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The Perfect Rice Water Rinse For Curly Hair!

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If you have ever used the internet before to research natural hair or curly hair, you have probably come across “rice water rinse for curly hair”.

Doing a rice water rinse has become so increasingly popular that I wanted to find out exactly what was making this new method go viral on the internet.

Today I’m going to take you through exactly why this rice water method is so popular in the natural hair community and how you can go about making your own rice water rinse for curly hair.


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What Is Rice Water?

Rice water is basically the white starchy water that is left after cleaning or soaking your rice. It is believed (well, there isn’t any scientific evidence yet) to help with massive hair growth.

Even though the use of rice water has been largely popularised by Youtubers and bloggers, it’s a hair treatment that has been practised for ages. It dates back to the Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) when Japanese women would bathe their hair in fermented rice water to grow it long and strong.

This beauty secret was also practised by the Yao women in China in a small village called Huangluo. In fact, Yao women have been said to have the longest hair in the world. Their hair grows as long as 6 ft long! 

It is not confirmed yet (scientifically) whether their long, shiny black hair can be solely attributed to bathing their hair in rice water their entire lives but clearly, the rice water has played a role. The Yao women are confident that rice water is the secret behind their length. Who are we to doubt?


Benefits Of Rice Water On Natural Hair 

One of the things that I love most about a rice water rinse is that rice is an ingredient that is so easy to get your hands on. You probably have it in your cupboard right now as you are reading this. It’s also fairly inexpensive as well so it’s a win all round.

These are some of the major benefits of using rice water in your hair:

It adds shine and gloss to dull hair
It contains amino acids
It helps with detangling hair to make it more manageable 
It makes hair smooth and soft
Increases elasticity
It nourishes hair from the inside to the outside making your hair look healthy
It delays the greying of hair. The Yao women start seeing grey hair in their 80’s
It reduces dandruff
Contains antioxidants
Helps to reduce frizz
It aids in growth – by nourishing the hair from the inside, the strands become stronger and hard to break. This helps in retaining the length of each hair strand. 



How To Prepare Rice Water For Maximum Benefit


There are typically three ways to prepare rice water – Boiling, soaking, and leaving it to ferment.


Method 1: Fermenting

What you need


How to prepare:

  • Pour the rice into a bowl and start by washing. This is so you can clean out any dirt or chemicals that may damage your hair. Strain the rice until all water is out.
  • Add the two cups of water into the bowl and mix with your hand.
  • Allow it to settle for a couple of minutes and then using a sieve, drain the rice water into a mason jar.
  • Set aside for 24 hours at room temperature to allow it to ferment. The fermentation helps in releasing more antioxidants that are important in preventing and repairing hair damage.
  • When you are ready to use it, pour some into your spray bottle and what remains in the jar, store it in the fridge ensuring that it is tightly closed



Method 2: Boiling

What you need:


How to prepare:

  • Boil your 1 cup of rice in 4 cups of water. Once your rice boils, strain the excess water and let it cool.
  • Pour in your spray bottle and it’s ready to use.


Method 3: Soaking

This method is similar to the fermenting method.  The only difference is that instead of soaking your rice whole, you lightly blend to break down the rice. This makes the rice release more starch into the water. You will notice that the water is heavier and whiter than when the rice is not broken down. This is an indication that your rice water has more nutrients. Exactly what you want for your hair!

What you need:


How to prepare:

  • Wash one cup of rice. Pour the rice and the 3 cups of water into your blender. I use the Nutribullet blender.
  • Lightly blend, not into a paste but just so the rice breaks into smaller pieces
  • Sieve to get the heavy starchy rice water. Pour into your mason jar and store it in the fridge. Only take it out when you want to use it.  


Rice water for natural hair


How To Do A Rice Water Rinse For Curly Hair

Doing a rice water rinse is pretty easy to do.

  • After shampooing, section your hair into 4-6 parts and twist each section
  • Then take the first section and generously spray the rice water on your hair from the root to the tip. Be sure to work it in so that each and every strand is soaked with the rice water.
  • You can spray more of the rice water onto your scalp and massage it in. This can be a very drippy affair so I would advise you to do it in the bathroom.
  • Repeat this for all the remaining sections and then do one more generous spray on your scalp while massaging it. Next, cover your head with a shower cap and let the rice water soak in your hair and scalp for at least 30 minutes.

When you use rice water as a rinse, you use it after your conditioner and let it sit on your hair for roughly 2 minutes before rinsing it out.

You can also choose to rinse out the rice water from your hair and follow up with a conditioner afterwards.



Different Ways To Use Rice Water On Natural Hair

There are different ways you can use rice water on your natural hair. You can use it as a leave-in conditioner and spray it on your hair daily.

You can mix it with your other masks and use it as a hair mask. It can also be mixed with aloe vera and essential oils.

Finally, you can use it as a conditioning treatment just like I’ve shared above. I find that when it comes to natural products, like in this case rice water, there is no right or wrong way, just do what suits your hair.



How Often You Can Use Rice Water

Rice water is safe to use daily so how often you use will depend on what you intend to use it as. You can use it daily as a hair spray to add shine to your hair, twice or three times a week as a leave-in, or weekly when washing your hair. You can even just do it once or twice a month. Again, there is no hard rule on this.


Side Effects Of Using Rice Water

There aren’t any particularly known side effects of doing a rice water rinse on curly hair as long as you don’t overuse it. However, it is important to note that rice water adds proteins to hair, if you overuse it you risk overloading your hair with proteins which will cause your hair to be hard and dry.

Also, you have to be careful with how your store your rice water and for how long. As much as fermented rice water is beneficial, it also alters the PH balance of your scalp. You must always discard it before it over ferments and goes bad. 

As a safety precaution, make it a habit to always smell your rice water before using it. If it smells sour, discard it. It is no longer safe to use.


FAQs About The Rice Water Rinse for Curly Hair

If you are still curious about doing a rice water treatment you may have a few questions that you need answering. Here’s the answer to some of your pressing questions.

Can I Leave Rice Water On My Hair Overnight?

Yes, you can. However, you can not leave it on for longer than 12 hours as you risk bacteria growing on your hair. 


Can I Leave Rice Water On My Hair Overnight?

Yes, you can. However, you can not leave it on for longer than 12 hours as you risk bacteria growing on your hair. 


Is Rice Water Good For Natural Hair?

Rice water is good for natural hair. It helps strengthen your hairs shaft, makes it shinier, makes it softer and smoother as well as it helps to lays the cuticles. It also makes hair more elastic. 


Can Rice Water Be Used Daily On Natural Hair?

Yes, you can use rice water daily but it’s not something that I would particularly advise because of the protein content. If you are going to do it just be sure to use a very small amount each day so that you don’t cause protein overload on your hair which can cause your hair to feel hard. You need to make sure you regularly make a new batch and store it in the fridge every few days as well.


How Long Can I Keep Rice Water In A Spray Bottle?

You can store your rice water in your spray bottle for up to 24 hours when not stored in the fridge but up to 7 days when stored in the fridge. After this, it ceases to ferment and starts degrading which can be harmful to your hair.


Does Rice Water Really Grow Natural Hair?

To be honest, no. Rice water does not directly increase growth. Hair will grow with or without rice water because it is a natural process. What rice water does do is to create a better environment for hair to grow in, by nourishing the follicles. With healthy hair follicles, steady growth is guaranteed with minimal breakage.


Does Rice Water Go Bad?

Yes, of course, it’s a natural product with no preservatives added. Rice water can only last up to 7 days when refrigerated and only 24 hours when at room temperature.


Which Rice Is Best For Rice Water?

Any type of rice works. You can either go for white rice, wild rice, basmati rice, brown rice, etc. Just note that some types of rice may contain more protein levels than others.


Final Thoughts on Rice Water For Natural Hair

Even though there is no scientific study done on rice water. Results experienced by others shows that there is something beneficial about doing a rice water rinse.
It does not instantly grow hair as most rice water champions would want you to believe, but one thing’s for sure, rice water strengthens hair which is crucial in the growth of hair. It also makes hair shinier, smoother, and more elastic.