Hair Care

How To Make Rice Water For Hair?

Fermented rice water is said to have an upper hand over plain rice water when it comes to its nourishing properties for the hair.

Written by Shayonee Dasgupta

On Jan 18, 2024 – 6 minutes read

How To Make Rice Water For Hair

What’s common between a 2024 haircare guru on TikTok and the Yao community in China whose history dates back nearly 2000 years? It’s in how both vouch for fermented Yao rice water as a miracle potion for hair. And many of you will be looking for how to make rice water for hair.

Could this be the missing element in your haircare regimen to achieve your dream hair? Here’s a full round-up of how to make rice water for your hair and use it for optimal benefits. The bonus? You will also learn how to make fermented rice water for hair, a more potent version! 

How Rice Water Promotes Hair Growth?

How To Make Yao Rice Water For Hair

Rice water is abundant in inositol, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

All these play a critical role in promoting hair growth. 

  • Amino acids: these are the building blocks of your hair strands. Keratin, a product of amino acids, builds the foundation for strong and healthy hair.  
  • Inositol: A vitamin B-complex, inositol(1) is crucial for influencing cellular communication to promote hair growth. 
  • Vitamins and minerals: It is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals essential for promoting hair growth. In particular, it contains Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) which plays an important role in maintaining overall hair health and preventing hair loss; Vitamin E which protects hair against oxidative stress and reduces hair fall; and Vitamin B9 which promotes cell division in hair follicles.

Benefits Of Rice Water For Hair

What does it do to your hair? These are some of the benefits of using rice water on your hair:

  • Enhanced Hair Growth: Rice water is loaded with amino acids and Vitamins C, B, and E, all of which are critical for making your hair shaft strong. A stronger and healthier shaft increases hair growth.
  • Smoother Hair: High concentrations of inositol and antioxidants in rice help smoothen your hair. Moreover, the starch and protein content in rice also coat the hair strands and result in a frizz-free appearance.
  • Softer Hair: When used consistently, it also fortifies the hair cuticles, reduces breakage, and prevents split ends. 

Does Rice Water Really Work?

How To Make Rice Water For Black Hair

Soaking your hair with rice water has taken social media by storm. But one is forced to ask: are there genuine benefits, or is it all just a myth?

Rice water has been in use historically for ages. In Japan and China, women in the Heian period swore by rice water remedies to help them maintain floor-length hair. 

Unfortunately, there is no scientifically proven study from a reputable source that demonstrates the promised benefits of rice water. While social media users advocate the use of rice water for hair growth, it remains anecdotal evidence without proper scientific validation.

Research carried out by a Japanese skincare brand shows inositol strengthens hair(2). Since it is rich in inositol, it can be beneficial for your hair. Another study also shows it can increase elasticity and reduce surface friction of hair. 

While results may vary from person to person, it may still be worth giving rice water a chance to see whether it works for you.

Who Should Use Rice Water?

Simply because the whole world is going gaga over rice water for hair, does it make sense for you to coat your strands with it? It is not that straightforward and you should take into consideration your hair type before trying out this remedy. 

Those with fine, dull, dry, or brittle hair surely benefit from using it consistently, especially if you want to increase shine, elasticity, or strength. If your hair is color-treated or exposed to heat regularly, rice water adds a much-needed protein boost. 

But if you have low porosity hair — where moisture absorption is a challenge — rice water may cause more harm than good. Instead of penetrating deeper inside your cuticles, the protein molecules tend to hang on to your strands, resulting in build-up. 

How To Make Rice Water For Hair Growth?

How To Make Rice Water For Hair Growth

Confused about how to make rice water for your hair? 

This guide has you covered — follow the steps below and learn how to make rice water for hair:

Plain Rice Water

  1. Take 1 cup of either short-grained or long-grained rice and rinse it thoroughly till the water runs clear.
  2. Transfer the damp grains into a bowl and add one cup of water. Adjust the water depending on how much rice you intend to soak. 
  3.  Allow the mixture to rest for 20 minutes. 
  4. Strain the cloudy water and reserve it in a container. You can cook the rice immediately or keep it in the freezer.

Fermented Rice Water 

  • If you allow the strained rice water to sit in a container for 24 hours, it starts fermenting and turns sour. 
  • Fermentation involves chemical changes and increases the concentration of essential hair vitamins such as B, C, and E along with other beneficial minerals.
  • Don’t ferment the water for more than 24 hours as it has a tendency to smell bad.

Can you use cooked rice water for hair? It is best avoided as the excess starch content makes it extremely sticky and difficult to handle. 

How To Use Rice Water For Hair?

It can be used either as a pre-shampoo (aka pre-poo) treatment or in between shampoo and conditioner. 

As a pre-poo treatment, dampen your hair and spray rice water to coat the strands evenly. Leave this hair mask for 20-30 minutes and wash it off with your regular shampoo and conditioner. 

Alternatively, you can use it for rinsing your hair once you have washed off your shampoo. But don’t skip your conditioner as your ends need that extra dose of moisture to remain hydrated. Consider air drying hair for best results.

You can use either plain rice water or fermented rice water. Fermented rice water may provide superior results since it is more nutrient-rich.

Side Effects Of Rice Water On Hair

Some of the common side effects of using rice water include:

  • Protein overload
  • Dry scalp
  • Build up on your scalp
  • Frizzy and brittle hair


1. Can I leave rice water in my hair?

While you can leave it in your hair for a few hours, make it a point to wash it off as it can result in buildup and also dry out your strands.

2. How long do you leave rice water in your hair?

Ideally, you should leave it in your hair for around 30 minutes to 1 hour maximum.

3. Can we apply rice water directly to the hair?

 Yes, you can apply rice water directly to your scalp.

4. Can rice water make my hair smell bad?

Usually, it doesn’t make your hair smell bad. But fermented rice water can give off an odd odor. 

5. How often should I use rice water on my hair?

For best results, use it once or twice a week.

6. Which rice is best for hair growth?

Brown or red rice fare better due to their higher nutritional content.

7. Should I shampoo after rice water?

Use a shampoo to get rid of any residue which may result in build-up.

8. Can I use rice water every day?

Using rice water every day can lead to protein overload. 

9. Can I spray rice water on my face every day?

While some Korean skincare experts swear by it, spraying rice water on your face every single day may not be necessary.

10. What happens if you leave rice water in your hair for too long?

Protein overload can cause your hair to become brittle and dry. 


Learning the right way how to make rice water for hair is crucial to amp up your haircare routine. This easy-to-make and extremely pocket-friendly elixir can make a real difference to your locks. 

  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Myo-Inositol and Its Derivatives: Their Emerging Role in the Treatment of Human Diseases. [Online] Available at:
  2. spring8. (n.d). Development of Hair-Care Products from Rice Water. [Online] Available at:

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Shayonee is a dedicated writer and mental health advocate whose research-driven approach allows her to deliver well-informed, evidence-based content on diverse aspects of women’s health and lifestyle.

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