Should You Be Using Rice Water On Your Hair?

Rice water has been sweeping the internet recently as a home remedy for hair growth and skin health. While it may seem like a new trend, the use of rice water for personal care has been used for centuries, according to Allure. This leftover starchy liquid from rice, typically from boiling or soaking rice overnight, is so trendy that many hair products contain rice-derived ingredients. But does it actually work?

During the Heian period, which started in A.D. 794 in Japan (per Brittanica), women reported having beautiful, floor-length hair because each day, they combed it with Yu-Su-Ru, known as rice water (via Journal of Cosmetic Chemists). A 2013 study, published in the journal Advanced Biotech, found that boiled rice water was an effective natural remedy for preventing and treating the dandruff fungus, malassezia.

The biggest reason rice water supports hair health and growth is that the rice itself is full of nutrients. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel, "it contains antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and a substance called inositol, which all contribute to making the hair shinier and stronger" (via Allure). Other vitamins it contains are magnesium, folic acid (which supports scalp and follicle health), and niacin (which supports elasticity and is anti-inflammatory), points out Insider

How to make and use your own rice water

Making at-home rice water is a very simple process that requires two ingredients: water and rice. Beyond ingredients, the biggest factor in DIY-ing your own rice water is time.

To begin, choose a type of rice (you can use white or brown rice), and thoroughly rinse it to remove any impurities. This step is especially important if the rice isn't organic since it contains pesticides — so you'll need to rinse the rice several more times, suggests Insider. Next, you'll want to ferment it. While unfermented rice water can be used on the hair, cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green, tells Insider that the fermentation process is crucial to unlocking all the antioxidants and minerals from the rice. In fact, a 2012 study published in the journal Antioxidants, found greater levels of antioxidant activity in fermented items. So, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water and let it sit for 24-hours. Then strain the liquid. For an added boost of fragrance, you can mix in essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil

According to Medical News Today, you can even replace conditioner with rice water. After shampooing your scalp, gently massage the rice water onto your hair and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.