- Using the leftover water from cooking rice can make your skin more youthful and radiant.
- This age-old elixir has actually been used for centuries in Asia.
- Bloggers, beauty experts and dermatologists are exploring rice water treatments.
- You too can create easy, DIY rice water hacks for your skin, body and hair at home.
You’ve heard of slathering avocado and olive oil on your face to beautify the skin, but did you know that you can actually use the excess water from rice for a skin pick-me-up, too? It might seem a little strange, but beauty bloggers and skincare experts are dubbing rice water a beauty secret worth trying. Just like many other Asian beauty tricks, this one has a long history and plenty of hype that make it well worth investigating. So let’s do that.
This particular Asian beauty technique requires covering your face and hair with leftover water from cooking or washing rice. Apparently this water leaves behind beneficial nutrients that are believed to improve your skin, hair and overall health. It’s been used in Korea and other Asian countries for generations. Historians believe that female rice farmers in China and Japan were once forced to bathe and wash in leftover rice water, which led to the discovery of its great benefits.
So how do we know if rice water actually works? Let’s take a look at the women of the Huangluo Village — otherwise known as China’s Long-Hair Village. The women of the Yao settlement are known the world over for their silky, floor-length hair, which is said to remain a shade of stark black even well into old age. Their secret? You guessed it: washing their hair with fermented rice water. We can’t guarantee this treatment will prevent your hair from graying over an entire lifetime, but it’s worth a try.
The Skinny on Rice Water
The milky liquid comprising rice water that you otherwise might throw down the drain is actually fortified with beneficial ingredients that can give your skin a big-time boost. It has vitamins B, C and E, along with plenty of antioxidants, amino acids and minerals, all believed to help tighten the skin and promote skin cell rejuvenation. This typically equals fewer wrinkles and age spots.
What’s more, rice water helps to brighten the skin and contains anti-inflammatory properties that smooth it while minimizing redness and blemishes. K-beauty experts say rice water minimizes the appearance of large pores, too. A brighter, younger-looking complexion is what makes the promise of rice water so enticing.
Those of us who are constantly seeking flawless skin know that it often comes with a high price tag – Neiman Marcus sells a $2,000 face cream, after all. But rice water is super inexpensive, even free if you eat a lot of rice. And that’s good news for anyone with a limited cosmetics budget.
How to Make Rice Water
For the best results, don’t overthink it. Uncooked rice and plain water can go a long way towards helping you achieve beautiful hair and skin. You can use white long grain rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, or whatever kind of rice you have lying around in the pantry, so long as it’s organic. Simply rinse any organic rice with a cup of water to remove surface debris and bacteria, and then place it in a clean bowl and let it to soak in water for approximately 30 minutes.
It’s worth mentioning that if your rice water concoction has been left at room temperature for too long or starts to smell foul, stick with the old saying, “when in doubt, throw it out!” You certainly don’t want to do anything that could potentially lead to cellulitis (skin infection), impetigo (Staph. aureus associated skin infection), or any other disaster that could lead to detrimental results.
For even greater benefits, let the rice sit for a longer amount of time to ferment. Fermented rice water should be left at room temperature for one or two days. If you live in a particularly hot environment, however, you should reduce that time, as warmer environments speed up the fermentation process. Unlike plain rice water, fermented rice water should be boiled (and cooled) before use.
Once the rice has softened, gently swirl it around and knead it until the water turns cloudy. This process helps the vitamins and minerals seep into the water. Some people also add ingredients such as coconut oil, lemon juice, essential oils and other additives, to provide an extra boost for their particular skin issues.
10 Rice Water Beauty Tips
1. Rice Water Face Mask
If you’re just getting started with rice water, consider giving this DIY rice water mask a go. Simply follow the process of making rice water, and then use a thick, paper tissue to soak it up. This will create a sheet mask that you can easily place on your face. Don’t forget to cut holes out for the eyes, nose and mouth so you’ll be able to breathe and talk while wearing it. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then peel off.
2. Rice Water Face Wash
By far the easiest method to beautify the skin with rice water is to use it as a homemade facial cleanser. Once you’ve made your rice water, simply apply it to your face with a cotton ball or pad. You’ll notice that it leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. Gently massage the water into your face to slough away free radicals and dirt that can clog pores.
3. Rice Water Sunblock
Let’s just say up-front that you should never go into the sun without a good-quality SPF sunscreen fortified with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. But, if you’re looking for a gentle extra boost to prevent sunburn and sun damage, rice water can do the trick. It contains PABA and ferulic acid, which provides some sun protection. (A rice water face wash also prepares your skin for daily sunscreen application.)
4. Rice Water Skin Toner
Looking for a good, hypoallergenic toner that’s easy to implement into your skincare routine? Rice water to the rescue! All you have to do is prepare your rice water the same way you always do and pat it onto your skin with a cotton pad. Rice water should keep for several weeks when you store it in a cool, dry location. This concoction helps remove impurities and excess oil for tighter, softer skin.
5. Rice Water Hair Rinse
The vitamins and amino acids in rice water work to restore damaged hair while simultaneously improving softness and adding volume. Many people swear by the rice water hair rinse. All you need to do is follow-up your regular shampooing with a rinse of rice water instead of conditioner.
6. Rice Water Body Scrub
The goal of a good, full-body scrub is to simultaneously moisturize and exfoliate skin. You can use rice water as the base for your scrub and the ground-up leftover rice as a natural exfoliant. Add sea salt, the essential oil of your choice (jojoba, almond and olive oil work great), and the zest of a lemon or lime for extra enhancement.
7. Rice Water Hand Soak
For dry hands and feet, there’s no better way to make your skin feel soft and luxurious than with a rice soak. Simply fill a large bowl with warm rice water and add aromatic, essential oils and a few beneficial herbs to help soften and moisturize the skin. Your toes will be ready for a spa-level manicure in no more 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Rice Water Soap
Because rice water contains natural saponins, chemical compounds which work as a mild cleanser, you can use it to create an all-purpose soap that beautifies the hands, face and body. Follow this recipe to create a rice bar soap made from fermented rice, natural oils and fragrance.
9. Rice Water Eczema Treatment
Because rice water contains a high concentration of starchy components that work to soothe damaged and irritated skin, it’s regularly used as a trusty home recipe to treat eczema. This super gentle formula with it’s soothing ingredients helps to reduce inflammation, redness, rashes and itchiness. Simply apply rice water to the affected area with a clean washcloth and repeat the process several times.
10. Rice Water Sunburn Remedy
You already know that rice water is excellent for soothing skin irritation, which means it’s a great option for treating sunburn. The soothing additives in rice water helps to minimize pain and discomfort. If you have sunburn on your face, try using a rice water sheet mask to soothe it. A rice water-soaked washcloth can be pressed onto a sunburn almost anywhere on the body for quick relief.