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A simple but versatile ingredient, rice water has been used in numerous beauty regimes by women in East and Southeast Asia. Rice water is said to be packed with rich nutrients that soothing inflammation and dryness. Most notably, rice water has been used by the Yao Village Women from Hewanglu, China to promote hair elasticity and growth. It is used as a hair rinse. For a historical insight into the Yao women, check out this video here.


I was tasked with trying out this beauty secret for a week. Read on to see if this ancient hair treatment worked for me!

Some background on my hair

I have dyed, permed and re-bonded my hair at least five times. This left my hair very chemically damaged, frizzy, and dry. I also had numerous split ends from improper hair care and not trimming my hair regularly. Furthermore, my hair was so dry that my scalp tended to accumulate sebum whereas my ends remained frizzy and lifeless. Most of the time, my hair was flat and had little shape or volume.

My hair was definitely a far cry from being healthy, which makes me excited, though a little, to try out the rice water beauty remedy. I’ve tried various at-home hair treatments including using Yogurt and Olive oil, but the effects did not last long.

The rice water hair rinse: How to do it?

What you will need:

  • 80 ml of Uncooked White Rice
  • 10-12 Cups of Water

You can adjust the proportions accordingly based on how long your hair or how starchy you want the rice water to be. But the aforementioned measurements lasted for about 5 rinses on my medium-length hair.

Preparing the rice water hair rinse:

  1. Wash the uncooked rice grains at least twice to get rid of impurities
  2. Combined rice and water in a pot over the stove
  3. Boil the rice for at least 25 minutes until the rice grains are soft but not too mushy (like Teochew Rice Porridge)
  4. Let it cool with pot lid
  5. Once cooled, transfer the rice water into water bottles
  6. Add a teaspoon of rice grains to each bottle to allow the rice to continue fermenting
  7. Once cooled, store each bottle in the fridge

Using the rice water hair rinse

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair normally
  2. Slowly pour half of the rice water on your hair starting from the scalp
  3. Gently massage the rinse in
  4. Pour the other half on the ends of your hair
  5. Let it soak for about two minutes before washing it off

Read on to see if it works for me!

Rice water for hair: Does it really work?

I did the rice water hair rinse every one to two days for nine days. Read on to see if it worked for me!

First impressions

After my first hair rinse, I could feel that my hair was visibly smoother and had more volume. I was also pleased that my roots did not get oily the next day as they would normally have. Also, my split ends looked less messy or out-of-control. So I was rather satisfied with the first rinse. I continued the treatment daily for consecutively three days before taking a rest from it.

The rest day

Because I would have had to shower at the gym, I had to give the rice water rinse a rest and washed my hair normally. When I touched my hair, I was disappointed to find that my hair was no longer as bouncy or shiny compared to the last few days. While it did not look as lifeless as it used to be, I could feel that my hair wasn’t as healthy as the day before.

After 7 hair rinses

I was pleased to see that my hair was a lot softer and smoother than usual. Also, my hair had some natural texture which gave it more life and bounce. Even my friends noticed a difference in my hair. My hair felt a lot healthier while my scalp did not get oily after a long day. Also, my hair was a lot shinier!

On the other hand, while my split ends still remained, I find that they were a lot more manageable and less noticeable. It seems as though a cut is the only solution for split ends.

As far as growth is concerned, I can’t say that there was any huge difference in my hair length because of the rice water treatment. After all, it’s only been a little more than a week of trial.

Verdict: Is the rice water hair rinse a hack or a fake?

Overall, the experience has proven that the rice water hair rinse is indeed a hair hack. But it must be done regularly to maintain hair shine and promote hair growth. Then again, I suppose commitment is the only way any treatment can truly reap any visible and long-lasting benefits.

I can feel a huge difference in my hair and I’m quite content with the results! I will definitely recommend this treatment to anyone who has very dry and frizzy hair.

Alternative ways to make rice water:

Besides the aforementioned way, people have also tried other methods to make rice water. First, you do a thorough rinse of the uncooked rice to get rid of any pesticide and impurities. Then, you soak the uncooked rice for up to an hour or even for a day to ferment it. Finally, you wash your hair with it. Some have tried using it as a leave-on treatment and found that it worked even better for their hair!

If you are thinking of giving this hair rinse a go, check out these DV Tips:

  • If you have very long hair, try soaking your ends in a bottle of rice water before pouring it over your head
  • Avoid wrapping your hair in a big towel after the treatment as it would dry out the hair more
  • If your hair is really frizzy, add a drop of chamomile oil into the rice water. This is great for a before-bed routine, because the calming scent will also help you sleep better.