- Rice water has been an ever growing trend when it comes to hair growth, but is it a good one? Yes, it is popularly used throughout Asia for not just hair growth, but skin care as well. However, the way it is used, as well as, the frequency must be taken into account, after all rice, is known to contain certain levels of arsenic. Most of which is concentrated in the water when rice is washed and cooked being that arsenic is water soluble. So, the question remains, using rice water for hair growth should you use it and is it truly worth it?
First, The Benefits of Rice Water
There are several benefits of rice water, one of the main benefits besides hair growth, being the strengthening properties it can impart on the hair. It is also known to make hair smooth and shiny and protects the hair, keeping it from splitting.
To reap all these aforementioned benefits, one must use fermented water, i.e, the water left over from having soaked rice for 24 or more hours or from the fermentation of the water used in boiling the rice.
Rice water has also been said to be helpful with various scalp ailments, like dandruff and dry scalp issues among others.
Second, The Potential Dangers of Using Rice Water
A word of caution: though there are great benefits to improving the health of your hair when it comes to rice water, one should also be aware that over use or too frequent a use of rice water as a hair rinse or conditioning process can result in the exact opposite of the intended results, ie. breakage, dry, brittle hair, etc. will become the end product.
Another potential issue when it comes to using fermented rice water rinses is improper fermentation which can result in growth of harmful bacteria that will reak havoc on the the skin/scalp. This can in turn result in intense itching and problems with breakouts.
Using rice water can also expose you to arsenic as mentioned prior, but you can reduce the chances by buying your rice from a reputable source that provides organic, high quality rice. Thereby, tremendously limiting the possibilities and or levels of arsenic that you may be exposed to provided the soil in which it is grown had not been contaminanted with arsenic at some point in time. And though rice may be grown organically, it does not ensure it will not take up arsenic present in the environment (soil, air, water…).
Third, Just How Much Arsenic is There in Rice?
Since arsenic is naturally occuring, it can be found in soil, water, and air in its organic form, so just how much arsenic is there in rice. Well, when it comes to rice, arsenic is often found in its inorganic form, which is a synthetic form often present in pesticides. This is due to overly popular use of pesticides on rice crops being farmed. And it is through this, that the higher levels of arsenic are found present in rice.
Of the two forms of arsenic, i.e. inorganic (synthetic) and organic (naturally occuring), the inorganic form of arsenic is where the danger truly lies, as it is more dangerous and can cause ill-effects in the body.
Unfortunately, of all plants, rice tends to absorb the most amount of arsenic, thereby, resulting in higher concentrations present in rice grains. And so, limiting the consumption of rice and the use of rice water is highly recommended. And when cooked for consumption or for making fermented rice water rinses, use excessive amounts of water in cooking the rice after washing it at least three times.
Arsenic Content: Brown Versus White Rice
Depending on the quality and type of rice you use, ie. brown versus white rice, will determine how much arsenic is present.
Yes, overall, brown rice is more nutritious and healthier for you, but when it comes to the amount of arsenic present it is the worst. This is due to the fact that brown rice is rice that still has it bran and the bran contains a lot of arsenic whereas, with white rice, the bran is removed and therefore has less arsenic present, but nevertheless enough to raise health concerns.
Arsenic in Rice Water for Hair Growth
With the presence of arsenic both in the most popular froms of rice used today – brown rice and white rice, it is important to be aware of the dangers of arsenic and how to limit your exposure. Since brown rice contains more arsenic due to the bran retained, this is a less desireabe option or choice to use in making rice water for hair growth (if you so choose that is…).
The true ability of rice water comes from its starchy nature and it composition and that is what you are after when it comes to its use for hair growth.
Rice does contain some nutrients, but in order to remove some of the arsenic, most of those nutrients will be lost. So, if you are looking to impart some of those nutrients into your hair, then rice water is not your best option; unless you are ready to accept the levels of arsenic present, as well as, the health risks.
Removing Arsenic in Rice Water
Although it is not entirely possible to remove all of the arsenic present in rice, if you still find yourself wanting to try rice water, in order to gain some of its benefits in growing hair, then feel free to try the steps outlined below in making your own fermented rice water.
One way to remove as much arsenic in rice water is to soak your rice overnight in a lot of water (at least 6 parts water to 1 part rice, preferably 10 parts water to 1 part rice) and pour out the water used to soak it. This will get rid of at least half of the arsenic content of the rice grains. Then soak grains again and pour out the water for added measure or you can choose to proceed with fermenting the water from the second soaking. Two the three days will do. But you can go up to four days….
Another way is to boil the rice and pour out the water. Then boil it again and let it cool on the countertop and leave it to ferment for up to three days. This method will remove a bit more arsenic due to help of the heating and cooking of the rice, and it will also give you a starchier and “thicker” fermented rice water. However, if you boil the rice for too long (don’t boil for longer than ten or twelve minutes – this may vary based on quality of rice and water…) you risk concentrating or make “stronger” whatever, levels of arsenic may still be present. This is because the heat will evaporate most of the water and result in a thicker, starchier mixture with arsenic content and all.
Once you have fermented your rice water, you should be able to use the rice water as a rinse after you have cleansed your hair and scalp. And you will not only be able to reap some of the benenfits that rice water has to offer, but the benefits added to it from the fermentation process (think good microbes), as well.
Our Overall Verdict on Using Rice Water for Hair Growth
Before jumping on the rice water bandwagon, ask yourself, “Is it worth my health?”. If it is then, you decision has been made, so carry on with it. As for us, our overall verdict on rice water for hair growth is really and truly to avoid it – we simply think that the risks far outweigh the benefits. However, if you must, then use it in the safest manner possible and try your best to go with organic rice grains. Also, do be sure to make sure the fermentation process is done properly to ensure you are not cultivating harmful microorganisms like mold and bad bacteria. For us though, when it comes to using fermented rice water for hair growth, we simply do not recommend it, nor use it. After all, your health is your greatest wealth, so treat it as such and research other ways of growing your hair like we have here.