Rice water hacks for hair care were spreading all over TikTok — and for a good reason. Here's why rice water is good for your hair and how to make it at home.


Lately, rice water hacks for hair care have been spreading all over TikTok. The trend isn't anything revolutionary, though — women in Japan, Southeast Asia, and China have used rice water for their hair for centuries.

Rice water refers to leftover water after the rice is cooked or soaked. It's claimed to make hair smoother, more lustrous, and speed up hair growth.

More research is needed to determine whether rice water is truly beneficial for one's hair, but no one can deny that it has been used throughout the course of history. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Japanese practice dates back to the Heian Period. Court ladies would comb their floor-length hair every day with Yu-Su-Ru, or rice-washing water.

A journal published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science discovered that Yu-Su-Ru reduced surface level friction and improved hair elasticity. As long as "extracts" of the water were used did not cause hair flaking.

Rice water naturally contains many vitamins and minerals found in rice and amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Thus, washing our hair in rice water is akin to a do-it-yourself protein therapy. In addition, rice water is a well-known component in K-beauty, used in some of the most famous skincare tips on the internet.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash


Making rice water at home

A Boston-based Youtuber, Audrey Victoria, reviewed the rice water hack in her 10 minutes video and demonstrated the process of making one. 

She started by washing a cup of rice and rinsing it twice to get rid of the rice's dirt. Afterward, she placed the clean rice in a mason jar, filled 3/4 of the jar with water, and stirred the rice. She then closed the lid and shook the pot to ensure it extracted all the rice's nutrients and vitamins.

According to Victoria, there are two types of rice water that can be used to treat one's hair: plain rice water and fermented rice water. 

Fermented rice water allows the water to absorb more nutrients and vitamins from the rice. It takes 12 hours to a day for the fermentation process to proceed. 

However, the fermented rice water has an unpleasant scent. Therefore, Victoria suggested adding essential oil or orange peel to reduce the smell. 

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash


Using rice water for hair treatment

According to Victoria, here's how you can treat your hair using the rice water you've just made:

- Pour the rice water into a different container like a spray bottle or Tupperware
- Co-wash your hair 
- Use some conditioner and rinse
- Spray the rice water thoroughly all over your scalp to your hair ends
- Wait for 15 minutes
- Lightly rinse the rice water 
- Dry your hair and continue to your following hair care routines (if you have one)

It is advised to repeat this treatment up to two times a week. However, you should check whether your hair responds positively to the rice water before continuing usage.

Victoria also emphasized "not underestimate the power of too much rice water on your hair", since it might generate problems instead of resolving your hair issues.

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