Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed the massive amount of folks on TikTok claiming that rice water helped them grow Rapunzel-esque strands.
Although it’s super trendy ATM, it’s definitely not a new thing. It actually originated in ancient Japan and a few studies on using it for hair growth have seemed promising over the years. It does appear to help damaged hair due to the ingredient inositol, but we decided to get an expert opinion. R+Co Collective member, expert educator, and co-founder of Rikoko Beauty, Richy Kandasamy, decided to fill us in. Read on below for his take on the trend and the answer to your burning question—does it even truly work?
Mane Addicts: What are your thoughts on using rice water for hair growth (as seen on TikTok)? Do you think rice water causes sustainable hair growth?
Richy Kandasamy: Like every trend, it will not work on everyone’s hair. All hair types are basically the same structurally, including African, European, and Asian hair types, but all absorb moisture in different ways. Rice water is an antique hair remedy that originated in (but is not exclusive to) Asia.
I do think it can cause sustainable hair growth and more because it’s rich in amino acids which strengthen your roots, add shine, and make it smooth and silky. It also contains a carbohydrate known as inositol which repairs damaged hair and protects it from further damage. Because it’s a natural remedy, it’s safe and there are no side effects of using it.
MA: Why do you think this is (or isn’t) effective?
RK: I think it’s effective because it makes protein and keratin that forms hair. Scientifically, 18 amino acids have to come together to create the correct protein for hair growth—rice water contains eight of these amino acids. The vitamins in rice water (B, C, and E) are also great hair growth boosters. It must be noted, though, that there is limited scientific evidence to fully support this.
MA: If you have any, what are your favorite hair products that contain rice water as an ingredient?
RK: R+Co’s CASSETTE Curl Shampoo + Conditioner both contain rice protein, which locks in moisture, helps prevent breakage and improves the shine, strength, and flexibility of your hair.
MA: What kind of products do you think it works best in?
RK: I think it will work well in any haircare product with the right dosage. Especially shampoo and conditioner because you’re cleaning and conditioning your scalp directly.
MA: What are your recommended steps for properly using rice water?
RK: First, wet your whole head with the rice water (especially your scalp area) and massage it into your scalp for five minutes. This step targets your follicles, which stimulates growth and strengthens your hair. After five minutes, wash your hair with your preferred shampoo.