Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair – Is Rice Water Good for Your Hair?

Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair – Is Rice Water Good for Your Hair?
October 11, 2021 Ellis James
Have you been hearing more and more about how using rice water could benefit your hair? Are you curious if these claims are accurate and wondering if you should start using rice water on your hair? Eastern societies have long touted how effective rice water on hair can be for growing and strengthening one’s tresses. And, while there haven’t been any scientific studies that have proven this claim, rice water continues to gain popularity due to the positive experiences many have had when using it.

So, is rice water good for your hair? What does rice water do for your hair? What are the side effects of rice water on hair? Read through our article to find out the answers to these questions and many more to help you decide if you want to add rice water to your haircare routine.

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Benefits of Rice Water on Hair

While there haven’t been scientific studies done on the benefits of using rice water, individuals of rice water have shared many benefits they experienced when adding it to their haircare routine.

Rice water is rich in nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, fiber, and manganese. These nutrients can have a positive effect on your hair and its appearance.

Rice water can help strengthen hair, reduce frizz, improve the overall texture of hair, moisturize hair, and may even help repair damaged cells. Rice water is also very rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to help cleanse the scalp of toxins. Many believe that this can help prevent hair loss or premature graying.

If you want to experience these potential benefits of using rice water on hair, be sure to follow the recommendations from experts on how it should be used. We’ll share some of these recommendations below.


Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair – What Happens When You Put Rice Water on Your Hair?

Curious to find out what happens when you use rice water in your hair? Keep reading to find out some of the benefits of rice water for hair as well as possible bad effects of rice water on your hair.

What does rice water do for your hair?

Everyone’s hair is different, so it is likely that your experiences with using a rice water hair treatment will vary from what other people have shared. Some of the possible benefits you may experience include stronger hair, softer hair, more elastic hair, and an overall improvement in the way your hair looks. Some people even believe that washing hair with rice water can help your hair grow, but this has yet to be scientifically proven.

In a detailed account of the rice water experience of a user that was published on Healthline, improvements to her tresses were seen almost instantly within a minute of using a rice water rinse. The user says that her hair immediately felt stronger and, after a few days, she saw little to no breakage in her locks, even after hair drying or using hot tools. Her hair became thicker and more lustrous, and appeared to be healthier with more body than it had before she did the rice water rinse.

If one user’s experience, among many, had been so positive, why not try it yourself?

Is rice water good for your hair?

Rice water has been shown to help improve the look and feel of hair for many users. It can help eliminate split ends, reduce frizziness, and rehydrate hair. It’s good to use on damaged hair and prevents further hair damage as well. Many have shared that rice water is beneficial for overall hair health.

Medical News Today shares that some have found a correlation between using rice water and noticing a decrease in friction and an increase in the elasticity of their hair. Rice water also contains inositol, which is believed to strengthen hair.

Like certain hair strengthening ingredients found in many hair products, rice contains starch and proteins. When rice is used on hair, these create a thick coat around each hair strand, reinforcing and protecting them. This makes for stronger, less brittle hair strands. It is important to note that this is the result, provided the rice water is not overused, because this starchy, protein-rich exterior can also cause dry hair.

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Can rice water damage your hair?

Although rice water is good for preventing damaged hair, can it cause hair damage? You will want to be cautious using rice water, especially with certain hair types.

If you have fine hair, it is possible the using rice water may dry them out too much and make them brittle.

If you have low-porosity hair, using rice water may damage your hair and dry it out too quickly due to proteins building up on the hair. Read more about this in the following section.

Also, if you have a dry scalp using rice water too much can make your hair too dry, and cause problems. Although rice water is good for dandruff and healthier hair in general,  overusing it can strip your dry scalp of essential oils, and can result in worse itchiness and more issues that can come out of having dry scalp.

If you do have a dry scalp and try rice water, you will want to make sure you add something back to your hair to rehydrate it after your rice water treatment. Try using a few drops of jojoba oil afterwards to nourish your scalp.


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Can I use rice water on low porosity hair?

Can you use rice water on curly hair?

Rice water is great for low porosity hair and curly hair types, provided again that you don’t overuse it. Low porosity hair doesn’t require a lot of protein since hair strands of this type are tightly structured and coiled. Protein molecules do not penetrate low porosity hair as well as tresses with high hair porosity. Thus, overloading curly hair with protein (aka protein overload) can actually cause your locks to become brittle and more prone to breakage.

Since curly hair is more prone to dryness already, assess your hair’s needs if you have dry or curly hair first, before using a rice water treatment.

Instead of a rinse, why not try a rice water hair treatment spray for curly hair or low porosity hair instead? Watch the video below for the recipe:

Can you leave rice water in your hair?

Experts recommend using a 15- to 30-minute treatment when you use rice water.

This is all the time the rice water needs to deliver its benefits to your hair. Anything longer can cause dry hair instead of beautiful hair.

Can rice water reverse gray hair?

There aren’t any scientific studies that support rice water reversing gray hair, but many speculate that it could have a positive effect on hair color and at lease prevent future graying.

The nutrients in rice water are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants can work to draw the toxins out of your scalp, which could decrease the chances of your hair turning gray in the future.

Can I leave rice water in my hair overnight?

No, you shouldn’t leave rice water in your hair overnight.

It only takes a 15- to 30-minute treatment for you to experience the benefits of using rice water. After the rice water is rinsed from your hair, the nutrients will stay in your hair and continue to work.

Can I apply rice water to my hair every day?

If you’ve been wondering, “Can I apply rice water to my hair every day,” it is important to note that experts recommend not over using rice water. It could end up damaging your hair or drying it out.

Most experts recommend using it only a few times a week, around twice only.

Is boiled rice water good for hair?

Yes, boiling rice water is one of the suggested methods for preparing a rice hair treatment. You can experience many of the benefits shared above, such as stronger, smoother, and shinier hair, when you use boiled rice water.

How do you boil rice water for your hair?

Making boiled rice water is simple.

  • Place one cup of water with ½ cup uncooked rice in a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  • Strain the water out and place it in a clean container.

When you are ready to treat your hair, you will want to dilute the boiled rice water. The amount of oil in your hair will impact how diluted you want it to be, but many people recommend starting with 1 part rice water solution to 10 parts clean water.

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

You want to let rice water set in your hair, but you don’t want to leave it in for too long, so you’ll still want to rinse it out. It is recommended to let rice water sit on your hair and scalp for no more than 30 minutes.

Is rice water a protein treatment?

Yes, rice water is a protein treatment for your hair because of the amino acids found in it.

The amino acids can help make your hair smoother and shinier, detangle your hair, and strengthen your hair.

Can you use rice water for hair growth?

You’ve probably seen those pictures featuring old tribal ladies with floor length hair promoting using rice for long hair. But is it true, can you use rice to grow your locks?

Some people have speculated that the amino acids, vitamins B, C, and E in a rice water treatment can aid in hair growth, but there have not been any scientific studies completed to prove these claims.

However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence from users about the benefits of using rice water. It can help make your hair healthier, with nutrients that could stimulate and nourish hair follicles as well as strengthen hair strands, promoting hair growth. Rice water also helps moisturize hair, increases the volume of hair, repairs split ends, and improves the texture of hair.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the potential benefits of rice water on hair growth, check out this video on her experiences using rice water:

How long does it take for rice water to grow your hair?

Since there haven’t been any scientific studies on rice water for hair loss and the fact that everyone’s hair is different, there is not definitive answer to this question. What does seem to be the common denominator is that rice water does promote healthy hair. The amino acids and nutrients found in rice can help your tresses, from hair follicles to the very tips of each strand.

However, if the rice water is going to help your hair, you shouldn’t expect to see results right away. It will likely take at least a month, if not more, before you begin to notice a change.

Can you use brown rice for hair growth?

Brown rice is a whole grain while white rice is a refined grain, meaning some important components – such as fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients – found in brown rice have been stripped from white rice. White rice is processed, while brown rice is closer to rice’s natural state, making brown rice more nutritious.

So, is brown rice more beneficial to use than white rice on hair?

There doesn’t seem to be any difference between using regular white rice and brown rice to create a rice water rinse. Further experimentation and studies are needed to compare the rice water benefits of the two.

So you don’t have to worry if all you have is white cooking rice in your cupboards!


Washing Hair with Rice Water

If you’re planning to use rice water on your hair, there are a few different steps you’ll want to take:

  • Wash your hair with your normal shampoo and rinse all of the shampoo out of your hair
  • Pour the rice water onto your clean hair and rub it into your hair and scalp
  • Allow the treatment to sit for between 15 and 30 minutes
  • Using warm water, rinse the rice water out of your hair.

Many people recommend adding a teaspoon of amla, shikakai, or another natural clarified to your rice water before using it. This can help prevent the rice water from building up in your hair after multiple uses.

Store whatever’s left of your rice water in the fridge for not more than 72 hours.


How to Make Rice Water for Natural Hair

Anybody can use a rice water treatment on their hair.

There are a few different ways to make rice water to use on natural hair. Below we have a few rice water recipes for you to try yourself. You may want to experiment with which method produces the best results for you.

Soaking Method

  • Rinse 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • Put it in a bowl with 2 to 3 cups of water
  • Let it soak for around 30 minutes
  • Strain the rice water into a clean container

Boiling Method

  • Bring 1 cup of water and ½ cup of rice to a boil on the stove
  • Strain the water out into a clean container
  • Before using the rice water, dilute it. Different hair types may need to use different dilution ratio
  • You can start with 1 part rice water solution mixed with 10 parts clean water and see how it works on your hair

Fermentation Method

  • Put 1 cup of rice in a bowl with 2 to 3 cups of water
  • Let it soak for 30 minutes then strain the rice water into a clean jar
  • Leave the jar out on your counter for 24 hours
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days
  • Mix the fermented rice water with 1 to 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle and use it to spray your hair

Washing natural hair with fermented rice can help rebalance the pH levels of rice water. Fermenting, or soaking for a long time, gives the rinse more antioxidants and nutrients than the other methods. One thing to note though: because it ferments, fermented rice water smells bad.

Mixing essential oils into fermented rice water can help decrease its potent smell. Essential oils can also help if you have a damaged or itchy scalp. Some essential oils you can try adding a few drops of to your fermented rice water include geranium, rosemary, and lavender.

If you’re interested in trying fermented rice water, take a few minutes to watch this video below. The user shares her experiences with using fermented rice water and her recommendations for how long you’ll want to leave the rice water sitting in the fridge.

Products with Rice Water

Don’t have time to try DIY-ing your own rice water recipe but still want to reap the benefits and side effects of rice water on hair?

Why not try some products with rice water incorporated in their formula that work as well as DIY rice water treatments?

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

We’ve detailed them out below to aid you in choosing what’s best for your hair needs.


MyKirei by Kao Nourishing Conditioner

MyKirei By Kao Conditioner with Japanese Tsubaki & Rice Water for Hair, Sustainable Bottle, 10.1 Ounces

View on Amazon

This conditioner is made using rice water and Japanese Tsubaki extract.

Its nourishing formula is designed to rehydrate hair while making it stronger, softer, and smoother.


Uhuru Naturals Fermented Rice Water DEEP Conditioner

Uhuru Naturals Fermented Rice Water DEEP Conditioner (4oz) Brand Name: Uhuru Naturals

View on Amazon

Formulated with rice water, this conditioner can help improve the look and feel of your hair. This deep conditioner works from your hair roots to the tips.

You’ll notice softer, stronger, and more vibrant hair when you add this product to your routine.


Mimosu Rice Water for Hair Growth Tea Bags

Rice Water for Hair Growth DIY Tea Bags, Natural Deep Conditioner & Detangler, Nourished Organic Rice Protein to Help Regrowth & Repair Damaged Hair, Curly Girl Method Fermented Rice Water Hair Growth

View on Amazon

This product is designed to help you easily make your own rice water or fermented rice water at home.

Each tea bag is filled with rice power. All you need to do is place the tea bag in a container of water and let it soak.

The rice in each bag is organic and enriched to ensure it contains plenty of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, and other beneficial proteins and minerals.


Rice Water on Hair: Rice Water is Amazing for Hair!

Well, that was a lot of information about using rice water on hair! Bottom line is that rice hair is good to use if you want healthy hair, as long as you don’t overuse it, which can lead to protein overload. There are many great side effects of rice water on hair!

We hope you’ve gained the knowledge you need to decide if you are ready to give rice water a try in your hair. There are definitely many great benefits you may experience if you do add this step into your hair care routine.

Check out more hair care posts on our blog:


What are your thoughts on the side effects of rice water on hair?

Comments (16)

  1. Nicola 2 years ago

    This is so interesting, id never heard of using rice water before. Great post x

    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      Thanks Nicola!

  2. Aimsy 2 years ago

    I have never heard of using rice water for a hair treatment before. This post was so interesting!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      Cheers, Aimsy!

  3. Giulia 2 years ago

    Never heard of this before! And I was super excited about trying it until I read that it’s possible it can dry out fine hair. Sigh. But otherwise, I totally would!

    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      It’s an interesting natural ingredient for sure, but unfortunately not forgiving for everyone!

  4. Sophie Wentworth 2 years ago

    I’ve never heard of this method before so I was really interested in this. I was wondering if it would be good for hair growth too knowing how the vitamins found in rice can also help hair. I was really interested in trying this until I got to the bit about the dry scalp. Mine is very dry and sensitive so this all sounds a bit risky for me! x


    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      Probably best to avoid this if that’s already the case of your scalp, you’re right! Happy to shed some light on rice water, Sophie!

  5. Lovely 2 years ago

    This is my first time to know about the rice water for hair, thanks for sharing!


    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      You’re absolutely welcome, Lovely!

  6. Tiziana Olbrich 2 years ago

    Wow I never heard about using rice water for the hair, but it sounds amazing!
    Thanks for sharing

    have a great day,


    • Ellis James Designs 2 years ago

      Happy to share, Tiziana!

  7. Exstyler 1 year ago


    • Ellis James Designs 1 year ago


  8. primehealth 12 months ago

    The way you have provided detailed tips, opinions, and discussions about the benefits of rice water for hair and skin, and the guidance you provided, it’s imperative. Reading this post will make everyone feel better about “rice water”.

    • Ellis James Designs 12 months ago


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