This is what hairdressers really think about the rice water hair trend

by eleanor / last updated June 2, 2021

rice water hair

Rice water has been a hot hair trend for a while now (Google searches for ‘does rice water grow hair’ are currently up 750% ) and even the Kardashians are on board, with Kourtney and Kim praising its hair growth and thickening abilities. Some hairdressers have even had their clients bring in rice water to rinse their hair in the salon – but what do the experts think about the trend?

What is rice water rinsing?

Rice water rinsing involves soaking rice in water, and retaining the water to rinse the hair after shampooing. Dale Hollinshead at Hazel & Haydn, Birmingham, says that this phenomenon has grown in popularity through TikTok in recent months.

“You need to rinse a bowl of rice, then put it into fresh water and leave that for 48 hours. It will then turn the water into a slightly slimy consistency. You take that water and pop it into a spray bottle, apply globally to the scalp, all over the hair and leave for 10 mins or as long as you want,” he says. “But be warned, it doesn’t smell very nice, or feel very nice for that matter, but it is supposed to promote hair growth, it gives lots of shine and my team at work say it definitely makes your hair feel way healthier.”

Does rice water grow hair?

There are no studies that prove that rice water can help hair grow. However, TikTok and YouTube are packed with anecdotal stories singing the praises of the ritual, and even hairdressers have seen that rice water can help improve the quality of their client’s hair.

“It has many benefits including detangling hair, increasing shine, strengthening the hair, improving structure of waves and curls, reducing breakage, closing down cuticles and improved hair growth,” says Emma Simmons, Salon54, Thirsk, North Yorkshire. “We have had an increase in clients enquiring how to make and use their own rice water rinse in the salon.”

What do hairdressers think of the rice water trend?

“Rice water rinsing is growing in popularity amongst many of our curly clients, helping curls be more defined, hydrated and shiny its fast becoming the most popular hack with natural textured clients,” says Emma. “Packed with amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants the rice water rinse packs a powerful punch, and I’ve noticed a lighter bouncier curl that requires less product to hold, in the clients that are using this method, although it’s mainly our curly clients following the trend at the moment, however I do think everyone could benefit from a regular rinse,” she says.

Where did the rice water rinse originate?

Rice water dates back to the Heian Period in Japanese history (between 794 and 1185), where Yu-Su-Ru (the act of rinsing rice water) was used by women to grow their hair to floor-skimming lengths. And in the Chinese village of Huangluo, the Yao women use rice water to rinse and maintain their long hair, which by tradition is only cut once in their lifetime at age 18.

Why is rice water becoming so popular?

“Clients are becoming more conscious of ingredients in products, they are cutting out the drying alcohols and silicones and opting for a more natural way of conditioning their locks,” says Emma. “With a move towards sustainability and eco-friendly products the rice water rinse is a perfect at home, in expensive alternative to traditional products.”

How do you make rice water?

There are three ways to make rice water, soaking, boiling or fermenting. the most popular we have found amongst our clients is to soak,” says Emma, who explains how to make and use rice water below:

How to make a rice water rinse  

1) Rinse 1 cup of organic uncooked white rice

2) Add rice to 4 cups of spring water (avoid unfiltered tap water due to the minerals and chemicals)

3) Leave to soak for a minimum of 24 hours

4) Strain the rice and keep refrigerated

How to use the rice water rinse

1) Shampoo your hair and rinse

2) Dip your hair into a large bowl containing the rice water and scoop onto the scalp, saturate your hair and scalp evenly. You can also decant the water into a spray bottle and spritz on to the hair.

3) Massage in from roots to tips and leave for 15-30 minutes, pop a shower cap on and use the heat from your head to help your hair absorb the nutrients.

4) Rinse out and use a protein free conditioning treatment

5) Style as normal



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