Does Rice Water Really Make Your Hair Grow?

When it comes to trying to grow our hair, we've tried everything. Brushing 100 times a day, frequent trims, apple cider vinegar, green tea, vitamins — the works! So when we heard that rice water was the key to growing our hair, we had to find out more. Does rice water really make your hair grow? What exactly is rice water?

Rice water is just as the name suggests. It's the water used while soaking or cooking rice, specifically when it turns a shade of milky white. According to Medical News Today, Japanese women living during the Heian period kept their hair healthy by bathing it in rice water. Refinery29 believes the process has resurfaced as a result of social media, with influencers fermenting DIY rice water for up to three days at home before using it to rinse their hair.

"Rice water is rich with amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals and antioxidants, all of which have known benefits for the hair," celebrity hair stylist Andrew Fitzsimons explained to Good Housekeeping. "With regular use, you can expect shinier, stronger, smoother hair."

Is there any scientific evidence that suggests rice water promotes hair growth?

Despite claims that rice water helps strengthen hair, unfortunately there is no evidence to suggest rice water helps hair grow. "The purported benefits of rice water for hair are mostly based on historical stories from Japan and China, and anecdotal evidence," Dr. Hadley King, MD, FAAD, NYC-based dermatologist, told Good Housekeeping. "Scientific data, however, is lacking." However, King points to the findings of two scientific studies, one that confirms rice water strengthens hair, and the other confirms it improves hair elasticity. 

Ultimately, as claimed by King, "Rice water has not been proven to help hair grow but it is possible that it may help hair look shinier and healthier." Looks like it's time to get cooking, even if it's not a magical hair-growth elixir.