Rice water is a fairly remarkable substance. It’s full of all sorts of nice things. Once rice has been soaked in water for 5-10 minutes, it becomes infused with compounds which act in a good way on the skin and hair. The resulting liquid is about the most surprisingly versatile product you can imagine – soothing, protein-rich, moisturising, and strengthening.
As I’ve said before, there is a great, simple truth that nothing is better than dragooning kitchen ingredients for skincare solutions. You can’t get much purer and preservative-free than something that you just got out of the fruit bowl.
Having said that, there are an awful lot of really terrible ideas out on the internets. Pressed bronzer made of cinnamon, anyone? Therefore, I take it upon myself to test things that I think are a good idea, and make sure that they aren’t completely hokey.
And rice water is good. Really good. It is so easy to make a jar of it, keep it in the fridge, then dig it out to use as a facial toner, a hair rinse, or to add to the bath.
As a hair rinse, it makes your hair shinier, moisturised and stronger. The proteins actually penetrate the hair, decreasing surface friction and improving hair elasticity, so it is less likely to snap. It is rich in a complex of B vitamins called Inositol, which stays in the hair even after rinsing. After all, it has been used as a hairdressing tool in Japan since the 8th century. The Yao women from Huanglo in China, who are famed for their super long and lustrous locks (seriously – there is a whole tourist event based around their hair-washing time in the local river), swear that their only secret is using fermented rice water to coat the hair after washing.
As a facial toner, the vitamins, minerals and amino acids within it help to reduce redness and mean that your skin is calmed, and ready for any skincare that follows. Studies have even shown that applied to the skin, rice water improves skin dermatitis.
It might seem a bit weird to pour stuff over your head or into the bath that you have just taken out of the fridge, but I guarantee that once you see that the effects actually last through two shampoos, your fridge will always have a jar in there. Just don’t keep it longer than a week – remember, there are no preservatives!
*Best thing is, there is no reason why you can’t cook the soaked rice afterwards! So no waste. (As long as you don’t spread it all around the dining room table like I did, for effect innit.)