The Benefits and Side Effects of Using Rice Water for Your Hair

Published November 11th, 2021 by Erik Rivera
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley
Updated Date: Jun 28th, 2022

What is rice water | How to make | How to use | Benefits | Side effects

Rice water is water that has been boiled with rice.

The rice can be white or brown rice, and both types of rice have the same benefits for your hair.

There are many benefits of rice water, but it also carries some side effects if you use it too much.

It can be used on all types of hair, natural hair, colored hair, straight hair, curly hair, dry hair, brittle hair, and every other type of hair can benefit from the use of rice water in their hair care routine.

This article will talk about what rice water is, how to make rice water at home, how to apply rice water to your hair (including the different ways you can do this) and discuss any scientific evidence that backs up using rice water as a way to care for your hair.

What is rice water?

Rice water is a type of water that gets boiled with rice and then the rice is removed from the pot.

You can use two or three cups of water for every one cup of rice. Rice water can be used in a variety of ways, including as a facial cleansing agent or hair rinse.

The rice itself can be soaked in water for upwards of 24 hours, which causes it to release nutrients into the rice water solution.

This nutrient-rich liquid is usually made with rice grains that have been cooked down until they are soft and translucent, but not solid like rice flour would be if you were to cook it all the way through.

The rice water solution is a light brown color and it has a very distinct smell to it, which you will either love or hate.

rice water for hair

How do you make rice water?

To make a rice water rinse at home, start by boiling your rice in a pot of water for about half an hour.

You want the rice to break down into a mushy rice water solution.

Once it is fully cooked, strain the rice out of your rice water and use that liquid to rinse your hair or apply as a toner.

You can also leave the rice in or not if you want to use rice for other purposes while still getting some benefits from the rice water solution left behind after boiling.

How do you use rice water on your hair?

There are a few different ways you can use rice water as a way to care for and strengthen your hair.

One of the simplest methods is just applying rice water on hair with your hair being either damp or dry.

Before you do this, please ensure the water is cool enough to the touch so it won't burn your scalp.

You can also combine rice water with other natural ingredients like eggs, honey, or apple cider vinegar for hair in order to give yourself an additional hair treatment.

You can use rice water in place of your regular shampoo or conditioner, and if you do so it is recommended that you follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse to restore the pH balance of your hair back to normal after using rice water for too long. Another method of applying rice water to your hair involves making a rice mask.

A rice mask is a method of using rice water to strengthen your hair and repair any damage that has been done by chemical treatments, heat styling, or environmental factors.

To make rice masks at home, combine rice water with other ingredients like yogurt, for its moisturizing properties, coconut oil, to restore shine, or honey, for added softness.

What are the benefits of using rice water on your hair?

There are many natural benefits associated with using rice water as opposed to washing your hair with shampoo or regular conditioner.

Rice water can help strengthen your hair, making it feel thicker and look like healthier hair overall.

It also contains rice bran oil, which is rich in proteins that are helpful for strengthening damaged hair as well as adding volume to your hair strand if you have limp, dull hair.

Many people who use rice water report less breakage after switching over to rice water.

Rice water also contains rice starch, which is a natural thickener that coats your hair and makes it easier for you to style or brush through and for stronger hair. It can help tame frizzy hair as well.

It is also claimed that adding rice water to your hair care regimen will result in hair shinier than before using it. 

What are the side effects of using rice water on your hair?

Rice water does carry some potential risks and side effects like any hair care product.

For example, rice water is an allergen and if you are allergic to rice then this type of hair treatment will not be a good idea for your hair or skin. Using rice water can also lead to some irritated skin on the scalp, though it typically only causes itching after long-term use of rice water as opposed to immediately following rice water application.

Additionally, rice water can cause your hair to feel greasy or heavy if you use too much rice water at once so it is important that you follow up rice treatment with an apple cider vinegar rinse in order to restore your hair's natural pH balance and avoid any buildup of the rice water solution on your scalp.

Is using rice water in your hair scientifically proven?

There is a lot of information available regarding rice water for hair, and some of it seems to be accurate while other sources cannot be verified or are provide anecdotal evidence.

There are many claims that rice water has been used as a natural treatment since the early days of Asia but there does not seem to be any scientific evidence or research on file to support these claims.

It is possible rice water has been used for centuries as a hair care solution, but it can be difficult to separate fact from popular belief or old wives' tales about rice water that have not yet been scientifically tested and verified by an outside party.

Is there a difference between plain or fermented rice water?

There are many different rice water treatments available to you and rice water comes in a few different forms.

Plain rice water is just rice that has been washed until clean and filtered so it contains no residual dirt or debris from the rice, whereas fermented rice water is what remains after fermenting cooked rice for about three days which gives it a slightly sour smell but increases its concentration of rice bran oil.

Fermented rice water is typically used to treat hair and skin infections like ringworm, body acne, or mild wounds, whereas plain rice water can simply be applied directly to your scalp and hair for a basic rice treatment that doesn't involve any special preparation.

What other uses for rice water?

Besides using rice water on your hair, rice water also has other uses for the rest of your body. It can be used to make rice packs that are applied directly to wounds like cuts or burns in order to speed up the healing process and relieve pain associated with these types of injuries.

You can also use rice water as a face wash if you suffer from acne because it is rich in rice starch and rice bran oil, both of which help to remove dirt from the skin without stripping away too much moisture.


Rice water for hair contains rice bran oil and rice starch which in turn can make it easier to style or brush through your hair.  

It is said to reduce breakage after switching over from normal shampoos and conditioners and to give you healthy hair.

If you are allergic to rice, it is not a good idea to use rice water anywhere on your body. Long-term use can also lead to irritation of the scalp.

Historically, it is claimed rice water has been used for centuries in Asia although these claims can be hard to verify. Rice water can have other uses too as it can be used to make rice packs that are used in order to speed up the healing process.  You can also use rice water as a face wash as it is said to help your skin retain moisture.

Thank you for reading our article about rice water for hair and how these simple ingredients can provide potential benefits, should you have any further questions please browse our other articles regarding your hair.

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