Rice Water for Hair and Skin – the Research
In one research proposal detailing a project aimed at creating more effective hair care products at Japan’s SPring-8 facility, one specific substance found in rice water, called inositol, proved useful in improving elasticity of hair and reducing friction in damaged hair.4 This led to marked improvements in the overall health of the hair.
Another research study, published in November 2010 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, noted that the longstanding traditional hair care method of the Heian period—rinsing hair with rice water—could prove beneficial to people in the modern era, as well. These researchers found that extracts created from rice water were effective in maintaining hair health and would make an ideal addition to commercial hair care products.2
How to Make Rice Water for Skin and Hair
If you want to see if using rice water as part of your own hair and skincare routine can be beneficial for you, here are a few quick and easy recipes for preparing a batch of rice water:
Which rice to use
Brown, white long grain, white short grain, jasmine, or whatever you have.
Method 1: Boiled rice water
To make a concentrate of rice water to use all week long in its diluted form as a facial wash or hair rinse, prepare rice as you normally would, but use two to three times the amount of water you usually would.
After the rice has cooked, strain it out. The leftover water will be a vivid white color, and will contain a high concentration of nutrients. However, don’t use it at full strength. Instead, dilute a few tablespoons of this concentrated rice water into a cup of clean water, making a barely milky-looking mixture.
Use this diluted solution to wash your face or to treat your hair, and store the leftover concentrate in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to one week.
Method 2: No-boil quick method
If you want to extract rice water quickly and don’t want to go through the hassle of diluting and storing, simply take two cups of water and put a half cup of rice into it for 15 minutes. Strain the rice from the water and use this rice water to wash your face, hair, or both.
Method 3: Fermented rice water
Fermented rice water is thought to be especially good for hair because of the pH change that occurs to the water during the fermentation process (the process brings the rice water’s pH more closely in line with hair’s natural pH, and causes the release of a chemical called pitera that may promote the regeneration of cells). The method for making it calls for a few extra steps, but the results are well worth the trouble.
To make fermented rice water, prepare rice water according to the no-boil quick method listed above and allow it to sit in a jar at room temperature for one or two days (in warmer climates, the fermentation process will take less time). When a slightly sour smell arises from the rice water, stop the fermentation process by keeping the solution in the fridge and use this rice water for skin toning or as a hair rinse.