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Is Rice Water the Secret to Stop Shedding?

After watching about 3,000 rice water challenge vids (this one, in particular) I was officially sold on the idea that all you need to stop the shed is boiled water and rice. As hopeful as I was, my belief wasn’t enough to calm my curiosity — I had to know why it worked. To find out the science behind the rice water challenge, I tapped hair authority Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, who broke down real life vs. youtube.


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The Rice Water Reality

Rice contains proteins and starch as well as vitamins and minerals. This natural cocktail seems like it might be enough to do the trick and stop shedding, but unfortunately, it’s not that simple. “Rice water will not stop or reduce a true hair loss issue,” explains Anabel matter-of-factly. “However, due to its high protein content, it may, from a purely cosmetic standpoint, give strands a thicker feel. A rice water rinse may also give strands extra shine,” she points out. In other words, if your hair is actually falling out (not just breaking or appearing thinner) rice water may not be the miracle cure you’ve been seeking.

Prioritize Protein

Instead of putting protein-heavy rice into a spray bottle, Anabel suggests another delivery method… “Proteins will have the best effect on the growth of your strands when you eat them!” she says. “I recommend incorporating at least two palm-sized portions of protein into your daily diet – preferably at breakfast and lunch – and taking a daily protein supplement,” she says. If you’re looking for a time-saver even when it comes to eating, Anabel suggests the PK4 Soy Protein Boost Supplement: $45, which contains all the essential amino acids (otherwise known as proteins) needed for hair growth in an easily absorbable formula.



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Do the Mask Challenge

As the rice water challenge vid calls out – the DIY smell is not pleasant. Eventually peppermint oil is added to combat the stench of rice water fermented for up to 24 hours, but if you’re looking for a product that will do the same thing sans scent, Anabel suggests using the Elasticizer: $28, which is a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment, twice weekly. “This pumps your hair with water, increasingly strength, elasticity and bounce. Its blend of nourishing oils also works to smooth down your outer hair cuticle, creating lovely shine,” she notes. If the Elasticizer is out of your budget but you aren’t sold on attempting the rice water challenge, she suggests going a more familiar route. “The most effective treatments, in terms of improving the condition of your hair, are deep conditioning masks, which are left on for a minimum of 20 minutes.”



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Hair Loss is… Complicated

While I wouldn’t totally suggest knocking it until you try it, Anabel rationalizes that real hair loss is highly individualized. “A holistic, multi-pronged approach is the most effective way to treat hair loss,” she says. “Each hair loss issue can be unique, and hair shedding can be caused by a multitude of factors. Lifestyle, genes, general health, stress levels, diet and styling habits should all be looked into,” she continues. “At Philip Kingsley, we make a range called Trichotherapy that addresses the most common causes of hair loss in women. It contains stimulating anti-androgenic scalp drops, a thickening strengthening protein spray, as well as a range of Trichologically formulated nutritional supplements to help give hair support from within.”

For more science-backed info about hair loss, start HERE.

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