Rice, rice baby: the ancient hair treatment beloved of today’s influencers

Date: 04-02-2022

Rice, rice baby: the ancient hair treatment beloved of today’s influencers

Arguably, the true stars of this ancient technique are the women of the Red Yao tribe, who live in China’s Huangluo Yao village. Famed for their long locks – with an average length over 2 metres – the Yao women’s hair is also said to remain healthy and free from grey well into old age.


The concept is simple

The milky residue left after cooking rice is apparently a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, vitamins E and B, plus inositol, which are all good for hair. If you’re unfamiliar with the latter, inositol promotes hair growth, penetrating damaged hairs and repairing them from the inside out. So long as you don’t overdo it, the starch in rice water will help your tresses to appear thicker, glossier, easier to brush and manage throughout the day.


Fancy giving it a go?

  • Take a mug of white sticky rice and rinse it thoroughly in water, to remove any dirt and impurities. Then boil the rice, strain it and pour the water in a container or old shampoo bottle and leave it at room temperature for between 10 and 24 hours. The water will begin to ferment nicely. Once that time has elapsed, pop it into the fridge for about 48-hours.
  • When you’re ready, wash your hair and then apply the rice water evenly through your damp hair after shampooing it. Leave it for a few minutes, then rinse.
  • If you’ve done it right, your hair should feel silkier than a Crufts-winning cocker spaniel’s ears and top knot.


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