There are three types of rice water that one can use: soaking, fermenting, and boiling.
There are a lot of factors that can cause damage to our hair, including heat, chemicals, water, and pollution. Treating your hair to make it bouncy and shiny doesn't come cheap, but on TikTok and other such platforms, a hack to healthy hair has been making the rounds and the ingredient is something that can be found in most pantries. According to Healthline, this magic ingredient is nothing but rice water.
TODAY states that the liquid left behind from soaking the rice is said to boost hair growth. In fact, even celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B swear by it. But, here's the thing, though this may be taking America by storm, it's not an uncommon practice in Asia.
It actually goes all the way back to the Heian Period (794 to 1185), when Japanese court ladies famously had floor-length hair. Apparently, they combed their tresses every day using Yu-Su-Ru, or the water collected from washing rice. Vogue reports that there is a village about a thousand miles from Beijing in China, where women barely cut their hair once in their lifetime. In Huang Luo in China’s Guangxi Region when women turn 18, their hair is shorn in a public ceremony. After that, they let it grow as long as possible.
Now, here's the thing, these long locks require special care, and that's where rice water comes into the picture. Combined with a few other organic ingredients, the mixture is boiled in a pot and then poured into an enamel bowl. Women would immerse their mane into the water and use a wooden comb to methodically work the solution into the hair from tip to root. People credit this solution to the shine in their hair. Also, this is what reportedly prevented their hair from premature graying.
Rice contains 75–80 percent starch, which means that the water is starchy, too, according to Medical News Today. It gives the hair a fuller appearance. Studies have found that inositol, an ingredient found in rice water, is able to penetrate damaged hair and repair it from the inside out. It even protects hair from future damage.
Apart from that, there are more benefits to this inexpensive ingredient, says Dr. Robert Finney, a board-certified dermatologist at Entière Dermatology in New York City. "It has antioxidants, which can theoretically help calm down inflammation on the scalp," said Finney. "It usually contains the compound inositol, which has anecdotally been shown to increase the growth phase and also decrease friction amongst the hair shafts." It also has amino acids, which can help your strands look firmer and healthier.
There are three ways of using rice water:
Let the rice soak in water for at least 24 hours, so that the water can absorb every last nutrient from the grain. Then, use it on your hair. You can either rinse your hair with the solution or soak your hair in it for a while, using a bowl.
Now, the water that you have collected after soaking your rice in water for the first 24 hours can be left out at room temperature for another 48 hours, just till it ferments. This mixture is said to have a higher amount of antioxidants.
Finally, you can just add rice to water and then boil it for a while, until you start to notice the water become translucent and thicker. This water contains more starch than the other two options, and gives that shine to your hair, as it coats each strand.
You can now use any of these three types of rice water in your hair in place of a conditioner after your shampoo your hair, or as a mask before your shower.
However, frequent usage of this water will cause a protein overload, especially in people with very dry or low-porosity hair, which can lead to further dullness and dryness. So, if your hair falls into those categories, it might not be the best choice for you. But, it is okay to give it a try once in a while and to see the difference it makes to your luscious mane.
Who would have thought one of the most overlooked things in the world has such great abilities? Do try it out and let us know if it's made a difference to your hair.
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Yuri_Arcurs, (inset) kazmulka