Using Rice Water for Hair: Why Is It Always So Effective?

Rice is a staple diet in South and Southeast Asia. A rich source of carbohydrates, it also contains many vital minerals and vitamins. Besides using rice water for hair, many people also use it for cooking and cleaning. Several communities in Asia and Africa also prefer fermented rice water as an additive to local cuisines. This residual substance stew also works as a stand-alone drink for alleviating digestive troubles and dehydration.

Rice water has been traditionally favored for treating hair and facial skin. It has been widely used across the rice-eating population in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent to repair damaged hair and soothe irritable skin. In India, rice water also goes by the names kanji and maand. It offers a natural glow on the facial skin and makes it supple. Before we get to know more about the benefits of rice water for hair, let us first understand what rice water is and how we can distill it for common use.

How to use rice water for hair and skin? 

Rice water can be easily processed at home for external use on hair and skin. There are three ways you can extract rice water. Let us find out the subtle difference between each of them. In all three processes, the rice water is collected and then kept in the refrigerator for use later. It can be extracted and stored properly for up to a week.

  • Rice water after cooking rice 

The most popular means of extracting rice water for intake and external use is collecting the leftover water after the rice has been boiled and cooked. Several rice cookers are designed to segregate the rice water containing starch so it can be used later. In addition, cooked rice water is edible, making the extraction process more preferred.

  • Rice water by soaking 

You can also collect rice water for hair and skin by simply soaking rice in water. Once the rice grains are swollen and can no longer absorb water, you should squeeze and drain them and refrigerate the rice water for external applications. After application, a gentle cleansing shampoo can enhance the effects of rice water treatment.

  • Fermented rice water

Fermented rice water packs in great nutrients. It can be made by straining rice water at room temperature and allowing it to ferment. After a day, the water will turn sour. Strain it and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Mamaearth’s fermented Rice Water Hair Mask helps repair damaged hair by providing root-to-tip nourishment resulting in smoother, longer, and stronger hair.


Rice water is highly recommended for skin and hair treatment. Rice water’s earliest use as a remedial application is traced to Japan thousands of years ago. Here are some amazing hair care benefits of rice water.

  • Can be used as a conditioner: Rice water is a conditioning agent. It makes the hair soft and keeps it hydrated. You can use refrigerated or freshly strained rice water to condition your hair after shampooing. Then, all you need to do is rinse it off with water.
  • Overnight hair mask: Rice water can also treat dry and frizzy hair. The most common remedy is to prepare a hair mask with aloe vera gel and rice water. Alternatively, you can infuse the rice water with essential oil and leave it overnight as a mask.
  • Conditioning spray: It is better to avoid aerosol-based hair shampoos and conditioners. You may store rice water in a spray bottle as a leave-on mask to keep your hair hydrated and shiny.
  • Make a cleansing shampoo:  Did you know you can use rice water to make a homemade conditioning shampoo? You need just three ingredients – rice water, liquid soap, and an essential oil extract such as lavender, tea tree, or rose for fragrance and therapeutic properties. And voila! Your conditioning shampoo is ready!

How else is rice water beneficial? 

There are multiple benefits of rice water in hair care. While it is a great cleansing and conditioning agent, overdoing it will leave your hair flaky. If you use rice water regularly, it is advisable to use its natural and toxin-free variant. For example, Mamaearth’s Rice Water Hair Mask is a good option and it can be used once or twice a week for best results.

Here are some amazing benefits of treating your hair with rice water.

  • Hydrates the hair and strengthens the hair follicles: Rice water is a great conditioner that will keep your hair hydrated and help reduce hair fall.
  • Reduces split ends: Rice water has a lot of nutritional value and is a conditioning agent. The combination of amino acids and vitamins makes the hair glossy while untangling the hair and reducing split ends.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Rice water calms irritable and itchy scalps when rinsed off quickly. It reduces inflammation and makes your hair healthy and manageable.
  • Nutrition for hair: Rice water contains antioxidants, vitamins, and starch. These provide the right nutrition to the scalp keeping it healthy and dandruff-free.
  • Good for hair growth: Rice water for hair is therapeutic. It nourishes, prevents dryness of the scalp, and makes hair manageable. All of these factors promote faster and more natural hair growth.

After conditioning your hair with rice water, you can clean it with sulphate- and paraben-free shampoo. Mamaearth’s Onion Shampoo with Onion and Plant Keratin softens the hair and reduces hair fall with regular use. In addition, amino acids from wheat and soy boost the tensile strength of hair follicles, making them healthier and more manageable.

Moreover, all Mamaearth products are Made Safe certified, containing no harmful chemicals and toxins like SLS or parabens. So, if you are looking for sulphate- and paraben-free shampoos, this is just the online brand to prefer.


Rice water can be used moderately to treat dry hair and scalp. It has versatile uses and serves as a conditioner, a hair mask, a leave-on spray, and a cleansing shampoo. It is rich in amino acids, Vitamin E, and antioxidants and they help keep hair hydrated and strong.

Rice water is a homemade recipe and should be ideally made fresh before use. You can also refrigerate it for a limited period depending on whether you have strained it after cooking, soaking, or fermenting. It is essential to rinse rice water thoroughly to avoid a flaky scalp condition.

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