Rice water has been used as a natural hair health treatment for centuries in China, Japan and throughout Southeast Asia. Fans claim that it helps keep hair smooth and shiny and preserves color for longer, as well as boosting growth. So, being the curious girl that I am, I decided to test it out!
I used the easiest method to make rice water, soaking a half-cup of rice in clean water for 30 minutes, then filtering it into a bowl. You can also make rice water by cooking your rice in double the amount of water you’d usually use to cook it. This is great if you're a fan of slightly soggy rice, but keep in mind, if you opt for this method, you’ll need to allow extra time for your rice water to cool down.
With the soaking method, it was all pretty hands-off during the soaking process, but straining can be a pain if you don’t have a fine-mesh strainer (I don’t!). Some people with more patience than me advise leaving your rice water to ferment for three to four days before you use it, but I wasn’t crazy about the idea of starting my own at-home science lab.
Once my rice was adequately soaked and filtered, it was time to test it out. I washed my hair and poured the rice water over it, leaving it to soak for 20 minutes before I rinsed it out (more waiting!). The results? Unlike other DIY masks I’ve used, it didn’t leave my hair feeling gunky and gross, but I didn’t really notice any differences either.
What the Research Says
Despite its long history of use, there’s very little evidence of the actual efficacy of rice water. It’s definitely not bad for you, but no one can say for sure if the application of rice water really makes a difference for your hair.
For example, few studies suggest that it might reduce friction on strands, but there’s no evidence supporting the claim that it boosts hair growth rates. So if you, like me, prefer beauty solutions that are scientifically backed, rice water might not be for you.