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Here's How Rice Water Can Give You Stronger, Shinier Hair

Asian women have sworn by this trick for centuries!
Here's How Rice Water Can Give You Stronger, Shinier Hair
ILLUSTRATOR Igi Talao
Asian women have sworn by this trick for centuries!

One of the first things you do when cooking rice is wash the grains to remove all that extra starch and dirt. But did you know the cloudy water you normally throw away can be good for your hair? The next time you cook a tasty pot of rice, don't forget to save it, as this can be the newest and most game-changing step in your hair care routine. Not convinced? Keep scrolling to find out the science behind this hack!

The History of Rice Water for Hair

You may be thinking that this trick is just now being discovered and done, but fun fact: During the Heian period in Japan (794-1185 A.D.), women and young ladies were known to have long luscious, and healthy hair because of rice water.

Similarly, the women of the Yao village in China are said to have an average hair length of 1.4 meters, and have even broken the Guinness world record for the longest hair! This is because the Yao people view their hair as one of their most prized possessions, as they believe that it brings prosperity, wealth and good fortune. Because of this, the area has earned the nickname "Long Hair Village," and  their secret? Yup, rice water!

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how to use rice water for hair
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The Benefits of Rice Water for Hair

1. It can help strengthen hair and make it appear fuller.

According to New York-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss, the starch in rice water coats the hair and gives it an instant look of increased fullness. It may also potentially increase how manageable your hair is, thanks to the inositol found in rice water that decreases hair friction and increases elasticity. It's also said to help de-frizz the hair, making it easier to detangle.

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2. It can make the hair look shinier and healthier.

If you have dull or damaged hair, the proteins (amino acids) and antioxidants (Vitamin B and Vitamin E) found in rice water may help bring back your hair's luster and protect it from free radicals. Dull hair also comes from the presence of split ends, so using rice water will help in adding hydration, potentially minimizing the appearance of it.

3. It can help hair grow faster.

Rice water has the ability to aid in hair growth thanks to linoleic acid and gamma oryzanol, says Dr. Idriss. Because its rich in antioxidants and vitamins, it also nourishes the hair follicles and repairs any damaged cells. This allows a healthy environment for the hair to grow, even potentially making it less likely to endure breakage.

4. It promotes scalp health.

Adding the rice water directly to the scalp instead of just the hair strands infuses it with the naturally-occuring vitamins and amino acids. It also aids in reducing inflammation on the area!

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rice water for hair benefits
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How to Use Rice Water on Your Hair

Dr. Idriss recommends using rice water on your hair only once or twice a month if you're just starting out. From there, see how your locks respond to the treatment. If your results are good, try using it once a week! However, the derm notes that those with dry, brittle, or curly hair should limit use to prevent protein overload that can make your strands even more brittle and drier than before.

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Follow the instructions below to try out this age-old beauty hack:

1. Wash and strain a half cup of rice once to remove the bacteria and other impurities in the grains.

2. Pour the washed rice and water to a container with a lid and add two cups of water.

Note: The water should still be cloudy! According to Dr. Idriss, you can even use a French press machine to steep the rice and separate the water from it. Genius!

3. Cover your container and leave the rice water to "ferment" for 12 to 24 hours.

4. Strain the rice and leave only the liquid that comes with it.

5. Pour or spray the rice water on your freshly-washed scalp and strands. Don't forget to towel-dry first!

6. Comb through your hair for an even coat and leave the mixture on for 20 to 30 minutes like a hair mask. Rinse off with regular water.

Will you try this hack or already swear by it? Let us know in the comments!

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