All it takes is a couple of YouTube tutorials for beauty lovers to tap into their inner mad scientists, concocting some of the most potent at-home treatments — like rice water, a DIY solution that's shown to help make your hair grow longer. But instead of toiling over a hot stove, rice water hair products can give you the same results with less mess.
With a centuries-long history of making the most stubborn hair flourish in length, it's the starchy water bred from that pantry staple that's a solution for those in hair rut. "With the use of rice water, or 'forbidden rice,' dating back to the Heian Period (794 to 1185 AD), I see the ways in which rice water has been regarded as a core ingredient in hair care from well before modern beauty products, routines, and trends began to arise," Diane C. Bailey, SheaMoisture Brand Ambassador, tells TZR. "Once reserved only for wealthy and royal citizens in ancient China, rice provides strength and moisture, resulting in hair that feels smooth and strong from roots to ends. Additionally, rice water reduces friction, increases elasticity, and closes the cuticle, leaving hair extra shiny."
But a nourished head of hair isn't the only benefit, as food-based hair products create yet another means of access for nutrients to enter the body though the scalp. And just as a healthy, balanced diet is arguably the most necessary route toward optimal health, applying rice water to the hair shaft acts as another dose of supplements. "Malnutrition is often a culprit of hair concerns, and eating a nutrient diet really benefits the overall body including our hair," Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, Ph. D, hairstylist and psychohairapist, says. "Healthy foods impact the quality of the hair follicle and production of the hair shaft, and food can be applied topically. These foods represent nutrients that our hair needs in its purest form."
However, like anything beauty or health-related, moderation is key, and while a healthy supply of rice water can result in the long, luscious locks you've been dreaming of, too much of it will do the opposite. "Since rice water is rich in protein, overusing the products can lead to protein overload, which may result in dry or hardened hair." Luckily, many beauty products out there have achieved the perfect formulations that dish out just the right dose of rice water, while keeping the hair balanced and free of a protein excess.
And OK, OK... the process to make rice water isn't that taxing — the only tricky part is waiting for the mixture to ferment, which takes a minimum of 12 hours. But if you don't have the patience, these products are the next best thing to DIY-ing it. See them ahead.
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