History teaches us valuable lessons, which is why we’re taught it in school. However, our school textbooks may have missed out on some historical beauty tidbits, which we got to learn much later! For instance, we now know that Cleopatra’s gorgeous skin was because of raw milk. Here’s another little historical hack from the Far East – rice water is great for your hair!

Using rice water for hair is becoming popular these days, thanks to the benefits of rice for your hair. However, women in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and other countries have been doing this for centuries, and history is proof! In fact, Geishas and Japanese women of the Imperial Court in the Heian period had floor length hair, which was thanks to ‘Yu-Su-Ru’ – a solution of rice water. 

Rice water is the cloudy, milk-like liquid leftover from cooking or soaking rice. The liquid contains mainly starch, but some valuable nutrients too, like amino acids, antioxidants, Vitamins B, C, E as well as Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Manganese, Iodine and Potassium.

So how exactly does this work? Here’s a look at 5 reasons you can rely upon the benefits of rice for your hair, and why it’s the easiest, most economical hair hack out there!

5 Reasons to Bank upon the Benefits of Rice for Your Hair

1. Conditions Your Hair

This is the most popular benefit for using rice water for your hair. The rice water reduces friction between the hair strands, making them easy to detangle and keeping them smooth. It also helps add volume and bounce to hair, and causes light to reflect from the surface making hair shinier. 

2. Makes your Hair Grow

Yes, the reason behind the Japanese women’s gorgeous floor-length hair! Their hair was so famous it even had a name of its own – Kurokami. In fact, there’s a Guinness record for the Chinese town of Huangluo, which is the “World’s Longest Haired Village.” The amino acids promote regeneration of cells and encourage better hair growth. This is both in terms of length as well as thickness, the starch adds a thick coating on hair. Many people have noticed a significant reduction of receding hairlines by using rice water.

3. Protects Hair from Damage

Rice water creates a protective barrier for hair, protecting it against the elements. This is due to the inositol, a carbohydrate in rice. Inositol acts as a coating on the hair strands even after the rice water is washed off. It strengthens hair, boosts volume and also improves elasticity, reducing breakage. It also closes the cuticles on the hair shaft, giving hair that lustrous shine.

4. Soothes the Scalp

The hair originates from the scalp, so unless the scalp is clean, your hair is not going to have any long-term benefits. Rice water soothes any irritation in the scalp, especially if it has been subject to years of abuse from chemical products. Rice water is mild enough to be used even by those who have sensitive skin, as well as for those with chemically treated or colored hair. Ayurveda mentions that the use of rice water can reduce the growth of dandruff and fungus.

5. Maintains the Scalp’s pH

Rice water may seem like a very basic substance, but one of its superpowers includes balancing the scalp’s pH. It is a great alternative for a cleanser if you’d like to give your hair a break from chemical products. Rice water’s pH is similar to that of the scalp’s natural pH, making it ideal for soothing any imbalances in the scalp.

How to make Rice Water

Now that we know all the benefits of rice water, let’s look at how to go about making it. There are three ways to make rice water at home.


  • Rinse half a cup of raw rice in plain water.
  • Soak the rice in 2-3 cups of water for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid and use the rice for cooking.


  • Boil 2 cups of water.
  • Put in half a cup of raw rice.
  • Cover and cook till the rice is done. 
  • Strain the liquid from the cooked rice. 


  • Rinse half a cup of raw rice in plain water.
  • Soak the rice in 2-3 cups of water.
  • Leave the rice for 2-3 days, till it starts giving out a fermented fragrance.
  • Strain the liquid and discard the rice.

Fermented rice water is supposed to have more benefits than regular rice water. It is packed with more antioxidants and also has increased concentrations of vitamins and minerals. You can store rice water in the fridge for up to a week. Always shake the bottle well before use.

Rice water is generally safe for everyone, but overuse can cause dryness for some hair types. Start by using rice water once a week as a post shampoo rinse. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off. If your hair responds well, take it up to twice a week. If your hair seems to dry it, mix rice water with your regular shampoo and conditioner. Those with scalp inflammation should consult a doctor before using rice water for the hair.