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Can Rice Water Make Your Hair Stronger and Shinier?

It’s often the little things that we tend to overlook — especially when it comes to beauty. We’re drawn to the glitz, the glam, and the clever marketing materials. But what if I told you there’s an amazing beauty product sitting in your cupboard right now?

Using rice water to strengthen and beautify hair isn’t new. It dates back to the ancient Heian period in Japan, when court ladies were known to have beautiful, long hair that draped to the floor. Their secret was rice water.

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Fascinated by this hair treatment, scientists and beauty lovers alike have tried to find out if rice water can really beautify and strengthen hair. 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.

One of the best parts about this beauty product is that it’s so easy to make. All you need is rice and water. The “hardest” part of this beauty trend is actually remembering to take the rice water into your shower, and evenly applying it to your hair. But don’t worry, I figured out a great method you can try.

How to use rice water on your hair

What you need:

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  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water

How to make it:

  1. Rinse and strain your rice to remove any dirt or impurities that you don’t want to apply to your hair.
  2. Mix the strained rice in a medium-sized bowl with the water. You should mix until the water becomes pretty cloudy.
  3. Strain the rice, this time reserving the water. Store the rice for later, or cook it up!
  4. Put the rice water in a plastic container and cover it. Let the rice water sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. This allows it to ferment and all of the yummy vitamins and minerals to come out. Tip: Don’t let it sit for over 24 hours. I let my first batch of rice water sit for two days (I had forgotten to take it into the shower with me), and it went bad.
  5. Refrigerate the rice water until you’re ready to use it.
  6. Fill a small container, like a travel-sized shampoo bottle or a small jar, with rice water for application. Keep the rest in your fridge.
rice water prep

It’s not easy to blindly dump rice water out of a big container and onto your hair (I know, I tried it). Just don’t forget to take the small container out of the shower and back to the fridge when you’re done!

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The rice water should keep in the fridge for up to a week, so you have plenty of time to reap the awesome hair benefits.

How to use it:

You won’t need to change your washing schedule around your rice water rinse — simply use it after shampooing and conditioning, whether that’s once a day or once a week.

When applying the rice water, try to really focus in on your scalp and work your way out. Let it sit for two to five minutes, and then rinse. You’ll probably notice immediately how strong and thick your hair feels.

The results

Here’s my experience using a rice water rinse.

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After one minute: My hair already felt different. It seemed to have some sort of outer coating, or a thin shell, around each strand, protecting my hair as I brushed through it. Usually my hair is breaking as I work my detangling brush through my hair. But this time, my hair held its own.

After one day: The morning after my first rice water rinse, my best friend told me that my hair looked brighter and blonder.

After one week (approximately four washes): My hair felt thicker, fuller, and more manageable. I experimented with blow-drying my hair, which I NEVER do because of the instant broken flyaways that usually frame my head immediately afterwards.

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This time? Little to no noticeable breakage. My hair was still extremely soft, but not in a feathery, light way — in a fuller and more noticeable way, like I had developed a partial mane. I wore my hair half up in a bun with a regular ponytail holder (I usually always need to use scrunchies to prevent breakage, no exceptions), and effortlessly pulled it out, letting my hair fall as if it had never been pulled up.

before and after

Final thoughts

Wow… thank you, rice gods. This is the easiest, and one of the most noticeably efficient, DIY beauty products out there. If you’re curious about this method, give it a try. Just don’t forget to take the rice water into the shower with you.

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Brittany Ladin

Brittany Ladin is a freelance writer, media maker, and sound lover located in San Francisco. Her work focuses on personal experiences, specifically regarding local arts and culture happenings. More of her work can be found at brittanyladin.com.

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