Are you eating rice today? Then read this article. Rice water — basically, the water you get from washing rice — is packed with nutrients that’s good for your hair and your skin.
Rice water is the key ingredient in a lot of premium Japanese skincare products (think Tatcha and SK-II) and even the newly launched haircare product NatureLab Tokyo Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub.
But most of us already have it right in our kitchens — and are even throwing it away.
Beauty benefits of rice water
Rice water is packed with amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals and antioxidants.
In fact, lots of beauty bloggers — including MIchelle Phan — would use it to wash their face. She says it ‘s a trick she learned from her grandmother, and actually, this has been a practice for hundreds of years. Before “organic beauty” became a catchword, women were using whatever they could find in their gardens and kitchens to care for their hair and skin. Since they knew rice water had a lot of nutrients (in some cultures, it’s fed to babies and used in medicinal broths) they saved it for their beauty routines.
Beauty insiders continued the practice, even if they had plenty of modern hair and skincare products. Celebrity celebrity hairstylis Peter Lamas has used it since the 70s to keep his scalp and hair in mint condition. He uses shampoo and conditioner, then washes it off with rice water.
It was so effective he started using it on runway models that he worked with. “My setting lotion has always been rice water,” says Lamas, sharing that he would use whatever he saved from his wife’s cooking the night before.
How to prepare rice water for haircare
It’s really easy to prepare and save rice water for your DIY beauty routines,
Since a lot of rice is now grown with fertilizers and pesticides, you want to remove impurities. Just wash rice twice, then leave the rice to sit in the third washing for about 30 minutes. Strain to get rid of any stones or other residue. The water will look cloudy because of the starch, but won’t have any dirt or chemicals.
You can scoop out what you need, whether it’s to rinse your hair or face, and use it right away.
You can also leave a small amount to ferment for about three days. This will yield a thicker mixture that is good for using as a hair conditioner. Just leave it in for a couple of minutes and rinse out.
What can rice water do for your hair?
Honestly, there’s not a lot of clinical research that can prove what rice water can do for hair, but there’s anecdotal evidence that it can make your hair stronger and more shiny.
“Rice water contains starch, which is a complex sugar molecule, as well as vitamin B, amino acids, and other ingredients used in hair growth products,” says Dr. Meaz Robinson, founder of Modern Dermatology.
Rice water also has a specific compound called Inositol, which is thought make hair stronger because it repairs the hair shaft.
That’s why Robinson says this rice water may be a good ingredient to include in your haircare routine. “It’s not clinically proven, but it makes scientific sense. It won’t damage your hair and doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of cost or preparation.”
Try saving your rice water to wash your face and hair, and see the results!