Stop Overdoing the Rice Water Rinse!!

Have you been using the rice water rinse?

I ‘discovered’ the rice water rinse in 2016 when it hadn’t yet become a popular trend. I have used the rinse sparingly over time. Of late, every natural hair group I turn to has ten or more individuals advising someone about using this rinse daily or weekly. Now, as one who has enjoyed the benefits of this DIY hair treatment, it might come as a shock to hear me say, “PLEASE STOP OVERDOING THE RICE WATER RINSE ALREADY?!!” (Yes, I’m shouting)

Is Rice Water for Hair Growth a Hoax?

I know what you’re thinking. If I seem to be advocating against using the rice water rinse, it must not have worked for me, right? Wrong.

I have used this treatment for about 2+ years now and have enjoyed many rice water benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased hair elasticity. I noticed my hair become more flexible, shrink a bit more upon contact with water/ moisture and slightly more curl definition.
  • Reduced knots and tangles from reduced strand surface friction. I used to suffer from SO MANY single strand knots even when I observed healthy hair practices. Incorporating the rice water rinse reduced this.

These rice water benefits can be backed up by this article or this channel and the studies quoted therein.

Rice Water Effects on Hair

Rice water for hair growth
Rice water for hair growth

We can all agree that rice water effects on hair is positive. I just admitted that it works for me too. However, I follow strict rice water instructions for my regimen and that’s one thing that most people don’t admit to.

The rice water recipe is pretty straightforward. The frequency of rice water rinse, on the other hand, isn’t. Wait, Njerie, is that even important?

Absolutely! Here’s why.

First, rice water has about 16% protein and that’s considered high. You definitely shouldn’t use it when you are doing another protein addition to that, there are many curlies who have protein-sensitive natural hair. Maintaining the protein-moisture balance is especially important for this group. Can you imagine using this rinse every week or day? You’re probably going to end up with rice water hair damage from too much protein.

Second, the rice water rinse has an ingredient called inositol. This ingredient stays in your hair long after the rice water has been rinsed out. This begs the question – why would you want to use a rice water spritz daily without washing it out if inositol is still working the magic on your strands? It’s rather redundant. Kind of like saying, “the two twins” or “all my daughters are female.”

Popular Rice Water Challenge

We’ve all seen the dramatic rice water before and after photos. She started out with a bob and had ankle-length hair by the end of the week, right? 😀

But seriously, I don’t dispute that the rinse actually works. However, it promotes hair growth as a by-product. The main rice water benefits such as strengthened hair and reduced friction will likely lead to observable hair growth. In short, rice water as leave in isn’t like shoveling fertilizer into the soil for healthy crops. In fact, it might end up leaving you with ‘rice water dandruff’ or even hair damage.

Okay, so what is my suggestion?

Rice Water for Hair Growth

Instructions for using rice water for hair growth
Consider Rice Water Instructions

My suggestion is pretty simple – experiment, slowly introduce rice water into your regimen, do some A/B testing to see the effect it has on your hair and finally come up with a plan that works for you.

Rice water for curly hair growth is undeniable. However, it works differently for everyone based on their unique hair practices, characteristics and diet. I’m not discouraging you from using rice water as leave in or as a rinse. I’m pleading with you to do due diligence then proceed with caution. The rice water rinse IS NOT hair fertilizer. Let’s stop treating it as one. One of the most common mistakes in the natural hair community is taking advice without a filter and not considering your hair’s unique traits. Sure, learn as much as you can and try out new things BUT do it wisely for the sake of your hair.


PS: All the sarcasm in the post is shared with love and concern for your tresses. Hehe.

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