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Is Rice Water Good for Natural Hair?
[Your Science-Backed Answer]

Is Rice Water Good for Natural Hair? 
 Your science-backed answer

Is rice water good for natural hair? You're smart to ask because...

...in the past, you may have only thought about rice as food, it's actually a lot more though. It's also a great natural hair growth, skin and beauty product.

Rice water for hair is very popular in China and Japan as a growth, health and strengthening aid, it's been a staple for hundreds of years in the Eastern Hemisphere much like ancient Tsubaki beauty oil.

It has been known to help women grow up to 7 feet of hair.

That's CRAY CRAY! 

Now listen:

Don't expect to grow 7 feet of hair (I explain the reason why in this article) sis...

Still though:

You CAN get longer, stronger, healthier hair using rice water and I'll explain how and why.

So dig in gorgeous!

Is Rice Water Good for Natural Hair? The Scientific Benefits Explained

So let's get into the science of how rice water helps your hair strengthen itself and also grow.

Because, let's be real, anything that will stop hair breakage needs to be discussed.

Because the benefits of rice water for hair are proven and cannot be denied.

According to a 2010 study by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Japanese women from what's called the "Heian Period" (in 794 to 1185 AD) combed through their floor-length hair with Yu-Su-Ru, or rinse water, from the washing of rice.

According to a study done by synchrotron radiation facility in Japan, the study found that there is an ingredient Rice water called inositol that benefit your hair in two major ways.

is-rice-water-good-for-natural-hair inositol structure moleculeInositol is the reason rice water is good for your hair structure.

The first major way that rice water helps your natural hair is that it helps increase your hairs elasticity, meaning that...

...this DIY natural hair product makes your hair more flexible and helps define your natural hair curl pattern.

Inositol also decreases your hair is surface friction, which means it helps to smooth out the surface of your hair so that your hair strands can glide past each other without too much resistance causing damage.

According to Kerry Yates, licensed trichologist, "The starchy water does a great job of closing the cuticle down, creating a smooth surface and giving the appearance of healthy, shiny hair."

This is extremely important, because too much friction can cause a lot of nasty tangles and knots in your natural hair.

With less friction:

You get less damage. A MAJOR KEY!

Another interesting aspect of inositol in natural hair is it's amazing ability to stay inside of your hair strands even after you have rinsed it out.

Because of that your hair enjoys the benefits long after the rinse and you can continue to see improvements.

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How To Make Rice Water Good for Natural Hair

It's kind of funny...

There's a lot of back and forth about how to make rice water for natural hair, as well as confusion about whether to ferment, wash or boil your rice water rinse.

No worries though:

Is rice water good for natural hair when washed?

  • Yes

Is rice water good for natural hair when boiled?

  • Yes.

Is rice water good for natural hair when fermented?

  • Yes, with extra benefits.

Every option works just fine, and they are ALL beneficial to your hair, so choose the method that you prefer and get started. 

And if you're worried about which is the best type of rice to rinse your natural hair with...


Just make sure to use Non-GMO organic rice, any type of rice that is organic is perfect.

So here's how to make your rice water for natural hair:

  1. Rinse the rice with water to remove any debris 
  2. Put rice in a bowl and simply add enough water to cover the rice, don't worry about measurements.
  3. let the rice soak for 30 to 40 minutes, make sure to swirl it around a few times.
  4. After 30 minutes or so confirm that the water is cloudy.
  5. Thoroughly strain out the rice water into a separate bowl.
  6. At this point you can use the rice water as is.
  7. Optional -  for enhanced benefits you can continue to ferment the rice water for a longer. Of time.
is rice water good for natural hair review.Is rice water good for natural hair? Yes, especially fermented.

Reason Why Fermented Rice Water Is Good for Natural Hair

So look...

The pH of plain rice water is higher than your natural hair’s pH. Fermenting rice water brings down the pH level and makes it close to that of your hair.

Fermenting rice water like we recommend for our "HOT O.G.Hair Growth Rinse" with fermented rice water and onion juice for natural hair...

...also enhances the nutrient-availabilty and vitamins in the solution, this boosts the nourishment that goes to your hair follicles which increases your hair health, conditioning and promotes hair growth.

Here's something interesting:

During fermentation, a substance called ‘pitera’ forms in the rice water, this substance is rich in minerals, vitamins, organic acids, and amino acids. Pitera is known to promote cell regeneration and keep your hair healthy and skin beautiful.

Pitera has been used as an anti-aging elixir in Asia for centuries.

The vitamin E content of rice water also helps with anti-aging. A 2018 clinical study found rice water to exhibit in vitro anti-oxidant and elastase inhibitory effect.

The gel formulations containing 96% fermented rice water were found to be biocompatible to human skin.

How To Ferment Rice Water for Hair (Good Results)

Is rice water good for natural hair how to ferment rice water. is_rice_water_good_for_natural_hairIs rice water good for natural hair?

Fermenting your rice water is an easy process, so don't trip sis...

Just let your rice water for sit in a clean jar in a dark area (like a cupboard, closet or drawer) that is at room temperature or a little bit warmer.

You will wait until the rice water taste a little bit sour,  you know that it has begin to ferment when it is a little sour.

This fermentation process usually takes 24 to 48 hours, just remember that warmer climates and temperatures will make the fermentation process go faster.

If the end product of your fermentation turns out too potent you can dilute it with water, don't worry about this it does not stop the rice water from working.

How to Make Rice Water for Hair by Boiling

Is rice water good for natural hair  is_rice_water_good_for_natural_hair_how_to_boil_methodIs rice water good for natural hair?

If you want to make the process go faster you can also try the boiling method, it's very easy.

Just put your water and rice into a pot, and use about 3X more water than you normally would use if you were cooking the rice to eat.

(Don't stress out about being too exact with measurements, it's not a big deal - eyeball it) 

Once your rice water begins to boil you have two options:

  1. Remove it Immediately from the heat, let it cool and then strain out the rice water. 
  2. Leave it to boil until the rice fully cooks, then let it cool, strain the rice water out and use.

You can use a muslin straining bag or cheesecloth for straining out your rice water  solution.

Whichever option you choose is fine they both work.

How To Rinse Hair With Rice Water

Is Rice Water Good for Natural Hair That Doesn't Need Protein?

Is rice water good for natural hair reading

Rice water has a high amount of protein in it.

16% To Be Exact. So...


Is rice water good for natural hair that doesn't currently need protein?


It's pretty much a protein treatment for your hair, a strong one that can dry your hair out if you don't need a protein dose.

So you may want to skip applying rice water on your hair until you're intentionally ready to use a real protein treatment, or...

...you feel that more protein won't hurt. 

ALSO: Find out if your hair is protein sensitive...HERE.

So have you been wondering how to rinse your hair with rice?

Here's your answer and it's simple:

  1. Wash your hair.
  2. Coat your hair and scalp with your rice rinse (brush it in). 
  3. Put a shower cap on and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse it out.
  5. (Optional) use your favorite natural hair conditioner.

It's always best to do your rice water rinse on hair that is clean and that does not have any gunky product build-up.

After you wash your hair:

Thoroughly coat your hair and scalp with your rice water solution, some naturals massage it in using the inversion method.

I don't advise that technique when applying rice  water.

If the rice doesn't coat your hair evenly it can cause flaking, so be sure to use a good brush that works well on naturally kinky hair to brush the rice rinse in well. 

This is the best way to ensure that every hair strand is coated with your rice water solution.

At this point:

You can cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

After this time. Go ahead and rinse it out.

You probably won't need to use any conditioner, but it's your option. If you want to condition, go ahead and do it.


Most of the hard work comes from making the rice water, using the rice water is very easy.

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Focus on Hair Health & Realistic Hair Growth With Rice Water In Your Regimen

There is no doubt about it, rinsing your hair with rice water rinses are very beneficial hair growth and health when used correctly.

It's a strong addition to a healthy hair regimen.

Here's the thing though:

I don't want you to start your rice water hair regimen expecting to grow your hair as long as the Yao women in China.

And here's why:

Is rice water good for natural hair growth? YES! Still though, the Yao women of China have very special circumstances that help them grow their hair so long.

The hair growth advantages they have are:

  • They live in remote, preserved areas of the world.
  • They wash their hair with natural spring water that has tons of micro nutrients and vitamins.
  • They eat a purely organic diet.
  • They have very active lifestyles which increases their overall health.
  • They are exposed to far less pollution and toxins than anyone living in the U.S.

So does rice water help with hair health and growth? The answer is yes.

I'm definitely not telling you not to try to grow hair with rice water, I just want you to have realistic expectations and treat rice water as a great addition to your already established healthy hair regimen of cleansing, hydrating, moisturizing, stretching your hair to avoid tangles, etc,. 

If you don't already have a great natural hair routine, go to our natural hair for beginners directory.

Is Rice Water Good For Natural Hair? 
Learn About RICE WATER for HAIR GROWTH [video]

Is Using Rice Water Everyday Good For My Natural Hair?

Are you trying to use rice water in your hair everyday?

That's probably not a good idea.

You should not use rice water everyday on your hair because rice water is similar to a real protein treatment, in fact it is 16% protein, that is very strong.

Too much protein from rice water rinsing everyday can cause your hair to harden.

That will cause more harm than good.

Of course, there will come occasions when your natural hair will need more protein.

But too much of anything is bad.

Still, even if you do need protein you still have to rinse it out, trying to use it as a leave-in will be too much for your natural hair. 

Is Rice Water Good For Natural Hair - Directory

If you're wondering "Is rice water good for natural hair?" jump to the section that will help you most with one of the sections above, you'll LOVE IT!


Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.

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