It all began when thanks to its Yao residents, the Huangluo village of China came into the spotlight for being the “world’s longest hair village”. You see, the Yao women have hair which can be measured in feet and show no signs of greying before the age of 80. Naturally, the secret behind the long and strong hair of these women had to be dugout.
So what makes these women real-life Rapunzels?
The answer is simple: fermented rice water.
While we spend hours under the shower, slathering one fancy hair product after the other, these women wash their hair with rice water—which is exactly what makes their long, lustrous mane so envious.
Here’s how you can make the best of this recipe at home:
Soak and you shall reap
For this, all you need is half a cup of rice of whichever grade, quality, or colour you desire. Rinse it to remove dirt and impurities, and then soak it in two to three cups of water for half an hour.
Next, knead the rice with your hands until the water turns cloudy. This ensures that all the vitamins, minerals, and other goodness of the rice is infused in the water.
Now using a strainer, transfer the water to a clean bowl–and ta-da!–your hair elixir is ready.
For an extra boost, you can also ferment the rice water
Anything which is fermented has more antioxidants, so if you want to take this remedy to the next level let the rice sit in the water for a day or two till you start getting a sour smell.
However, if you go down this route, please keep in mind that fermented rice water is quite potent, so dilute it before using it. If you have dry hair, dilute it with one cup of water. However, beauties with oily hair can add two to three cups of water.
You can also use boiled rice water
Don’t have the bandwidth to make rice water just for your hair? No worries! The next time you boil rice to go with that yummy bowl of rajma, add an extra cup of water for your hair. Once the rice is cooked, strain the excess water, let it cool, and use it.
But is all this hard work even worth it?
Well, if you don’t want to take the Yao women’s word for it, here are some science-backed advantages of rice water to help you make a decision:
Bid hair breakage goodbye: According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, rice water improves hair elasticity and minimises friction between hair strands. In short, using rice water makes detangling your precious mane easier.
It’s your hair’s suraksha kawaj: The most promising men might leave you, but rice water? Never. It contains a carbohydrate called inositol, which stays in your hair and protects it from damage and breakage—even after you’ve rinsed off the rice water. Can you beat that?
Say hello to shiny hair: Rice water can repair and strengthen your hair shaft, thus giving your hair its long-lost lustre and strength back.
Welcome hair growth: This holds true especially if you’re using fermented rice water because fermentation lowers the pH of the water bringing it at par with our hair’s pH.
Moreover, the additional antioxidants and minerals in the fermented version nourish hair follicles and promote hair growth. In fact, the presence of amino acids in rice water can also help in the regeneration of hair. Vitamins B, C, and E present in it also boost this process.
Now that you know, here’s how you can use rice water
Wash your hair with your regular shampoo the way you normally would and then massage rice water into your scalp. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off with water. Most experts recommend doing this twice a week for at least a month visible results. So, why don’t you go ahead and try it? Oh, and don’t forget to share your experience with rice water in the comments section below.