How to Use Rice Water for Gorgeous Hair and Skin (Detailed Instructions)

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How to Use Rice Water for Gorgeous Hair and Skin

Next time you boil rice, think twice before throwing the water. Rice water is rich in beauty minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. Asian women have used rice water for centuries to beautify their hair, promote hair growth, and nourish their face and skin cells. Read on to find out how to make rice water and how to use it for gorgeous hair and skin.


What is Rice Water?

Rice water, in its simplest form, is the water that is leftover after washing off rice in preparation for eating. It can be concentrated or diluted and even fermented to bring out most of its benefits.

Rice water contains nutrients that can fortify hair and renew skin when used as a facial wash or hair rinse, and unlike many products for skin or hair care on the commercial market, it is an easy and natural way to care for your skin and hair.

Rice Water is used to Keep Skin Healthy and Promote Healthy Hair Growth

Rice water has been used in eastern medicine to keep skin pliable and youthful-looking and to make hair grow strong and shiny since ancient times, in places ranging across the Asian continent. You won’t find any sulfates or silicates in a bowl of rice water, and the best part is that you can whip it up quickly in the comfort of your own home for a price that can’t be beaten.

Traditionally, female rice farmers in Japan used to bathe and wash in the water used for cleaning white rice.

In the Heian period, as early as the 9th century, women at the Japanese imperial court used fermented rice water to keep their hair long, healthy, and beautiful. Their beautiful long hair reached to the floor. These court ladies were said to have combed their hair each day using Yu-Su-Ru, which is the rinse water obtained from the washing of rice.

The Yao ethnic women from the village of Huangluo in China is a testament to this tradition. Where the women of the Yao ethnic minority reside, a haircut is something that is not only infrequent, but often never done at all—and their hair is extremely long (often more than 6 feet in length!), thick, dark and shiny well into their later years. What’s their secret?

According to an article published in China Daily, the secret for keeping their hair dark and clean is to wash it with rice water. It’s a natural shampoo and hair conditioner.3

Rice water is prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners as an effective ointment to cool off inflamed skin surfaces.6

Rice Water for Lush Hair and Young Looking Skin – the Research

In one research proposal detailing a project aimed at creating more effective hair care products at Japan’s SPring-8 facility, one specific substance found in rice water, called inositol, proved useful in improving elasticity of hair and reducing friction in damaged hair.4 This led to marked improvements in the overall health of the hair.

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Another research study, published in November 2010 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, noted that the longstanding traditional hair care method of the Heian period—rinsing hair with rice water—could prove beneficial to people in the modern era, as well. These researchers found that extracts created from rice water were effective in maintaining hair health and would make an ideal addition to commercial hair care products.2

How to Make Rice Water for Promoting Skin and Hair Health

If you want to see if using rice water as part of your own hair and skincare routine can be beneficial for you, here are a few quick and easy recipes for preparing a batch of rice water:

Which rice to use

Brown, white long grain, white short grain, jasmine, or whatever you have.

Method 1: Boiled rice water to encourage healthy hair growth and promote skin health

To make a concentrate of rice water to use all week long in its diluted form as a facial wash or hair rinse, prepare rice as you normally would, but use two to three times the amount of water you usually would.

After the rice has cooked, strain it out. The leftover water will be a vivid white color, and will contain a high concentration of nutrients. However, don’t use it at full strength. Instead, dilute a few tablespoons of this concentrated rice water into a cup of clean water, making a barely milky-looking mixture.

Use this diluted solution to wash your face or to treat your hair, and store the leftover concentrate in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to one week.

Method 2: No-boil quick method

If you want to extract rice water quickly and don’t want to go through the hassle of diluting and storing, simply take two cups of water and put a half cup of rice into it for 15 minutes. Strain the rice from the water and use this rice water to wash your face, hair, or both.

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Method 3: Fermented rice water

Fermented rice water is thought to be especially good for hair because of the pH change that occurs to the water during the fermentation process (the process brings the rice water’s pH more closely in line with hair’s natural pH, and causes the release of a chemical called pitera that may promote the regeneration of cells). The method for making it calls for a few extra steps, but the results are well worth the trouble.

To make fermented rice water, prepare rice water according to the no-boil quick method listed above and allow it to sit in a jar at room temperature for one or two days (in warmer climates, the fermentation process will take less time). When a slightly sour smell arises from the rice water, stop the fermentation process by keeping the solution in the fridge and use this rice water for skin toning or as a hair rinse.

Fermented rice water is very potent, so it’s best to dilute it with 1-2 cups of warm water before using it.

Wash your face with rice water daily before bedtime, and use it in your hair as a finishing rinse no more than once or twice per week—think of it as being like a deep conditioner, where a little goes a long way.

The benefits remain even after it has been rinsed away, so you can wash and rinse as you normally would without any fear of unsightly build-up occurring.

How to Use Rice Water for Skin and Hair

You can use rice water every day as part of your cleansing skin care routine, morning or evening. For your promoting healthy hair growth it is recommended to use it once or twice a week either as hair wash or last rinse.

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Here are a few more tips:

– Use rice water as part of your face and body cleanser to make a face or body wash.

– Use rice water as a natural substitute for your regular toner which can also help you to reduce the size of the pores on your skin. Another option is to add rice water to these 8 natural remedies to shrink your pores. Simply dab a bit of rice water onto your face and gently massage it into your skin for couple of minutes. With regular use you will notice your skin feeling soft, tight, and radiant.

– You can also use it as a part of your moisturizing face mask and you can also add a few drops of these best essential oils for skincare.

– Rinsing your hair with rice water brings shine to your hair and helps to keep it strong and healthy. You can also add to the rice water a few drops of these essential oils for strong and shiny hair. After shampooing, pour the rice water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes. Then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water. Use it once or twice a week as a last rinse.

– Add rice water to these bath soaks to cleanse, relax and rejuvenate your body. Fill a small muslin bag with 1/2 cup rice and place the muslin bag into the water and soak in the tub.

– Make a body scrub by using the rice leftover from making the rice water. To create the scrub, grind the rice and mix it with 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil and lemon juice each (you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil) and rub it into the skin to exfoliate and nourish.

There are other natural ingredients which can be used to beautify your hair and skin:
1. Learn how to use coconut oil for beautiful glowing skin and shiny hair
2. Find out why you should wash your hair with apple cider vinegar (ACV)
3. Learn why you should wash your face with ACV.
4. The Best Home Remedies to Treat Oily Skin: The Ultimate Guide

Article Sources and Medical Studies:

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104 Responses to How to Use Rice Water for Gorgeous Hair and Skin (Detailed Instructions)

  1. precious afonne says:

    Wow..this is very interesting.. will give it s trial. thank you for educating me. Ready to learn more from you.

  2. Faith says:

    Am hearing about this for the first time. Will definitely try it out…

  3. Montel says:

    Never think about rice water being good for skin will try it

  4. ace says:

    Why boil the water after fermenting it? Doesn’t that kill the probiotics that make the rice water good for the skin in the first place?

    • Jenny says:

      This is a good question – the first source says to boil the fermented rice water to stop the fermentation process. But following your question I think there is truth in what you say, and actually you don’t need to boil the solution to stop fermentation. Basically just storing the solution in the fridge stops fermentation and retains the probiotic. So I think you have a good point and I’m going to change the instructions. Thank you for pointing this out!

    • Sylvia says:

      Placing in the frig will not stop the fermentation process. I have potato bread starter in my frig. You cannot tighten the lid completely because of the gas build up inside the jar while in the frig. Maybe do more research about what boiling will do the probiotics.

  5. FAVOUR says:

    Am surprised to hear this for the first time, I will definitely try it. Thanks for the education.am grateful jenny. I think I prefer the first method.

  6. Usha says:

    Elderly ladies in our house used this practice to wash their skin n hair

  7. alice says:

    Thank u for this valuable information,but must I use any cleanser and rice water together,or rice water work as a cleanser?thank u in advance

  8. Nora says:

    Does rice water help in eradicating stretchmarks?

  9. Eva wainainsa says:

    can rice water minimise wrinkles

  10. Susan says:

    I’d like some clarification. To use rice water as a facial cleanser, do you just wash with the rice water, period? No other cleanser? And do you rinse your face with plain water after washing with the rice water? For hair, the article says to rinse with rice water, and then rinse with plain water. So, wash hair with shampoo, rinse with rice water, and then rinse with plain water? Or, is the rice water in lieu of the shampoo?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Susan, when using it as a facial cleanser, you don’t need to wash it afterwards with plain water. You can apply it on the skin and leave it, for example you can apply it before going to bed and wash the face in the morning. When using it for hair, the rice water does not replace shampoo. You still need to shampoo your hair, wash the shampoo, then apply the rice water and leave for a few minutes while massaging the hair. Then rinse with water.

  11. Safia says:

    Can I put a face moisturiser after rinsing my face with the rice water?

  12. Ann says:

    Hi I’m using rice flour is that the same as rice this morning my face feels a bit dry. I use a tea spoon and add water hope I’m doing it right thanks Ann

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Ann, rice flour is made from finely milled rice so you can prepare from it rice water similar to method 2 mentioned in the article. A mixture of rice flour and water like you do is also good as a gentle facial scrub or a face mask.

    • Lula kidd says:

      Can rice water just be used as a leave conditioner

  13. Renewing Serum says:

    Amazing skin care regimen. Rice is not only a staple food but it could help also making your skin firm and smooth. Asian countries are rich with rice and it’s great to know the wonderful use of it in our skin and hair.

  14. zany zara says:

    Hi,i want to do a lemon rinse followed by rice rinse on my 4c natural hair.is this advisable?

  15. Miya says:

    I used non-boiled method for my face and leave it. I haven’t try boiling it.
    What’s the big difference of boiled and non-boiled rice water? I want to know. Thanks 🙂

    • Jenny says:

      The difference is that the non-boiling method is quicker and you don’t need to dilute the rice water as you do in the boiling method. In the boiling method the rice water is concentrated and you need to dilute it, so it lasts longer and you can store the rest in the fridge.

  16. Tasha says:

    When it comes to the fermentation can you leave the rice in over night then strain or is it best to strain after 15 mins?

    • Jenny says:

      I’m not really sure what would be the result if you leave the rice in overnight rather than straining it after 15 minutes, but I believe it should still be fine even if you leave the rice for longer.

  17. Eliza says:

    Is the rice in Method 2 and 3, cooked or uncooked rice (rice grains)?

  18. nimra says:

    hellow.. i am using plain white rice water for skin and here both… so my skin having a trouble of pimpes??? plx give mesome idea what to do i am veryy tensed regarding this…

  19. Itua E. Brenda says:

    I have so many fingernail scars on my face, pls tell me and show me what to use to get rid of it.

  20. Monique says:

    Hi. I have dark scars on my jaw from pulling out unwanted hairs growing there over the years. Will the rice water therapy lighten my jaw and remove the ugly scars? Please help.

  21. kat says:

    Hi, is it OK to just leave the rice water to my hair for how many minutes before taking a bath? That means i will shampoo and condition after i soaked my hair in rice water.

    Thanks.

  22. cassandra says:

    Hey jenny,
    Lovely information you have provided here. I am using it for a while and i can see some major changes. It’s like my skin’s getting smoother and softer every passing day. However, I need some clarification out here, for using it for hair can I first shampoo my hair then do the rice water rinse and then deep condition it???? Or should I use it after the deep conditioning????
    Thanks

    • Jenny Hills says:

      You first shampoo the hair. Then if you use conditioner, condition your hair (not all people use conditioner), and then pour the rice water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for a few minutes. Then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water.

  23. Confidence says:

    Hi Jennie , can you rice water clear varicose veins on the back of the knee and can it stop the appearance of green veins on arms, thighs and hips? Thanks

    • Jenny Hills says:

      No, I don’t believe so. If you have spider veins which are similar to varicose veins, but smaller, you can try to diminish them using these home remedies. But it is a slow process and results vary between different people.

  24. Yve says:

    Hi,

    Can you leave the rice water in your hair as a leave in conditioner? So you don’t wash it out with water after spraying it in?

    Thanks!

  25. Pinky says:

    Can we apply night cream over the rice water

  26. Rochell says:

    Hi, This info is very helpful butI’m wondering if I it’s okay to use my regular cleanser and then the rice toner and lastly moisturize?

  27. Jasmine says:

    Hi,I want long hair, so how can I use the rice water for my hair I mean uncooked rice water or cooked rice water,what is the best for me?
    And which rice water is high benefit uncooked rice water or cooked rice water? If uncooked rice water how to I use it and if cooked rice water how to use it,cooked rice water is cook with rice or takaking the washing rice ? Thank you n please reply me

    • Jenny Hills says:

      It’s hard to know what is specifically best for you because every person is different, and you often need to experiment to see what gives you the best results. I personally tried only the quick method of the uncooked rice so I cannot compare between the two. In the uncooked rice method which is quicker, you simply take two cups of water and put a half cup of rice into it for 15 minutes. Then you strain the rice from the water and use only the rice water to wash your hair. In the cooked rice method you use two to three times the amount of water you usually would. After the rice has cooked, strain it out, so you end up with the leftover water. Because the leftover water is concentrated, you need to dilute it – a few tablespoons of this concentrated rice water into a cup of water. then use the diluted solution to rinse your hair.

  28. ShaniceJamaican says:

    I left the bottle of rice water for two or three days. I hope it works I plan to try this again

  29. Qudrah says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Do you think this can be any help for children with Eczema?
    Thanks

  30. Srinu says:

    Which rice we have to use. While cleaning rice or after cooking remained water?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      It depends which method you choose. In the second quick method the rice is not boiled. In the first method you need to cook the rice.

  31. sandra says:

    leaving the bolied rice water for three days, hope it will give me a good result as I dilute it before rinsing my face?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Yes, fermented rice water is very potent, so it’s best to dilute it with water water before using it.

  32. sandra says:

    please, my boiled rice water has been in a covered plate for about 5/6days now. is it still good for usage or should I throw it away since it is not refrigerated?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      I’m actually not entirely sure – Usually you don’t need to let it ferment for so long, and I couldn’t find information as to what happens when you leave the rice water to ferment 5-6 days. It might be still OK to use with a proper dilution of water (as the fermentation went for longer time), but I can’t know for sure.

  33. Jillian says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I didn’t boil the rice but left it to ferment 2 days.
    There seemed to be floating pieces of jellyish looking gunk.
    Is this normal? The rice water does not stink but smells mildly sweet.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Jillian, fermentation is a bit of a tricky process. I’ve used fermentation in the past to prepare kefir milk, kefir water and kombucha and had to experiment with it several times to get the best results. Fermentation depends on the temperature. The warmer it is, the faster the fermentation is. So depending on the temperature where you live, it might be that the rice needs extra time to ferment. I personally didn’t make the fermented method, only the no-boil quick method, so haven’t experimented with it myself. Another thing that I can think of is that the jellyish looking stuff is a result of not washing the rich thoroughly enough so the impurities or the starch in the rice formed these floating pieces. It also might be from the bacteria that forms during the fermentation process (as I had when making kefir and kombucha). I guess you will need to further experiment with this method and it will be great if you share your experience with other readers!

  34. RZ says:

    Hi. I want to know if the rice water turns the hair black or darkens the color? I love my dark goldenish hair and do not wish to lose out on the color.

  35. YV says:

    Hello. I have dark facial hair, not too noticeable unless up close. If I use rice water on my face, wouldn’t that also promote those facial hair to grow more stronger and thicker because rice water is also good for hair???

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Rice water is used to condition the hair and improve its appearance, but it doesn’t regrow hair, so it won’t have effect on facial hair. Rice water is more for shiner and beautiful looking hair. Facial hair is due to hormonal issues, genetic and ethnicity, so rice water will not make it worse or better.

  36. Mann says:

    Hi will the rice water tone my skin or brightens it and makes it more beautiful??

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Rice water is a skin toner that is used to cleanse the skin to remove excess oil and traces of dirt and impurities but doesn’t lighten the skin. For this purpose you can check my article about uneven skin tone.

  37. Georgina mautsa says:

    Hi jenny how long do i need to wait to see the results of my hair.i mean the length of my hair

    • Jenny Hills says:

      If you read the “research” section in this article, you will see that there is no current research that talks about lengthening the hair, but talks about improving elasticity of hair, treating damaged hair and maintaining hair health in general. The hair growth speed varies between different people and depends on various factors such as diet, using certain hair products, stress, medications, hormones etc.

      • CreativeChristena says:

        Jenny & Georgina: Another great resource showing before & after results using rice water rinse w/ How To’s & I believe she shares a few time-lines of clients when saw marked improvements in length & hair health, if I’m not mistaken, @ Ask Debbie About Hair channel on You Tube & click on or type in Rice Water Hair Rinse. There are 2 of them, one is a shorter follow-up explaining that long grain white rice is the one type that she found worked best f/ wonderful results.
        This was extremely helpful f/ me, so wanted to share it w/ you, since your Q., Georgina was re. how long until you see results in increased hair length. If nothing more, I think this vid. will greatly encourage you to keep using it ’til you see results, as Debbie is very encouraging…& she makes me believe that all of us will really see great results too. I’m just now starting to try it too. Can’t wait! & I wish you success too!

  38. David says:

    Can rice water be used for the treatment of bald headness??

    • Jenny Hills says:

      I haven’t seen any research about it and I don’t think so. Perhaps you would like to try one of the methods to encourage hair growth which I wrote about in the past – click HERE.

  39. Funnybaby says:

    Hi Jenny, pls I want my hair to be long, which rice water method will I use. and concerning the skin toning will I put the rice water in my bathing water or I will use only the rice water to bath? pls enlighten me because I really want my hair to be long. thanks.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      I’m honestly not sure which of the methods will give the best results as I haven’t compared between them (I’ve only used the quick method). As for using it for the skin – the article suggest various methods to use rice water for the skin, such as facial toner, adding to facial masks, body scrubs or adding to bath. You can be flexible and experiment and see what you like the most, and what works best for you. There are no strict rules.

  40. itohan says:

    after washing my face with the rice water,any need to rinsed my face with ordinary water?

  41. Kemmy says:

    Are these really working?

  42. Kaye says:

    Hello! May i ask? I didnt boil the rice water i just rinsed it twice and place it in the bowl for fifteen minutes before using it to my face, is it okay?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Hi Kaye, you’ve used the quick method (method 2 in the article) which is fine too.

  43. Patty says:

    Im having a bad breakout now, does this really works? Ive just heard this today

  44. Gemma says:

    Can i apply moisturizer cream after?

  45. I need help says:

    I washed my face with a soap first because i have make up on before i wash my face with rice water, is it okay?

  46. Chris says:

    i know when you get a certain age over 50 your hair growth process slows down. Will the rice water begin to help this problem? My mom’s hair has stopped growing in the top of her head and her edges are very thin.

  47. Jean says:

    Will rice water help with pores & blackheads

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      I would add the rice water to other ingredients that help with pores and blackheads. For example: add it to baking soda to create a paste. Apply the mixture on your face using circular motions and massage gently. After 30 seconds, rinse the paste off with cool water. Repeat the treatment every day for 7 days and then reduce the frequency to 3 to 5 times a week. Or mix equal amounts of rice water and raw apple cider vinegar. Apply the solution on your face using a cotton ball. Leave for a few minutes and then rinse it off. You can use this treatment every evening before going to bed. As baking soda and ACV dries the skin, follow it with a gentle moisturizer such as aloe vera. You can find more ideas to treat large pores HERE, and blackheads HERE.

  48. Ernestine says:

    Hi Jenny

    Can u instruct me how to use rice to make a cream for face

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      The consistency of rice water is liquid so you will not be able to use it in a cream consistency.

  49. Shuchita Mehta says:

    Hi

    I am planning to use boiled rice water. As told by u in the article not to use the whole water in one wash..we can save it for further use. Just tell me do we need to save that water in plastic container or in glass container in the refrigerator. And also for how many days we can save that water?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      You can store the leftover water in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to one week. You can use either plastic container or glass one.

  50. TB says:

    How many times can you reuse the rice to make rice water? Thanks for your help!

  51. Wayne says:

    hi, im looking to apply it as face mask, Is fermented rice water more effective than no boil rice water? Thanks

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      I guess that in the fermentation process there are other nutrients that develop that might be beneficial for the face, and that are absent in the no boil method.

  52. Farah says:

    I used rice water three times and my hair is soft and less frizzy,I haven’t noticed much change growth wise or hair falling wise but it is extremely dry. I shampoo and then use the rice water and leave it in for five minutes and then rinse it out? My hair is extremely dry? Is that a sign the rice water is not suiting me? Should I shampoo and use a conditioner and then use rice water? I use the boil rice method.
    I forgot to dilute the rice water on the first use, could that harm my hair? What are problems that can be caused by not diluting? maybe more hair falling out? Thank you

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      I’m not sure what happens if you don’t dilute it in the first method, but one time should not do any harm. When you use it for hair, after shampooing, pour the rice water on your hair (you don’t need to apply conditioner). Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes. Then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water. Use it once or twice a week as a last rinse. You can experiment with it several times and see if you notice any improvement. If not, and your hair is still dry, you may benefit better from these best natural oils for your hair.

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