There are so many different types of hair products on the market that when we find one that works for us, we tend to stick with it.
You have your favorite deep conditioner. You’re never without your Argan oil. You have a holding spray you love, a styling gel you can’t live without, and a texturing spritz that makes your hair look ah-ma-zing!
No matter how much you love the products you currently use, ask yourself this question:
Do you honestly think you’ve tried enough different products to say that the ones you’re using are really the best ones for your hair?
For most people, the answer is no.
If you’re using the same shampoo you’ve been using for decades, now might be the time to try something new.
Because you might be missing out on rice water shampoo.
From what it is to why it’s beneficial, here’s everything you need to know about rice water shampoo (and why you should try it now).
Our Favorite Rice Water Shampoos:
What is Rice Water Shampoo?
Rice water shampoo is a cleansing hair care product made with water that’s either been used to boil or soak rice. There are different applications of it, including dry bar formulas, dry formulas that don’t require water, and liquid versions that come in squeeze bottles or pump bottles like traditional shampoo.
For centuries, people in Southeast Asia have relied on rice water as a nourishing product to stimulate hair growth, reduce breakage, and repair damaged hair. The Red Yao tribe in China is most notable for this practice.
The women of the Red Yao tribe let their hair grow more than five feet long. They uphold a tradition of only cutting their hair ONCE in their lifetime, which explains why they’re sometimes referred to as real-life Rapunzels!
But it’s not just long hair that they have – Red Yao women have unbelievably healthy, shiny, and strong hair. As if that’s not enough, for many of the Yao women, their hair never even turns grey!
The secret to the Yao women’s hair?
It’s gotta be the rice water.
Adding rice water to your daily hair care routine allows you to enjoy all sorts of benefits – benefits you’re probably not getting with your regular shampoo.
Rice contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, and the water used to make rice retains some of those vitamins and minerals. From vitamin E to amino acids, there are all sorts of proteins, acids, and vitamins in rice water that can make your hair look incredible.
The Benefits of Rice Water Shampoo
Rice water shampoo can make your hair feel amazing! Whether you have dry hair, frizzy hair, natural hair, or curly hair, rice water aids with:
- Hair growth
- Detangling your hair
- Reducing hair loss and breakage
- Improving elasticity
- Smoothing frizz
- Strengthening the hair
- Healing and preventing split ends
Just like our skin and nails, hair needs hydration, and you can provide added hydration by washing with rice water shampoo or adding a rice water rinse to your hair care routine.
You can find shampoos made with different types of rice water, but fermented rice water shampoo packs the biggest punch.
Because fermented rice water has even more antioxidants, which help to make your hair look and feel even better than water that hasn’t been made with fermented rice. If you choose to make your own rice water rinse, the fermentation process is a super easy one that you can do right now.
Rice water shampoo isn’t just for the ladies, either. Ian Turner with Gentleman Haircut also recommends rice water shampoo. “Rice water shampoo is a great option for those who have sensitive skin or scalp issues. It contains nutrients like vitamin B and amino acids, which help to keep your hair healthy and strong. Rice water is known to work as a moisturizing agent and can help repair damaged hair. It is also great for people with sensitive skin and scalp conditions like psoriasis or eczema.”
How to Make Your Own Rice Water Rinse
Making a rice water rinse requires only two natural ingredients:
Rice and water.
It’s that simple.
To DIY your own rice water rinse, just boil a pot of rice and pour the leftover water on your hair once it cools down. All that starchy goodness left in the water is what makes it so powerful.
Another option is to soak the rice in water. This is the method required if you want to make a rinse with fermented rice water.
For fermented rice water, you’ll want to soak uncooked rice in a bowl or pot of water for approximately two days. At the two-day mark, strain the water into a clean bowl and use it as a rinse when you take a shower.
The Best Rice Water Shampoos And Treatments To Try
Ready to see for yourself if rice water shampoo is the secret to strong, shiny, healthy hair? Here are some rice water shampoos to try now!
If you’re always trying to fight dry, frizzy hair or tame split ends, mamaearth Rice Water Shampoo is for you. In addition to rice water, this shampoo includes keratin to smooth the hair and reduce the appearance and feel of frizz. With regular use, this rice water shampoo will prevent further split ends and protect the hair from damage.
Cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and made with all natural elements, this mamaearth shampoo works best on dry hair but is suitable for all hair types.
The Viori Shampoo Hair Bar Citrus Yao references the Yao women in its name because it’s actually formulated with the same Longsheng rice that the long-haired Yao tribe has been washing their hair with for centuries.
One bar is the equivalent of approximately 20 ounces of liquid shampoo, so depending on the length and thickness of your hair, you can get as many as 60 washes out of one bar.
The Citrus Yao variety is recommended for people with normal to oily hair, but Viori also makes versions for people with dry hair. Pair with a rice water conditioner bar for even better results.
The MIMOSU Rice Water Shampoo Bar provides a different way to cleanse your hair with rice water. This unscented cleanser is actually a shampoo & conditioner bar in one. In addition to what MIMOSU calls “fertilizing” rice water, it’s formulated with Argan oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, all of which work together to nourish the hair and promote hair growth.
Just wet your hair, work the bar into a nice lather, and wash your hair and scalp as you would with any other type of shampoo.
Royal Herbal Organics Fermented Rice Water Shampoo is soap-free and suds-free, which makes it an awesome choice if you have braids or dreadlocks. It’s a liquid texture that you can massage right into the scalp without making your braids frizz. Like most natural rice water shampoos, this product is phthalate-free, paraben-free, and crafted without any harsh chemicals.
It’s also 97% organic, vegan, and color-safe, so it won’t strip your color if you have color-treated hair.
Get rid of split ends and encourage hair growth with the Mielle Rice Water Hydrating Shampoo. This product creates a nice and sudsy lather when rubbed into the scalp, making it as easy to use as any regular shampoo. It’s super hydrating to give your hair the nourishment it needs, and the addition of citrus peel extracts makes it smell amazing!
This super-hydrating shampoo uses rice water and other nourishing ingredients to create an all-in-one solution for textured hair, types 2A to 4C. The shampoo is nearly 100% naturally derived, and includes rice amino acids, tomatoes, shea butter, and avocado oil for thicker-looking, healthy hair that’s extra-soft and extra-hydrated.
This affordable rice oil shampoo available on Amazon combines up-cycled rice bran oil and ethically sourced Angelica essence. The result is an ultra-moisturizing product great for those with wavy or curly hair. The shampoo is one you can feel good about using, too, as it’s sulfate-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, dye-free and cruelty-free.
This affordable rice water protein shampoo bar is vegan, pH balanced, and safe for use on color-treated locks. Use it all over to improve the look of hair length and density, as well as to repair damaged hair and breakage (say goodbye to those split ends!). Suitable for all hair types, the bar is packed with amino acids and vitamins, and since it’s a bar, it’s a more eco-friendly option than some of the bottled shampoos on our list.
If you’ve tried rice water shampoos in the past and found them to be a little too hydrating and heavy for your thin hair, then go with this shampoo intended to give you volume and lift. Made with rice protein and vitamin B, the vegan and cruelty-free formula will help you keep the moisture you have without clogging your hair follicles with extra moisture that you might not need. The formula further helps repair the damage that occurs due to everyday styling.
If you’re looking for a treatment rather than a shampoo and don’t mind splurging a bit, look for this rice water treatment option from Sephora. The fresh-smelling strengthening treatment is designed to help repair the damage, increase shine, and boost volume, no matter your hair type. Users claim dramatic results, with hair up to 10 times stronger after just one use. After a month of use, hair is visibly silkier, shinier, and smoother.
To use this treatment, all you have to do is spray on the rice water after you shower, working it through your damp hair before drying.
Not Your Mother’s is known for creating a range of products for a range of hair types and concerns, all using natural ingredients and all available at an agreeable price point. This superior strength shampoo is no different, with its rice water and Himalayan moringa. The rice water helps to strengthen your hair with every use, and there’s even a matching conditioner with similar strengthening properties.
Another spray-in treatment, this Rice & Chai Refresh Spray is a little like a dry shampoo in that the included rice starch helps absorb excess oil and add volume, but the additional rice water and chai tea helps to increase strength and shine at the same time. Think of it like your dry shampoo with a rice water treatment upgrade.
While the formula is great for those with oily hair, it can be used on all scalp types and hair types and textures. Just spray the treatment into your dry hair and work it into your strands, for smoother, shinier, cleaner-looking hair in seconds.
This anti-frizz, thickening shampoo includes rice water, vitamin E, and other ingredients that help make hair shinier, more elastic, and fuller. The ingredients also help shield your hair from everyday damage that can, eventually, cause hair thinning and loss while also protecting your hair from the sun and UV damage.
This gentle, vegan shampoo nourishes your hair and helps to restore balance to unbalanced scalps. In addition to the rice water and its benefits, you can expect further benefits from oleic acid, proteins, vitamins and glycerides. While this shampoo does come in a traditional shampoo bottle, the bottle is made with 50% less plastic and is 100% recyclable, for a greater eco-friendliness factor.
This shampoo is designed specifically with wavy hair in mind. If you fall into the wavy hair camp, you’ll enjoy the many benefits that this shampoo comes with. Not only does it help to strengthen your hair, it increases hair elasticity too.
Not familiar with the Function of Beauty customizable hair care system? Available at Target, this brand helps you to customize your hair care on a budget and without a membership. All you do is buy a shampoo and/or conditioner base (like this one) that’s designed for your particular hair care needs and goals. After you’ve picked out your base, you can add boosters that further provide additional benefits. You can add one booster to your shampoo and one to your conditioner for a custom blend that’s as unique as your hair. Booster options include a deep conditioning booster, anti-frizz booster, strengthening booster, and others.
Is promoting new hair growth your main concern? While the jury is still out on how much rice water helps your hair grow, biotin is one thing anyone will tell you to add to your routine if you want longer, thicker hair. This hair growth shampoo packs in both rice water and biotin for a winning combo.
This affordable shampoo bar available on Amazon blends rice water with coconut oil for a gentle formula that strengthens damaged hair. With no preservatives and more sustainablity than bottled shampoo, this bar will give your dry, aging, or damaged hair new life.
What to Think About When Shopping for Rice Water Shampoo
One of the above hair treatments or shampoos caught your eye? Before you click ‘add to cart,’ take a few things into consideration, to ensure you only buy the best rice water shampoo or treatment for your hair care needs.
Your hair needs and goals
Before you decide a certain shampoo or other product is right for you, really consider your hair needs and goals. What’s your hair’s current state and where would you like it to be? Is your hair dry and curly, and you’re hoping for extra moisture via a product that’s intended for curly, textured hair? Or, is your hair dry and flat, and you desperately need some volume and length?
Look for a rice water shampoo or other treatment that’s intended for your hair type and texture, and that will help you get that much closer to your hair goals.
If you really think you could benefit from using rice water shampoo, and you think your hair needs its specific properties, look at each product’s ingredient list. How high up in the list is rice water listed? The higher up the rice water is listed, the more rice water a product contains, which means you’ll get more of those rice water-specific benefits to boost your hair, with each use.
Treatment, shampoo or bar
Lastly, as you’ve looked through our above suggestions, you’ll notice that we included liquid shampoos, bar shampoos and treatments. Decide which is best for your needs. Bar shampoos are considered more environmentally friendly, but don’t offer the same amount of lather as a traditional shampoo. You may also find you use up a bar shampoo faster than a bottle of shampoo, requiring you to buy more shampoo over time. A treatment might be a better fit for you if you already have a shampooing routine that you love and that’s working for your hair care needs.
Rice Water Shampoo FAQs
Still not sure if this treatment is right for your hair care goals? Let’s see if we can answer any of your lingering questions.
How often should you use rice water shampoo?
It will entirely depend on your shampoo or rinse. Follow the guidelines on your product’s packaging.
Going the DIY route? You won’t want to use a homemade rice water shampoo or a rice water rinse as your everyday shampoo. Instead, use this specialty treatment once or twice a week and don’t let the homemade shampoo or rinse sit in your hair for more than 20 minutes.
What happens if you use rice water shampoo every day?
If you use rice water shampoo every day, it could lead to over-drying, which means you’ll end up with a flaky, itchy scalp.
What kind of rice do you use to make rice water shampoo at home?
If you’re making a rice water rinse or shampoo at home, you can use just about any type of rice that you may already have in your pantry. White rice, brown rice, wild rice, Jasmine rice or Basmati rice all work. The important thing is to just make sure you rinse your rice very well before use.
Is rice water shampoo good for thinning hair or hair loss?
Unfortunately, while rice water shampoo is potentially helpful for giving you the appearance of thicker, longer hair, it won’t actually help you grow new hair. For that, you’ll want to look for hair growth remedies and thinning-specific hair products, and talk to your doctor or dermatologist.
Who should not use rice water shampoo?
Rice water shampoo isn’t a good fit for individuals with low porosity hair. Low porosity hair is hair that doesn’t absorb liquids well. That could mean your hair doesn’t absorb either water or products such as shampoo or conditioner. An easy way to know if you have low porosity hair? Pull a strand of your hair free and drop it into a bowl of room-temperature water. If your hair floats, you have low porosity hair.
When should I use rice water shampoo?
You can use rice water shampoo on its own, as a simple rinse, or you can use it before your normal shampoo and conditioner routine. The latter option is a good choice if you don’t like the way rice water shampoos make your hair feel or smell.
Does rice water shampoo smell?
And speaking of smell, if you make your own rice water shampoo at home, you may find that your resulting rinse doesn’t smell the greatest. You can add essential oils to the mixture to improve the aroma.
Is rice water safe for use on sensitive skin?
If you have a particularly sensitive scalp, and you’re prone to dryness, itching or flaking, you may want to think twice about using rice water. While sometimes rice water is safe for use on sensitive skin, other times, the rice water can exacerbate existing issues. Before adding rice water to your hair care routine, see if you can address your scalp’s dryness issues using another treatment.
Is Rice Water Shampoo Good for Your Hair?
The women of the Red Yao tribe (and others) have been using rice water for hair growth for centuries. No matter what your hair type or texture is, rice water shampoo offers a slew of benefits. Whether you’re hoping to grow your hair faster or make your hair shinier, stronger, or smoother, this is one product that’s worth trying.
Rice water shampoo is not a miracle elixir, and it won’t change your hair overnight. But with regular use, the results can be amazing!
You might also be interested in: Our 9 Favorite Vitamins for Hair Growth [Say Goodbye To Breakage]
Best Rice Water Shampoos & Treatments:
- mamaearth Rice Water Shampoo
- Viori Shampoo Hair Bar Citrus Yao
- MIMOSU Rice Water Shampoo Bar
- Royal Herbal Organics Fermented Rice Water Shampoo
- Mielle Rice Water Hydrating Shampoo
- Briogeo Curl Charisma Hydrating Shampoo
- Love Beauty and Planet Rice Oil and Angelica Essence 100% Biodegradable Shampoo
- Kitsch’s Rice Water Protein Shampoo Bar
- Peter Lamas Ultra Volumizing Shampoo
- Izumi Tonic Strengthening Rice Water Treatment
- Not Your Mother’s Naturals Rice Water & Himalayan Moringa Superior Strength Shampoo
- Shaz & Kiks Rice & Chai Refresh Spray
- Hairfinity Rice Water Shampoo
- MyKirei by KAO Shampoo with Moisturizing Japanese Tsubaki & Rice Water
- Function of Beauty Wavy Hair Shampoo Base with Fermented Rice Water
- Luv Me Care Rice Water For Hair Growth
- Sevich Natural Longsheng Rice Water Shampoo Bar