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Rice water for glossy hair – facts or TikTok hoax?

CNA – Rice is a staple in Asian diets, an everyday food that we often take for granted. While this humble grain has a long history as an important beauty ingredient in countries like Japan and China, it has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity on TikTok as a viral beauty hack for lustrous hair.


“Rice water has postulated benefits such as increasing the shine and silkiness of your hair.

This is because rice water itself contains a lot of amino acids which are helpful for hair growth as they are the building blocks of the proteins that make up hair. Rice water also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium,” said Dr Angeline Yong of Angeline Yong Dermatology.

All of these benefits help to strengthen hair follicles, repair cuticles and increase shine. Dr Yong also added that due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the scalp, rice water can possibly help prevent dandruff too.


Rice water obtained from simply soaking, fermenting or boiling rice in water can be used like a rinse for the hair.

“This can be done after your regular hair wash and you can then use the rice water to rinse through your scalp and hairs at the end of it. You can also leave the rice water in your hair for 10 to 20 minutes whilst in the shower and then take the opportunity to massage your scalp with it,” described Dr Yong.

She said that it would be an added benefit to comb through after rinsing with rice water before finally rinsing it thoroughly with water.

Dr Yong advised using a rice water rinse not more than once or twice a week. “Too much of a good thing can also be harmful and rice water may not work for everybody”, she cautioned.

For those with dry, sensitive scalps or conditions like eczema, using rice water may cause further irritation as rice water is rich in protein and starch which can over-dry the scalp and hair if it is left on for too long.

Instead of diving into incorporating a rice water regimen for your hair, take it slowly. “It would be good to try to use it for shorter durations and also at a lower frequency of once a week, before increasing the duration that you leave the rice water in your scalp or hair, and also the frequency of use,” she said.

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