Rice water for hair growth: Does rice water ACTUALLY speed up growth?

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Rice water has been used as a hair treatment to speed up growth and encourage shine for centuries in South East Asia, China, and Japan, and the trend has been popularised across the world over the last year or so thanks to TikTok. Before you boil up rice and use the water on your hair, here’s the science behind the method.

Have you ever heard of the Yao Women? These women are part of the Red Yao tribe and they’re known for their six-foot-plus long hair.

The Yao women (who are still around today) not only have super long hair, their hair is also said to only start greying when they reach their 80s.

These women say their superhuman hair is all thanks to the power of rice water.

The same is true for the women of the Heian period from 794 to 1185 CE in Japan, who had floor-length hair as a result of bathing in rice water.

But why is this natural elixir so powerful? And, how do you make it yourself at home?

Rice water is what it says on the tin – the starchy water left behind after cooking rice.

Rice is 80 percent starch, a white substance that functions as a carbohydrate store and is an important part of the human diet.

When you use rice water on your hair, it acts as a protein treatment that seeps into your strands and conditions your scalp.

It’s also full of vitamin B and E, amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals.

Not enough studies have been done on rice water as a hair treatment and most evidence in favour of the treatment is anecdotal.

However, one 2010 study suggested rice water may reduce surface friction and increase hair elasticity.

Fans of the natural treatment claim that rice water detangles the hair, makes it feel smoother, increases shine, makes your hair stronger, and helps it to grow long.

Nothing about rice water could be dangerous for your hair, so it’s worth trying yourself to see if the natural liquid does your hair service.

How to make rice water

All you need to make rice water is a cup of rice and a cup of water.

Start by rinsing and straining your rice to get rid of any dirt or impurities and then mix the strained rice with some water in a bowl.

Mix until the water becomes cloudy and then strain the rice, keeping the water in a container for use on your hair.

Other people say you should cook the rice in a pan of boiling water for 30 minutes, let it cool down, and then use the water on your hair.

Whichever method you use to prepare the water, you’re going to use it in the same way.

Wash your hair with your regular shampoo, rinse it out and then coat your hair with rice water.

Massage the rice water into your hair and scalp and leave it on for at least 20 minutes.

You could even leave the rice water on your hair overnight if you like, but some experts say this could cause damage and dry out the hair.

Finally, rinse away the rice water with warm to cool water and dry your hair or leave it to dry naturally.

Some experts recommend using a conditioner after using rice water, especially if you use it often.

You can keep the remaining rice water in the fridge for up to five days.

Try using rice water once or twice a week for optimal results.

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