Rice water isn’t a new thing. It is said that the hair treatment originated in a Chinese village, where for many years the Yao women (known for their lusciously long, glossy hair) washed their lengths in a concoction of rice, water, pomelo peel, tea bran, fleeceflower root and ginger. “Rice water has often been quoted as being a traditional treatment for incredibly long, strong hair,” says expert trichologist Jane Mayhead at The Private Clinic. “It is also credited for keeping grey hair at bay.” The ingredients are brought to the boil, simmered, cooled and left to ferment for up to four days before the hair is immersed and the scalp massaged.
The anecdotal evidence is very convincing. If you click through YouTube tutorials and Instagram posts, you’ll find hundreds of people extolling the virtues of rice water’s bond-building, strengthening properties. Some even liken rice water to salon-favourite Olaplex, known for repairing parched, damaged hair. But what do the hair experts think?
Unfortunately, real research is scarce, despite rave reviews. “To date, there are no proper independent studies on rice water,” says Jane. She cites one study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists in 2010, which noted hair elasticity and a reduction in surface friction (for example rough-drying or brushing, both of which can cause damage). However, this particular study is not considered independent.
Jane adds: “There have been far more studies and successful treatments using lipids, though.” Essentially oils, Jane suggests that lipids are a little simpler to incorporate into your haircare regime, especially if you don’t have the time or energy to whip up a rice water treatment. “Oils are more user-friendly natural haircare ingredients and can be used in many different blends,” says Jane. “The most popular oils for hair include coconut, argan, jojoba and castor oil.”
[…]Jane adds: “If you’re choosing an oil that is right for you, always consider the hair type. Lighter oils work for finer hair types (such as grapeseed or monoi oil) and heavier blends or butters (for example shea butter) for coarser hair types.” […]
The Private Clinic is a multi award winning medical group with clinics located across the UK. We have over 35 years’ experience in offering the best in advanced minimally invasive non surgical treatments and expert led surgical procedures in our clinics and hospitals. In 2021 our clinics and hospitals have GMC Registered Surgeons and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission(CQC).