Rice Water for Face & Hair Wash. Ancient China Beauty Secret


The habit of using rice water for face and hair came from Ancient China. This country can leave us amazed at how they promoted the use of natural ingredients to serve as today’s famous beauty products. Since ancient times Chinese women use unpolished rice water as a daily skin toner. Even today rice water is a beloved method of keeping natural beauty in Asia.

It would be so nice if all women were more opened to the idea of a more natural treatment for skin rather than using expensive creams and lotions. Rice water is an amazing solution for many skin problems. That’s cheap and importantly effective! Your skin care regime can be diverse, but no matter how complicated it is, rice water maybe useful step to add!
Read more articles about Rice Water

What is Rice Water?

Rice water is a milky liquid left after washing rice which you can use for taking care of skin and hair. The color and turbidity of a medium is conditioned by rice starch. It is obtained from draining boiled/raw rice or by boiling rice until it completely dissolves into the water. Generally, such liquid is effective in the treatment of diarrhea such as that arising in cholera or gastroenteritis.

The craze for rice water has been catching up very fast using for health and beauty benefits. The water to wash rice prior to cooking is called rice water.

Rice water has vitamin B, C, E, and minerals, which helps in tightening your skin and shrinkage of open pores on your face.

History of Using Rice Water for Hair: Ancient Eastern Practice

Yao women
There has been a tradition among Chinese women to use rice water as a beauty agent not only for the face but also the hair.

Yao women with long natural hair. Fermented rice secrets

Small China village Huangluo (located in the Longji Scenic Are of Gulin) is a home of Red Yao ethnics, who get their name from the conventional red garments. In the same way as other Chinese rural places, Hunagluo enjoys attractive natural surroundings and has plenty of ancient traditions. And one alluring thing is charming ladies with long hair. The Yao settlement has gotten a Guinness certification for the “world’s longest hair village” or so called the “Long Hair Village” across China. Believe or not, but their hair is almost the same length as their height! Considering the normal hair length of Huangluo women is 1,7 meters and the longest tress surpass 2.1 meters.

Yao women wash hair with fermented rice

Hair has had an enormous impact on the lives of the Red Yao women. Until a couple of years back, it was so essential that nobody, aside from the spouse and youngsters could look upon it when let free. Amid the mid year and fall, women go to the waterway to privately wash their hair. Just the man who might turn into her spouse had the benefit to see a Hongyao lady’s hair in all its magnificence. It would just happen on the day of their wedding. In the event that a neighborhood or a nonnative happened to stumble upon a woman with her hair uncovered, he was compelled to spend 3 years with her family in a status of son-in-law. Today all these old traditions were left. Yao women can now appear and brush their ebony hair in public without worrying about the consequences.

Benefits of fermented rice water. Yao women
by Toon Bronselaer

Hair is indeed sacred to these people. They believe that the women’s long hair brings longevity, wealth and good fortune. The longer the hair, the more fortunate one would be. According to local tradition, women cut their hair only once in their lives. It happens at about 16 to 18 years old when they are ready for adulthood and marriage. The cut hair is kept like a headpiece and twisted into part of their regular hairdo. This double-hair effect gives them their truly unique, outstanding look. So, fans of Rapunzel, I guess such example should inspire you to try rice water remedy to make your hair even more beautiful!

In particular, rice water has been the secret to beautiful hair for the Yao ethnic minority in southern China. They have traditionally used fermented rice water as a natural shampoo for centuries. Seems, they must be doing something right, as their hair doesn’t start to go gray until they are around 80 years old!

How Japanese women use rice water
Around 800 AD, the ladies at the Japanese Imperial Court used ‘Yu-Su-Ru’ on their hair, the rinse water obtained from washing rice. Their beautiful long hair reached the floor and required lots of attention to keep it look shiny. Rice extracts like starch and oil are frequently used in cosmetics. They are considered to have moisturizing and nourishing effects on the hair and skin.

Yu-su-ru (Rrice water) Ancient Japan Hair Secret

Geishas would actually wash their faces with boiled-down rice water. It’s an old trick used to keep their skin bright and fair. ‘Yu-Su-Ru’ helps with skin’s elasticity to even tone and smooth texture.

Geishas Use Rice Water to Make their Face Bright and Fair

So Japanese women begin by soaking the rice in water until the color of the water changes to white to product their own homemade skin toner. It can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. They moisten a cotton pad and dab it on their faces and necks, for firm and adequately-moisturized skin.

Healing Benefits of Rice Water for Skin

Components of Rice Water (Yu-Su-Ru)

  • Rice water is high in antioxidants and skin protecting properties.
  • Wash your face with rice water to makes your skin soft.
  • Washing your face with rice wash water improves complexion.
  • Can be used as a facial toner to firm your skin.
  • Aids in tightening open pores on your skin.
  • Tightens skin pores.
  • Prevents aging spots and hyper pigmentation.

To use rice water as a face mask: soak the cotton cloth in rice water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then apply on your clean face and leave this on your face to sit for 15 minutes or more. Wash your face with the left over rice water gently to get the soft and smooth skin.

You can wash your face with rice water as many times as you can. There is no limit of its usage and one can even leave it on skin to get protected from the sun rays. One can store the rice water in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days for later use. For more detailed description of this unique recipe, you can read the article: Rice Water Face Cleanser.

Rice water is also used for cooling inflammations and burnt skin. It will help your skin recover fast and prevent further damage. Cold rice water, in such cases, is preferred. Rice water also helps heal acne and cools the redness of an outbreak. It acts as an astringent on the skin, tightening the pores. The starch components in rice water are effective in easing the effects of eczema on your skin.

Rice Water Face Wash

Rice can also be used for skin care. You can wash facial skin with rice water for at least once a week for beautiful and glowing skin. You don’t have to depend on cosmetic skin products for healthy skin anymore – rice water is the ultimate beauty remedy!

How to prepare rice water face wash?

  • Firstly, fill a cup with rice. The first step is to wash it so that dust and impurities get washed out in the water. After washing the rice, remove that water.
  • Add fresh water again to that rice and mix it well with your hand. Now allow the rice to soak in that water for a span of 30 minutes. Let the nutrients in the rice get into the water.
  • Now, remove that water from the rice and splash it on your face. Massage gently using your fingers. Follow this process for 6 minutes.
  • Now again wash your face with clean water and finish the process. Use a dry towel to gently pat the skin. Your skin will look fresh and clean after this process.

Benefits of using rice water face wash

  • Washing your face with rice water makes your skin very soft and it also helps in improving the complexion.
  • Is a great substitute for toner and firms up your skin. You can throw away all your store bought toners!
  • Helps in narrowing the size of the pores on your skin.
  • Use rice water for having bath or pour rice water in the tub or bucket.
  • Powdered rice grains are also used as body scrub and they make your skin extra soft.

As a hair treatment, rice contains proteins that help strengthen elasticity and reduce surface friction. Coarse, messy long hair becomes more manageable. Some prefer to leave the rice water fermenting for one day before applying it to their hair. You can add essential oils such as lavender and rosemary to leave hair with a pleasant scent.

  • The proteins in rice water strengthen damaged hair shafts and keep it healthy.
  • Locks your hair’s soft and shiny look.

To use this rice water for your hair: after shampooing your hair, squeeze out the excess water from your hair. Then pour this rice water on your hair and leave this for 10 – 15 minutes. After all give a final rinse with cool or lukewarm water. You can use conditioner as usual.

Is rice water safe to use on hair?

Yes, it is completely safe! And it’s very healthy way to improve hair condition. Rice water doesn’t have any contraindications so it means, everyone can use it on hair.

How to Make Rice Water?

  • Wash the rice gently with water and rinse the first batch of it into the skin. This is just to remove any dirt from the rice.
  • Fill the rice again with water and let this sit in for about 15 to 20 minutes to allow the vitamins and minerals to seep into this water.
  • After that drain this water into any bowl or air-tight container to store in a refrigerator to use this for later use.
  • You can store this rice wash water for up to 4 days in a refrigerator. Shake well the stored rice water before use.

Tips to Wash Hair with Rice Water

Use a plastic basin to hold the diluted rice water and a 16-ounce plastic container to scoop and pour the rice water on to your hair as you bend over the basin. This way the rice water stays in the basin.

How to wash hair with rice water. Tips

Gently massage your scalp and continue to pour the rice water on your hair. You might consider doing your wash over the sink if you have a big kitchen or laundry sink, or in the shower with the basin which is put on a stool.

Then rinse with slightly cooler water until your hair feels clean. If you have long hair and wish to take a shower immediately, gently coil it in a high bun and use a big hair clip to hold it up.

How is Rice Water Shampoo Prepared?

The more detailed recipe is represented in another article: Fermented Rice Water Shampoo

  • First, you will need to collect the rice water. One way is to save the water you use for washing rice when you cook rice. Throw out the water from the first rinse as it is dirty and not good for applying on hair.
  • Collect enough rice water for two to three rice-water hair washes. Once you have collected your rice water, then you can start the fermentation process: leave the rice water either in the same container and keep it at room temperature for a day or until it turns slightly sour and starts to ferment.
  • You can also use geranium or rosemary essential oils for wonderful fragrance.
  • Your homemade fermented rice water for hair is ready. Store it in the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation. Usually it lasts about a week. Remember to shake the refrigerated rice water container vigorously before using it.

Adjust the ratio of rice water to your individual needs. Keep in mind that rice water is quite concentrated and if you apply it in pure form than your hair will stick together in clumps. Don’t make such mistake! The rule is to make your rice water shampoo more diluted than concentrated. Washing the hair with fermented rice water brings more than just the shine to your hair. It makes hair soft, strong, and healthy.

Rice Water Treatment for Hair: Recipes & Benefits

There is a huge number of ways people use rice water for hair. Hair rinse is the simplest method. Also, combination of rice water with different organic ingredients may help get more benefits for beautiful hair.

Rice Water & Mustard Hair Mask

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • Mustard powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

How to Use:

  1. Dissolve mustard powder in rice water until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Add olive oil and mix well.
  3. Apply the blend on the scalp. Avoid spreading the blend on the hair.
  4. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes.
  5. Wash off with a mild shampoo.

Any hair mask with mustard powder has stimulating effect on hair. Due to its heating property it is able to boost up blood circulation and provide better nutrition to hair follicles and accelerate hair growth.

Rice Water & Clay Blend for Oily Hair

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 4 tablespoons
  • Clay (any type) – 2 tablespoons
  • Rosemary essential oil – 3 drops

How to Use:

  1. Dissolve clay in rice water. Make sure the paste isn’t too runny.
  2. Add essential oil and mix well.
  3. Apply the resulting blend on the scalp with massaging movements. Don’t use homemade mask on the hair length because clay may dry out hair.
  4. Put a shower cap on and leave the mask on for 30 minutes.
  5. Wash off with any organic shampoo.
  6. Use apple cider vinegar rinse for hair (1 tablespoon of vinegar for 2 liters of clean water).

Homemade hair mask with clay is very good solution for oily hair type. It removes grease out of strands and keep the scalp clean from dandruff. On the other hand, clay has a higher pH which can leave hair dull and gummy. But it is very simple to restore your hair’s natural pH after washing with apple cider vinegar solution.

Rice Water & Egg Hair Mask

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Macadamia oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon essential oil – 3 drops

How to Use:

  1. Mix egg with rice water.
  2. Add macadamia oil and few drops of essential oil. Stir thoroughly.
  3. Apply the blend on the hair with massaging movements.
  4. Place a plastic bag and leave the mask on for 40 minutes.
  5. Wash off with any organic shampoo.
  6. Let your hair dry naturally.

Lemon essential oil helps much with dandruff. Because of its antifungal benefits lemon oil promotes healthy scalp contributing much to stronger hair.

Rice Water & Castor Oil Hair Mask

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • Castor oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Burdock oil – 1 teaspoon

How to Use:

  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Apply the blend on the scalp and hair.
  3. Put a shower cap on and leave the mask on for 40 minutes.
  4. Wash off with any organic shampoo.

This recipe is perfect for dry and damaged hair. Castor oil in combination with rice water is very effective remedy for damaged and weak hair. Using castor oil may restore hair as it provides moisturizing effect.

Rice Water & Oak Bark Infusion Blend for Hair

What You Need:

  • Oak bark infusion – 1 tablespoon
  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

How to Use:

  1. Prepare oak bark infusion.
  2. Use dried oak bark (1 tablespoon), pour it with boiling water and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid and use 1 tablespoon of it to prepare hair mask.
  4. Add other ingredients and mix well.
  5. Apply the blend on the scalp and hair.
  6. Put a plastic bag on head.Leave the mask on for 30 minutes.
  7. Wash off with a mild shampoo.

This recipe is a good treatment for dandruff. Oak bark has strong anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce scalp itching, eliminate flaking and make hair smooth. If you have blonde hair – better substitute oak bark with calendula or chamomile infusion.

Rice Water Gelatin Mask for Glossy and Shiny Hair

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 4 tablespoons
  • Almond oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Gelatin powder – 1 tablespoon

How to Use:

  1. Dissolve gelatin powder in warm rice water.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Make sure the liquid doesn’t create clumps.
  3. Add other ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  4. Apply the mixture on hair.
  5. Put a shower cap on and leave the mask on for 30 minutes.
  6. Wash off with a mild shampoo.

This recipe is good for thin and damaged hair. Gelatin and almond oil help restore split ends, repair hair structure and make hair thicker.

Rice Water & Brandy Mask for Hair Growth

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • Brandy – 1 tablespoon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

How to Use:

  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Apply the blend on the scalp and spread over the hair.
  3. Cover head with a towel.
  4. Leave the mask on for 40 minutes.
  5. Wash off with a mild shampoo.
  6. Rinse hair with herbal infusion if necessary.

Brandy possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which make this product suitable for oily hair type. Also, in combination with rice water it helps treat dandruff, improve blood circulation and promote faster hair growth.

Rice Water & Ginger hair Mask

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 3 tablespoons
  • Ginger powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

How to Use:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Apply the resulting liquid on the scalp with massaging movements.
  3. Spread the remaining blend over the hair.
  4. Put a shower cap on and leave the mask on for 40 minutes.
  5. Wash off with any organic shampoo.

Ginger components stimulate hair follicles. It is a natural solution for hair loss. While using ginger powder you may feel tingling sensation. It means, ginger enhances blood circulation which is necessary for healthy hair growth. Ginger has slight lightening effect so this recipe will be good for girls with blonde hair. In comparison with onion hair mask, this one doesn’t leave unpleasant odor in your hair.

Rice Water & Rye Flour Hair Mask

What You Need:

  • Rice water – 4 tablespoons
  • Rye flour – 1 tablespoon
  • Ylang ylang essential oil – 3 drops

How to Use:

  1. Mix all ingredients until you get a smooth paste. If the blend is too thick, add more rice water. Double the amount of ingredients in mask if you have long hair.
  2. Apply the mixture on the scalp.
  3. Spread the remaining blend on the hair.
  4. Put a shower cap on and leave the mask on for 40 minutes or longer.
  5. Wash off with a mild shampoo.
  6. Repeat the procedure twice a week.

This recipe is suitable for any hair type. Rye flour helps remove grease from strands, makes hair shiny and smooth. Also, it nourishes the scalp, provides it with necessary vitamins reducing hair loss.

Rice Water for Hair Reviews

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsBasemath Milana, 23
I used to have had a little bit pimples, dandruff and itchy scalp. After I applied rice water on hair before shampooing, all this problem had gone. I love my hair now, it feels so smooth and much thicker. Rice water is really really good for sensitive scalp. I use it twice a week for better results. I cannot say anything about faster hair growth but hair condition is much better than before.

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsHilda Paaie, 34
I never throw away rice water after cooking. I use it as a hair mask. I just rub it all through my dry hair as much as possible, really saturate it, clip it up in a bun and then leave for about 4 hours. Then I wash the mask off with a shampoo without using a conditioner. This helps my hair so much as I blow dry my hair all the time so this is good!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsElisabeth, 21
I was looking to try a homemade hair rinse. Glad to know that rice water may help my hair a lot! I heard about the benefits of rice but never knew it can be used on hair. I decided to wash my hair with rice water to see whether it improves hair strength and growth. I am currently using this product for a month already and so far have been happy with the results! My hair is healthier, feels silky, growing in length, and have shiny wavy lustrous tresses!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsVeronika Puck, 19
I love this! I’m always on the lookout for hair masks and rinse that will add strength and shine without depositing harmful chemicals. So, I’m really starting to get onto natural path trying safe products for my hair. I use rice water once a week. Sometimes I blend it with olive oil and honey and use it as a hair mask. But applying it as a hair rinse is preferable for me. I noticed my hair grow faster and thicker, it is more manageable!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsCarlaE, 26
I love using rice water on my hair! I have bleached hair, so it gets very dry. I use rice water hair mask twice a week, and it keeps my hair healthy and shiny. My favorite recipe is the following: I blend 3 tablespoons of rice water with mustard and olive oil. When I use it, I make sure to keep it on a little longer than my regular conditioner to let it penetrate all through my hair. It does not make my hair feel heavy or greasy. Also, sometimes I refuse using commercial shampoo and this hair mask helps make my hair and scalp clean!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsRadka Tyra, 37
Rice water is amazing! I have damaged hair and split ends. I was having the hardest time finding something that actually worked for my hair. I went through an assortment of shampoos, conditioners, various homemade masks. Until I read about rice water benefits for hair. I prefer to use the liquid as hair rinse left after washing rice. I apply it every time I wash my hair, gently rubbing it into the scalp. This product leaves my hair so silky and healthy looking. My hair looks luxurious so that many people comment upon it!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsDanielle Fiss, 20
I have dry hair and sensitive scalp. In the search for something to restore plenty of moisture back into my hair, I went through many homemade treatments. I was a little skeptical at first when I read about rice water. So I decided to have a try. I am so glad! I’ve been using it for a few months now once a week and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive scalp at all! Also, my hair feels so shiny and voluminous after each application!

Rice Water for Hair ReviewsPhilomena Amalia, 38
My hair looks so healthy after rice water rinse. I can’t even explain how well this really worked!!! My hair has been really dull lately, and my ends have been excruciatingly dry, but now my hair seriously looks like I just got it done. I rinse my hair with rice water every time after shampooing. I have very dark hair and it tends to look dingy but it looks so healthy after washing with rice water. I can’t stop running my fingers through it!

Discussion19 Comments

  1. Hi, I want to add some more information about rice water:
    Rice water benefits the hair in various ways. It helps to decrease the production of dandruff. It promotes hair growth and over a period of time, rice water helps to improve the texture of your locks.
    For the skin, rice water decreases those nasty blemishes and scars caused by pimples. Rice water, when used as a face wash on a daily basis, will lighten your skin, thus making you fair naturally over a course of time.
    Note: To get started, soak a handful of rice in a container consisting of warm water. Allow it to soak for at least half an hour before using the water on your hair.
    For the skin, soak a handful of rice in room temperature water. Allow it to soak for an hour. Use this water for your skin. You can mix it with other ingredients that are beneficial in improving the quality of your skin.

  2. This is my way of preparing fermented rice water:
    – Collect your rice water by rinsing the rice, the first rinse may contain dirt, if this happens, repeat the process and use the second water. You can also collect rise water by adding extra water to the rice and set some apart.
    – You have your water , yay, let’ s get fermented: leave the water at room temperature in a container for a day or until it turns sour and the fermentation begins.
    – Boil the fermented rice water over high heat to stop the fermentation process( if you are not going to use it right away.
    – Wait for the rice water to cool down and then add two to three drops of tea tree, lavender or rosemary oil
    Use right away or store it in the refrigerator no longer than a few days.

  3. Japanese use this method for centuries and it has spread to other countries too, I used to do this few months back but did not do it regularly, should start following it again

  4. Hello. I also agree, that boiling is a bad idea. Everybody who has fermented food (kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha) knows that if you want to halt the fermentation you just put it in the fridge. If you boil it you kill all the beneficial bacteria so you just “pasteurise” it and lose all the goodness.

    • On the contrary, the Yao women have boiled the water and they have hair down to their feet. So I don’t think you lose anything by boiling the water to stop the fermentation process.

  5. I have tried a soap with natural rice and milk ingredients since last month. And now I rarely get pimples and red skin, though honestly I have sensitive skin. Then I found out about rice water for hair and skin treatment too.
    I had a little bit pimples, dandruff, and itchy scalp. But, after I use rice water before bathing for my hair and body, all this problem had gone. I love my skin and hair now.now my hair and skin are felt and looked smooth and shiny.
    It is really really good for sensitive skin. ^_^

  6. love this! I showed this to my 66 yr old mother in law, she is raving about how it has helped with her mature dry/damaged skin. I am 26 and have noticed all postive effects!

  7. Do not Boil!
    Someone said above that they boil they rice water. You lose all the nutrients if do that. Some articles say that the Yao women of Southern China boiled it and some articles say they do not. The alchemy of the fermentation and minerals are is changed once you boil it.
    Put it in a large squirting bottle like the type you would use to color your hair and make sure it touches your scalp. Leave in for at least 10 min
    You won’t even need to shampoo or condition. It will make your hair thicker and stronger and if you have frizzy hair it will be less and your curls will stick together more. My daughter’s and I have been playing around with this and we are going to stop using regular shampoo all together. The rich B vitamin is supposed to help with keeping your hair from going grey. It would be great if it could reverse it. Testing this out. It may take awhile but it feels so much better not to have to use shampoo and conditioner from the store.

  8. These beauty care tips are still used today! I have a couple of Solvaderm products that contains the same ingredients. Ancient Chinese do know their way around beauty, this would explain how these women were able to seduce anyone who crosses their paths

    • Anita from Sweden
      I an simply soo excited to have found this page! I have one question though, I went to 2 supermarkets yesterday, and they sell lots of different rice types, Basmati, Long Grain, Unpolished what we call raw-rice, Uncle Ben´s in bags to boil, I just stood there and did not know what kind to buy, Can anyone please tell me WHAT KIND OF RIce should I buy? I don’t want to risk a rice that has been treated and might not have all the good stuff in it.

  9. I need to know why do we have to collect the rice water in a container when we wash our hair is it that we can use it more than once, that got me confused, please if anyone have the answer I will love to read about it.

  10. Hi!
    I would simply like to know if I can use rice flour instead of rice to make rice water?
    Many thanks and great article!

  11. I want to make shower gel with rice water, lemon juice, lavender oil and gel soap base. Any advice or exact recipe?

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