“Hair Water” Is the Ancient Japanese Beauty Trend Making a Big Comeback

For centuries, Japanese women have washed their hair with rice water—yes, as in the starchy stuff drained from the pots in their kitchen—to stimulate growth, make strands stronger, and improve scalp health.

The revival of this D.I.Y. treatment has been hailed the “hair water” trend.  Always looking for new ways to tend to my poor damaged strands, yet a dud in the kitchen thanks to a little thing called Seamless, I, of course, needed a shortcut for this ancient technique. And now, thanks to the yes-I-have-that-random-thing-you’re-looking-for magic of Etsy, I have it.

All-natural skincare brand Ash & Nectar has concocted its very own Rice Water Hair Milk ($22), formulating it with real rice water to strengthen the roots while adding body and shine, as well as a slew of essential oils including rosemary (helps ingredients penetrate the strands), lavender (deep conditions), and argan (hydrates split ends). The milky emulsion also contains leucidal liquid, which is a natural preservative comprised of radish root ferment that has anti-bacterial properties i.e. your hair will also get a nice natural cleanse in the process.

Here’s how it works: After shampooing, massage the hair water into the scalp, then down through the ends. Once your hair is fully saturated, leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it out. And that’s it! See? If you play your cards right, lazy tendencies don’t have to be the downfall of good hair. There’s plenty of humidity for that.

DIY Hair Water

To enjoy these wonderful beauty benefits of rice water, all you have to do is just collect the water that you use to rinse your rice. And if you don’t want to cook the rice then just grind the left over rice to make a body scrub or face mask.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup uncooked rice (brown, white long grain, white short grain, jasmine, or whatever you have); 2 to 3 cups water;

Instructions:

To make rice water, first rinse the rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities.

Then, place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Let the rice soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your hair and skin.

Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use.

You can either use this water for your hair or face, or let it ferment for enhanced benefit.

Fermented Rice Water: Once you have collected your rice water, leave it at room temperature for a day or until it turns slightly sour, implying that it has started to ferment. It can take any where from 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm it is. So warmer the room temperature faster the fermentation process.

To decrease the fermentation time, leave the rice sitting in the water and strain once it has fermented. (Leave it covered for 12 to 24 hours.)

To boil or not to boil: The recommended use is to boil the fermented rice water, but some people don’t. Everyone’s hair is different, so you may want to try out both methods to see what works for you.

Note: Fermented rice water is very potent, so you may need to dilute it with a cup or two of warm water before use. Adjust according to your hair’s needs, use more for dry hair and less for oily hair.

Boiling Method: You can also boil the rice to extract rice water. For this, boil the rice using more water than you would normally do. Once it starts boiling take out the excess water and use; or you can also let the rice fully cook, strain, and use that excess water. This rice water will be very concentrated, so make sure to dilute it with plain water until it is just slightly cloudy.

Storage: You can store the rice water in the fridge and it will stay good for up to a week. Shake it before use.

For centuries, Japanese women have washed their hair with rice water—yes, as in the starchy stuff drained from the pots in their kitchen—to stimulate growth, make strands stronger, and improve scalp health. The revival of this D.I.Y. treatment has been hailed the "hair water" trend. Always looking for new ways to tend to my poor damaged strands, yet a dud in the kitchen thanks to a little thing called Seamless, I, of course, needed a shortcut for this ancient technique. And now, thanks to the yes-I-have-that-random-thing-you're-looking-for magic of Etsy, I have it.

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