The Science Behind Rice Water For Length Retention And Hair Growth


I have introduced rice water to you all before in this post, and while interacting in some of the natural hair groups that I am a part of I noticed quite a bit of buzz and questions around why rice water works for hair and how to do it.

Even though I shared a really great video about the process I think it is important that we all understand the science behind rice water and just why it is the perfect conditioning agent for you.

Let’s head to China! Remember this picture?

Many of us have seen this picture on social media and the significance of it has much to do with the fact that the women of Huangluo Village or the “Long Hair Village” use fermented rice water to wash and condition their hair.

These women have been recognized by the Guinness world book of records as the “world’s longest hair village” and they are known to grow their hair jet black up to six feet long and the hair is free of greys even well into old age.

Now I am not saying that if you use rice water you will gain the same amount of length they have because there are other environmental factors at play that we must consider. Yao women are very active, they use mineral water in their routine, they eat well and are not subject to polluted environments.

Rice water is just one aspect of their lifestyle and one of the best-held secrets to hair health that we all can benefit from.

The science behind rice water

In addition to all of the amazing beneficial vitamins and minerals, rice water contains, it’s most active ingredient is called inositol which is a cyclic carbohydrate which is found in all of our cells. It is quite essential for adults overall, but for hair, it is known to strengthen the hair by improving its elasticity and tensile strength.

It acts like a gentle protein treatment because it smooths the hair strand and reduces friction and tangles. This is why if you try rice water, you often experience immediate results. The less friction your strands have the more opportunity you will have to retain the length of your hair.

Additionally, inositol can remain within your hair strand for a very long time which will give you days of amazing hair which might seem almost miraculous!

Best practices on preperation

You can choose to ferment, boil or wash your rice to extract the water. Regardless of the method you choose the results will be the same.

The wash method

To be clear, you can use any kind of organic rice that you want and you can use any method to collect the water that is easiest for you. The wash method simply requires that you wash your rice thoroughly add the rice to a jar and then fill the jar with fresh water, just enough to cover the rice in the jar.

like this:

Let the rice sit for 40 minutes or until the water starts to look cloudy and then strain the water from the jar.

The ferment method

Repeat the wash method and allow the water to sit in the jar in a dark warmish area for about two days to allow the water to ferment. If the rice water is too potent for you, just add water to it! The ferment method is a bit more potent than the wash method

The boil method

Of all of the methods, this is the easiest because you get to extract the water a bit faster. All you have to do is boil some rice with more water than you would typically use to make your rice, strain out all of the cloudy water once the water starts to boil. (Please allow the water to cool before straining!)

You can store your unused rice water in the fridge for up to five days but most women just make a fresh batch everytime they plan to use it.

Hair Application

Start out with freshly washed hair and apply the water evenly over your hair that should be free of product. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 30 minutes for an amazing protein based deep conditioning treatment.

After your 30 minutes is up, just rinse your hair and you can condition if you choose to or you can begin your styling process.

Since this is a protein treatment I would suggest using it either twice a month or once a month depending on your hair needs.

Final thoughts
Rice water is amazing for hair growth retention because it reduces damage to the strand surface area. It can possibly cause hair growth due to vitamin’s and minerals within the water but it is typically applied to the hair and not the scalp.

Remember, hair growth is an internal process and whatever you do outside of nourishing your hair follicles and scalp is what will maintain all the growth you achieve as time passes.

If you have not tried rice water yet, I would suggest that you give it a shot, it is great for all hair types! Comment below and let me know if you have tried it and what your results were like.


  1. I have alopecia, due to medication of course I’ve tried everything, to no avail.
    I read a article on rice water, ordered it & it started filling in patches that haven’t grown in years. I notice you said only use once or twice a month, in my case, if I use it daily with proper conditions & moisturizer, would it harm me.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you

    • Hi Ann, I do not think it will harm you, however, I cannot say for sure that the increased use will speed up any sort of growth because there are still a lot of factors to consider. Have you seen a trichologist?

  2. Emily, I want to thank you for responding. I had to look “trichologist” up, no, I havent.
    Ive seen dermatologist, blood specialist who withdrew my blood & injected it into my scalp, even did a tatoo hair replacement, needless to say $50k later same results.
    I was reading a article on the 10 signs of calicum deficiencies, I have all 10.
    After its safe for me to do so, I will make that appt., stock up on calicum & rice water.
    Thank you so much


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