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Rice Water For Hair And Skin: Benefits And How To Use It

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How To Make Rice Water

Do you long for luscious locks and smooth skin? Traditional Eastern beauty rituals often utilized fermented rice water to refine skin and strengthen hair. This seemingly simple ingredient can help you achieve the radiant complexion and Rapunzel-like locks you've always dreamed of.

From Korean cuisine to Indonesian skincare formulas, rice water has countless applications. For thousands of years, women have used this milky elixir as a way to enhance their self-care routines.

At a Glance

  • For thousands of years, rice water has been a popular hair care and skincare treatment in Eastern Asia. Communities in Japan, China, and Indonesia have used this milky elixir to heal, smooth, and strengthen their hair and skin.
  • In addition to Korean cooking, rice water is a popular ingredient in many skincare products, such as JUARA's Candlenut Body Creme.
  • Rice water can promote hair growth, improve elasticity, and brighten the skin.
  • Click here to jump to our quick and easy rice water rinse DIY.

Keep reading!

See Related: Thai Massage: What It Is And 4 Benefits

Rice Water Throughout History

Though rice water has garnered recent praise from celebs like Kim Kardashian, it has been used in beauty treatments for thousands of years.

It is believed that this practice dates back to the Tang Dynasty in China and the Heian period in Japan. During this time, Eastern Asian women used fermented rice water to maintain floor-length glossy hair and glowing skin.

Other ancient cultures from before that time used rice water baths to rinse dirt and bacteria from their skin and scalp. This nutrient-rich water contained a lot of proteins and vitamins that would help smooth rough skin.

bag of spilled rice hair loss hair type uncooked rice starch rinsing hair tips organic rice starch rice sit natural hair healthy hair rice starch

Chinese Yao Women From The Huangluo Village

One community in China has gained attention for its traditional pink dress and two-meter-long hair. The Yao women maintain an incredible beauty routine to upkeep their lengthy locks. Many Westerners have been intrigued by their dedication to gorgeous hair. The key to their lustrous hair lay in fermented rice water treatments.

Check out this YouTube video for more information on the Yao women living in Huangluo Village, China.

Japanese Rice Water During The Heian Period (794 to 1185 AD)

Though a prevalent practice in China, rice water is also popular in Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian cultures.

A 2010 study from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science explored how Japanese women of the Heian Period used Yu-Su-Ru in hair care regimens. Yu-Su-Ru was rice water made by washing rice, which helped increase hair elasticity and reduce surface friction.

Rice Water In Jamu Indonesian Beauty Treatments

Over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Indonesian wellness tradition of Jamu was born. Jamu focuses on feeling good through the pursuit of wellness. Though it involves plenty of beauty-centric practices like rice water treatments and turmeric-infused skincare, Jamu is also built on the mindset of fulfillment, empowerment, and joy.

Rice water, in addition to botanical-based tonics, was often used in Jamu wellness treatments. The rituals and recipes were created by the female family members and community healers before being passed down through the generations.

The Uses Of Fermented Rice Water

Unique combinations of roots, plants, and fruits made Jamu healing rituals incredibly effective. Nowadays, Jamu-inspired formulas are used in conjunction with Western skincare science in order to create powerful products that actually work.

One such product is the Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum from JUARA. Crafted with natural ingredients like palm peptides, golden bamboo, and goji berry, this ultra-hydrating gel works to soften wrinkles and smooth fine lines. Everything from its silky smooth texture to its radiance complex is inspired by the Jamu way of life.

girl applying face serum to her skin brown rice longer hair types rinse water obtained hair cuticle hair regeneration hair grow rice water for hair growth

Rice Water For Cooking

The uses of rice water are nearly endless, whether you decide to use it topically or in cooking. Because of its high starch content, rice water is a popular ingredient in Korean cooking. It's used as a natural thickener in stews and soups like in Korean Doenjang jjigae. Not only does it enhance the texture of certain cuisines, but it also provides a neutralizing flavor.

Though it can be used in the kitchen, rice water has found its home elsewhere. For many years, it's been used as a simplistic beauty treatment. Women around the globe have soaked their hair in fermented rice water for healthier, luscious locks.

Rice Water For Hair And Skin

Rice is rich in amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. The nutrients and proteins in rice can help make your hair and skin softer, stronger, and smoother. One study in particular found that rice bran extract greatly increased the amount of collagen in hair follicles.

Collagen is a protein fiber found in the hair and skin that keeps it healthy, youthful, and firm. As you age, your body's natural collagen production starts to dwindle, which is why infusing collagen into your beauty routine is essential.

Instead of DIY-ing rice water at home, you can opt for skincare products that contain rice bran oil, like JUARA's award-winning Candlenut Body Creme.

This fast-absorbing formula is non-greasy and leaves skin feeling soft, supple, and smooth. It gives dry skin a much-needed splash of moisture and hydration, which can be especially soothing on rough textures.

It's formulated with rice bran oil, which helps to maintain elasticity. This essential ingredient is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, creating the foundation for a well-rounded skincare routine.

After applying a generous layer of this luxurious body creme from head to toe, follow up with our matching Candlenut Glow Body Oil. Crafted with the same signature scent, this body oil locks in moisture and hydration to keep your skin strong and smooth. In addition to rice bran oil, it's formulated with coconut oil, candlenut oil, and passion fruit oil.

Is your hair a little frizzy? If your ends could do with some love, apply a few drops of this oil to your locks. If you have split ends or flyways, this multi-tasking dry oil will be your lifesaver.

Beauty Benefits Of Rice Water For Hair And Skin

The proteins, nutrients, and vitamins in rice water are behind its many beauty benefits. Whether you have dull skin or brittle hair, this seemingly simple soak can do a lot.

a bowl of rice water slightly sour smell rice amino acids dry hair care routine healthy hair growth rinse rice water rinse rinsed rice

Bonus: What Is A Wellness Retreat And What Are The Benefits?

#1. Promotes Hair Growth

Many swear by rice water as a natural and effective hair treatment. This milky elixir is known to thicken lacking locks and brighten dull hair. And because it is highly nourishing, it can improve scalp health and promote hair growth.

In addition, rice water contains a high amount of inositol, a carbohydrate that can help repair and strengthen damaged locks. Especially when used repeatedly, you can easily support healthy hair that is less prone to breakage.

Though rice water can be a very effective natural alternative to many over-chemicalized hair care products, it isn't for everyone. It's worthwhile giving it a go, but some have reported less-than-stellar results when using a rice soak on their hair.

Because rice water is rich in starch, it can lead to protein overload, scalp build-up, and even hair breakage. However, this mainly affects women with particularly low-porosity hair, and it just likely means you would need to limit your rice water usage to once a week or so.

#2. Improves Elasticity Of The Hair And Skin

Your skin and hair contains elastin, a protein that helps it stretch and return to its original shape. As you age, it becomes increasingly more difficult for your skin and hair to maintain high levels of elastin, which can result in wrinkles and hair breakage.

Rice water provides your hair and skin with essential nutrients, proteins, and vitamins that help strengthen hair strands and skin structure in order to increase hydration, repair damage, and stimulate collagen production.

#3. Brightens The Skin

Though rice water protein can improve skin and hair elasticity, that's not all this vitamin-rich elxir can do. It's also a great natural brightening agent, helping to smooth rough texture and revitalize dull skin. It can even be used as a DIY treatment for hyperpigmentation, inflammation, or dark spots.

How To Make Rice Water

It's quick and easy to make rice water at home; all you need is rice and water! Add a couple of handfuls of uncooked rice to a bowl (ideally Koji rice) and pour cool water over the top. Run your fingers through the mixture a few times to gently rinse the grains.

Drain and discard this first rice water rinse. This removes any dirt or bacteria on the rice.

Refill the bowl with cool distilled water and let it sit for at least an hour. Ideally, your rice water will soak for at least a few hours and up to 24 hours. The water will become cloudy.

Strain your milky elixir and save the resulting rice water in a mason jar or a plastic container. You can save it in the fridge for up to a week. Now, you're free to use it whenever you feel like your hair or skin is in need of a pick-me-up!

bowl of rice and rice water rice water for hair rinse wash hair health rice water hair rinse spray bottle thinning hair

How To Use Rice Water For Hair

If you're ready to use your rice water to obtain lustrous hair, follow these steps:

  • Cleanse yourself in the shower as normal using an all-natural body soap.
  • Shampoo your hair. Try using a sulfate-free shampoo if you have color-treated or dehydrated hair.
  • Apply the rice water to your hair like a conditioner. Let it sit between ten and twenty minutes.
  • Thoroughly rinse your hair.
  • Massage a highly hydrating conditioner to the ends of your hair to finish your shower routine before rinsing again.

    How To Use Rice Water For Skin

    You can use your DIY rice water as a skin toner during your morning and evening self-care routines. Apply some to your face using a cotton round. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

    If you don't have any fresh rice water on hand, you can instead use our Rice Facial Cleanser, a formula inspired by Indonesian rice fields and infused with rice bran oil.

    Final Thoughts

    With this one simple at-home recipe, you can enjoy healthier hair and radiant skin. The naturally-high concentration of amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants in rice water are hard to find elsewhere!

    Keep Reading: 5 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Wrinkles


    Juara Skincare incorporates ancient rituals with Western skincare science, creating the ultimate beauty experience. We aim to transport you from the mundane to the extraordinary with our exotic ingredients, intoxicating scents, and powerful, skin-improving formulas. All of our products are nutrient-rich and botanically based. We are proud to be certified cruelty-free. Get the latest skin care tips and info on Juara products by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.