How to Make Your Own Rice Water for Hair Growth

Rice Water for Hair

Getty/Design by Cristina Cianci

Haircare DIYs are beloved by many. However, those of us who don't enjoy spending time whipping up anything in the kitchen unless it comes out of a reusable takeout container, food-based DIY remedies, no matter how much hair bloggers rave about their benefits, are a no-go. But homemade rice water is a new kitchen beautician remedy that even a superstar like Cardi B is leaning into. Cardi B's at-home hair tutorial was the first time I'd heard about using rice water on the hair. Shortly after, I started using Pattern Beauty's treatment mask, an ultimate game-changer for my thirsty, color-treated 4-type curls.

My positive experience led me to research what it would take to make rice water at home. First off, it only requires two ingredients to make: rice and water (no brainer, right?). Using rice water on the hair dates back to the Heian Period in Japan: Court ladies during this time in history had floor-length-hair called suberakashi. Each of these women is said to have combed their hair each day using rinse water made from the washing of rice, known as Yu‐Su‐Ru, which may have contributed to their stunning lengths. In other words, if you're looking to grow or strengthen your hair—or both— rice water might be just the treatment for you.

Keep reading to learn how to make your own rice water.

Benefits of Using Rice Water on Your Hair

Rice is one of the most popular grains eaten around the world. Packed with folate, a B-vitamin best known for treating some forms of anemia and essential for helping the neural tube form during pregnancy. How does that translate into promoting healthier hair? Karen Flowers, licensed cosmetologist, certified trichologist, and founder of Curl House, previously told us that rice water is "loaded in vitamins, amino acids, and other trace minerals (zinc, magnesium, vitamins B and C, etc.) all of which can help treat the scalp and strengthen hair. Thanks to the starch in rice water, the two-ingredient treatment coats the hair with protein, which can help reverse dryness and damage.

How to Use Rice Water on Your Hair

Because rice water acts like a protein treatment, you'll want to apply this at the same frequency you typically use masks and treatments formulated with protein to avoid brittle, dry hair. If you're new to using protein or unsure if your hair can benefit from a protein treatment, most often, color-treated, relaxed, heat styled, and natural hair needs a protein boost.

Leaving this treatment on for up to 20 minutes is ideal. However, if you find your hair is crunchy post-rinse, adjust the length of time you leave it on. After using any protein treatment, including rice water, follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner. Hydration and strength are important for any hair type, and finding the right balance can take some time, so don't give up if your hair doesn't love protein right out of the gate.

You can use rice water up to a week after you've made it—just be sure to keep it refrigerated.

How to Make Rice Water

There are two ways you can make rice water: boiling and soaking. However, soaking the rice and allowing it to ferment for up to 24 hours offers the most benefits.

What You'll Need:

  • 1/2 Cup of Rice
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • Stainer
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 container with a lid
  • A spray bottle

Instructions for Soaking:

  • Pour ½ cup of uncooked rice in a strainer
  • Rinse well
  • Place rice in a bowl with 2 cups of water
  • Soak for up to 24 hours at room temperature
  • Strain the rice water into a clean bowl
  • Funnel rice into a spray bottle and refrigerate until you're ready to use

Instructions for Boiling

  • Pour ½ cup of uncooked rice in a strainer
  • Rinse well
  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Pour rice into boiling water and boil into the water is cloudy
  • Let the water cool
  • Strain
  • Funnel into a spray bottle
  • Refrigerate until use

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