I Tried Putting Rice Water on my Hair, and the Results Were Surprising

If you’ve been browsing the haircare side of TikTok (also known as HairTok), you may have come across a lot of people raving about the advantages of rice water. From benefits like shiny hair to increased hair growth, it seems to be a holy grail in the haircare world - but where does the idea come from? Rice water has been used for thousands of years by the Yao women in China. I’ve noticed that many TikToks do not acknowledge the cultural significance of rice water, and it’s important to respect the origins of these traditional methods. 

I have low porosity hair that doesn’t typically react well to high-protein treatments, so I was a little hesitant to try rice water. After seeing endless TikToks of shiny hair gracing my feed, I have to try it for myself. I used around a half cup of rinsed basmati rice with three cups of water, and added some orange peels for scent. I left the mixture at room temperature for 24 hours, and then strained and refrigerated the water. I saw a lot of TikToks that talked about how the mixture smelled bad, but I didn’t notice anything peculiar about it – it just smelled like rice and citrus. 

In the shower, first I shampooed my hair, and then I got out to do the rice water treatment. As the rice water was refrigerated, it was COLD. Getting out of a warm shower to dump ice water over your head is not a fun time. I left the mixture in my hair for 20 minutes, then got back in the shower to rinse the mixture out and condition my hair. 

When my hair was drying, I noticed that it was easier to manage: like I had just put leave-in conditioner in. I did notice a distinct rice smell, but that went away when my hair was dry. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how well rice water worked for my hair. While I didn’t notice any sudden hair growth overnight, my hair was smoother and easier to manage, despite being a tad dry. My recommendation is try this once to see how your hair reacts, in case your hair develops too much protein with the rice water. Protein overload can make your hair brittle, which negates any potential hair growth that could be gained by doing this treatment. 

Have you tried adding rice water to your hair routine? Let us know how it worked for you on our socials!