How to Use Rice Water for Skin Care & Hair Care + Rice Water Recipe

Next time you cook rice, don't throw away the leftover rice water - you can use it for your skin and hair. Here's how!

August 29, 2022 5 minutes read
Young woman combing her hair with a wooden hair brush

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Sometimes, the simplest solutions to many of our beauty woes are the best. The pearly-white liquid that's leftover after cooking or hours-long soaking of rice, the so-called rice water, can do wonders for your skin and hair. It's a true vitamin bomb and can be your best ally in fighting various skin issues and getting beautiful, healthy, and voluminous hair.

In today's article, we'll discuss the many benefits of rice water and how to make it and use it for skin care and hair care.

Benefits of Rice Water for Skin & Hair

rice, rice water, and a spray bottle

Rice is not only a staple in Asian cuisine but also an integral part of Asian beauty and skincare practices. Japanese and Korean women have used rice water for centuries as a skincare and hair care product. In fact, if you comb through the ingredient lists of many products from Asian beauty brands, you'll almost certainly find rice water in it.

Rice water is a starchy liquid that forms when you cook rice or keep it submerged in water for several hours. This cloudy, milky liquid contains many nutrients, like antioxidants, vitamins B and E, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and amino acids. Thanks to these nutrients, rice water has numerous skin and hair benefits to offer, such as:

#1: Anti-Aging

Rice water contains a variety of antioxidants, such as inositol and vitamin C. Research shows that inositol inhibits the activity of certain enzymes responsible for elastin degradation in the skin. Therefore, if used regularly, rice water can keep the skin firm and bouncy, prevent premature aging, and it can even smooth out the existing fine lines and wrinkles.

#2: Soothes Irritated Skin

Some studies have shown that starch from rice water helps maintain and restore the skin's barrier function. The strong barrier function and the skin's immunity are essential because they help it deal with all the negative environmental influences. Therefore, bathing in rice water or using it as a skincare ingredient can help people with sensitive skin prone to irritation and atopic eczema.

#3: Helps With Dandruff

Fermented rice water exhibits anti-bacterial properties. It means that rice water contains certain bacteria cultures that inhibit the growth of dandruff-causing fungi [source]. Therefore, it also relieves itchy and inflamed scalp, which, if untreated, can lead to damaged and thinning hair.

#4: Helps With Oily Skin

Rice water is an excellent choice for any skin type, but it's particularly useful for oily skin. The starch and other nutrients in rice water balance oily skin and eliminate excess oil without leaving it dry. If you regularly use rice water on your skin, you'll notice it becoming more hydrated and elastic and there will be less acne and pimples.

#5: Eliminates Scars and Dark Spots

In addition to effectively fighting the signs of aging and repairing skin's barrier function, rice water can also heal scars, dark spots, and blemishes on the face and the body. It's believed that rice water may contain enzymes that have a skin-lightening effect. That is why it is used as an active ingredient in a number of face creams, cleansers, and soaps.

#6: Prevents Hair Fall

Studies suggest that herbal shampoos with fermented rice water as the main active ingredient prevent hair fall and promote hair growth. This is again thanks to the antioxidant inositol, which fights inflammation on the scalp, and protects and nourishes it.

#7: Soothes Sunburn

It's especially convenient to use rice water during the summer when you're most exposed to the harmful effect of the sun. If you have a mild sunburn or your skin is sensitive to sun exposure, rice water can reduce the related discomforts, such as redness, inflammation, and itching.

A small spray bottle with rice water can be handy for those days you plan to spend on the beach. Have it with you, just in case, and spray your skin and hair now and again. It will hydrate and nourish your skin, and at the same time, it'll prevent hair breakage caused by salt water and extreme heat.

How to Make Rice Water

making of rice water

The two best methods for making rice water for skin care and hair care are cooking and fermenting. We'll explain both methods in detail. But first, it's important to note that whatever method you choose, you need to rinse the rice well beforehand with plain water.

This is because numerous chemicals are added to the plant itself during cultivation to protect it from insects, and you don't want them on your face or scalp.

Rice Water for Skin & Hair: Recipe

white rice and rice water

To ensure your rice water is clean and chemicals-free, you need to wash the rice before preparing the rice water. Simply, put the rice in a bowl and pour lots of water on top of it. Stir it with your fingers and massage the rice as well, then get rid of the water. Repeat the process five to seven times. Then you can start making rice water and use one of these two methods: cooking or fermenting.

You'll need:

  • 1 cup organic white rice
  • 3 cups filtered (distilled) water

Fermentation method:

  1. Add washed white rice into a glass jar.
  2. Pour the filtered water on top of it.
  3. Close the jar with a lid and let it sit at room temperature for at least 48 hours. You can stir it a bit occasionally.
  4. After two days, strain the rice and keep the fermented rice water in an airtight container in the fridge.

Cooking method:

  1. Put the washed rice in a cooking bowl and place it on a stove.
  2. Pour the water on top of it. You can add one or two more cups of water to make sure you get enough rice water.
  3. On medium heat, wait for the bubbles to start surfacing, but don't let the rice boil completely.
  4. Simmer it like that for 10 to 15 minutes, then take it off the stove.
  5. Strain the water into a bowl and add ½ cup of distilled water, if necessary.
  6. Cool and pour the rice water into a jar with a lid or spray bottle.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for no longer than two weeks.

The rice water should be slightly cloudy and white in color. Use it cool, and if you wish, you can add several drops of your favorite essential oil to make it smell nice.

How to Use Rice Water in Your Beauty Routine

rice water in cosmetic bottles

There are countless ways to use your DIY rice water for skin and hair care. For example, you can use pure rice water or mix it with your face masks and creams, or add it to your shampoos.

So, the options are limitless, and you can get really creative with it. However, the two basic ways to use it would be the following:

Rice Water for Skin Care

woman applying rice water toner to her face

It would be best to use rice water as a toner or face mist. Simply, pour it into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto your face, neck, and cleavage. Or use a cotton pad to apply it to your skin. Always apply it to the cleansed face, let your skin absorb it and follow up with a moisturizer.

You can use it mornings and evenings. Spraying cold rice water onto your face will be especially pleasant in the morning for refreshment or after a day at the beach.

Rice Water for Hair Care

woman applying rice water to her hair

You should apply rice water to your scalp and along your hair strands. So, it would be best to have it in a spray bottle as that way, you'll be able to apply it evenly. After shampooing, conditioning, and washing your hair, spray the rice water generously onto your scalp first and then all over your hair.

You can leave it on for several hours before rinsing it with plain water or leave it overnight as a hair mask and rinse it in the morning.


If you've been dreaming of gorgeous, hip-long hair and healthy skin, simple, nutrient-rich rice water you can DIY at home could be your solution. This milky white liquid can also help if you struggle with oily skin, acne, dark spots, or eczema. All you need to make it is some white rice, some water, and half an hour of your time - try it; both your hair and your skin will love it!


Is rice water good for the skin and hair?

Yes, rice water is jam-packed with nutrients our skin and hair love. Those nutrients include various minerals and vitamins, but most importantly, it contains antioxidant inositol, which prevents premature aging and stimulates hair growth.

Can I leave rice water on my face overnight?

Yes, it's even recommended to leave rice water on your face as long as possible. For example, you can apply rice water to your face in the evening and leave it on overnight. You'll wake up with plump and hydrated skin.

How do you make rice water for hair and skin?

You can make rice water by fermenting white rice, which is soaking it in water for two days. Another way to make rice water is by cooking the rice for 15 minutes and then straining the water.

Is rice water good for your skin?

Yes, rice water has many benefits for the skin, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing. Rice water can also help with acne, acne scars, and dark spots and may help you with a mild sunburn.

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