When I started my healthy hair journey 2 years ago, the rice water challenge was definitely one hair trend I was quite keen on trying. The rapid hair growth and strength it promised, or rather what my favorite natural hair YouTubers claimed about rice water influenced me to try it out.

The trend seems to have come back, especially now that everyone was on lockdown and hair salons were closed, you were inclined to try new hair practices to see what works and what does not work. I received many questions on my social media, especially from the ladies in our Hair Intentions Whatsapp Group chat about the benefits of rice water and the effects of using it on your hair. This blog post will be covering everything you need to know about rice water.

If you would like to be a part of our group chat to learn more about skin and natural hair maintenance, click here.



The rice water hair practice started in Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) where the Yao women living in the of Huangluo in China had averages of 6 feet long hair credited to the fact that they bathed their hair in rice water. In addition to its incredible length, the Yao women’s hair is said to keep its color for longer, as they do not begin to get gray hair until they reach their 80s.

Picture of Yao Women’s hair

As I have mentioned, the beauty and hair industry has caught onto the Yao Women’s tradition and the rice water trend is spreading like wildfire.


Advocates of rice water believe that using rice water has the following benefits

  • detangles the hair
  • makes hair smoother
  • increases shine
  • makes hair stronger
  • helps hair grow long

As the use of rice water on hair grows popular, the anecdotal evidence of its benefits grows as well. The little scientific research that has been done on the benefits of rice water notes that rice water may reduce surface friction and increase hair elasticity. The reduction of surface friction caused by rice water can be attributed to an ingredient contained in rice water called Inositol. Inositol is a type of sugar that our bodies produce naturally and prevent our hairs from rubbing against each other, further causing breakage. However, the study relies on historical examples to draw unsupported conclusions.


One thing that I have always tried to do with Intent is provide information that will help you make informed decisions about hair practices that you follow.

World’s Number 1 Hair Therapist, Janine Von Throo, in her holistic hair practice philosophy clearly defines the difference between hair growth and length retention. Hair growth is attributed to nutrition, everything that our bodies consume. Length retention is a result of the hair techniques and practices we do on our hair.

To find out more about Janine NISH Philosophy, please click here

This then takes us to the question of the day…


The answer is obviously NO because hair growth, as mentioned above, is a function your body. It can, however, help retain your hair’s length.

Rice water has high protein content which helps renew damaged hair because the protein contained in it created a protective film over your hair to reduce hair damage. In this way, you retain length which can sometimes be mistaken for hair growth.

Click here to find out how to make rice water and how to use it as well.


There is so much I could say about rice water, including my own personal experience, but I believe that learning the principles of hair is most important as it helps us make informed decisions about our hair practices and helps us prevent unnecessary hair mistakes. If you have tried it on your hair, please let me know what your experience was like down in the comments.

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