Incorporating rice water into hair would have been as wild as putting oats on your face. But trends come and go. These days, that knowledge does not even make anyone bat their eyelashes.
If you’re not one to jump on the bandwagon, you won’t even have to worry about this “new” rave.
Yes, with air quotations.
Rice water has become a new trend today, with the Kardashians leading the charge. But this is an age-old practice among the Yao women in China. It promotes hair strength, increases smoothness and shine, balances pH level, protects from frizziness, and encourages hair growth. Its ability to penetrate the tight layers of the hair shaft offers various benefits to your hair.
But before you go and experiment on this one, you need to take a tour of knowing your hair’s porosity first. If you have less porous hair, you need to ask yourself, is rice water good for low porosity hair, or is it suitable for your hair type.
So take this necessary detour first before you dive head on to the world of rice water.
It just means your hair has difficulty gaining moisture. That is the quickest way of putting it.
If you are confused about how that can happen, here’s a brief science for you.
Your hair strand comprises an outer layer called the cuticle layer. In turn, it’s composed of tiny cuticles closely packed over one another, kind of like roof shingles. The tight cuticle layer does not allow water or moisture to penetrate easily with less porous hair.
A quick test: Get a glass of water and a hair strand. Drop in the hair, and if it floats, that means your hair has low porosity, and if it sinks, yours have high porosity.
The art of creating rice water is not at all a tricky business. Everyone had cooked rice before this trend, so this should be a familiar undertaking to you. Here are your steps to get started.
1. Gather a bowl of uncooked rice. Ensure to rinse it first of impurities and dirt, then drain the unclean water.
2. Add one to one and a half cups of water and let it sit there overnight.
3. Strain the rice and store it in an appropriate container. You may want to spray it or pour it, so choose beforehand.
4. After you shower, work the rice water onto your scalp and massage it from the roots to tips. Let it sit there for 20 minutes.
5. Rinse well afterward to avoid unnecessary build-up.
1. Rinse to remove impurities from the rice, then strain washed rice into a suitable cooker.
2. Add two cups of water and boil in medium heat until you have cooked the rice.
3. Strain remaining water and store in a clean container.
The porosity of your hair can affect the frequency of your rice water regimen.
Rice water contains starch and protein— both of which are large molecules. Due to the small spaces between cuticles, these molecules can quickly accumulate. It is called protein overload. When you can observe dryness and brittleness in your hair, that’s a sign your hair is getting too much rice water.
The recommendation is to use it for 20 minutes and only once or twice a month. The key is always to master moderation or suffer breakage as a consequence. Do a patch test on a section of your hair if in doubt. If the section feels brittle after spraying rice water, dilute the rice water.
It’s a bit of trial and error, but once you have your routine verified, your hair will be healthier than ever.
In general, every hair type can use rice water. Porosity does not equate to your hair type, after all. However, as a general rule of thumb, straight hair types usually have low porosity. They have the characteristic flat and “shiny” look attributed to them by their tightly sealed cuticles. They must be aware of the damage of excessive rice water.
For those with highly porous hair, the frequency of use is relatively higher. Those with kinky and coiled hair types usually have this porosity. This type has trouble retaining moisture and will benefit from rice water's amino acids and minerals.
When it comes to a set regimen, there is none. There are only recommendations. Your hair has gone through a different journey from others. So the best takeaway is to individualize your rice water routine to get the most from it and lessen the risk of damage.
There are a couple of reasons why finding out that you have low porosity hair can bum you out. It means standing in the shower and wondering why your hair gets too long to wet and, once wet, takes an eternity to dry. The tight cuticles make it hard to absorb water (not soaking), so your good old water molecules just sit atop and evaporate slowly (not drying fast). The lack of moisture in your hair makes it prone to dullness, frizziness and split ends.
Rice water, as mentioned above, has all these redeeming qualities for your hair. It’s an all-in-one method. But what are the other ways that you can care for it?
Here are some helpful tips for you.
When a door closes, they say a window opens for you. But nope, don’t look for any proverbial windows yet.
Not to sound suspect, but the best advice when you have low porosity hair is to force that locked door, aka cuticles, open. And the best tool to do that is heat. When you apply heat, the cuticles naturally lift, making it easier for water and moisture to go in.
You have two options to try for this.
There are inexpensive ones available in stores, so you wouldn’t have to worry about your dollars in the drain. This is a low-risk, high-reward choice, so give it a go!
This is taking it a step higher. Now, you can do it in the daytime too! Just moisturize your hair as you always do and then seal it with a disposable cap. This will effectively trap the heat and open your cuticles. You can fashionably wear it with a headscarf, and people won’t even know you have a greenhouse inside it!
Rice water, as mentioned above, aids in moisturizing. If you are in a bind or merely don’t have time to grab something from the aisle, you can do well with your plain rice water. Just make sure to practice moderation!
As the name implies, deep conditioners are designed to penetrate more effectively to give you an extra oomph when your hair severely lacks moisture. You definitely have to add that to your list of stuff to shop for on the next payday.
Again, heat is your savior here. During your deep condition session, you can sit under a hooded dryer. Don’t have that? A sauna trip or even the steam from your shower can serve that purpose too.
When you have roof shingles instead of sponges for a cuticle layer, it’s easy for products to sit atop the hair shaft and cause build-up. That is why it is necessary to clarify your hair and get the dirt and grime stripped to refresh your scalp.
Pro tip: This is a crucial step when incorporating products in your hair to address problems due to low porosity. Rice water tends to build up when overdone, so good prevention is to follow up with an effective deep cleansing method.
Humectants are products that draw in moisture from the air into the hair. A great example of this is glycerin. If you plan on adding a moisturizer to your hair care routine, you might want to try products with lightweight oils, butter, or honey.
“Add to cart” options: Regularly massaging stimulating oil on your scalp helps the production of your natural oils. It’s another good investment you might want to lean on!
CHECK OUT: What Happens If You Wash Your Hair Everyday
Whether you believe in word-of-mouth or just want to hop on the trend, rice water makes a great investment of your time and effort. As has been proven by Eastern women for ages, it DOES good for your hair. The clincher is they have generations to perfect it while we are mere babies to this knowledge.
“Never say never!” As they say. But don’t also dive headfirst without research. What is good can quickly become disastrous. Hence, it is always wise to exercise caution, especially if you have less porous hair.