Does Rice Water Really Grow Hair?
Of all the DIY beauty treatments, rice water is probably one of the easiest to prepare and apply. You simply soak the rice in water and then apply the resulting liquid to your hair. It is supposed to make your hair stronger, shinier and even speed up its growth to make it longer. But does it really work?
My first question was why should this work? Hair growth is usually not affected by what you put on the outside. This hair follicle spends two to six years in the so-called anagen stage of development , constantly growing a strand of hair. When this hair follicle completes its growth stage, the resulting hair is as long as it is going to be – 12 inches would be typical if the follicle were growing for two years at a rate of six inches per year. Some people have follicles that last longer than others, which explains why some people can grow knee-length hair while others don’t grow at all. (That’s why you don’t need to cut your eyebrows regularly: their growth cycle is much shorter.)
In all the hype around rice water for hair, I haven’t seen a single conclusive evidence that it does anything for growth. Several articles point to a 2010 study, available only in abstract form , which notes that rice water has historically been used by a group of women known for their floor-length hair. This does not mean that this is why their hair was floor-length.
The authors note that rice water “has demonstrated hair care effects such as reducing surface friction and increasing hair elasticity. However, when the hair was treated with [rice water] alone, flaking was observed on the surface of the hair, and direct application of [rice water] was considered difficult.” They recommend that cosmetic chemists look into making rice water extracts that can be added to shampoos, but again, there is no evidence that this accelerates hair growth. And as scientist Gaby Longsworth told MarthaStewart.com , rice water doesn’t seem to absorb into the hair or scalp, so it’s hard to imagine how it could affect growth at all.
However, rice water can help keep your hair and scalp healthy by simply coating your strands and preventing breakage; soothing irritated scalp. If true, these hypotheses indicate that rice water will not strengthen or lengthen healthy hair, but may be beneficial for damaged hair or skin conditions that affect the scalp.
Since rice water is easy to make, I tried it. I have wavy hair, about waist length, which I took pretty good care of; it hasn’t been dyed recently and I don’t use heat or harsh chemicals on it.
I soaked a cup of dry basmati rice (because I had it on hand) in a jar with about a cup of water. I shook the jar to mix everything up and then left it in the fridge until the next day. When I was ready to take a shower, I strained the rice water into a spray bottle. (I put Rice back in the fridge as it didn’t hurt. I’m planning on making it for dinner tomorrow.)
All self-wash instructions say rice water should be used after washing your hair, but they disagree on whether it should be used before, after, or instead of conditioner. I chose after as conditioner is a necessary part of my detangling routine .
So I washed my hair and applied conditioner, rinsed it thoroughly and squeezed out excess moisture. I then sprayed rice water on half of my hair, leaving the other half as a control, and combed through it while continuing to spray, and when my sprayer failed, I watered it. (I don’t know how much rice water you should use, but I probably drank at least half a glass.) I then sat for ten minutes to let the rice water soak in completely, and finally rinsed off all the water. excess.
When my hair was dry, I called the jury. It had two participants: my husband, an adult who understands directions, and my 6-year-old daughter, who pays attention to small details and is extremely honest without any problems.
My daughter wasted no time in coming to the conclusion, “I don’t think it worked.” My husband hesitated for a few minutes, eventually deciding that the right side looked “1% brighter” and the left side looked “1% nicer.” The rice water treatment was on the left side.
So does it work? For growth is unlikely; for shine and softness, there may be a difference. (Some rice water aficionados say you have to use it for weeks on end before you really notice a difference.) Either way, it’s simple and feels good when you spray or pour the cool liquid onto your hair. . It also smells good and doesn’t have any obvious dangers or downsides, which we can’t say about many other DIY beauty hacks .