Are There Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair?

side effects of rice water on hair

Using rice water on hair has become a trendy hair growth method over the past few years. Avid users claim it is a miracle-growth product and consistent use promotes long, luscious, silky hair. But just how effective is rice water on hair growth and are there any potential side effects of using it on hair? We’ve gathered the facts for you.

What is Rice Water and Why is it Being Used for Hair Growth?

Rice water is simply water that has been soaked in rice grains or the water leftover after cooking rice. Typically, people will soak the rice grains for at least a few hours, then drain the grains out. What’s left behind is the rice water to use. Rice water is a great way to utilize all the benefits that rice has to offer. Rice comes in so many different forms (whole rice, jasmine, brown, wild, etc.), and they all vary in the nutrients they contain. Different types of rice may contain potassium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium, amino acids, and so forth. Rice water also has antioxidants that are believed to help cleanse the scalp. 

While using rice water for hair growth has become more mainstream over the past decade, this hair treatment has actually been around for centuries. Dating back as early as 794 CE, East and Southeast Asian women specifically have been using the starchy water for their hair benefits.

Rice Water Benefits for Hair

With all of the nutritional value that rice has to offer, many people enjoy using rice water because they believe their hair follicles will be able to soak up all of the good nutrients. The believed main benefits to using rice water are: 

  • Improving hair appearance and hair shine
  • Boosting hair volume 
  • Soothing the scalp, and potentially alleviating dandruff 
  • Strengthening hair follicles 
  • Repairing damaged cuticles

The current research on rice water doesn’t unanimously and unequivocally support these claims, but many individuals have found success in their own experiences with rice water. That being said, if you are suffering from bad hair health or thinning, rice water may not be your cure, but it could be worth a shot. 

Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair

This budget-friendly hair technique can seem to be a no-brainer to try for improving hair, but what are the downsides to using rice water? Commonly reported side effects of rice water on hair include dry, brittle hair, flaky scalp, and a fermentation odor. 

The most common side effect of using rice water is typically dry hair. As rice water is packed with so many nutritional properties, overuse of rice water can cause hair to become frizzy or dry out as a result of protein-overload. Hair with lower porosity will especially see the protein in rice water not being able to absorb fully into the hair cuticle. Even with coarse hair, it is recommended to only use rice water one to two times per week. People with finer hair have most commonly run into issues with rice water, while those with curly, coarser hair see the best results.

If your hair isn’t reacting to rice water well, we recommend removing it from your hair care routine. Rinse out any leftover rice water in your strands by clarifying your scalp with a gentle shampoo, and deep conditioning your ends. If your scalp specifically is dry, consider using a nourishing oil also. If you notice any other serious side effects, always seek professional help from your healthcare provider, stylist or esthetician. 

So is Rice Water Good for Hair?

A traditional hair treatment used for centuries, rice water is ​​a great natural and low-cost option to consider. But as with many other hair treatments and products out there, what may work very well for one person, might not do the same for another. It is best to consider the state and texture of your own hair if rice water is something you’d like to try. It’s worth trying out rice water a few times to see if your hair is compatible.

If you’re looking for other methods in strengthening your hair, we might have a solution for you. Our Hair Revival Serum works to revitalize your hair follicles and reawaken your roots. We discovered, tested, and patented our key ingredient, ProCelinyl™, and we’ve loaded up our serum with soothing yet invigorating ingredients and botanicals like aloe vera, caffeine, and B vitamins for your best hair health yet.

Profile photo for Enzo Benfanti

Reviewed by: Enzo Benfanti, MEng |

Enzo is a chemical engineer and data enthusiast with a background in industrial chemicals. His previous experience is in developing catalysts and designing industrial chemical processes to produce the precursors to detergents, polyester fibers, and other specialty materials. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo [Go Bills!] and his master's degree from Columbia University, both in chemical engineering.

Written by: Elizabeth Lee |

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