Does Rice water grow your hair?

Does Rice water grow your hair?

Rice water has tremendously grown in popularity as a hair growth potion. I have seen the most amazing things. People claiming to be able to grow hair from almost bald to 6 inches in just 3 weeks. And they say that this is all due to the use of rice water. So, I decided to take you on a journey and find out what this rice water hype is all about.  And if it can really grow your hair. 

Let’s take a deeper look.

The journey takes us to the Yao village in China. The women in this village all have long, black shiny hair and they say that this is because of the way they treat their hair. Yao village is therefore also called “the long hair village”. The Yao women entered the Guinness book of records in 2002,  for having the longest hair in the world. 

And yes,  All the women in the village have one thing in common, they treat their hair with Rice water.

Once a year, they have a “long hair festival” that has been attracting a lot of visitors since they won the Guinness world record. During the festival, they demonstrate how they treat their hair with rice water.  Traditions have it, that when a girl reaches adulthood, usually age 18, there is a ceremony to cut off the hair. The hair from 0-18 years is cut to shoulder length and given to the girl to keep and use in her hairstyle.  During this ceremony, the women treat their hair with rice water. 

Yao Rice water recipe

The way the Yoa women prepare the rice water seems pretty straight forward:

After washing the rice, the water that is used to rinse the rice is boiled together with orange skin and then kept in large barrels for up to 30 days. This water then is used to “wash their hair”.The rice water is sprayed on the hair and left there for 20 minutes. Then they rinse this out in the river. Yao women also do not wash their hair every day. On average, they wash their hair once a week. 

The women claim that it is due to this custom, they have been able to grow extremely long hair. Next to that, they also claim that it is the rice water that keeps their hair black. None of these women, not even the older ones, have grey hair. Unless they are age up to 80 they claim.

The recipe that is being used has been used for generations. And this recipe has taken over the world in many varieties. Where the Yoa women take a lifetime to grow their very long hair, on the internet you see testimonials of women claiming miraculous growth even after using the rice water only once.

So, let me pause here for a minute. These women only cut their hair once in their lifetime and they are able to grow their hair so long that it even reaches the floor. This totally contradicts the “rule” that you should regularly trim your hair if you want to grow your hair.

Having said that, let’s look at the rice water a little closer.

Rice has been used as a beauty product in several Asian countries for centuries. Not only for the hair but also for the skin.  So what is it that makes rice an almost magical product for hair and skin?

What are the components we can find in rice water?

  • Rice water contains a couple of ingredients such as:
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Amino acids, (Rice water contain up to 16% proteins.  these are the proteins that will help strengthen your hair)
  • Antioxidants
  • Minerals

Rice water also contains an ingredient called Inositol. It is this ingredient that we need to take a closer look at.

What is Inositol? 

Inositol is a type of sugar that is being produced by our bodies naturally. 

Inositol has a couple of benefits:

  • It has the ability to smooth out the outer layer of the hair.  It decreases the surface friction. This prevents it from “rubbing against each other”, which causes damage. 
  • It increases the elasticity of the hair, it helps to define your curl pattern and makes the hair more flexible. 
  • And last, but certainly not least, the inositol has the ability to stay inside your hair, even when you have rinsed it out. This means that it stays in the hair and strengthens it “from the inside”. 

Further analysis also shows that Inositol seems to work better in combination with an ingredient called Choline.

What is Choline

Choline has only recently been acknowledged as a required nutrient by the institute of medicine.

Choline, like Inositol, is also found in our bodies. But although our body makes Choline, we should also get it from our diet to avoid deficiency. 

Choline can be obtained from a variety of food sources such as Salmon, cauliflower, beef liver, Broccoli, and Chicken liver. 

Choline and Inositol work great together for the hair; the combination of Choline and Inositol is said to help produce more follicle membranes. 

So, now back to the question, if rice water can grow your hair.

I have a short and a long answer. 

The short answer would be NO. Rice water can not grow your hair.

Hair growth is something that comes from the inside. Hair growth is a function of our bodies. You do not have to do anything to make your hair grow, just like you do not have to do anything to make your heart beat. You can however give your body the building blocks it needs to make healthy hair. The building blocks are the nutrition that you (hopefully) eat on a daily basis. 

The long answer to the question would still be NO! Rice water can not grow your hair. 

However, based on the research, it is obvious that rice water may be helpful for some in retaining their length. 

We have seen that rice water contains a high amount of protein. 

If your hair is damaged, this might help you. The protein lay a protective film over your hair and help you to reduce damage. 

We have also seen the benefits that Inositol can have on the hair. The increased elasticity, the strengthening of the hair from the inside, these are all things that can help in retaining length.

What we also have seen is that the combination of Inositol and Choline can be a powerful combination to aid in your hair health. Choline can be found in egg yolk. If you are a DIY person and you want to discover this for yourself, you could consider an egg yolk hair mask followed by a rice water rinse.  If you decide to try this, do let me know how it worked for you.

If rice water is not for you, here are some things you could apply to help you with your hair health and length retention routine 

  • Find out the need of your hair. Create a routine that is tailored to your hair need and be consistent in using your routine.
  • Clean your scalp on a regular basis to avoid clogged pores or build up on your scalp.
  • Massage your scalp on a daily basis- Preferably with warm light oil. This will stimulate the blood flow and the nutrition to your follicles.
  • Give your body the building blocks it needs. Eat healthily, cut back on sugar, and if needed, supplement!
  • Be gentle with your hair. Avoid damage. 
  • Use the right products to strengthen and protect your hair.

I would love to know if this was helpful to you. 

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