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Rice Water For Hair: How To Make And Use It

Last updated Sep 27, 2023

As we all know, rice is one of the most popular grains eaten around the world. Actually, it also is one of the most overlooked natural beauty products. For instance, natural hair vloggers rave about the benefits of using rice water on their hair, and even Cardi B swears by it. Today, we will share something about rice water, including what rice water is, how to make rice water, how to use rice water, and so on.

First of all, let us be aware of so what exactly is rice water?

What Is Rice Water?


Rice water is the starchy water left over after rice is cooked or soaked. It’s filled with nutrients such as vitamins B and E, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and inositol, which can offer topical benefits to the hair and scalp.

Though the use of rice water for hair health may be a relatively new concept to some, it’s quite a common practice in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. In fact, women in Asia have used rice water on their hair for centuries.

The Yao women are the most well-known for utilizing rice water for both hair and even skincare benefits. Hailing from the ancient Chinese village of Huangluo, Yao women are known for their long, thick, shiny hair that earned them the title of “World’s Longest Hair Village” in the Guinness Book of World Records.


As a non-trivial beauty influencer, Rapper Cardi B shared the recipe for the DIY hair mask that is the secret to growing her hair and keeping it hydrated. In the video, she sprayed homemade 24-hour rice water that is already soaked in the sun on her hair before shampooing and conditioning.

Kim Kardashian also ever shared with sister Kourtney’s website her secret to long, healthy hair on her blog, Poosh, and it’s nothing more than a simple DIY trick: rice water. But rice water is actually good for hair growth?

Is Rice Water Good For Your Hair?

Advocates of using rice water for hair believe it:

1. Rice water for your hair can make the hair smooth and shiny, as well as help it grow faster when used properly.

2. Diy rice water for hair can make hair shinier and stronger along with helping to keep tangles at a minimum.


3. Rice water rinse for hair is beneficial for those people with dry, brittle, curly hair since the protein in rice water improves the condition of hair and helps make it bouncy.

However, to date, the benefits of rice water for hair remain unproven. More research is needed to support anecdotal evidence about the benefits of rice water for hair.

How To Make Rice Water For Hair

There are two ways about making DIY rice water for hair recipe, boiling, and soaking. And the latter method is thought to wield the most benefits. We will introduce the two methods to make rice water for hair growth in detail in the following.

1. Boiling

What you will need:

1/2 cup of rice

2 cups of water

A strainer

A pot

A bowl

A spray bottle

First of all, rinse ½ cup of uncooked rice well and pour 2 cups of water into the pot, then boil.

Next, pour ½ cup of uncooked rice in boiling water and boil into the water is cloudy.


After the water cools, use the strainer to strain the rice water into a clean bowl.

In the end, transfer the rice water into a spray bottle, and rice water is finished.

You can store rice water in the refrigerator for a week. Also, you can freeze it if needed. Don’t forget to shake it well before use.

2. Soaking

Soaking is the quickest way to do rice water for hair.

What you will need: 

1/2 cup of rice

2 cups of water

A strainer

Two bowls

A spray bottle

Firstly, Take half a cup of raw rice and rinse them thoroughly to remove impurities and then place rice in a bowl with 2 cups of water.


After soaking for up to 30 minutes at room temperature, use the strainer to strain the rice water into a clean bowl.

Finally, funnel rice into a spray bottle and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.

Some rice water advocates deem that fermented rice water is more beneficial for hair than regular rice water because of the higher antioxidant content in the fermented substance. According to a 2012 study, antioxidants are able to fight damage to hair and skin cells.

If you want to make fermented rice water for your hair, follow the basic steps of the soaking method. But before straining and after soaking for about 30 minutes, you need to seal the rice water and leave it in a dark place at room temperature for up to 2 days, allowing it to ferment. When a sour smell appears, stop fermentation and put it in a fridge(it can be kept for a week in the fridge).

Pro tip: Fermented rice water for hair might smell foul, so we suggest adding some orange peels to the mix

How To Use Rice Water For Hair

Rice water can be used as a rinse and can be used before shampooing, but before applying conditioner.

Before you apply rice water to your hair, make sure you gently cleanse your hair with shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

Then pour the rice water onto the hair and massage it into the hair and scalp.


Next, you can cover it with a plastic cap or bag. Of course, a shower cap can work, too.

Lastly, leave on for up to 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water and style as desired.

Notice: 1. If your hair is crunchy post-rinse, please try to remove it sooner the next time. 

2. If possible, you had better follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner after using rice water.

3. Keep in mind that finding the right balance of hydration and strength may take some time, so don’t give up if your hair doesn’t love protein right out of the gate.

Besides, rice water can also be used as a leave-in treatment or a hydrating mist: just let rice water sit for up to three days and then use the strained water as a type of conditioner.


While its benefits for hair remain unproven, it is safe to use rice water to rinse hair at home. More importantly, it may also be used on the skin. After all, it has been found to promote skin health in people with dermatitis.


1. Can I Leave Rice Water In My Hair Overnight?

According to the hairstylists, leaving rice water on the hair too long can cause damage. For example, the protein content in rice water can over-process and dry out the hair if left in for a long duration of time or overnight. In addition, there are chances of bacterial growth after leaving rice water on hair for too long, which thus leads to itching and flaking of the scalp.

Therefore, there is no need for using rice water before going to bed and leaving it overnight in most cases.

2. How Long Does Rice Water Last?

Rice water can be stored for up to 24 hours at room temperature, and up to one week in the refrigerator. If the rice water is kept any longer, the batch will ferment and degrade and can cause damage to the hair.

3. How Often Should I Use Rice Water On My Hair?

If you’re trying out rice water for the first time, don’t use rice water more than once a week, and don’t try to leave rice water in your hair overnight. After a while, you can adjust to using rice water once a month, especially when you are treating your hair with other types of treatments.

4. What Kind Of Rice Do You Use For Rice Water?

Regarding the type of rice to making rice water for black hair, in general, you may take any rice you have on your hand. If you want the maximum amount of nutrients and high levels of protein, long-grain white rice is a better choice than other varieties. Wild, brown, or black rice is also a great option.

But the problem is that they have too much protein, which may result in protein overload. To avoid protein overload, you may start with the simpler rice types and then experiment with other species.

It’s also important to avoid using colored rice to make rice water, as the colored grains can potentially stain the hair.

5. Do You Need To Condition Your Hair After Using Rice Water?

No, if you’re just rinsing the hair with rice water, there is no need for a conditioner. But if you’re using rice water as a hair mask and leaving it on your hair for more than 10 minutes to bring moisture back into your hair. As rice water is highly concentrated in starch, too much rice water can dry your hair out, if you’re not assuring the proper nutrients that follow.

6. Are There Any Side Effects That Can Occur From Using Rice Water?

Side effects after using rice water are rare but can occur. According to the hairstylists, the most common side effect is drying and flaking, both of which usually come from over-usage. So please don’t leave rice water on your hair too long.

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