• Courtney Blomquist

How Fermented Rice Water Can Help Hair Growth

Have you been struggling to achieve the long, mermaid locks you’ve been coveting? Getting your tresses to transcend normal hair growth can be tricky. If you’ve tried everything else, it might be time to go DIY on your locks and give fermented rice water a shot.

Despite the fact that treating hair with fermented rice water is a very current trend amongst beauty vloggers, know that it is by no means a new practice. It’s quite ancient, in fact. During the Heian Period in Japan, court ladies apparently grew their hair to the floor by washing it with this simple yet magical rice potion. It is also currently used by the Yao women of China, who claim it keeps their hair long, healthy, and jet black.

The Benefits

Fermented rice water is full of powerful nutrients. Specifically, it contains amino acids, vitamins B and E, and inositol. If you’ve never heard of inositol, it is an ingredient found in the fermented water that is able to penetrate damaged hair and strengthen it, while also preventing future damage. Stronger, healthier hair doesn’t break and split as easily as damaged hair, so this alone could help in your hair growth journey.

The Proof

While the Yao women swear by fermented rice water, there is no scientific proof to solidify this as a true fact. What is true is that fermented rice water will keep your hair healthy and strong by repairing it from the inside out. Healthy hair is essential to achieving and maintaining a long length.

The Downside

While many people report amazing results from using fermented rice water on their hair, others say it leads to protein buildup and brittleness. This is probably due to having low-porosity hair. Low-porosity hair has trouble absorbing moisture, and fermented rice water can do it a disservice as a result. If you’re unsure if your hair is low-porosity, try this water test.

The Method

Ready to give fermented rice water a try? Follow these steps to mimic the process that is still used by the Yao women of China today.

You’ll need:

1 cup of white rice (not instant)

4 cups of filtered water

1 large bowl

1 mesh strainer

1 pot for boiling

1 lidded jar or container

1 grapefruit or pomelo


Rinse Rice

Put 1 cup of rice in a mesh strainer and rinse with cool water.

Wash Rice

Transfer your rice to a large bowl. Add four cups of filtered water to the bowl and massage the rice with your hands. The water should start to look cloudy.

Strain the water into another bowl or pot and set rice aside for a later use.

Boil the remaining water with pomelo or grapefruit skins.

Now, seal your water in a tightly lidded jar or container

Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Some say to leave it for an entire week. Try different lengths of fermenting time to see what works best for your hair.

Use it!

Pour over your head after washing your hair and massage the water into your scalp. Leave it on for 2-20 minutes, depending on your hair type. If you are worried about having low-porosity hair, it’s best to leave it on for a shorter length of time. To start, reserve this method as a once a month treatment and see how it works for your hair before upgrading to more frequent usage.

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