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Home Beauty Rice Water for Hair: Will It Make Your Hair Grow?

Rice Water for Hair: Will It Make Your Hair Grow?

rice water for hair

Picture this – you’ve just cooked a pan of rice, and you’re left with the white, cloudy liquid. Your instinct is probably to pour away the leftover water. Well, what if we told you that you could be missing out on a range of benefits?

Although an ancient beauty hack, many people are unfamiliar with the perks of rice water for your hair, skin, and health. The solution is rich in many amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties that science has proven beneficial to humans.

Regular followers of the rice water trend believe the natural formula can promote hair growth, strengthen the roots, nourish hair, add shine, and even repair damaged hair.

In this article, we bring you everything there is to know about rice water for hair, from how to make it to why you should.

What Is Rice Water?

Rice water is the starchy water left over after cooking rice or leaving it to soak. The appearance is white, cloudy, and milky looking.

Rice is a nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrate that provides an excellent fuel source for the body. It contains several essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.

Rice water contains many nutrients found in rice, including B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and rice amino acids.

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Is Rice Water Good for Your Hair? Here’s What the Science Says

Rice water is said to have many benefits for your hair, primarily due to the number of nutrients it contains. However, more scientific evidence is necessary to determine the rice water benefit for hair.

Women have been using the remedy to promote healthy hair since ancient times. It dates back to the Heian period in Japan, when court ladies bathed their floor-length hair in rice water.

A study found that rice water rinses successfully reduced surface friction and boosted hair elasticity, among other hair care functions.

The antioxidant inositol is one hero ingredient of rice water that boosts hair health properties. Inositol, commonly called vitamin B8, is a sugar-like compound that naturally occurs in many foods, such as citrus fruit, beans, and brown rice. 

It plays a role in several cellular processes and is considered an effective hair treatment.

rice water

How to Make Rice Water for Hair

The DIY recipe is super easy to make. There are a couple of methods you can use.

#1 Boiling

A common way to make rice water is by cooking the rice in boiling water. Add half a cup of uncooked rice and two cups of water to your saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the rice until cooked.

Strain the rice and reserve the rice water.

#2 Soaking

The fastest way to create the solution is by soaking rice in water. Use half a cup of uncooked rice and rinse it thoroughly. Place rice with two or three cups of water in a bowl, and leave it to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

Once fully soaked, you can strain the water and add it to a clean bowl.

#3 Fermenting

Many people prefer to use fermented rice water.

Fermented rice water is made when the rice water is kept aside for an extended period, allowing it to ferment or sour. The fermenting process is thought to release the vitamins and minerals further, as fermented substances have healthful components.

How to Use Rice Water for Hair

Using rice water for your hair doesn’t require a complete shift in your usual routine. You can add your rice water rinse to your schedule at a time that works for you.

Although it acts as a mild cleanser, it works best as a post-shampoo hair rinse rather than using it to wash hair. Some people replace their usual conditioner with rice water as an alternative to commercial hair care products.

Healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp. To start your rice water hair treatment, apply the rinse water obtained to your scalp and work it outwards throughout your hair. Leave it to do its job for a few minutes before you rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Many prefer leaving rice water on the hair overnight as a hair mask.

Benefits of Rice Water for Hair

Rice water may have the power to nourish and improve all hair types, including natural hair and color-treated hair. Here are 5 reasons why adding rice water to your cupboard of hair care products is a positive step for your hair health.

#1 Strengthening hair

Rice water possesses several amino acids. As amino acids are important for hair health, adding it to your hair may help strengthen it.

Additionally, inositol has a number of properties that support the hair. For instance, inositol supplements have been shown to help thin hair by reducing thinning and promoting growth.

#2 Gives a healthy shine

If you want to lift and brighten dull hair, rice water can help. As the water can reduce friction and hydrate the hair, it may promote the appearance of shiny hair.

It also contains vitamin E, which has antioxidant effects that may reduce oxidative stress, supporting a healthy scalp. A healthier scalp may enable the shine to return.

#3 Makes hair smoother

You can think of rice water as moisturizing milk as the liquid adds hydration. Many of the vitamins and minerals in rice water have moisturizing properties that can seep deep into the hair.

As it acts as a starchy coating to the hair strands, it may help smooth split ends and reduce frizz.

#4 Helps to detangle hair

As rice water makes the hair smoother, it makes it softer and easier to detangle knots.

People with damaged and textured hair are more prone to knots, as the outer layer of the hair shift doesn’t usually lie flat. This makes the strands prone to tangling. In smoothing the hair, it becomes less prone to knotting.

#5 Stimulates hair growth

The hair growth claims primarily stem from the women of the Heian period who were able to grow and maintain hair that reached the floor.

Due to the many antioxidants and vitamins of rice water, it’s likely that hair growth is possible. Many of the primary vitamins play a role in cell turnover and the development of the hair follicles, such as vitamin B, folic acid, and selenium.

Plus, the amino acids, which serve as the building blocks of protein, deliver a treatment that provides strength and protection to hair. Well-nourished hair offers a better environment for growth to take place.


How often should I use rice water on my hair?

You can use rice water each time you wash your hair, although it’s a good idea to begin using it sparingly to see how your hair reacts. Some people use rice water as a shampoo to wash hair, in place of a conditioner, or as a final hair rinse.

How long does it take for rice water to grow your hair?

Growing anecdotal evidence claims that rice water can grow your hair up to two inches per month. However, there is not enough research to confirm the speed of hair growth. As rice water promotes healthy hair, it may speed up growth.

How long do you leave rice water on your hair?

You can leave rice water in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing if using it as part of your hair wash routine. For use as a natural hair mask, you can leave the treatment for several hours or even overnight, allowing it to work deep into the hair.

How to apply rice water to hair?

You can apply rice water to hair in place of your shampoo, conditioner, or as a final rinse in your routine. Massage the rice water into the hair and scalp, and leave to work for several minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Alternatively, you can leave the water in your hair as a mask.

Tips for Using Rice Water

Rice water is the starchy water left behind from cooking or soaking rice. It contains essential amino acids that can help nourish and promote health in all hair types.

You can easily make rice water at home with little effort. Once the water is ready, you can use the home remedy as a product in your hair care regime. Depending on your preferences, you can use it to cleanse, condition, and treat hair.

For further potential benefits, fermented rice water is believed to hold more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The process involves leaving the water for up to two days before use.

As you’re making the rice water from scratch, you can be sure there are no harsh chemicals that may cause damage or hair loss. All you need is rice, water, and a bowl.

Many shampoo products include rice water alongside other ingredients, such as sweet violet extract, coconut oil, and tomato fruit ferment.


As it turns out, rice isn’t only a world-favorite food but a potentially powerful hair care ingredient. Rice water rinsing is a traditional method used for beauty purposes in several regions of Southeast Asia.

While the evidence is limited, rice water is ultimately a natural product that you can safely try at home. You can find out for yourself whether it strengthens hair, promotes growth, and adds shine to your locks.

Written by
Edibel Quintero, MD

Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.

rice water for hair

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