A haircare trend making its rounds on the internet is rice water. We’ve all seen the drastic before and after pictures, but does it actually work?
Everyone wants their hair to look as shiny and bouncy as the models in shampoo commercials.
To our dismay, no matter how much we spend on hair masks, or how much conditioner we slather onto split ends, we’ve yet to be saved from dull, lifeless hair.
However, for the women of Huangluo village in China, long, lustrous hair that cascades down their backs is a part of their culture. Their hair is a symbol of beauty and longevity.
They believe the longer it grows, the longer they will live. These real-life Rapunzels with striking black manes can attribute their flowing locks to a simple beauty ritual passed along from generation to generation.
Every day, they wash their hair in river water but after the third day, they rinse with a unique treatment made of rice water.
Researchers who published an article in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science examined the effects of rice water on hair. The results revealed rice water had multiple functions for hair care.
What are the benefits of using rice water?
- Soothes skin irritation caused by sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient in many cosmetics.
- Silkier hair because of inositol, a chemical in rice water, that repairs damaged hair from the inside out.
- Helps hair growth with the amino acids in rice water aiding in the regeneration of hair
- Makes hair stronger, reducing breakage and split ends.
How to make rice water for hair growth
Rice water is essentially the starchy, cloudy liquid that remains after it has soaked and boiled in water. The ratio to make the solution is 1:1. If you have shorter hair, one cup rice to one cup water should be enough to rinse your entire head. However, if your hair is longer, alter the quantity according to the ratio to suit your hair length.
Before soaking the rice, give it a quick rinse in cold water to remove any impurities and dirt that you may not want to have on your hair and skin.
Strain the rice and save the water in a container. The mixture can be stored for up to one week in the fridge and used whenever needed. Some people prefer to store it in a spray bottle for easy application.
Huangluo women also boil the peel of the pomelo fruit with the rice water.
How to use rice water as a hair treatment
Adding rice water to your hair care routine is pretty easy. It should slot right in with wash day as it can be used directly after shampooing and conditioning. To apply the rice water, decant the amount you need into a smaller container so you do not have to lug a bucket of murky water up to the bathroom each time you need it.
The aim is to focus on the scalp, working your way down to the ends of the hair strands gradually. The best method for this is a spray bottle – these can be found in the bathroom/home section of most supermarkets.
Allow the mixture to sit on your hair for approximately five minutes and rinse. Continue with the next steps in your hair care routine, whether it is drying your locks with an old t-shirt, using a hair diffuser or simply letting it air dry. Most people claim to feel an immediate difference in the strength and texture of their hair. Repeat this treatment with every other hair wash or as often as you like.
Everyone’s hair is different so do what works for you and integrate this into your hair care in a way that best suits you.