If you’re a regular TikToker, chances are you’ll have seen the latest beauty hack for hair – rice water. Using rice water on hair is nothing new. Women in East Asia have been doing it for centuries. But now it’s truly gone global on TikTok, with the hashtag #ricewater currently at 558 million views. There are thousands of videos of people rinsing their hair with rice water and claiming it leaves them with super-shiny, super-long tresses. But are there any real benefits of rice water for hair, or is it all just an old wives’ tale? Read on as we take a deep dive into the trend.
What Is Rice Water?
Quite simply, it’s the starchy, milky liquid created when you cook or soak rice in water. It’s surprisingly versatile stuff. It can be used to cook vegetables or meat, washing hands and can even be used as a household cleaner! Some also claim it can work wonders on the hair and skin.
What Are the Benefits of Rice Water for Hair?
As we know, the treatment’s been around for a long time, and certainly, rice water is full of the good things your body needs. You’ll find antioxidants, minerals and vitamins (B and E in particular). And there are also amino acids; the organic molecules that link together to form proteins. Protein is very important for healthy hair. Without it, hair can become brittle and dry, tangled and prone to breakage. Rice water afficionados claim it makes hair stronger, shiner, smoother and can even boost growth. Some also say the high levels of starch in rice water can help with volume.
But Does It Actually Work?
With all those great nutrients, it seems logical that rice water should have benefits for hair. However, despite the long history of the treatment, and the millions across the world having a crack at it now, there is very little scientific evidence to show that it actually does. Everything is pretty much anecdotal in nature, with nothing concrete to back it up.
A Japanese study in 2010 did indicate that there were two tangible benefits to applying rice water to hair. They found it could reduce surface friction and improve the elasticity of hair. But that was all, and they unfortunately found that basic rice water was difficult to apply and was likely to cause flaking on the hair surface. And for those suffering with hair fall, there is absolutely zero evidence that rice water has any benefits unfortunately.
Although rice water is 100% natural, with no harsh chemicals, it still needs to be used with caution. This is especially the case for those with fine hair or hair loss. It can also cause issues for people with dry scalps. The problem is the protein. While we know how vital protein is to hair health, too much protein can have negative effects. All that starch can create a flaky build up on the scalp, causing dryness and itchiness. And with the hair itself, protein overload can make the strands dry out, become brittle and break.
How Do You Do It?
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Should you throw caution to the wind, making rice water is easy. Rinse 200 grams of rice through a sieve, then mix the strained rice with 250 ml of water in a bowl. Mix until the water becomes cloudy, then strain the liquid through the sieve into a plastic container. Then let sit for 12-24 hours at room temperature, then put it in the fridge. It’ll keep for around a week at a push. After you wash your hair, rub into your damp hair and scalp and then rinse out after 3-5 minutes.
Rice water is a very old hair health hack, and there is no denying it’s getting some serious traction on TikTok. It’s clear that many people find there are benefits of rice water for hair. But with no concrete evidence it works (especially for those with thin hair or hair loss) and the problems of protein overload, we recommend you use this treatment sparingly. Perhaps no more than fortnightly, or even monthly. Whatever you decide, be sure to maintain best hair health habits with Hair Gain’s scientifically formulated Capsules and Gummies. And give your hair and scalp the love it deserves with our nourishing Hair Mask.