Can You Sleep With Rice Water in Your Hair? Is That Good For Your Hair?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

We love rice! Whether it’s in our food, tossing it at weddings, for our skin, or our hair, rice is everywhere. The women of East Asia and Southeast Asia have used fermented rice water to wash their hair since ancient times. 

Why has this method been around for so long? What is it that rice water does to your hair?

Can you sleep with rice water in your hair? You can, but it may not be helpful.

Let’s dive in and find out.


Why is Rice Water Even a Thing?

The Yao women of the Huangluo village have such beautiful long locks that the village is called.

‘Land of Rapunzels.’ The village is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for the ‘world’s longest hair village.’

The average length of their hair is six feet long! Additionally, the color of Yao women’s hair is said to stay for longer. Most women do not even begin to get gray hair until they are in their eighties.

The women of Japan in the Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) also had long, healthy hair that reached the ground.

They, too, used rice water to keep their hair healthy and strong


The Benefits of Rice Water

Why has tradition lived on for so many centuries? What is it in rice water that helps grow your hair and gives it that beautiful, healthy shine?

Well, here’s the science behind it.

Rice has nutrients that are very beneficial for hair growth. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins. The most important thing found in rice is inositol. This compound repairs damaged hair and leaves it looking smoother and shinier. 

Rice has nutrients that are very beneficial for hair growth. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins. The most important thing found in rice is inositol. This compound repairs damaged hair and leaves it looking smoother and shinier. 

Inositol penetrates deep into the damaged hair shafts, reducing dryness and tangling. When you ferment rice in water, the nutrients become even more potent. 

Rice water also provides overall protection for our hair. It strengthens the roots, promotes hair growth, adds shine, and prevents graying.


Can You Sleep With Rice Water In Your Hair?

Like any other conditioner, you should leave rice water in your hair for around 15-20 minutes before rinsing it. In this time, your hair will have absorbed all the essential nutrients.

Can you leave it for longer? Maybe overnight?

You can. But should you?

But leaving it on for more than 18 hours increases the chances of bacterial growth with rice water, which can cause flaking and itching.

Since half an hour is enough to get what you need from rice water, there’s no real benefit to leaving it on for longer.

Since half an hour is enough to get what you need from rice water, there’s no real benefit to leaving it on for longer.

This is essentially the same as if you were to leave a regular conditioner in your hair, and treat it as a leave-in conditioner. They’re different things.


How to Make Rice Water for Your Hair

Making rice water is a simple method. All you need is just some rice and some water. But we recommend you also use fresh fruit peel to eliminate the smell.

The Yao women also use essential oils; some families even have a “secret ingredient.”

While they boil their rice water, we have an easier method, which can also get amazing results.

Step 1 – Clean the rice 

It is of utmost importance that you clean your rice first. This is to get rid of any dirt or impurities. Keep washing your rice and discarding the water until the water is clear. Then, rub the rice with your hands to extract those nutrients. 

Step 2 – Extract the water 

After washing, extract the rice water. Put the clean rice in a bowl with purified or distilled water. Mix it until the water turns a little white and cloudy. Strain the mixture to get the rice water.

Step 3 – Add fruit peel

Fermented rice water can smell horrendous. To avoid soaking your hair in such a smelly mixture, do what the Yao women do: add fruit peel! They add pomelo peel, but you can add any citrus fruit. We recommend grapefruit, orange, or lemon peel.

Basically, anything citrusy. 

Step 4 – Ferment the rice water 

Store your rice water in a glass jar and cover it with a lid. Then, let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Remember not to let it sit for more than a whole day since it can go bad.

You can even put it in the fridge if your home has a hotter climate. 

Step 5 – Put it on

You can store your rice water for up to a week, but the best results are obtained when you put it on right away. 


Conclusion

Soaking your hair with rice water has been a practice for many centuries. Just now, the West has caught on to this hair care method, and the rice water trend is spreading. Well, better late than never, right?

But don’t bother leaving it on your hair all night. Keep it in your hair for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Written by Kayla Young

If You Pull Out a Hair Follicle, Will It Grow Back?

Can You Darken Hair With Toner? Will It Help You Get the Hair Color You Desire?