I have low porosity hair, which translates to trying to mange hair that doesn’t like to get wet, and once wet, takes forever to dry. It gets a C- retaining moisture, which could easily be a D since I live in a humid climate . There are many other hair characteristics I could get into; a rice water rinse has changed my hair (or should I say my scalp pH) dramatically. That translates to the benefits below.
You’re going to want to know all the bennies of a rice water rinse to get committed to this regimen first – and they are vast.
The Benefits of a Rice Water Rinse
Think of your hair cuticle like the cuticle of your nails. If your nail cuticle is healthy your nail will grow out healthy. Of course, if your cuticle is damaged then your nails are vulnerable – peeling/thin, not growing and so on. Your hair is similar in the concept: keep the cuticle healthy and it protects the hair shaft and retains moisture.
Rice Water Contains:
Vitamins B, C, and E, which promote hair growth
Amino acids to help repair split ends
A carbohydrate, inositol, that repairs damaged hair and improves hair elasticity by reducing surface friction
Natural saponins that work as a natural cleanser
Starch that can kill bugs (e.g., lice and nits)
Rice water helps restore your scalp’s pH levels or aids in retaining healthy and happy hair. It will aid in closing your cuticles to protect your hair shaft – reserving moisture and preserving color/highlights. It can also restore shine when used as a hair mask. AND IT’S CHEAP!
On a side note, but to also demonstrate the pH powers of a rice water rinse, you can eliminate the smell of new paint, remove sauce, fruit and sweat stains from fabrics, and eliminates unpleasant odors. It is a powerful agent when used correctly.
What is this little miracle anyway…
What is Rice Water?
Rice water is just rice and water. It looks like cloudy water. You can find the recipe below. There are many benefits to using rice water, not just for your hair, but for your skin (and home) too! Beware, things are going to get sciency.
First pH stands for Hydrogen – a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is and ranges from 0 – 14.
pH below 6.9 = Acidic
pH 7 = Neutral
pH 7.1 -14 = Alkaline
You should know water has a 7 pH level. Cooked and uncooked rice pH levels range from 6 to 6.7. Your skin’s pH value is 5.5.
You can see how small a good pH window level is and how just one processes can throw your scalp’s pH out of whack. Rice water has a higher pH level then your hair’s natural pH levels.
Is a Rice Water Rinse Right for My Hair?
Here are a two questions to determine your hairs health. If you answer yes to one or both questions below, you can benefit with a rice water rinse by the second use – returning your pH levels to 5.5.
One: Do you suffer from scalp fungus/bacteria?
This can manifest itself through dry itchy scalp, eczema, stinky scalp and dandruff. Each is a sign of high alkaline. These symptoms are further agitated by using products with high (more then 7) pH levels. Check your shampoo.
Two: Have you used color, bleach or relaxers?
Each process manipulates the cuticle (opening and closing) to achieve the desired result. High alkaline products open the cuticle and highly acidic products are used to close it/make it lay down.
Bro. Is it becoming clear yet?
How to Use a Rice Water Rinse?
I store mine in the fridge because, cold water closes the cuticle naturally and the solution last longer. Before I jump in the shower I get enough rice water to rinse my hair. Everyone has different length hair, so use your best judgement to get started. Personally, I have low porosity hair, so I use an appropriate shampoo and conditioner interchangeably between washes. For example, one wash I will use low porosity shampoo followed by a rice water rinse and the next wash I will use conditioner only, followed by a rice water rinse.
The frequency of your rice water rinse should be determined by your hairs response. It will take a minimum of two rice water rinses to begin to restore pH levels to your scalp.
- Apply your product (e.g., shampoo, conditioner or both)
- Rinse out the product with water
- Rinse again with your rice water
- You can stop here or rinse the rice water out, preferably with cold water to help close the cuticle.
Note: Whether you rinse the rice water out of leave it in the inositol in the rice water remains behind, continuing to protect the hair. To rebuild protein bonds outside of a rice water rinse, proper acidic products should be used. Hence product labels that read pH Balanced.
If you’re ready, follow the recipe below.
Rice Water Rinse Recipe
Soaking is the easiest way to make rice water; you can boil it. There is a small 10 minute window when it is boiling that can lead to cooking out the benefits, so I do not go into the cooking method. Fermented rice water is the best, because it has more antioxidants.
What you’ll need to get started right now: rice, container that will hold four fluid cups with a lid and water.
- Rinse 2 TBL – 1/2 cup raw rice (brown or white) thoroughly to eliminate unwanted sh…tuff
- Place your clean rice in a bowl with 2 cups of water and cover
- Let soak for at least 24-48 hours
- Strain the rice from the water into a clean bowl (use the rice as a face mask!)
- Dilute the rice water with 2 cups of clean water
You are ready to use your rice water as a rinse. Store it in the fridge for one week. Use it on your hair and face to achieve any of the benefits above.
Visit my (flat iron) Hair Routine and Techniques video. Look at my before and after pictures. SMH!
Good luck and please, don’t be shy! Let me know how it turns out if you try it – I love the mess out of trouble shooting and swapping notes!