Yes you read right! It’s funny how you type one thing on the search engine and end up with something completely unrelated…that’s how I ended up on rice water hair rinses using the water from boiling rice or washing rice. The women of China and Japan have been washing their hair with rice water from time immemorial; the Yao women of China are famed for their long locks averaging at 6 feet in length which they wash religiously with fermented rice water. Rice water is full of vitamins and improves hair elasticity, leaves it soft, shiny and silky, the proteins in rice help strengthen the hair shaft. Rice water is also said to be beneficial as a face rinse as it improves skin elasticity, renews and nourishes the skin.
According to this website the Yao women traditionally prepared their fermented rice by putting rice rinsing water into a pot together with camellia seeds and shaddock peel (pomelo) for about two weeks and leaving it to ferment. After fermentation they boil the water and then let it cool and use that to rinse their hair. They leave the mixture on their hair for about 20 minutes and then rinse with mountain spring water. The ingredients in this recipe contain vitamins B and C and camellia oil from the camellia seeds. The women say that this rinse keeps their hair dark and lovely way into old age and I highly suspect that the dark colour is from the oil of the camellia seeds. I came across an article which claims that camellia oil reverses gray hair if this is scientifically true then I believe the dark hair is more from the camellia oil than the rice water alone. A bit like how black tea rinses done repeatedly darkens hair over time.
|Yao women washing their hair; they only cut their hair once in their lifetime and the hair is usually wrapped in a front style bun (protective style) Image source|
While doing my research online on rice water rinses I came across various methods that modern women have adopted to make the rinse. Some included collecting the second and third rinse water and using it as it is (the first water usually has impurities so discard that), others add an extra cup of water to boiling rice and drain it out once the rice has started boiling. I made my rice water two ways I collected a cup of the third rinsing water and also added an extra cup of water to my boiling rice and drained it out five minutes into boiling. I left both waters out on the kitchen counter covered for a day to ferment. The next day I boiled the rice water to stop the fermentation process, let it cool and used that as a rinse. The rinsing water had actually started to develop a not so fresh but bearable smell which I believe was the beginning of fermentation the water collected from boiling rice had no smell at all.
· I deep conditioned on damp hair with body heat while working out for 30 minutes using my Natural Classic Henna Wax Conditioning Treatment.
· Since it was co wash day I simply rinsed out the conditioner and once fully rinsed I rinsed with the rice water let it sit for about five minutes and then rinsed with water.
· Verdict: my hair was soft all right but I attribute that to the deep conditioner but it felt real silky on rinsing out the rice water like silky extension hair silky. But once fully dried it did not feel as silky maybe it’s my hair texture, maybe it’s because I only had one ingredient – rice- maybe because I only fermented my water for a day as opposed to two weeks, maybe it's because I only left it in my hair for five minutes as opposed to 20 who knows.
Would I do this again? Probably yes if I have the patience to do a two week fermentation using the other two ingredients (pomelo and camellia). However other ways I will be using fresh rice water obtained by rinsing is on my face and also to mix my henna and see if I get better results in the long term. Because KLP asked in my last wash day post, I rarely have photos of my just washed styled hair because I currently do my hair at night, it’s more convenient at the moment so all I do after it’s dried, moisturized and sealed is to braid two jumbo braids in readiness for a bun the next day. But here is a file photo for you if it's not in a bun or a braid out you will most likely find my hair down and straight:)
|This was taken in March this year.|
Would you try a rice water rinse?
Edited to add: I just realized that there is a perfect alternative if the fermentation process seems too long - Rice Vinegar! Just use like you would normally use white vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar as a rinse; I wonder why it hadn’t crossed my mind before; well better late than never:)
Happy birthday in advance to all September babies me included!!!