The Rise of Rice: The Many Ways Rice Water Can Nourish Your Hair
One of the first lessons in cooking rice in many cultures is to rinse the grains of the excess starch and discard the cloudy water.
But as it turns out, this water is packed full of nutrients! A range of hair care experts confirmed that the potent nourishing agents found in rice water can make your hair smoother, thicker, and less tangled.
History of Rice:
According to historians, Japanese women in the Heian period maintained their floor-length hair by bathing it in rice water. A modern-day equivalent of this story is found in the Huangluo village of China. Women in the area are famed for having an impressive average hair length of 6-feet! In addition to this incredible length, their hair remains jet black even in their eighties, thanks to this natural hair hack.
Today we have a range of highly concentrated hair treatments and chemically enhanced products that promise to deliver beautiful, shiny, lustrous locks. But in reality, they are often ladened with toxic ingredients such as sulfates, silicones, and parabens, amongst many other endocrine-disruptors.
So, let’s go back to the drawing board - or kitchen cupboard in this instance - and uncover organic and natural hair routines. By the end of this article, you will have learned how to use this inexpensive and safe-to-try remedy at home!
Follow these steps to prepare plain rice water:
1. Select your preferred type of rice
2. Place rice grains in a bowl with two cups of water
3. Let the water soak for at least 30 minutes. In that time, you can stir it a little to help the vitamins and minerals release
4. The water will become cloudy at this point, and you can strain the rice from the water. For a simple application, pour the rice water into an empty spray or shampoo bottle.
5. If you have relatively thick hair, you may end up using the batch of rice water all in one go. Those with thinner hair may be able to get away with only using half – if that’s the case, you can save the rest in the fridge for next time.
How to prepare fermented rice water:
Many prefer to use fermented rice water instead of plain rice water to intensify the level of nutrients. During the fermentation process, a substance called ‘pitera’ is formed in the water and is known to cultivate cell regeneration and repair damaged hair strands.
To induce the fermentation process, drain your rice water into an airtight jar, which will then be stored in a warm and dark storage area for 24–48 hours.
Note that this may encourage a sour, pungent smell to develop. These are symptoms of acidity, and therefore you will need to dilute the pH levels with warm water before use.
Pro tip: You can use citrus peel and a few drops of essential oils (rosemary, chamomile, lavender) to add fragrance and reduce the strong smell.
How to use the rice water:
You might be wondering the following:
“Do I use the rice water before shampooing, or do I wait till after?”
“Do I let it sit in the hair or wash it out in a couple of minutes?”
The process is quite simple. The purpose of preparing the rice water is so that it can replace your typical commercial conditioner. Therefore, start by shampooing as you usually would, and after the first rinse, pour the rice water over your hair. Depending on how much time you have available; you can leave it on for a quick five minutes or let it soak for longer. (around 20 minutes).
For a more effective application, you can gently massage your scalp with your fingertips. Make sure no residue is left in your hair then thoroughly rinse the rice water off with regular water.
How does rice water help?
Admittedly, there is no proven scientific evidence on rice water and its hair-growing abilities. However, other characteristics of rice can potentially keep hair healthy.
For example, as mentioned earlier, rice is extremely rich in starch. This thick substance coats the hair's surface, strengthens the strands and provides moisture and hydration to the scalp. Another core component found in rice water is inositol – a powerful carbohydrate that protects hair from damage while also repairing it.
Lastly, the abundance of vitamins found in rice may help to nourish hair follicles and reduce hair fall.
Maintain a holistic mindset
As with any hair treatment, it is essential to evaluate your options as per your hair type. Rice water is a protein-packed treatment that produces incredible results when used moderately.
Those with a dry and sensitive scalp should use this treatment no more than once a week.
Given that rice water has a significant amount of protein, those with hard and coarse hair should limit their use to avoid hair becoming more dry, stiff, and brittle.
Keep taking great care of your hair – after all, it is your crowning glory!
If you found this article helpful, share your results with us! Take a before and after picture using rice water and tag @OrgHive_ or the hashtag #OrgHiveTips.
Author: Drishti Bhagat
Image source: Unsplash.com, Zainabuturbans.com