There are plenty of great hair products on store shelves, but you can also make potent treatments using items you have in your kitchen. For example, rice water has a long history of being used to nourish hair. Does rice water help hair grow? What else can it do?
Rice water is packed with nutrients and minerals, including vitamins that play an essential role in hair growth. Using rice water on your hair could encourage growth and benefit your hair in other ways as well. It can strengthen hair follicles and improve the look and feel of your hair.
Why Is Rice Water Used For Hair?
Rice water, which is starchy water that’s created when rice is soaked, has been used as a beauty treatment for centuries.
There are many nutrients found in rice. When rice is soaked, those nutrients are transferred to the rice water, making it easy to directly apply the nutrients to hair.
In some cultures, women bathe their hair in rice water in order to keep it healthy. (1)
While you don’t have to take a rice water bath to see results, using rice water could benefit your hair in a number of ways:
Rice Water Could Make Hair Smoother and Shinier
Rice water contains a very high concentration of starch. Applying this water to hair can instantly brighten hair and add shine.
Thanks to all the nutrients in rice water, it can also be hydrating, allowing it to treat frizz and static.
Rice Water Can Make Hair Stronger
Rice water contains a natural sugar called inistol. Research suggests that this substance can strengthen hair follicles and protect the hair from potential hazards.
In one study, participants that used inistol saw improvements in hair thickness and volume. (2)
Rice Water Could Prevent Dandruff
When rice is fermented, it develops antifungal properties.
Applying rice water to your hair could help to clear up existing dandruff, and it could also help to prevent dandruff in the future.
Rice water can also help soothe a dry, irritated scalp.
Rice Water Can Help Detangle Hair
When your hair is healthier, it tends to be more manageable. Using a rice water rinse on your hair can help to prevent breakage and can make it easier to work through tangled hair.
You can even try applying rice water to your hair before you comb out tangles and knots.
Rice Water Could Encourage Hair to Grow
There are all kinds of nutrients in rice water, including vitamins B and E, antioxidants, and amino acids.
Giving your hair the nutrients it needs could help to prevent hair loss and encourage your hair to grow.
Keeping your hair healthy could also help you to avoid split ends.
Can Rice Water Help Grow Hair?
Rice water could potentially speed up your hair’s growth cycle, especially if your hair is deficient in nutrients.
For example, rice water is a source of amino acids, which can help repair damage to your hair’s outer cuticle. (3)
It’s also a source of other nutrients that your hair needs to thrive, like B vitamins.
If your hair is thinning, shedding heavily, or seems to be growing slowly, a lack of nutrients could be the cause.
Using rice water can be a way to infuse your hair with all the nutrients it needs.
People that already have healthy, well-nourished hair may not see significant changes in hair length after using rice water.
However, it can be very beneficial for hair with nutritional deficiencies.
In addition, applying rice water to hair can help you avoid split ends, which makes it easier to grow hair out.
How Long Does It Take For Rice Water To Grow Your Hair?
Using rice water on your hair can immediately add shine, but it will take much longer to see a noticeable change in the length of your hair.
How long does rice water take to grow hair? That depends on your hair’s growth cycle.
Healthy hair usually grows about 0.5 inches per month. This means that you can expect to see a noticeable difference in your hair’s length over one month’s time.
In addition, using rice water can coat hair strands and strengthen the hair shaft, which can add volume and thickness to hair.
This can help to create the illusion of longer hair. Still, you’ll need to apply rice water to your hair regularly in order to see results.
How To Use Rice Water For Hair Growth
Although rice water is an ingredient in many hair products, the most effective way to reap the benefits of rice water may be to make it yourself.
Making rice water takes time, but it’s a simple process, no matter what method you use.
Best of all, you won’t need much more than rice and a few cups of water!
- Rinse 1/2 cup of rice in a colander
- Transfer the rinsed rice to a bowl
- Add 2 cups of water
- Allow the rice to soak for 12 to 24 hours
- Use a strainer to remove the rice and transfer the rice water to a clean bowl
- Cover the bowl or transfer the water to a spray bottle
- Refrigerate until you’re ready to apply the rice water to your hair
- You can use the water as a rinse, hair mask, or add the substance to your shampoo and conditioner. It will keep for up to three days
- Rinse and strain 1/2 cup of rice
- Add 2 cups of water to a pot and cook over high heat
- When the water starts to boil, add the strained rice to the pot
- Continue to boil until the water is visibly cloudy
- Remove the rice from heat and allow the water to cool
- Use a strainer to transfer the rice water to a clean container
- Refrigerate the rice water until you’re ready to use it
- The water can be used as a rinse or hair mask. It will keep in the fridge for up to one week
- Place 1/2 cup of rice in a colander and rinse thoroughly
- Transfer the rice to a large jar and add cups of water
- Seal the jar and store it at room temperature for 48 to 72 hours
- Strain out the rise, then apply the fermented water to hair
- Leave the water on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing
Rice Water Shampoo
- Rinse 1/2 cup of rice in a colander
- Transfer the washed rice to a bowl and add 2 cups of water
- Allow the rice to soak for about six hours
- Strain out the rice, transferring the water to a clean bowl
- Add four soap nuts to the water
- Allow the water to sit for at least three hours. When the water begins to soap up, it’s ready to be used as a shampoo
Are There Side Effects Of Using Rice Water?
Rice water treatments can benefit the hair in many ways, but these treatments may also have side effects.
To reduce the risk of these side effects, it’s best to limit yourself to using rice water treatments once or twice per week.
It Could Give Your Hair an Odour
Fermented rice water has a strong, sour odor. Even after it’s rinsed out of your hair, you may still be able to smell the rice water.
To prevent this, you can avoid fermented rice water or only apply rice water before you shampoo and condition your hair.
Using Rice Water Could Give Hair Too Much Protein
While the proteins in rice water can benefit your hair, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing.
When your hair has more protein than it needs, it can essentially add another layer to your hair, which can make it feel harder than usual.
To prevent this, you should use white rice to make rice water rather than brown rice, which contains protein.
It Could Irritate Your Scalp
Rice water is natural, but it still has the potential to irritate your scalp.
It’s vital to rinse rice before you use it to make rice water so that you can wash away any pesticides that may be on the rice.
Test the rice water on a small patch on your scalp before you apply it to your entire head.
Frequently Asked Questions
For best results, rice water should be used on hair once or twice per week. It’s best to use rice water less frequently on dry hair and more frequently on oily hair.
You can expect to see noticeable results after about one month. Hair normally grows around 0.5 inches per month, but using rice water may cause it to grow more quickly. While it can take a month to see growth, you may notice other benefits more quickly.
You can use any type of uncooked rice for hair growth. Because brown rice is very rich, white rice may yield better results for most hair types. It’s best to use organic rice because it’s more nutrient-dense.
Rice water needs to ferment for at least 12 hours. Once it’s fermented, it should be stored in the refrigerator. As long as it’s stored at the appropriate temperature, the water will keep for about three days.
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.
Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.