Rice is a staple food in many parts of the world. In China, Japan and other South Asian countries, this grain constitutes a major part of the diet.
Given its easy availability, it is no surprise that rice has been put to other, non-food uses as well: from liquor manufacturing to fertilizers to vinegar – rice is an indispensable part of our lives. It is therefore little wonder that rice is used for beauty purposes.
Folk remedies from across different parts of the globe often recommend the use of rice flour as a facial scrub to eliminate dead skin.
Rice is a wholesome grain and it is no surprise that it can be put to good use to benefit hair and skin health.
Not many people know that even the starchy residual water which we mindlessly toss away after washing or boiling rice contains tons of nourishing ingredients which can benefit skin and hair health.
So today, we will discuss the beauty benefits of rice water, and more importantly, fermented rice water.
How to prepare rice water?
Rice water for beauty purpose can be prepared in three ways:
- Rinsing the rice that you are about to cook: simply save the water that you use for washing the rice grains.
- Boiling rice in excess water and collecting the starchy white water that is left behind after draining the rice off.
- Soaking cooked rice in distilled water until the water turns starchy or milky white in color. Drain the rice and collect the soaking water in a glass jar. Refrigerate immediately.
It is important that you use only organic rice for making rice water or fermented rice water.
You may use brown rice, jasmine/fragrant rice or regular white rice. Store the collected rice water in a glass jar.
You can use it immediately for your beauty recipes (discussed below). Alternatively, you can further enhance its nourishing and beautifying power by fermenting the water.
To ferment rice water, simply leave it at room temperature for a few days. Use it up within 2-3 days.
How to prepare fermented rice water?
Simply collect the whitish water left behind after boiling rice in excess water. Leave the water at room temperature for 2-3 days.
The water turns sour and it becomes rich in probiotics or good bacteria, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Here are the steps for preparing fermented rice water:
- 1 cup Jasmine/white or brown rice. Use organic variety only since inorganic rice has a lot of chemicals.
- 3 cups spring water or distilled or filtered water
- A bowl
- Glass jug
- Optional – few drops of your favorite essential oil
- If the rice is not organic, wash it several times to remove the chemicals. Rinse it using a strainer. As stated before, it is best to use organic rice for this purpose. Remember: you will be using the water on your face and hair.
- Soak the rice in filtered water for 30 minutes.
- Boil the rice for a few minutes until the grains are cooked.
- Strain to remove excess water.
- Leave the collected rice water at room temperature for 2-3 days. After this period, store the water in the refrigerator and use up within 2-3 days.
- You can now use the fermented rice water for hair and skin. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance and other beauty benefits.
Beauty benefits of fermented rice water
Recent research has shown that rice water is packed with tons of nutrients that may be beneficial for skin and hair health.
When used as a final rinse after washing hair, rice water reduces friction and frizziness.
The inositol carbohydrate present in rice water reduces damage in heat/chemically treated hair.
Special imaging techniques on the scalp have shown that this inositol stays inside the hair shaft after rinsing, providing strength and structural bondage to damaged hair.
As stated before, fermented rice water is rich in vitamins such as antioxidants, vitamin B, biotin, vitamin E and yeast called Pitera.
Pitera has been used as an anti-aging elixir in Asia for centuries. This natural ingredient promotes cell regeneration and helps the skin remain youthful and elastic.
The vitamin E content of rice water also packs in a punch for anti-aging and skin brightening.
A 2018 study found rice water to exhibit in vitro anti-oxidant and elastase inhibitory effect.
The gel formulations containing 96% fermented rice water were found to be biocompatible to human skin.
Fermented rice water benefits for hair
Tame frizzy hair
The rich protein content in rice water deep-conditions the hair, making it smoother, softer and more manageable.
Inositol carbohydrate in rice water reduces surface friction and makes hair easier to detangle while also improving hair elasticity.
Japanese women use rice water once a week as a final rinse to keep their shiny black hair even more beautiful.
How to use rice water for dry frizzy hair
- Clean your hair with a sulfate free shampoo.
- After rinsing it clean, pour rice water (recipe as given above) over the hair.
- Massage and allow it to soak in for a few minutes.
- Rinse off using warm water and follow up with a silicone-free conditioner.
- You can also use rice water as a final rinse post washing. Let the hair air dry. The protein and inositol in rice water will fill in the hair shaft and rearrange cuticles so that they reflect more light. This makes hair shinier and smoother.
Enhance hair growth
In China and other Asian countries, black rice water is used to stimulate hair growth.
Black rice water provides nutrients like antioxidants, biotin, vitamin B and other nutrients and minerals that protect the hair and scalp and stimulate hair growth.
Black rice water also makes hair shinier and softer. These days, you can easily find black rice products for hair in the market. Alternatively, you can use the following recipe to make a hair growth stimulating blend for washing hair:
How to use rice water to stimulate hair growth
- Place a cup of organic brown rice in a mason jar. Cover it with water. Let it rest for 2-3 days.
- Cut open an aloe leaf and extract its gel.
- Place the aloe gel in a blender and blend it smooth.
- Mix a bit of Castile soap with the smooth aloe gel and rice water.
- Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the blend above.
- Wet your hair. Massage the homemade shampoo blend into wet hair and scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing off.
- Use two-three times a week to see results.
You can also spray a blend of aloe vera and rice water on dry hair to protect it from pollution, regulate oil production, deter DHT hormone that causes hair fall and stimulate hair growth.
Fermented rice water benefits for skin
Tighten skin pores
If you have large, visible skin pores, you can use rice water to reduce them and tighten the skin.
Large oily pores are also susceptible to blackheads, acne and excess sebum. Rice water helps tighten the pores, regulates sebum production, balances pH and prevents whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.
Rice water also acts as an astringent to gently clean the skin and remove residual makeup, accumulated dirt and grime.
This keeps the skin clean and healthy without having to resort to chemical laden toners and astringents. Fermented rice water also balances the pH of the skin to make it more radiant and youthful.
How to use rice water to tighten skin pores
- Wash your face using a mild face wash.
- Gently pat it dry.
- Mix fermented rice water with equal quantities of distilled or filtered water.
- Dip a clean/sterile cotton pad or makeup remover pad in this solution.
- Gently dab it all over the face, focusing on problem areas like the nose, cheeks and chin where the pores are most prominent.
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off.
- For best results, use this remedy once or twice a week to reduce blackheads and shrink pores.
Get rid of acne
Acne is a major problem faced by teenagers. Some women also suffer from acne in their late 30s and mid 40s.
The skin condition usually has underlying hormonal issues, but many other factors like unhealthy diet and improper skin care can also aggravate it.
Rice water can help acne sufferers by making the skin alkaline and by balancing its pH.
Fermented rice water also regulates sebum formation and prevents excess oiliness which results in acne.
Many Japanese women use rice water to wash their face or as a post-cleansing toner. This clears up residual makeup, dirt and dried sebum from the skin’s pores and also kills p.acnes bacterium that is responsible for acne.
With regular use of rice water, acne sufferers can see a marked improvement in their skin.
Rice water also gets rid of old acne scars by stimulating skin repair.
How to use rice water to eliminate acne
- Wash face with a mild cleanser. Pat it dry using a soft towel.
- Apply rice water to the skin using clean sterile cotton pads or makeup removers.
- Let your skin dry naturally.
- You can also apply a mixture of aloe vera gel and rice water to the acne to get rid of pus, swelling, pain and redness. Leave it on overnight to see results.
Dry, rough skin often results from inadequate exfoliation or exposure to the elements. Rice water is perfect for softening and brightening dull skin. It rejuvenates the skin and hydrates the parched skin cells.
How to use rice water to soften skin
- In a bowl, add ½ cup cooked rice and cover with ½ a cup of warm, distilled water. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the water turns cloudy. Drain and reserve the water.
- Mix the water with 3 tbsp organic, raw apple cider vinegar.
- Place the toner in refrigerator.
- Apply post cleansing, twice a day. Use up within 2-3 days.
Mature skin develops eye bags and wrinkles and starts drooping. Rice water not only cleanses the skin, it also dispels droopiness.
How to use rice water to prevent wrinkles and sagging
- Mix raw, organic honey with rice water.
- Apply to skin under the eyes, mouth and along the neck. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing off. Do this daily for a week to see results.
Propolis in honey effectively tightens skin fibers while the starchy rice water tones and firms up skin cells for an instant face lift.
Have you used rice water to help you with your skin or hair? Let us know in the comments below.