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Style Why the Internet Swears By Rice Water for Smooth, Shiny Hair

15:00  26 march  2022
15:00  26 march  2022 Source:   cosmopolitan.com

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If you've spent all your monies on hair supplements or hair growth shampoos that, sadly, didn't give you the results you wanted, you might be desperate eager to find a cheap DIY to try instead. Well, ever heard of rice-water hair treatments? Because if you spend any time on the internet, you certainly will sooner or later.“The use of rice water is an anecdotal but long-living beauty ritual in ancient Asian culture,” says trichologist Bridgette Hill. “Rice-water enthusiasts believe rice water detangles their hair, makes hair smoother and shinier, and grows the hair longer.”

Is rice water the key to growing stronger, healthier hair? A dermatologist and trichologist explain exactly what to know about the DIY hair treatment. © Roman Shalenkin | Stocksy Is rice water the key to growing stronger, healthier hair? A dermatologist and trichologist explain exactly what to know about the DIY hair treatment.

And it's even hit mainstream popularity, with countless YouTube and TikTok hair videos demonstrating how rice water can potentially help grow stronger, healthier, shinier hair. But does it actually? Before you grab that old bag of rice that's always in your pantry in case you drop your phone in water (just me?), read what the experts have to say first.

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Meet the experts

  • Bridgette Hill is a certified trichologist, colorist, and the founder of the Root Cause Scalp Analysis.
  • Morgan Rabach, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and cofounder of LM Medical in New York, NY.
  • Gretchen Friese is a certified trichologist who works with BosleyMD.

Does rice water for hair really work?

According to the experts, rice water (the liquid that you get after soaking or cooking rice) is filled with nutrients like amino acids, inositol (which helps strengthen hair), vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, minerals, and antioxidants, so theoretically, it should have some topical benefits for your hair, right? Ask the internet and the many who swear by the stuff, and you'll hear countless claims that it could benefit your hair in the following ways:

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  • Add shine to dull hair
  • Smooth hair and detangle knots
  • Strengthen hair
  • Thicken hair strands
  • Encourage healthy hair growth

But as you know by now, just because one person experiences certain benefits does not mean everyone else will too. Depending on a person’s hair type, texture, lifestyle, hairstyling habits, diet, and genetics, Hill says the results you might get from rice water is mixed.“Using rice water in daily beauty regimens is a cultural practice where the supporting evidence is word of mouth,” Hills says. But what about via scientific evidence? Let's discuss…

How long does it take rice water to grow your hair?

The question here isn't “when,” but more like “if”—know what I mean? Going back to the properties for a sec, trichologist Gretchen Friese highlights the fact that rice water contains eight of the 18 amino acids that create the protein that grows hair (keratin), and those amino acids combined with the antioxidants could potentially affect hair regeneration.

That said, Hill and board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach, MD, point out that there is no reliable scientific evidence to prove that rice water promotes hair growth. “There haven’t been any large, randomized, controlled studies to support the claims that rice water helps with hair growth,” Dr. Rabach explains. In other words, while you wait to see if that rice water works, you might also wanna pay a visit to your doctor for scientifically-backed treatments that address the cause of your hair loss or thinning.

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What are the side effects of rice water on hair?

Although you might find tons of people in favor of using rice water for hair, you'll find just as many who've experienced less than positive results, including flaky buildup on the scalp, protein overload on the hair cuticle, dryness, and breakage. Rice water has a heavy starch component that can lead to brittleness and breakage over time, so Hill says people with baby fine hair or low-porosity hair should tread lightly when experimenting with using rice water.

“If you have low-porosity hair, then rice water will create a protein buildup on the hair that can cause extreme dryness and damage fast,” Hill explains. (Not sure how to figure out your hair porosity? Highly recommend taking a porosity quiz, since the whole thing can be confusing to parse through on your own.)

Does rice water harm skin?

Dr. Rabach suggests people with dry scalps use caution as well. Hill points to a 2002 study that found that starch in rice water helped heal damaged skin in people with dermatitis, but adds that although relief might be experienced from the use of rice water in one dermatitis case study, it could exacerbate the condition in another.

“Dermatitis on the scalp, traditionally, is a result of an overproduction of yeast,” Hill explains. “It is the overproduction of yeast on the scalp that leads to dandruff and other abnormal scalp conditions. Through the lens of a trichologist, I struggle with suggesting adding highly starched water to the scalp and hair of anyone that experiences flaky, dry scalp.” Basically, the relief experienced from the use of rice water in one dermatitis case study, could lead to exacerbating the condition in another.

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How do you make rice water?

Just like there's no shortage of anecdotal testimonials of using rice water for hair, there's also about a zillion different recipes (I counted) online to try. If the stories you've heard are convincing enough for you to give it a shot anyway, you can easily make the rice water yourself at home. Dr. Rabach suggests adding four times as much water as rice, boiling it, then straining it to get your water, or you can follow this popular YouTube video that goes into all the details.

Is it OK to put rice water in your hair every day?

Friese says rice water is actually a great replacement for your regular conditioner—but only about once a week (and, reminder, only if you don't have low-porosity hair or a dry scalp). Just like you don't want to overdo the protein-packed deep conditioners, you don't want to make rice water a part of your daily hair routine, and you really don't need to.

How long do you leave rice water in your hair?

If you're using a product that contains rice water or rice amino acids, follow the manufacturer's instructions to be safe. As for your own concoction, Friese recommends 20 minutes or less. If you're looking for a routine for your rice water rinse, follow Friese's steps below:

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse it out.
  2. Towel-dry your hair.
  3. Pour the rice water onto your damp hair.
  4. Massage the rice water into your hair and scalp.
  5. Cover with a plastic cap or bag (a shower cap works too).
  6. Leave on for up to 20 minutes.
  7. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and style your hair how you want it.

Take note of the way your hair and scalp feels after the treatment. If you like the way things are looking and feeling, rice water might just be the thing your hair needed all along. But if your hair is feeling worse off than before, welp, now you know and can move on to finding a hair mask that does work for you.

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The final takeaway

Will rice water work miracles for your hair? Maybe, but maybe not. Hill says try it if you're interested, but know that it might or might not work. “Reversing protein overload is a science,” Hill says. “So just be very careful.” If your main concern is hair growth, make an appointment with a dermatologist or trichologist to address the cause of your hair loss. But if you've checked your hair porosity and are looking to try a home remedy because you're bored, just keep in mind this advice.

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