This is a collaborative post.
Rice is a staple food for many Asian countries, so it’s not altogether surprising that Asians are also the first to discover and enjoy the beauty benefits of rice water. You read that right — the water you use to wash rice (then throw away!) before cooking it can actually benefit your skin and hair. In fact, Japanese women have been known to bathe in rice water to cleanse their skin, while the Chinese have been using rice water to wash their hair to keep in thick, strong, and shiny.
These beauty benefits are possible because of the nutrients in rice water. Apart from vitamins and minerals, rice water also contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant, and allantoin, a natural skin-conditioning compound that also has anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why you can find quite a lot of beauty products in the market that use rice water as one of its primary ingredients.
Here are a few more beauty benefits of rice water that will help convince you to include it in your beauty regimen.
Daily Toner and Exfoliant
You’ve probably already heard about facial cleansers and masks made with rice water, but did you know that you can also use it as a toner? It’s actually one of the gentlest and most hypoallergenic toners you can use. Simply use rice water to moisten a cotton pad or ball and then wipe it on your face and neck. Don’t wash it off afterwards — just allow your skin to air dry so that the nutrients from the rice water can penetrate your skin better. Doing this regularly will leave your skin feeling tighter and smoother and looking brighter, too.
There are also products like Skinfood’s Rice Brightening Scrub, which you can use as a daily exfoliator to gently scrub off the dirt, excess oil, makeup, and other impurities from your skin.
Treatment for Inflamed Skin
Allantoin is a power anti-inflammatory, and rice water contains a lot of this compound. You can use rice water directly to soothe inflamed skin, whether it is caused by acne, sunburns, or allergies like eczema. In fact, a dermatological study conducted by researchers from Belgium has found that patients with atopic dermatitis can improve their condition by bathing with rice water for at least 15 minutes twice a day, lessening the itchiness and inflammation of the skin. The nutrients in rice water also promotes faster healing and protects the skin from further damage.
Revitalize Damaged, Aging Skin
Rice water contains high levels of antioxidants like vitamins A and C, flavonoids, and the previously mentioned ferulic acid. These help minimize the damage caused by free radicals, such as age spots and hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and rough skin. What’s good about rice water is that because it’s very mild and has a light consistency, you can use it comfortably both day and night. You can also apply it like a serum before you go to bed to let the nutrients really sink in deep into your skin. With regular use, you’ll notice that your skin is smoother and softer, and your complexion more even.
Hair Strengthener and Conditioner
The women of the Yao tribe from the Huangluo Village, Guangxi Province in China are world-famous due to their long, strong, and thick hair, which even the older women possess and maintain. Their secret? Rice water! Simply shampoo your hair as usual and after a thorough rinse, massage some rice water to your hair and scalp. Give your hair a final rinse with plain water. You can do this twice or thrice a week to keep your hair strong and give it an extra shine. You can also combine rice water with a few drops of essential oils, and then use the mixture as a hair conditioner. Remember to let it sit longer than the usual conditioner — about 7 to 10 minutes — before washing it off with cold water to achieve the full effects.
Some people don’t like eating rice for various reasons. However, even if you don’t eat it this humble grain, you can still benefit from it — thanks to rice water! Include it in your beauty routines and you’ll know why it’s one of Asia’s best kept beauty secrets.