How To Make Rice Water And Its Benefits For Natural Hair

You have probably heard people talk about using rice water for their hair and wondered if they were crazy or just exploring around.

I know that the thought of using rice water on your hair might sound icky right? Who wants the stickiness it brings along, on their hair or the minutes spent washing it off the hair. However, if you wondering why other naturals use it on their hair anyway, then this article is for you.

History of Rice Water

Put simply, rice water is the starchy water gotten after draining boiled, washed, or soaked rice. Rice water is usually used as a conditioner when washing the hair.

According to some researchers, the use for rice water originated from women in the Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) in Japan who kept their floor-length hair healthy by bathing it in rice water. A modern-day equivalent of this story was also told of the Yao women in China, who keep their hair 6 feet long using rice water.

No doubt, rice water has been famous for enriching the hair and promoting hair growth, below we outlined some benefits of using the rice water treatment.

Benefits of Rice Water Treatment

Rice itself is full of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins B and C, which are terrific for your hair. These nutrients are transferred to the water when rice water is extracted from the rice. When used on the hair, here are some of the benefits of the rice water treatment.

1. Detangles the hair

When rice water is applied to the natural hair, it smoothens your cuticles and reduces surface friction thereby conditioning your curls to be softer and easier to detangle.

2. Makes the hair smoother and reduces friction between your strands

Rice water is rich in nutrients that is beneficial for your natural hair. One of these nutrients is carbohydrates. This carbohydrate contains a nutrient called inositol that smoothens your hair so that your hair strands can glide through your comb without friction. Remember that with less friction comes less hair damage.

3. Adds shine to the hair

When applied to your hair, the starchiness of the rice water coats your hair and contributes to shiny hair. It also restores vitality and health to your natural hair. All you have to do is use the rice water as a mask, leave for about 20 minutes, then wash off. Then apply your shampoo and conditioner.

4. Prevents hair breakage

Amongst the several benefits of rice water is its ability to increase the elasticity of your natural hair. In other words, it increases the ability of your hair to stretch without breaking off.

5. Acts as a natural conditioner that helps to cure dandruff and scalp conditions

Fermented rice water has antifungal properties which nourish your scalp and help to cure dandruff. Use it as a hair mask once or twice a week for a few hours to achieve better results.

Side Effects of Rice Water Treatment

1. It can dry out the hair 

    Though rice water serves as a natural conditioner, it can also have a dry effect on the hair. All the rice water benefits your hair needs would be absorbed within the first hour of application. Any more rice water applied turns out to become unwanted chemicals for your natural hair and scalp. Also, if you have a dry scalp, this extra rice water could cause more scalp itchiness and irritation, hence, you should limit its use to once a week.

    2. It leaves protein build-up on the hair

    The nutrient supplied by rice water could cause build-up on your scalp and possibly lead to dandruff with each use. Moisturizing and shampooing your hair regularly would help prevent this.

    3. It has an unpleasant smell

    Research shows that fermented rice water contains a higher amount of antioxidants which is beneficial to combat hair damage. The downside to this is that fermented rice water comes with a pungent smell that could be a little embarrassing to go out with. To make your fermented rice water smell better, you can add sweet-smelling essential oils like Chamomile, peppermint, lavender, or Lemon Grass essential oil. You could also add Citrus peels to make it smell better.

    4. It requires consistent use

    While some products show progressive signs in the first two weeks of application, rice water treatment takes a month or two before there are any worthwhile results. The implication of this is that people who are usually impatient or consider routines to be difficult may have issues with this treatment.

    How To Prepare Rice Water Treatment

    The interesting thing about this treatment is it can be produced at home without stress and in a couple of minutes plus there are several methods of preparation.

    There are several ways you could produce this treatment and some of them include:

    • No-Boil Method
    • Fermentation Method
    • Boil Method
    • Soaking Method

    Let's take you through each of these methods in detail.

    1. No-Boil Method

    For this method, you don't have to boil the rice to extract the rice water. You simply wash the rice and drain out the water. Here is how to prepare the no-boil rice water treatment.

    What you need

    • One cup of raw rice
    • 2-3 cups of water
    • 3-7 drops of essential oil
    • A bowl to sieve the mixture.
    • A sieve
    • Orange or lemon peels
    • Bottle to store the rice water treatment

    How to make the no-boil rice water treatment

    • Pour your rice in a bowl
    • Add water to it
    • Rinse your rice [not compulsory]
    • Wash, then add your desired amount of water for your shampooing. Wash with both hands to make the nutrients come out.
    • Sieve water from the rice, add the orange or lemon peels, and mix everything thoroughly
    • Then, boil the mixture.
    • After it cools off, pour the mixture inside a bottle and use it after a minimum of 1 week.

    2. Fermentation Method.

    Most people prefer this method because of a substance called 'Pitera' that is produced during the fermentation process. This substance which is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic acids promotes cell regeneration and keeps your natural hair healthy.

    What you need

    • One cup of raw rice
    • 2-3 cups of water

    How to make the fermented rice water treatment

    • Take a cup of raw rice, rinse, and add to water.
    • Soak the rice in two cups of distilled water for 15 minutes. Ensure you stir every five minutes.
    • Sieve out the water, then pour it to a clean bottle, and leave it overnight.
    • The next morning, the mixture should have turned sour and began to ferment. The fermentation process can be hastened by making the room temperature warmer. In other words, the warmer the temperature, the quicker the fermentation process.
    • The rice water is ready to use when it develops a sour smell.

    Do you still need more directions on how to make fermented rice water? Watch this video by Cali Curls.

    3. Boil Method

    This method implies boiling the rice in order to extract the water. Here's how to prepare the boil method rice water treatment.

    What you need

    • 1/2 Cup of Rice
    • 2 Cups of Water
    • Strainer/Sieve
    • 2 bowls
    • 1 container with a lid
    • A spray bottle

    How to make the boil rice water treatment

    • Pour uncooked rice in a strainer and rinse well
    • Boil 2 cups of water. When you're done, pour the rice into the boiling water and boil until the water is cloudy
    • Then, let the water cool and sieve out the rice
    • Funnel the extracted rice water into a spray bottle and refrigerate until use

    For more directions on how to make rice water using the boiling method, watch this tutorial by Josiphia.

    4. Soaking Method

    This method involves soaking the rice in water for a couple of hours before you extract the rice water. Here is how you can prepare the soaking method of rice water treatment.

    What you need

    • 1/2 cup of rice
    • 2 Cups of Water
    • Sieve/strainer
    • 2 bowls
    • 1 container with a lid
    • A spray bottle
    • A funnel

    How to make the soaking method rice water treatment

    • Pour the rice into a bowl and rinse well
    • Then place rice in a bowl with 2 cups of water and soak for up to 24 hours at room temperature
    • Sieve the rice water into a clean bowl and pour the rice water into a spray bottle using a funnel
    • Refrigerate until you're ready to use

    How to use rice water on Natural Hair

    After shampooing and conditioning your hair, you can pour rice water into your hair and scalp by massaging, then rinse it off after 20 minutes of application. This method also applies if you are looking to cure dandruff or any scalp issues.

    Commonly asked questions on the use of rice water on natural hair

    1. How long should you leave rice water in your hair?

    While your hair needs time to absorb the rice water into your hair strands and scalp, we recommend you wash it off after 20 minutes so as not to cause irritation to your scalp.

    2. Can you leave rice water in your hair overnight?

    Definitely. You can leave the treatment on your hair overnight. However, we recommend this period don't exceed 18 hours as there are chances of bacteria growth in the rice that could lead to scalp problems.

    3. Can I still use conditioner on my hair after using rice water?

    Your washing schedule doesn't have to change with the introduction of rice water. Simply add it to your hair after shampooing and conditioning.

    4. Does rice water help to grow natural hair?

    Yes! Like we stated earlier, rice water contains several nutrients that are beneficial to the hair. For example, it contains amino acids that help in hair regeneration. It also contains vitamins that promote hair growth.