have to make sure that all other ingredients are ok for your hair.

Seriously though, even if you hate rice and never eat it, following the above steps is still the best and easiest way. 

How to Apply Rice Water to Your Hair

Time to rub, baby. Just like any other hair product, rice water is best applied by gently rubbing in a massage kind of way, making sure you coat your hair properly and moisturize your scalp. I start with the top of my head, then tip my head back so water runs down my head and covers it all before I continue the gentle rubbing over the ears and finally the back of my head. 

I do not rinse it until I’m done washing my whole body and I start with my hair. So I let it there for a good 20 minutes before I wash it off. It’s a long shower to be sure, but hey, we’re all so f** stressed so let’s chill the f** down a little too.

Rice Water Hair Benefits 

I followed the above routine for a whole month, and here are the results:

  • First Day: My hair felt unusual, like coated with a thin armor. It definitely felt stronger, but not necessarily shinier. 
  • Second Day: The day after, a few colleagues at work said I was having a good hair day. My hair looked shinier, cleaner.
  • One Week In (approx. 3 washes): My hair now felt thicker, stronger, fuller and definitely more shiny. Was it the placebo effect? I couldn’t really know, so I kept testing.
  • One Month In: Hair was definitely stronger than usual, my hair also felt much softer, but in a full, thick way. 

After 1 month my hair felt smoother, shinier, detangled and definitely stronger. 

Side Effects

As you can imagine, I have continued using rice water for my hair, and even more often than before (up to 4-5 times per week). With time, I noticed this was something I shouldn’t do every so often.

Overusing rice water definitely dried my hair, contributing to making it frizz and brittle (and to more hair loss). It really depends on the people, I recommend testing to find your sweet spot. Mine is twice per week, which has continued proving positive effects up until now. 

Can Rice Water Prevent Hair Loss?

I became a rice water advocate within my group of friends, which led some people to ask me if rice water could prevent hair loss. I did my research and I even talked with a friend who works for a company doing hair transplant in Turkey. According to his understanding, the capacity of rice water to prevent hair loss depends on the degree of baldness, and a million other medical considerations. It’s basically a case by case thing. But so far so good.