Authored by Minaz

In some parts of the world ‘to eat’ means ‘to eat rice’. One of the most important grain, rice is a staple food for almost half of the world’s population, supplying as much as half of the daily calories.

But, rice is also a great beautifying aid. For centuries, Asian women have used rice water to enhance their face, body and hair. Traditionally, female rice farmers in China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian countries used to bathe and wash in the water used for cleaning rice.

The Yao ethnic women from the village of Huangluo in China is a testament to this tradition. With their average hair length of about 6 feet, these women made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s longest hair village”. Plus these women do not have grey hair till the late 80s. The Yao women believe that the fermented rice water, which they use to cleanse their hair, is what helps to keeps their hair long, dark and clean. Rice water enables these women to de-tangle and manage their long hair, which they wrap around their heads in an elaborate high bun that is often described with names such as ‘gazing god’s bun’ or the ‘cloud bun’.

Yao Women Wash Hair with Rice Water

What are the Benefits of Rice Water for Hair and Skin?

Rice water is no ordinary remedy. Its benefits are backed by modern science. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, when you apply rice water to your hair, it can reduce friction between the hair strands as well as improve hair elasticity. It means combing and detangling will be so much easier, and hair breakage a thing of the past.

Another amazing thing about rice water is that it has inositol, a carbohydrate, which repairs damaged hair. Specialized imaging technique shows that inositol stays inside the hair even after rinsing, offering continuing hair protection. What can beat this? Any better hair savior you know of?

Rice water is a miracle tonic for your hair, offering it protection, improving its manageability and making it look pretty. Besides, it also contains amino acids that strengthen the hair roots and add volume and luster to your hair. These awesome benefits explain the 6 feet healthy, long and beautiful hair of the Yao women.

Not limited to hair, rice water also has many skin benefits. Due to its cooling and soothing effects on skin, rice water is often prescribed by ayurvedic practitioners as an effective ointment to cool off the inflamed skin.

Rice water has moisturising, antioxidant, and healing properties. All these help to prevent or fade age-spots and ease skin irritations to give you soft, smooth and radiant skin.

As long as it’s left on the skin, rice water is even believed to offer mild protection from the sun.

How to Make Rice Water: Plain & Fermented

To enjoy these wonderful beauty benefits of rice water, all you have to do is just collect the water that you use to rinse your rice.

To make rice water, you will need:


To make rice water, first rinse the rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities.

Then, place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Let the rice soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your hair and skin.

Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use. This is a quick method to make rice water.

You can use this water for your hair or face, or let it ferment for enhanced benefit.

Making Fermented Rice Water

Once you have collected your rice water, leave it at room temperature for a day or until it turns slightly sour, implying that it has started to ferment. It can take any where from 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm it is. So warmer the room temperature faster the fermentation process.

To decrease the fermentation time, leave the rice sitting in the water and strain once it has fermented. (Leave it covered for 12 to 24 hours.)

To boil or not to boil: The recommended use is to boil the fermented rice water, but some people don’t. Everyone’s hair is different, try out both methods to see what works for you.

Note: Fermented rice water is very potent, so you may need to dilute it with a cup or two of warm water before use. Adjust according to your hair’s needs, use more for dry hair and less for oily hair.

Making Rice Water Using Boiling Method

You can also boil the rice to extract rice water. For this, boil the rice using more water than you would normally do. Once it starts boiling take out the excess water and use; or you can also let the rice fully cook, strain, and use that excess water. This rice water will be very concentrated, so make sure to dilute it with plain water until it is just slightly cloudy.

Storage: You can store the rice water in the fridge and it will stay good for up to a week. Shake well before use.

Why Use Fermented Rice Water?

The effects of rice water are further enhanced if you ferment it. Fermented rice water is rice water that is left to ferment and has gone slightly sour. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, B vitamins, vitamin E, and traces of pitera, a substance produced during the fermentation process. ‘Pitera’ has grown in popularity recently, and is touted as the anti-aging elixir due to its ability to promote cell regeneration, and help skin stay young and beautiful.

You can use fermented rice water as a face cleanser, skin toner and to condition hair. The nutrients in the fermented rice water are believed to shrink pores, reduce fine lines, and tighten and brighten your skin – this is a perfect recipe to look radiant and youthful.

Washing or rinsing your hair with fermented rice water may be better than rinsing with unfermented or plain rice water. Fermentation lowers the pH of the liquid, and this is similar to our hair’s pH, which is also on the lower side (slightly acidic). So, this slightly acidic pH plus the added nutrients from the fermentation process help restore hair’s pH balance, nourish hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth and improve the overall condition of hair.

How To Use Rice Water For Gorgeous Hair and Skin

rice water hair rinse

  • Use rice water as a hair rinse: you can use fermented or plain rice water for this.
  • Rinsing your hair with rice water repairs and strengthens damaged hair shaft while providing elasticity, shine and smoothness.
  • For skin, rice water can be used as a regular toner; it helps in reducing the size of the pores on your skin.
  • You can also use it as a part of a moisturising face mask to fade age spot and relieve acne.
  • For smooth and baby soft skin, grind the leftover rice and use as a body scrub.

Fermented Rice Water Hair Rinse

Due to its low pH and tons of nutrients, fermented rice water makes an excellent conditioner. It brings shine to your hair and helps to keep it strong and healthy.

You will need:

  • 1 cup fermented rice water
  • 1 cup plain water
  • 5 drops of rosemary or lavender essential oil (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a mug or squeeze bottle and shake well.

How to use: After shampooing, pour the rice water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes. Then rinse your hair thoroughly with water. Use it once a week as a last rinse.

You can also use rice water as a hair mask to propel hair growth. Simply massage rice water into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse out.

My experience: I have tried using both — plain and fermented —rice water as the final rinse and found that latter gives better results for my hair. After 3 – 4 weeks of using fermented rice water, my hair felt softer, stronger, and more manageable. Also, I noticed that I shed less hair than I normally do – rice water really works.

Note: But for my face both plain and fermented rice water work equally well.

Rice Water Shampoo

Rice water contains natural saponins, so it can also be used as a mild hair cleanser. It’s also a very soothing shampoo for people with sensitive and irritated skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.

You will need:

Combine the ingredients in a mug or bottle.

How to use:

Wet your hair. Pour the rice water shampoo slowly. You can use a squeeze bottle for easy pouring. Massage gently on your scalp and hair and rinse thoroughly.

You can store the remaining shampoo in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Rice Water as a Facial Cleanser or Tonerrice water for face

This is one of the cheapest ways to pamper your skin.

Using rice water to cleanse your face is as simple as dabbing a bit onto your face and gently massaging it into your skin for a couple of minutes. You can leave it on or wash with cool water, see what feels better for your skin. With regular use, you will notice your skin feeling soft, smooth, and glowing.

You can also use rice water as a toner. Use like any other toner – apply to face after cleansing to minimize the appearance of pores and tighten skin.

Rice Water for Age Spots 

Rice water contains tons of vitamin E and ferulic acid – a very effective antioxidant.  Studies are showing ferulic acid can prevent skin aging and reduce age spots.

To use, mix 1/2 teaspoon of rice water with 2 drops of almond oil and massage into your face and neck and leave it on.

Rice Water Bath Soak

Treat your skin to a fabulous DIY spa with rice bath and lavender soak. Take a small muslin bag and fill the bag with 1/2 cup rice and 2 tsp lavender flowers. Place the muslin bag into the water. Soak in the tub and relax fully.

Also, instead of lavender flowers try other skin beautifying ingredients such as orange peel, lemon peel, green tea, tulsi leaves (holy basil), neem leaves, and calendula petals.

DIY Ground Rice Body scrub

Do not throw away the left over rice, simply grind it to make a nourishing body scrub. You can also add other ingredients to this scrub based on your skin’s need.

For soft, smooth, and blemish free skin, add couple of teaspoons of olive or coconut oil, 1 tablespoon orange peel powder and/or few drop of essential oils (lavender, chamomile, myrtle) to the ground rice and combine thoroughly. Use this once a week or once every 15 days.

Will Rice Water Work for Everyone?

The simple answer is ‘No’. But which hair/skin care ingredient in the world is for everyone.

Give rice water a try 2-3 times and see if it’s for you. If it’s not, there’s nothing to be disappointed as there are hundreds of natural hair remedies on And with the trial and error, you will surely find the miracle remedy that you have been looking for to achieve hair nirvana.

Which Rice To Buy?

You can choose from:

Every type of rice has its own benefits to your hair and skin. Plus, the way rice water is obtained – rinsing, boiling, fermenting – will also change the nutrient content and pH of this water. So experiment freely and see what works best for your hair and skin.

Enjoy your beautiful, hydrated, radiant hair and skin.



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