The next time you make rice, don’t throw out that water or you’ll be sending one of the cheapest and most effective ways to beautify your skin and hair right down the drain.
Rice water has been used for centuries in Asian countries to keep skin young looking and help hair grow healthy and strong.
In Japan, female rice farmers used to bathe in the water used for cleaning rice. In the village of Huangluo in China, the Yao women have extremely long, thick and shiny hair well into their later years, and their secret is said to be washing it with rice water.
Rice water is chock-full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are essential for beautiful hair and skin, including ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant, and allantoin, which contains anti-inflammatory properties.
How To Make Rice Water
There are several methods for making rice water to use as part of your own beauty routine. You can use any type of rice: white long grain, brown, jasmine or whatever you happen to have on hand.
The boiled rice water method
If you want to make a batch of rice water to use all week long in its diluted forms, such as for a facial wash or hair rinse, prepare rice as you normally would, but use two to three times the amount of water the recipe calls for.
Once the rice has cooked, strain it out.
The leftover water will contain a high concentration of nutrients, but you don’t need to use it at full strength. Instead, dilute about 3 tablespoons of the concentrated rice water into a cup of clean water, which should result in just a slightly milky-looking mixture.
Store it in the refrigerator in a covered container. It will last for up to one week.
No-boil quick method
If you’re short on time, you can just add a half-cup of rice to two cups of water and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Strain the rice, and then use the remaining rice water to wash your hair, face or both.
Fermented rice water
If you have a little more time, consider making fermented rice water as it’s believed to be the most effective method of all due to the pH change that occurs during the fermentation process.
Fermenting the rice water helps to bring its pH more closely in line to the natural pH of hair, and results in the release of a chemical known as pitera which may promote cell regeneration. While it takes a few extra steps, the results are worth it.
To make it, first follow the no-boil quick method above, but let it sit in a jar at room temperature for about two days – if you live in a warm climate, the fermentation process may be complete in just one day.
You’ll know it’s ready when the rice water smells slightly sour.
At that point, you can use it to rinse your hair, or as a face wash after diluting with one to two cups of warm water first. Store the remaining solution in the refrigerator.
7 Beauty Benefits Of Rice Water For Skin & Hair
These are just some of the reasons why so many people are now using rice water in their beauty routine:
1. Soothing skin inflammation to relieve problems like acne and dermatitis
Rice water can be used to naturally soothe skin inflammation, rashes and all sorts of skin problems.
A 2002 study from the Department of Toxicology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussels, Belgium found that patients with atopic dermatitis were able to improve their condition significantly by bathing in rice water for 15 minutes twice a day.
Rice water also helps to heal acne as well as calm the redness of an outbreak. It acts as an astringent on the skin, tightening the pores.
To use rice water to help heal your skin issues, dip a cotton ball, pad or washcloth into rice water and pat it over the affected area. Continue to do this for several minutes and then allow your skin to air dry.
2. Everyday cleansing for softer, more radiant skin
Rice water can be used as an everyday facial cleanser.
Simply dip a cotton pad or cotton ball into the liquid and then gently massage it onto your face for several minutes.
Don’t rinse it off – allow your face to air dry to make sure it absorbs all of those nutrients. After regular use, your skin will feel softer and look more radiant.
3. Rejuvenate and relax with a rice water bath
If you want to enjoy the beneficial effects of rice water all over your body, take a rice water bath. Simply fill a small muslin bag with a half-cup of rice, and then place it into the warm bath water; soak and enjoy.
4. Treating sun damaged, aging skin
Rice water can help diminish those dark age spots as well as help minimize free-radical damage from the sun, environment, and aging, thanks to its high level of antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin C, flavonoid and phenolic compounds.
And, it’s incredibly inexpensive.
Many users swear results can be felt and seen after just a single use.
It helps smooth skin texture, address hyperpigmentation, firm and tighten skin, reduce pore size and leave a soft, porcelain-like finish behind. Most find that it works at least as well as those pricey store-bought skin creams and lightening serums.
Use it morning and night by soaking a cotton ball or pad thoroughly. You can also apply rice water to your face just before bed, leaving it on overnight for extra benefits.
5. Easing the pain of a sunburn
You can also use rice water to help relieve the pain of a sunburn, and reduce redness. Apply it to the affected areas, but don’t rinse. It will help your skin recover faster and prevent further damage too.
6. Achieving softer, more manageable and healthier hair
As mentioned, the Yao women of the Chinese village of Huangluo have long-believed that rice water is the secret to their healthy, shiny tresses. It helps detangle and improve hair elasticity as well.
In a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2010, researchers showed that using rice water as a hair treatment, referred to as Yu-Su-Ru, offered significant benefits, including reducing surface friction and increasing hair elasticity.
To use it, simply shampoo and condition as you normally would, but instead of rinsing with plain water, rinse your hair with a generous amount of rice water – be sure that it’s cooled first. Use it as a finishing rinse once or twice each week for the best results.
7. Growing the longest hair you’ve ever had
The Yao women are also famous for their very long hair, that was said to be achieved thanks to rice water. Most women in this area have hair that’s longer than 55 inches, and they even made an appearance in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest hair village.
The best way to do this is to follow the fermented rice water method below, and add a few drops of rosemary or lavender essential oils. Use the water as an alternative to your regular shampoo.