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Rice Water Hair Rinses: Myth or Reality?

Rice Water Hair Rinses: Myth or Reality?

Rice soaked in water

We are all exposed to our fair share of beauty hacks secrets. Whether they are tips from your elders or hacks you learn about online, it’s always a good idea to do some research before trying them out yourself. Truth is, some of them are myths while some of them do actually work.

Rice water rinses in your hair care regimen is one of these beauty secrets. It is believed to make your hair stronger. And of course, you know strong hair is healthier, retains more length and volume. We have put together everything we could find about rice water rinses, tried it ourselves, as well as shared some feedback from some of our customers to truly confirm if it is just a myth.

The Origin of Rice Water Rinses

Rice water rinses have become very popular in the last couple of years. Many bloggers and beauty magazines have talked about them too. But where did this practise really come from?

Our research shows that rice water rinses were originally practised by the Yao People of Huangluo China. The Yao women have thick, hair that is so long, it can grow to floor length. That’s right! Hair taller longer than you!

Women of the Yao Tribe and their long hair.
Yao Women

Although Asians naturally have beautiful hair that can get unbelievably long, the Yao women are truly one of a kind to the extent that their own look up to them for hair care recipes. They are registered on the Guinness Book of World records to have the longest hair in the world.

Their secret: rice water rinses! These women have been using fermented rice water rinses on their hair since they were young, and they can live up to 80-90 years old with these thick long strands of hair. Are rice water rinses truly the secret recipe to their long thick hair or is it all in their genes? Let’s break down what we have learnt about these rinses to find out.

Nutrients and Benefits in Rice Water

Nutrients

Rice water rinses contain several of the nutrients usually found in rice: amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants and minerals. The traces of vitamin B in rice is in the forms of niacin and thiamine, two vitamins that strengthen hair. The amino acids are found in the starch. Amino acids (basically protein) thicken hair strands and strengthen its roots.

Benefits

Using rice water rinses in your hair care regimen is said to improve hair elasticity and reduces the friction between hair strands. This means your hair won’t tangle as easily making hair breakage a far-away problem. Your hair will appear smoother and shinier. And who wouldn’t kill for shiny healthy hair?

So far, there is no known formal research done that scientifically proves that rice water rinses give all of these benefits. However, the fact remains that the results are there for all to see in the Yao women. So does this mean it’s a myth? Our take is that if it has been working for the Yao women for centuries, it’s definitely worth trying.

How to Make Rice Water Hair Rinses

There are several ways to make your own batch of rice water to use at home. You can either use it fresh or fermented. Here’s how to prepare it.

The Soaking Method

  1. Take one cup of uncooked rice
  2. Rinse it once to remove any dirt and impurities
  3. Place it in a bowl with 2 to 3 cups of water
  4. Let it sit for 1 to 24 hours.

I would go with a longer soak time of longer than two hours at the very least.

The Boiling Method

  1. Take 1/2 a cup of uncooked rice
  2. Rinse once it to remove any dirt and impurities
  3. Place it in a pan with one to two cups of water
  4. Put it on the stove and cook until it boils. Give it one to two minutes of vigorous boiling
  5. Strain out the water into a clean bowl and cool before use.

How to use rice water rinses

There are two ways to use rice water. You can either use it in the same day you make it or allow it to ferment for a few days. To ferment it, leave it in a warm environment for up to 24 hours and proceed to use.

You can also ferment it for a little, for up to 7 days even (we have tried out the 7 days) in which case we would strongly advise that you keep it in the fridge. This is also a cool tip especially if you end up making a big batch. Perfect to use on two weekends wash days right? Leaving it in the fridge allows it to ferment albeit more slowly than in a warm environment. Be warned however that fermented rice water can be a little potent. The smell wears off upon rinsing but you might want to add a drop or two of essential oils to it to cover the smell.

Whether you use it fresh or fermented the process on how to use it is pretty much the same.

  • Shampoo our hair as you normally would.
  • Pour the rice water onto hair or pour the rice water in your spray bottle, then spray onto your sectioned hair for even distribution.
  • Massage it into your hair for 2 to 3 minutes then let it sit for 15-20 mins under a shower cap before rinsing it out. Letting it sit in your hair gives the nutrients in the rice water time to wrap themselves around the hair strands making your hair stronger.
  • Rinse off the rice water with cool water and proceed to condition and detangle

Reasons to try it?

Rice water has many other benefits not just related to hair so let’s go through them and see why you should give it a try.

Hair textures

First, women in South Asia swear by it. Women in India, Japan and China have been using rice water rinses, and they all have one thing in common, long thick hair. It’s true that hair textures differ from one continent to the other, but hair is essentially the same so hacks that work on Asian type of hair can also work on curly, straight and coily hair.

Skin benefits

Rice water rinses doesn’t only have hair benefits. Rice water has a cooling and appeasing effect and is used in skin products like toners to rebalance pH of the skin after cleansing. It’s also believed to relieve inflamed skin. Due to the antioxidants, rice water can also prevent age spots and make your skin smooth and radiant. Some people even use it as an after-sun spray to relieve and cool down their skin from harsh sun rays.

Digestion

Rice water can be used by people who have digestion problems. It relieves constipation and can make digestion easier. A study shows that rice water is a very effective remedy for diarrhoea in kids as it reduces the volume and frequency of stool (mothers take notes).

Do rice water rinses actually work?

Our very own founder has tried to incorporate rice water rinses in her own hair care regimen and seen some actual results. She suggests that one needs to be consistent to see the results, but she could feel a difference in her hair. “I maintain more length on my hair while doing the rice water rinses than when I am not”

We also took it to our fans to see what they think about this practice. Shout out to our loyal Facebook fans by the way.

Screenshot of Mosara Facebook comments

Lorwa Caegold said “Works like magic. Provided that after rice water rinses your use the mosara moisture treatment. Or else your hair can be very dry”. You heard it here first. Rice water rinses can be drying to our afro-textured hair, so make sure to go in with a moisturizing deep conditioner or leave-in treatments to keep your hair moisturized.

Our take: try it out. There are no harmful side effects to this practice and you never know it might just work wonders for you too.


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