Rice. Yes Rice – it can do such wonders for your hair.
Beyond being a staple for millions around the world, beyond feeding families, its fibre can be fabulous for your hair.
The benefit is irrespective of hair type, colour or texture, research has found. Rice is one of the greatest beautifying aids for women.
A secret Asian women have found as they have used rice water to enhance their face, body and hair – for centuries.
Female rice farmers in China, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries bathed and washed with water used to clean rice.
Women from the Yao ethnic group in China authenticate this tradition. With an average hair length of 6 feet, these women made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as having the “world’s longest hair village”.
And guess what, they do not grey until their 80s.
Photo: Raquel has a channel on Youtube where she shares her rice water hair care journey. This image was culled from her very first video before using the rice water treatment
The Yao women believe that the fermented rice water, which they use to cleanse their hair, is what helps to keep their hair long, dark and clean. Rice water enables these women to de-tangle and manage their long hair, which they wrap around their heads in an elaborate high bun that is often described with names such as ‘gazing god’s bun’ or the ‘cloud bun’.
Here is why you should use rice water on your hair
Rice water is the starchy water left over after rice is cooked or left to soak. It is thought to make the hair smooth and shiny, as well as help it grow faster. Aside from its 75-80 percent starch content, rice water also contains many vitamins and minerals: amino acids, vitamin B, E and antioxidants.
Video: Raquel provides a detailed account of her rice water treatment journey
Advocates for the rice water treatment believe it detangles the hair, makes hair smoother, increases shine, strengthens and helps in long hair growth.
However, because this sounds unbelievable yet, the trend is increasing in popularity, some researchers looked into it. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, when you apply rice water to your hair, it can reduce friction between the hair strands as well as improve hair elasticity. It means combing and detangling will be so much easier, and hair breakage a thing of the past.
Photo: After some weeks, Raquel posted another video, from which this image was taken
Another amazing thing about rice water is that it has inositol, a carbohydrate, which repairs damaged hair. Specialised imaging technique shows that inositol stays inside the hair even after rinsing, offering continuing hair protection.
This sounds amazing…I mean, just amazing!
Video: Raquel makes another video after a couple of months showing off her amazing transformation
How to prepare your rice water
It is easy. All you need is rice – brown, white, basmati, long grain, short grain, jasmine, Thai – as long as it is rice and a spray bottle. Any quantity of your choosing works.
To make rice water, first, rinse the rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities.
Photo: Raquel’s hair after a couple of months, also shared in a video on her channel
Then, place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Let the rice soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your hair and skin.
Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use. This is a quick method to make rice water.
For effectiveness, however, it is advised to keep the rice in the water overnight. At least 24 hours.
How to apply rice water in your hair
- wash hair with shampoo
- rinse thoroughly with water
- part hair and apply rice water from the roots to the tips
- massage the rice water into the hair and scalp
- leave on for up to 20 minutes
- rinse hair thoroughly using warm water
- deep condition
- rinse off as you normally would and then voilà, you’re good to go
The video below provides more information on how this should be done so that in case you’re like me and cannot wash your hair at home, your hair stylist will appreciate some directions on how to go about in case they are unaware.