Home » Curly Girl Method » Easy Guide to the Rice Water Rinse for Curly Hair

Easy Guide to the Rice Water Rinse for Curly Hair

Rice Water Rinse Easy Guide for the Curly or Wavy Girl method


Whilst doing the curly girl method there are many treatments available to nature you hair. In this guide we look at the the rice water rinse for curly hair and how it can help restructure your hair and help it to grow. Using rice water as a rinse has been seen to have its benefits for hair for many years. It’s been known to aid hair growth, smooth the hair cuticle and strengthen it. The Rice water trend can be benifical to all Hair types. This natural rinse for hair is also spreading in the curly hair community for help with the curly girl method. So how is rice water used for curly hair? How do you do a rinse and how often? Let’s look at the pros and cons of rice water rinses for hair and how to do it.

The easy guide to the rice water rinse for curly girl method

What is a rice water rinse and what are the benefits?

A rice water rinse is a treatment for hair made from plain cooking rice. By method of soaking, boiling or fermenting the rice you can extract nutrients which help to target hair problems. The benefits of rice water for hair remain’s unproven but there is no denying that it does have an effect on the hair. It is largely down to one vitamin found in rice which is Inositol and the proteins found in the rice. Inositol is loosely known as a B vitamin and is used throughout our medical world for a variety of health problems and is normally taken orally. However the effects on the hair for growth have been seen and it can also help strengthen the hair shaft and fill the cuticle. Rice water is excellent if your hair is damaged by sun or simply has lost its shine and curl.

Rice water ingredients are ;

  • amino acids ( protein )
  • antioxidants ( particularly more concentrated when fermenting rice water )
  • B vitamins (Inositol)
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins C and E

Rice water history 

Rice water has been used for centuries particularly in Asia where they have been using the water left over from cooking to condition their hair. Women in the Heian period in Japan had kept healthy hair by bathing it in rice water. The Yao women today who live in a village called Huangluo in China are known to be the village with the longest hair which averages 6 feet long. However this is largely down to the makeup of Asian hair which is unique in the fact that the hair strands are perfectly round in cross section. This larger diameter makes it stronger and it typically grows longer than Caucasian or Afro-Caribbean hair.

Rice water rinse before and after on curly hair

When I first started the curly girl method I was getting great results, I had definition, big soft juicey curls and it looked lovely. After a few months my curls started feeling flat, didn’t clump and my hair felt lank and very dry. Your hair may feel over-moisturised, quite mushy when wet and unable to hold a curl. This is the time to try a rice water rinse. When I have done a rinse and finished with conditioner my hair springs back to life looking shiny and well defined. This is my before and after rice water rinse! I had just come back from a holiday in the sun and my hair was desperate.

Rice water rinse before and after photos of the rice water rinse for curly hair and the curly girl method

See my curly girl before and after here

Rice water for hair growth

Rice water treatments are said to make your hair grow due to the Inositol ingredient. Combined with no heat and no brushing which breaks the ends of the hair whilst doing the curly girl method it can help promote hair growth. This photo shows my hair growth in six months using the rice water rinse for curly hair. The curly girl method and taking care of my hair is certainly doing something.

This photo shows my hair growth in six months so the curly girl method and taking care of my hair is certainly doing something.


When should I do a rice water rinse?

Experiment with how often you do a rice water rinse. You can do it weekly or monthly depending on your hairs need. If your hair is lacking shine and feeling brittle or mushy try a rinse. Start slowly with a rinse for a few minutes and gradually experiment with leaving it on longer.

Is rice water rinse a protein treatment?

Yes, amino acids are found in rice water and these are proteins. Your hair is made of a protein called keratin. Without protein your hair can become brittle and weak and needs the optimal balance of protein and moisture to aid healthy hair and growth.

How to do a rice water rinse 

There are 3 ways to make rice water  rinse for your hair, boiling, soaking and fermenting. You will use this water to rinse and coat your hair. You can then add other ingredients to the water if necessary.

Which rice do you use for a rice water rinse?

You can use any kind of rice including Brown, white or  jasmine. You can even use black rice! however I would not recommend this if your hair is light in colour it could discolour it.

Making rice water by soaking your rice

Soaking your rice is the least concentrated way of doing a rice water rinse making it the ideal way to start out.

  • Use a small cup of rice
  • Rinse the rice briefly to remove dirt particles.
  • Add a couple of cups of water 
  • Leave to sit for about 30 minutes or a bit longer until the water looks cloudy.
  • Strain the rice keeping the water.

Boiling your rice 

You can boil your rice to make rice water. This can be the least effective as it is said to boil out some of the nutrients in the rice. I have however found this to work and can be a really quick way to do it when you are in a hurry.

  • Use one cup of rice
  • Rinse rice
  • Place in a pan with two cups of water
  • Boil for about 15mins or until you see cloudy white water
  • Strain rice retaining the water

Fermenting your rice water

Fermenting rice water can be a more potent way of making a rinse. The smell can be quite sour especially after 48 hours which makes it my personal least favourite method. As this contains bacteria it is not recommend it for anyone who is immune compromised or pregnant. 

  • Use one cup of rice
  • Rinse rice
  • Add two cups of water
  • Leave to sit and ferment at room temp for 24-48 hours
  • Either dilute the water as it and can be overly potent or add some conditioner to it.
  • Store your rice water in the fridge for up to three days

How to make and boil a rice water rinse for hair

What can I add to a rice water rinse?

Adding fragrance and oils

You can add oils to the rice water particularly if using the fermented method and you do not like the smell. Try some lavender oil or some orange peel. You can even use lavender from your garden just strain it out again with the rice. You can also add oils which penetrate the hair shaft to your rinse such as coconut oil or avocado oil.

Add some conditioner

To save time you can add your deep conditioner to the rice water to create your own all in one treatment. Once you have your water ready add a few spoonfuls of a moisturising conditioner to your hair. Leave on for 30 minutes or so and then and rinse and style as usual. My favourite conditioner to add is the Aloe vera hair food mask as I find this extremely hydrating which tends to complement the protein rinse. The fermenting method may be bit strong with this so do not add too much.

For ideas on curly girl method approved conditioners take a look here.

Rice water rinse, add lavender from your garden just strain it out again with the rice

How to apply the Rice Water Rinse and routine

There are many ways of applying a rice water rinse. 

Step 1 wash

Wash your hair with your normal method, Co-wash, Lo-poo, or Clarify

Step 2 apply

If soaking your rice water it will be runnier so it would be a good idea to rinse with a jug and a bowl catching all of the drips. Leave for a few minutes in your hair before rinsing with warm water.

For boiling or fermenting without conditioner apply to hair massage in and leave on in a shower cap for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. Experiment with time and start off with only a few minutes.

Step 3 Condition

After the rice water rinse, rinse off and apply your deep conditioner as your hair can feel dry after. Then rinse and style as usual.

If applying conditioner at the same time as rice water mix it together and apply as one and leave on under a shower cap then rinse and style.

Is a Rice water rinse a clarifying treatment?

No rice water is not a clarifying treatment, it will not remove impurities or build up. Rice water is a natural treatment to enhance and define shine, smooth cuticles strengthen your hair.


All thoughts and opinions are my own, this post may contain affiliate links.

D x




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