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Growth and Maintenance

How to Use Rice Water for Hair Growth

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One of the most common questions and struggles that parents have with their child’s hair is how to grow it!

With so many popular hair trends out now, it’s natural to question if rice water really works to grow natural hair fast and long.

In this post I’m going to lay it all out on the table from beginning to end!

The history behind rice water rinses for hair

For centuries, women in China, Japan and Southeast Asia have used rice water rinses to grow and maintain their hair.

Women in Japan grew their hair to floor length by bathing in rice water.

There is a village in China called Huanluo where the Yao women are known for having hair as long as 6 feet on average. These women credit their long locs to bathing in rice water.

While I don’t recommend bathing in rice water, your hair can still thrive with regular rice water rinses.

Benefits of rice water for natural hair growth and strengthening

Fans of rice water rinses say that consistent use of this technique has resulted in:

  • Increased hair elasticity and bounce
  • Stronger, thicker hair
  • More defined curls
  • Reduced dandruff
  • Nourished hair follicles at the root
  • Easy to detangle hair
  • Stronger strands that tend break less
  • Shinier and smoother hair
  • Reduced shedding and split ends
  • Hair growing longer, faster

While your results may vary, there seems to be some science behind this technique that back up these claims.

Nutrients in rice water that benefit hair

Some scientists and hair bloggers alike believe that rice water is so beneficial to hair because it contains the perfect combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Some of the key ingredients in rice water include:

  • Inositol-a carbohydrate that helps strengthen your hair and reduces surface friction.
  • Amino acids – helps hair regenerate and grow faster.
  • Vitamins A, C, and E – improves hair’s elasticity.
  • Minerals – healp nourish the hair strand.
  • Allantoin – an organic compound that helps soothe and heal hair and skin.
  • Ferulic acid – an antioxidant that nourishes the hair strand.

How to make rice water

There are two popular preparation techniques that can be used to make rice water. The fermentation method and the boiling method.

Some rice water advocates claim that the fermented rice water method is more beneficial because the fermentation process allows for higher amounts of antioxidants from the rice to be released into the water.

The Fermentation Method

Rice water rinse ingredients for natural hair


  • 1 glass mason jar
  • 1/4 cup of rice (I use Organic Long Grain Brown Rice)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of distilled water
  • Metal strainer
  • Plastic funnel
  • Spray bottle

Preparation Instructions

  1. Pour rice into the strainer and rinse under warm water for 30 seconds. (This removes dirt and debris from the rice)
  2. Pour rinsed rice into the mason jar.
  3. Add distilled water.
  4. Secure the lid on the mason jar and shake for 5 seconds.
  5. Let sit for 24 – 48 hours.
  6. Strain water into a spray bottle with a plastic funnel. (If the smell is unbearable, consider adding a few drops of an essential oil like lavender, orange or peppermint)
  7. Apply to hair as instructed below.

The Boiling Method

ling method


  • 1 glass mason jar
  • 1 cup of rice (I use Organic Long Grain Brown Rice)
  • 3 cups of distilled water
  • Metal strainer
  • Plastic funnel
  • Medium cooking pot
  • Spray bottle

Preparation Instructions

  1. Pour rice into the strainer and rinse under warm water for 30 seconds. (This removes dirt and debris from the rice)
  2. Bring water to a boil in a metal pot and add rice.
  3. Let boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and let cool.
  5. Strain water into a spray bottle with a plastic funnel.
  6. Apply to hair as instructed below.

How to Use Rice Water for Hair Growth

Rice water should be applied to thoroughly cleansed hair and before deep conditioning.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Section hair into 4-5 smaller sections.
  2. Secure each section with a hair clip.
  3. Shampoo each section individually and secure back into a hair clip. (Make sure that all of the shampoo is rinsed out of the hair.)
  4. Spray each section of freshly washed and rinsed hair liberally with your pre-made rice water.
  5. Massage into the hair and scalp for about 3 – 5 minutes.
  6. Once each section is heavily saturated, cover with a shower cap.
  7. Let sit on the hair for 15-20 minutes. (Make sure to keep a towel nearby for water that may leak out of the shower cap.)
  8. Rinse each section thoroughly with warm water.
  9. Proceed with deep conditioning and styling as usual.

My own results with rice water

I have personally seen great results with re-growing and thickening my daughter’s hair, specifically her edges, using rice water rinses.

She was recently diagnosed with telogen effluvium earlier this year and I was devastated!

Her hair was coming out in large clumps and her edges were alarmingly bald.

rice water rinse to grow hair

I thought it was something I was doing and guilt overwhelmed me.

After many blood tests and discussions with my daughter’s pediatrician, it was determined that there was nothing that triggered her hair loss. He reassured me that these things can sometimes occur out of the blue.

It was little reassurance, however, because there is no way to treat this at her age. We just had to wait it out and hope it resolved itself within 6 – 9 months.

I decided to try everything in my power to naturally regrow her hair. I first tried applying Wild Grow Hair Oil and castor oil to her hair and scalp, but after about 6 weeks, there was no change.

I then started incorporating rice water rinses into her regimen during every wash day. And it worked! After about 6 weeks, I definitely saw growth!

hair growth using rice water rinses

Those little fuzzy curls you see forming are all new growth! It definitely isn’t even in length with the rest of her hair, but it is filling in nicely!

I also noticed that her hair isn’t coming out in alarmingly large clumps anymore.

On top of using rice water consistently, I also made sure that I did the following:

  • Kept her hair moisturized using the LOC method
  • Protected her hair at night with a quality satin bonnet (one with a satin edge so that it wouldn’t rub out her edges again)
  • Had her wear a satin-lined winter hat (yes, we’re still wearing winter hats in April! lol)
  • Kept her hair in protective styles that didn’t pull tightly on her scalp
  • Made sure she was drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet of fruits and veggies

Basically, I was following all of the steps in my hair growth guide and incorporating rice water rinses into it as well. (See, I told you guys that I stand by and use everything I offer! I’m not just trying to sell you a bunch of crap! lol)

So, if your little one is suffering from hair loss, I’d definitely consider trying rice water rinses. Make sure you get the ok from your pediatrician first, though!

Frequently asked questions about rice water

How do I store rice water and how long does rice water stay fresh?

It is recommended that you store rice water in the fridge in a sealed container for 1 week at most.

I do not make enough for there to be extras. The recipe above ensures that you don’t have to store any extras.

Can I leave rice water in my hair overnight?

It is recommended that you rinse rice water out after at most 1 hour. I have seen some bloggers spray rice water on their hair daily without any negative effects to their hair.

My advice would be to tailor your child’s routine to best fit your child’s specific hair needs.

Can I use rice water to grow my toddler or infants hair?

Infant and toddler hair is so delicate at this age. I wouldn’t recommend using rice water when they are this young. My daughter was 5 years old when I started incorporating rice water rinses into her wash days.

If you want a comprehensive guide to caring for your baby’s hair including age appropriate hair growth techniques, then the New Mom’s Guide to Infant Hair Care Ebook is the perfect option!

What can I add to rice water to boost its benefits?

K.I.S.S.- Keep it simple, Sis (or Sir)! There are so many benefits already in rice water that it isn’t necessary to add anything else to boost the benefits.

Does rice water have a smell?

Yes! And it stinks, bad! The longer it ferments, the smellier it gets. Try adding a few drops of lavender, orange or peppermint oil to combat the smell.

Luckily, the smell rinses out and you don’t smell it after you deep condition. Now, if you spray fermented rice water on your hair daily – I don’t recommend that though – then your hair may start to smell.

I let my rice water sit and ferment for 4 days, can I still use it?

I’ve done that before and it didn’t damage my daughter’s hair. Laziness sets in and I don’t always wash her hair when I intend to even though I have the best intentions.

I wouldn’t make a habit of doing that though. Try to stick with letting it ferment for no longer than 48 hours. If you want to be on the safe side, make a new batch.

What rice do you use for rice water?

I personally use organic brown rice from my local grocery store. That is what I used to regrow my daughter’s hair.

Organic jasmine rice and black rice are also pretty popular these days, too.

I have also seen rice water rinses work with plain white rice. I have also heard that you shouldn’t use instant rice because it doesn’t have all of the nutrients.

So, any rice that you have in your cabinet should work except instant rice. Just make sure you rinse off debris and toxins that may be residue from where it was packaged.

Is rice water a protein treatment?

Rice water is a lot more than just a protein treatment. It acts as a strengthening treatment that improves hair’s elasticity.

How often should I use rice water?

I do rice water rinses every time I wash my daughter’s hair. So, every 10 – 14 days.

Which hair types benefit from rice water rinses?

Hair typing, by definition, is just the shape of your hair strand (i.e. curl pattern). It’s instead best to determine if your hair is lacking some of the benefits that rice water provides.

For example, if your hair strand is weak and limp, breaks or snaps easily, has a dull look and is stalled in growth, then this method may be perfect to revitalize your hair.

How long will it take for rice water to grow my child’s hair?

I noticed my daughter’s hair starting to fill in after 3 weeks. But I was also making sure that I was keeping her hair moisturized, styling in protective styles, and giving her nutrient rich foods.

Disclaimer: Your individual results may vary. I recommend taking a picture of your child’s hair the day you begin to use rice water, and then take a picture with every washday thereafter so you can compare the results.

Need a comprehensive guide to help grow your child’s hair long?

Download our most popular ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Waist Length Hair

Have more questions about rice water rinses? Let me know in the comments!

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