Can I Leave Rice Water in My Hair?

Can I Leave Rice Water in My Hair?
October 10, 2021 Ellis James
Did you know rice water can strengthen hair, help stimulate the growth of new hair, remove dandruff, improve the texture and appearance of hair, and much more? Well, it’s true! Rice water is a trusted home remedy used by many people to improve the look and feel of their hair. With all of these benefits, you may be asking, “can I leave rice water in my hair?” Let’s explore this question; we’ll share information to help you learn whether leaving rice water in your hair is safe and how long you can leave it in for.

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Can I leave rice water in my hair?

Rice water is an ancient hair treatment that originated in Asian countries centuries ago.  Rice water, which is the water that remains after cooking rice, is very strachy and rich in amino acids, vitamin E, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  This make-up means that rice water offers many benefits and can help hair grow longer, increase hair strength, detangle hair and make it smoother and shinier.

Using rice water for hair growth is one of the most popular applications, but many individuals question whether leaving rice water in your hair is a good idea.  So, can rice water be left in hair?  Will it cause damage to your hair?  How long can you safely leave rice water in hair?

Is it OK to leave rice water in your hair?

Yes, it is OK to leave rice water in your hair.  Most treatment methods call for letting the rice water sit on your hair for 15 to 30 minutes.  This is typically plenty of time for your hair to benefit from using the rice water.  It can help strengthen your hair and increase shine for a healthier look.

Leaving rice water in your hair for longer than the standard 15 to 30 minutes may also be OK.  However, every individual is different and their hair may react differently to rice water.

So, just how long can you leave rice water in your hair?  1 hour?  With an overnight spray?  For 2 days?  For a week?

Can I leave rice water in my hair for 1 hour?

Yes, most hair types should tolerate leaving rice water in for an hour.  This length of time is not much beyond what experts recommend, and should help users enjoy all the benefits associated with using rice water.

However, it is important to note that some individuals, particularly those with low-porosity hair, may find that leaving rice water on their hair for too long can make their hair too dry.  This is because rice water is very high in proteins, and when too many proteins build-up in the hair, it can lead to excessive dryness.  When this happens, it is known as protein overload.

Can I leave rice water in my hair overnight?

As we shared above, some individuals with low-porosity hair may not be able to leave rice water on for too long without it making their hair too dry from protein overload.  If you are not sure whether you have low porosity hair, before trying to leave rice water in your hair overnight, test your hair to see its porosity level.

To test for your porosity type, wash and dry your hair.  Then, drop one strand of hair into a glass of water.  If the stand floats at the top for a while before it sinks into the water, it probably means that you have low porosity hair.  Hair that floats in the middle of the glass likely has a normal porosity level, while hair that sinks quickly to the bottom is likely high porosity.

Using an overnight rice water spray on normal or high porosity hair should be perfectly fine, but since every individual is different,  you’ll just want to see how your hair reacts after trying it.  If you have low porosity hair, leaving rice water on overnight may not be ideal.  It could cause your hair to get too dry from the protein overload.  If you do want to try an overnight spray, we’d recommend using a hydrating hair treatment the morning after using an overnight spray.  This can help replace some of the moisture removed from the hair.

Can I leave rice water in my hair for 2 days?

Rice water can strengthen hair and help it grow more quickly, so leaving it on for multiple days may sound like a good idea.  You may think that leaving rice water on your hair for two days will help it work more effectively.  However, rice water should not be left on hair for this long.

If you leave rice water on your hair for more than 18 hours, it becomes more likely that bacteria can grow.  This can cause your scalp to be very itchy or make the skin flake off.

However, you can make a big batch of rice water and use it for a few days.  Rice water can stay at room temperature for up to 24 hours.  After 24 hours, it should be refrigerated, but can still be used for up to a week.  Note that most hair care experts recommend making fresh rice water for each application or only using it one day after being freshly made.

Can I leave rice water on my hair for a week?

Wondering what rice water for hair growth results 1 week will look like?  While you may want to use an overnight rice water spray throughout the week, you should not leave the same rice water in your hair all week.  As we shared above, leaving rice water in your hair for more than 18 hours can allow bacteria to grow.

If you want to try using rice water all week, make sure you wash out the rice water after no more than 18 hours.  Then, you can apply fresh rice water to your hair again.

 

How long should I leave rice water in my hair?

How long can rice water sit in hair?  In many cases, leaving rice water in your hair for 15 to 30 minutes is sufficient to enjoy the benefits of rice water.  Some people have found that using an overnight rice water spray has helped them maximize these benefits and see faster results.

However, you should not let rice water stay in your hair for more than 18 hours.  Leaving it in beyond this time can lead to bacterial growth and make your scalp itchy or flaky.

 

How often should I use rice water on my hair?

Your hair type will impact how frequently you can use rice water on your hair.  As we shared above, individuals with low-porosity hair can experience a protein overload if they use rice water too frequently or leave it in their hair for too long.  This protein overload can make hair too dry and brittle.  If you have low-porosity hair, only use rice water between one and two times each month.

If you have high porosity hair, you’ll probably find that your hair will tolerate using the rice water more frequently than this.  You may need to experiment to find the ‘sweet spot’ for your specific hair.

 

What are the dangers of leaving rice water in my hair?

Is it bad to leave rice water in your hair?  Yes, leaving rice water in your hair for too long can have negative consequences.  As we shared above, rice water can lead to a protein overload (particularly in low-porosity hair), which can make hair very brittle and dry.

Also, you leave rice water on your locks for more than 18 hours, bacteria may start to grow, which can irritate your scalp.

 

FAQs

Can I use rice water as a leave in?

Yes, you can use rice water as a leave-in.  It can help strengthen hair and help it to grow longer.  However, keep in mind that if you have low-porosity hair, your hair may not tolerate leaving the rice water on it for an extended period of time.

Should rice water be used as a leave-in conditioner?

If you don’t have low-porosity hair, you can use rice water as a leave-in conditioner to decrease shedding and reduce hair breakage.

Do you put rice water on wet or dry hair?

Rice water should be put on wet hair.  Typically, it is recommended to use rice water after shampooing your hair.

 

Leaving Rice Water in Your Hair

Rice water offers many benefits for our hair.  From helping increase shine and smoothness, to helping hair growing, to making hair easier to detangle, and more, rice water is one of those ancient beauty secrets that you may want to try (plus, rice water can even help the skin).  Leaving rice water in your hair can help some people see greater benefits, but as we shared above it may be too drying for others.  You may just need to do some experimentation to see how long you can leave rice water in your hair to take advantage of the benefits it offers while also  preventing your hair from getting too dry.

Learn more about using rice water and caring for your hair in these related posts on our blog:

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