It seems like every season, we hear about a new way to get massive hair growth. From Using Monistat to the Inverse method, the new ways to grow your hair faster and longer can be odd or even dangerous. Well, that hasn’t stopped folks from talking about them nor trying them. One such new and popular method is using rice water to get longer tresses and when I heard about it, I just shrugged it off and kept it moving.
Popular Rice Water Products
What is rice water
If you learned to cook rice the old fashioned way like I did, then you are already aware of what this is. It is the starchy water left over after cooking the grain or if you soak it. When I learned to cook the grain, we simply discarded this starchy water but now, women are using it for their hair. The water is full of nutrients like Amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals and antioxidants.
Rice water has been used by women during the Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) in Japan and had floor-length hair by bathing in rice water. Also in China, women in the Huangluo village have long hair that average 6 feet long from bathing in the water. These stories have been circulating the blogs lately and many women are eager to give rice water a try on natural hair.
Ok, but does it WORK?
Many swear by this hair growth technique but there is not solid scientific proof. If you are for following science and want solid proof, you are not in luck. If you believe in word of mouth, you may wanna give this a try. Experts weigh in:
“The use of rice water is an anecdotal but long-living beauty ritual in ancient Asian culture,” says trichologist Bridgette Hill with Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa. “Rice water enthusiasts believe rice water detangles their hair, makes hair smoother and shinier, and grows the hair longer.” cosmopolitan.com
At first glance, a 2010 paper suggests they may be. The authors note that rice water may reduce surface friction and increase hair elasticity. However, the study relies on historical examples to draw unsupported conclusions.
Elsewhere, a research facility in Japan has developed an imaging technique that visualizes the strengthening effect of inositol on hair. Inositol is contained in rice water.
It is important to note that this research is published directly by a facility that may have commercial interests.
The people who swear by it claims it makes hair smoother, increases shine, detangles, makes it stronger and helps for the hair to grow longer. Several youtubers swear by it and blogs are eating it up. Honestly, it’s the new go to for hair growth and may be something to try.
How to make it and use it
Super easy to make, here are some options if you want to go the DIY route and soaking is the quickest way to do it. Take ½ cup of uncooked rice and rinse thoroughly. Place rice in a bowl with 2–3 cups of water and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Now strain the rice water into a clean bowl.
Another method is to boil the grain. Cover ½ cup of rice with double the water typically used for cooking. Cook the grain in boiling water and strain the rice water into a clean bowl before using.
Some use this instead of a traditional conditioner or instead of using a hair tea rinse on washday. Simply wash hair as normal with shampoo or cowash and rinse hair well. Pour rice water onto your hair and massage it well into your hair and scalp. Leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water. I haven’t tried this personally, but wanted to also share a recipe from a popular Youtuber who took it a step further and using a more detailed method of rice water.
If you are not big on doing a DIY hair recipe, there are a lot of products that create it for you in shampoos, conditioners, and other products. Here are a few of them:
Check out my new book Natural Hair For Beginners