Rice is a staple food in many regions, especially Asian countries like China and Japan. Given its easy availability, rice has been put to multifarious uses from liquor preparation to fertilizer manufacturing to being the most prominent feature in a number of global cuisines.
While you may be well versed with the resourceful goodness packed in this wholesome grain, what remains relatively unexplored are its beauty benefits.
It may come as a surprise to many people that even the residual starchy water that you mindlessly chuck out after boiling your rice in it contains a whole list of nutrients that can help enhance the quality of your skin and your hair.
Rice–enriched with minerals; antioxidants; vitamins B, C and E; and eight essential amino acids–is a powerhouse ingredient that not only promotes your overall health but also works wonders for your appearance.
A 2018 study published in Cosmetics found rice water to exhibit in vitro biological antioxidant activity as well as elastase inhibitory effect. Furthermore, the gel formulation containing 96% rice water was found biocompatible with the human skin and presented suitable cosmetic properties.(1)
Rice water is essentially the milky white solution that you get after soaking or boiling rice. It can be concentrated, diluted, or even fermented to tap its versatile benefits. What adds to the charm of this ingenious solution is that it’s so easy to whip up.
For the longest time Asian cultures have sworn by this beauty secret, but now rice water is fast gaining worldwide traction as one of the simplest and most effective DIY “beauty product.” After all, it only takes a little rice and water to kiss your beauty woes goodbye!
How to Make Rice Water for Beautiful Skin and Hair
Here are two ways to make rice water–either by boiling or without boiling.
Steps to make rice water by boiling:
1. Wash 1 cup of organic rice with clean water.
2. Cook the rice in an uncovered pan with 3 cups of water.
3. After the rice is cooked, strain the water into a clean container.
4. Allow the rice water to cool down, and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of this concentrated solution in 1 cup of water. Stir it to get a barely milky-looking mixture. Use this mixture as needed in your beauty regimen.
Steps to make rice water without boiling:
1. Rinse 1 cup of organic rice with water and add 2 cups of water to it.
2. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
3. Stir it and then drain the water into another bowl.
Transfer this water into a clean container and store it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Shake it well before use. You can also keep the rice water at room temperature for 2 days to allow fermentation before storing it in the refrigerator. To use fermented rice water, dilute it with plain water in the ratio of 1:3 before using it.
Once your homemade rice water is ready, you can use it in your daily skin and hair care routine. Give this beauty remedy a go, and you’ll be compelled to wash your hands off of expensive and chemical-based cosmetic products to fix your skin and hair troubles.
Advantages of Rice Water to Your Skin and Hair
Here are a few benefits of rice water for your skin and hair.
1. Improves Hair Health
Rice water makes hair soft, strong, and healthy. Hair is made up of protein; hence, the protein in rice water is good for replenishing your hair. Rice protein strengthens the hair shaft and fills in the cracks, which can result in shiny, stronger, and softer hair.(2)
Plus, rice water contains inositol, a type of carbohydrate that can prevent hair damage and keep it healthy and soft.
Rice water can also treat hair loss by increasing the growth rate of new hair and strengthening the hair strands as they grow.
- After shampooing your hair, pour rice water diluted with plain water on your hair.
- Using your fingertips, gently massage your scalp for 10 minutes.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water.
- Apply this hair treatment 2 or 3 times a week.
2. Tames Frizzy Hair
Rice water is just the thing you need for frizzy and unmanageable hair. The good amount of protein in it can deep condition your hair, making it smoother and thus more manageable. By reducing surface friction, the inositol carbohydrate in rice water makes your hair easier to detangle as well as improves its elasticity.
A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science extensively explored the history of hairstyles and hair care practices adopted by Japanese women. Based on this research, it was found that these women used rice water to rinse their hair each day.(3)
- Shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly.
- Mix 1 part of fermented rice water and 3 parts of bath water so that it remains only slightly cloudy.
- Use this mixture as a final rinse.
- Repeat this treatment once or twice a week for best results.
3. Soothes Irritated Skin
Rice water functions as a soothing balm to palliate skin irritation and inflammation. In fact, the starch in rice water has been found to be especially effective in healing the dry skin lesions resulting from eczema.
A 2002 study published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica found that exposure to bath water containing rice starch twice daily for 15 minutes led to a 20% improvement in the healing capacity of the damaged skin.(4) According to this study, such skin repair bath is highly recommended for the treatment of damaged skin barrier, particularly in patients with atopic dermatitis.
- For any kind of skin irritation or inflammation, add a few cups of rice water to warm bath water. Soak your body in this water for 15 to 20 minutes, twice daily.
- For localized irritation, soak a cotton ball in cool rice water and apply it on the affected area. Repeat a few times daily.
4. Tightens Skin Pores
Open or large pores make your skin vulnerable to an array of dermatological problems, such as acne and blackheads, particular so if you have oily skin. Rice water is highly effective in fighting this irritating problem.(1)
Rice water works as a natural astringent to tone and tighten your skin. In addition to minimizing the appearance of skin pores, rice water helps restore the skin’s pH balance, stimulates cell growth, and promotes blood flow.
- Dilute rice water with an equal amount of water.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply it on your face.
- Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse it off.
- For best results, use this remedy every night after cleansing your face.
5. Improves Skin Complexion
Rice water also improves your skin complexion and makes your skin healthy and flawless. It helps flush toxins out of the skin, improves skin elasticity, and reduces inflammation.
Plus, with prolonged and regular use, rice water can work as a skin-lightening agent to reduce or prevent the appearance of age spots and hyperpigmentation.(5)
- Soak a cotton pad in diluted rice water.
- Apply it on your clean face like a toner.
- Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Then, massage in circular motions for a few minutes.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Do this at least once daily.
6. Helps Soften Skin
Rice water is great for keeping your skin soft and moisturized. The protein in it prevents water loss, thereby keeping the skin feeling soft and supple for much longer.
Also, it contains antioxidants that help reduce free radical damage caused by aging, sun exposure, and environmental factors.(2)
- Dilute rice water with cool water in the ratio of 1:2.
- Soak a washcloth in this solution.
- Place this cloth on your clean face and leave it for 15 minutes or more.
- Gently wash your face with the leftover rice water to get soft, smooth skin.
- Finally, rinse your face with plain water.
- Repeat this remedy once daily.
- You can use any variety of rice like white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, etc.
- Always rinse the rice once with water to remove dirt and other particles.
- You can also use organic rice. Even though it’s a bit more expensive than regular rice, the organic variety has the advantage of being completely devoid of any pesticides.
- Marto J, Neves Â, Pinto P, Almeida C, Simões S. Rice Water: A Traditional Ingredient with Anti-Aging Efficacy. Cosmetics. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/5/2/26. Published April 1, 2018.
- Amended final report on the safety assessment of Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Oil, Oryza Sativa (rice) Germ Oil, Rice Bran Acid,Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Wax, Hydrogenated Rice Bran Wax, Oryza Sativa (rice)Bran Extract, Oryza Sativa (rice) Extract, Oryza Sativa (rice) Germ Powder, Oryza Sativa (rice) Starch, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Hydrolyzed Rice Extract, and Hydrolyzed Rice Protein. International Journal of Toxicology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17090480. Published 2006.
- Inamasu S, Ikuyama R, Fujisaki Y, Sugimoto KI. Abstracts: The effect of rinse water obtained from the washing of rice (YU‐SU‐RU) as a hair treatment. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00605_3.x. Published September 1, 2010.
- De K, Hachem JP, Vanpee E, Roseeuw D, Rogiers V. Effect of rice starch as a bath additive on the barrier function of healthy but SLS-damaged skin and skin of atopic patients. Acta Dermato Venereologica. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12353708. Published 2002.
- Lee TH, Seo JO, Do MH, Ji E. Resveratrol-Enriched Rice Down-Regulates Melanin Synthesis in UVB-Induced Guinea Pigs Epidermal Skin Tissue. Biomolecules and Therapeutics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201217/. Published September 2014.