Rice water has been used by the Yao women of China, to grow long dark hair for centuries. Most of them having hair pass their ankles. Most have probably already heard about the amazing hair growth benefits rice water offers but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Rice is made up of numerous rich nutrients, the key one’s being amino acids. Amino acids are responsible for strengthening hair helping to protect it from the strain of day-to-day factors (e.g. wind, sun, manipulation) thus reducing the risk of breakage. However, too much of a good thing can always be problematic.
Rice water is one of those hit or miss DIY ingredients, this is because hair has different attributes to it. The important ones summed up, are:
• Really soft hair that gains & loses moisture easily (HIGH POROSITY)
• Hard/tough hair that gains & loses moisture very slow (LOW POROSITY)
• Hair that’s somewhere in between (MEDIUM/NORMAL POROSITY)
It kind works like skin in a way. Not all products can work well with the 4 different types of skin (i.e. oily, normal, dry and combination). So not all products work for the different hair porosities (high, medium and low).
The faster hair is able to absorb and lose moisture, the quicker the hair weakens. This is especially true for softer, more porous natural hair (i.e high porosity), dry damaged hair, hair that has been chemically dyed, hair that has had too much heat applied to it and relaxed hair (mainly over processed hair). Rice water will therefore be beneficial for frequent use, to strengthen and repair hair, thereby reducing breakage and maximising growth.
However, the slower one absorbs & loses moisture, the slower the hair manages to weaken, and here in lies the problem with frequent use of rice water. Rice water may actually be a problem, rather than a solution, damaging hair & making it prone to a lot of breakage. This is especially true for low porosity and certain medium porosity hair. So rice water shouldn’t be used as frequently in this case.
Please note that there is a reasonable margin, that your hair can be repaired when damaged. If it is overly damaged then it’s best to transition (slowly grow out the damage and trim out a bit at a time).
When hair is over-strengthened, it gets hard, brittle and stiff. This makes the hair easily snap off like a dry twig, which is breakage. Since excessive breakage is the enemy of visible hair growth (as the rate of breakage can exceed the rate of natural hair growth). It’s important to balance these strengthening properties with moisturising/ softening ones (e.g. glycerin) to reduce the risk of the stiffening. This allows for you to visibly see your length gain.
HOW TO MAKE RICE WATER.
- The Basic Way.
•¼ cup of rice.
•1¼ cup of water.
•1 glass container & lid.
•¼ teaspoon of glycerin.
•6 drops of essential oil- to reduce the smell (optional).
- Thoroughly wash the rice in a bowl to remove impurities.
- Place the rice in a glass bowl & add the 1½ cup of water to soak for approximately 30 minutes.
- (a) Strain the mixture, keeping the water.
(b) Boil the mixture, strain the water & let the water cool.
(c) Ferment the mixture (either with or without the rice) in a cool dark place for 1-3 days. Strain the water when done.
- Add the glycerin & essential oil to the water and stir well.
- Use the water as a rinse either after you have completed washing your hair or before you shampoo your hair as a hair treatment (for 10 minutes prior to washing). You can use the boiled rice water as a strengthening conditioner after washing.
It’s important to note that the fermentation method, is the best method. As most of the essential nutrients contained in the rice have been allowed enough time to soak into the water and has matured
- The “Yao” Way.
• ¼ cup rice.
• 1 cup water.
• 1 sturdy spoon.
• 1 glass jar & lid.
• 1 small pamello peel (or any other citrus fruit of choice, eg. orange).
• 1 small pot.
• 1 tablespoon herb of choice (optional).
• 6-8 drops of essential oil of choice (optional).
• ½ teaspoon of glycerin.
- Thoroughly wash rice in a bowl.
- Add the water to the rice & use a spoon to crush the rice this is to make sure you collect as much as the nutrients as possible.
- When the water is cloudy and white let it sit for 5 minutes before straining out the water.
- In the pot add the cloudy rice water, citrus peels and an extra ½ cup of water.
- Boil for atleast 15- 30 minutes on low-medium heat.
- Add the entire mixture (peels & all) into the glass container, then add your herbs.
- Close the jar with a towel and let cool.
- Once cooled add the essential oil & close the jar to ferment.
- Leave in a cool dark place (like a pantry) for 1-4 weeks.
- Strain our the water, add your glycerin and it’s ready to use.
It’s important to note that fermented rice water is extremely potent. It’s best to dilute it with an extra ¼-½ cup of water for every week fermented. Eg. Week 1= ¼-½ cup; & week 4= 1-2 cup. So if you plan to use ur rice water weekly/biweekly you can strain out a little water at a time. Then add the extra water to the strained water for use
HOW TO USE RICE WATER.
-For The Basic Way #3. (a) & (c) It’s best to use a final rinse or a pre-shampoo rinse treatment. You can either pour it all over your head or add to a spray bottle for easier distribution.
-For The Basic Way #3. (b) can be used as a strengthening conditioner after using shampoo.
-For The ‘Yao’ Way, you can use it jus like the suggested ways above. Making sure to leave on (under a shower cap for 10-15 minutes) before rinsing.
HOW OFTEN TO USE RICE WATER.
To be honest, this depends entirely on your porosity and hair in general. Some, although very few, can use it daily. While for others not so frequently. Although a recommended guideline would be:
• HIGH POROSITY- weekly to biweekly.
• MEDIUM POROSITY- biweekly to monthly.
• LOW POROSITY- monthly (although it is possible to use it every 2 weeks as well).
It’s best to try the recommended guidelines at first then as you progress you can try and use the rice water more frequently.
Hope the article inspired you to give rice water a try for hair growth & regrowth. Comment below your experiences with rice water and which method you like best.