For some reason, there’s an unspoken rule that you’re never truly happy with your hair. I learned this at an early age. People with straight hair often want curly hair, people with curls would like to opt for straight. If you’re a blonde, you might want to go red; if you’re a brunette, you want to go blonde. Thankfully, most of these qualms can be remedied with a trip to the salon. But there is one qualm that can’t be fixed with a heat tool, hair dye, or some scissors, and that’s getting longer hair.
I’ve always been a short-haired gal. I cut all my hair off after high school and never wanted to grow it back. But after I got engaged, I promised myself I wouldn’t cut my hair until after the wedding because I want long locks for the ceremony. The only problem is that I cut all of my hair off the week before my engagement, not knowing it would be the last time for a year.
So, now I’m stuck with relatively short hair that I desperately want to grow past my waist in the next 150 days, and I’m running out of options. So I’m going to try rice water.
What is Rice Water?
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Rice water is a beauty practice that has been used for centuries. It originated in Asian countries and is now regarded as a simple, yet effective way to grow out your hair. Because the solution is rich in vitamins, it promises to nourish your hair and scalp. You can use rice water however you want — as a rinse, conditioner, or mask – and it ought to promote smoothness, shine, and growth.
The Kardashians caught onto this trend a while ago and have been using it in their hair ever since. A hair care blog noted that “many Eastern countries use rice for its ‘healing and nourishing perks’ with rice water even being touted for its beauty benefits on facial skin like more radiance, elimination acne, soothing irritated skin, and fading aging spots.” So if you’re not as interested in rice water for your hair, you might want to try it on your skin and face.
Rice water works so well because the grain has a high starch content (70-80%) and each grain is packed with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. When the grains soak in water, it releases all that goodness into the water and puts them into your hair.
The benefits are numerous, but hair growth, shine, de-frizzing, a fuller body, and more are evident after using the water. Rice water promotes growth because the treatment stimulates blood flow to the scalp and clarifies the dirt and buildup that often causes stagnation in the growth period.
How to Make and Use Rice Water for Hair
The process of making rice water is very easy:
1. Put ½ cup of uncooked rice in a bowl and rinse it thoroughly.
2. Add the clean rice to a bowl with 2-3 cups of water and let the mixture sit for at least an hour, but up to 12 hours.
3. Strain the rice and save the water. You can use the rice for your dinner that night if you’d like. Some studies show that eating soaked rice is actually healthier for you and will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
4. Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse like normal.
5. Massage the rice water onto your scalp and let it sit for 20 minutes to an hour. It’s okay if you use it all in one go. After that time, rinse it out.
You can also opt to ferment the rice water, a process that has more benefits than using regular rice water because fermented substances have a higher amount of antioxidants, meaning fermented rice water will help heal damaged hair and skin cells faster. To ferment your rice water, you’ll simply let the rice water stand out at room temperature for up to 2 days before straining it.
While this seems like a magical solution to all of your hair problems, experts do warn against using rice water too frequently. Because of all the protein that’s packed in that water, using rice water all the time can dry your hair out if you don’t moisturize it frequently.
If you’re just starting out, begin using rice water only twice a week and make sure your hair still feels healthy and moisturized. If you notice it’s getting dried out, go down to once a week and add conditioner into your routine after you rinse it out.
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My biggest worry this week was that I don’t wash my hair every night. I’m currently trying to only wash it every other night, and I also have a hair mask I already use on the wash days, so I wasn’t sure how this 20-30 minute rice water treatment was going to work.
But I got in the shower, shampooed as usual, and then dumped half of the rice water into my hair. Every website said to focus on massaging it into your scalp and really getting those nutrients.
I then wrapped my hair up in a plastic Target bag, because I don’t have a shower cap, and walked around my house for 20 minutes until I got back into the shower and washed the rice water mixture out.
Just a warning — the rice water didn’t smell fantastic and I wasn’t too thrilled to soak my hair in rice-smelling water. But after I washed it out, I put a hair-color treatment on and finished my shower routine with some conditioner, so I didn’t smell anything too terrible.
Has rice water changed my life? No. But I have noticed a difference since I’ve been using it.
I really wanted my hair to grow long and luscious this week, but I’m also very realistic and understand that it would probably take months rather than the two masks I did this week, so I’m going to continue experimenting a bit. That being said, my hair was insanely smooth after I used the rice water mask and all the frizz was gone.
I did see that rice water can act as a detangler and I don’t believe that for one second. My hair was a rat’s nest when I took it out of the shower cap, and it took about thirty minutes to brush through.
That being said, it wasn’t that complicated to do and I think it was worth it. I’m not sure how often I’ll do it from now on, but it was a fun little added self-care practice, and I’ll never be opposed to a hair mask.
Have you ever used rice water for your hair? Are you going to now? Comment below!
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