Rice Water Rinse for Curly Hair

Posted by Elizabeth Alex on

The Rice Water Rinse is the most natural, the easiest thing to do to strengthen hair, and grow it fast! Here is everything you need to know about the holy Rice Water Rinse for curly hair. 

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This is one of my BEST results with the fermented rice water rinse! My hair was virgin at the time (before I destroyed it with highlights!) 

When would you need/benefit from Rice Water Rinse?

  • If you've never actively had any protein treatments.
  • You suffer from color or heat, sun damage is real!
  • You've got split ends/slow hair growth.
  • You want more shine and curl clumping

Is Rice Water good for you?

Think of all the holes in your hair, and how sun damage, heat damage, and using unsafe products creates more holes in your hair. The rice water essentially fills up those holes to strengthen it, restore shine and benefit your scalp too! More benefits here:
  • Protects hair
  • Removes lice!
  • Smoothens hair
  • Cures dandruff
  • Makes hair shiny
  • Reduces split ends
  • Strengthens hair roots
  • Repairs damaged hair
  • Drink it for more health benefits for your body.

When to do the Rice Water Rinse?

  • Preferably on cleansed hair, after shampoo and before deep conditioning. 
  • Refresh non-buildup hair 

Use a moisturizing shampoo to cleanse your hair before applying Rice water. You can cowash too before you apply the rinse as well.  Cowashing adds extra moisture to hair, so following it up with the rice water will help you achieve the much-needed protein-moisture balance. 

If your hair doesn't have build-up, isn't greasy or dirty, then you can apply the rice water rinse on your day 3 or day 4 hair as well. I tried it on my day 4 hair and it works!

How to make the Rice Water

There are three methods.
  1. Boiling - Boil rice with extra water until cloudy. Strain and use that water as your rinse.
  2. Soaking - Collect the water you wash your rice in, not the first rinse. Or follow how Felicia does it in her video here.

3. Fermenting - This is the easiest way to prepare your water and the most effective way too. Here is a quick video by MZ BIANCA RENEE (LOVE HER!!)

The fermented Rice Water is NOT recommended for the following: 
  • Immunocompromised patients
  • Lactating mothers
  • Scalp conditions such as yeast infection or fungal infections.

Verna says fermented rice is very potent so the process gets complicated here because then you need to dilute it with water before using it.  If you still wanted to try this fermented method then here’s a helpful Epoc Times article that shows you how.

Which method is better and why?

Although the boiling option is less risky than fermenting (risk, as in, if you let the rice water ferment too much it smells bad) Fermented rice is rather potent because this sour fermented water is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamin E! If you don’t want smelly water in your hair, you can still make fermented water for your face, hands, feet, and neck! All those nutrients act as an anti-aging elixir! I always apply the rice water rinse to my face and keep it on for a few minutes, after I'm done with my hair.

Which rice to use? I use White rice since it has the least amount of protein and also gives the shiniest hair of all other types. Red rice has selenium to treat hairfall so it’s best for those with PCOD or menopause. Black rice is super high in antioxidants and vitamin B complex to make your hair stronger. 

How long to store it? I make a batch and store mine in the fridge and only take what I need for each rinse. It would not ferment in the cold environment so mine went two weeks before I used it all up! If you keep it outside, it may ferment, but that's ok too. Use your judgment.

Can we add things to rice water to make it EXTRA? YES! If you have parched hair, you can add a few drops of coconut oil/honey/coconut water into it after straining the liquid. However, experts recommend you use the rice water as is. 

How to apply the Rice Water Rinse (video)

I prefer this method because you get to work the rice water in your hair and scalp, and roots and everything! Maximum penetration :)
  • Flip your BUILDUP-FREE hair down
  • Pour the water gently over scalp and let it drizzle down your hair.
  • Squish and massage it into your scalp and hair.
  • Be sure to put a pan under to catch the falling rice water and
  • Repeat process for 5-6 times.
  • Keep 5-10 min under a shower cap
  • Rinse out and follow up with a protein-free Deep Conditioner (DC)
  • Finish as usual. 

Some who want more protein leave the rice water in and apply their DC over it. You want to try both methods to see which works better for you. 


The Modified Rice Water Rinse. I suggest you try this method only if you were hard-pressed for time. Introduced by Curly Cailin, this method encourages you to mix rice water in your regular deep conditioner and keep that for 20 minutes. The modified rice water method is timesaving and effective to some extent. However, I would never massage this mix on my scalp or roots - it's a store-bought DC, right? Nope. No Products ever touch my scalp, except for oil/cowash/shampoo.  For maximum benefits, I recommend following the classic method only: rice water worked into hair and scalp first; then DC after.

How long to keep the Rice Water in your hair. Verna advises when in doubt, leave the rice water in your hair for 5 minutes only and rinse it OUT. This was Verna’s golden tip for me and it works so so well for any beginner. As you get to know your hair and how it reacts and what it needs etc, you could increase the time for up to 20 minutes. If you leave it in too long, there may be trouble. Too much protein causes Protein Overload which causes breakage and that's the last thing you want for your fragile curly hair. Make sure to put a timer on. Don’t sleep on it!

What to do after the rice water is in? You either rinse it out and follow with a conditioner/deep conditioner (DC). If you have dry hair, to begin with then I recommend you follow your rice water rinse with a protein-free/moisture DC. You can also apply your deep conditioner over the rice water that is already in your hair and keep that for 20 minutes. But use discretion there, do this only if your hair needs more protein, or else stay safe with the 5-minute-rule.

Can I clarify using rice water? No. Rice water rinse functions more like a protein-conditioner. It smoothes, detangles, and repairs. However, fermented rice water -  the sour-smelling one - acts as a shampoo! Learn more from this Epoc Times article.

Can I use rice water as a deep conditioner? No.

Can I mix ACV with rice water? No. Never mix two special treatments together is what I suggest. Unless you are aware of all the potential chemical changes these DIYs can have, use your discretion. 

Can I use it to rinse my conditioner out maybe? No. Rice water rinse happens in between your shampoo and conditioner/DC. It’s NEVER the last rinse. Rice water rinse is more like a repair treatment to be used alongside a deep conditioner for best results.  Don’t confuse this method with ACV Rinse, Tea Rinse or Beer Rinse; these rines can be "last rinses" done before styling, unlike Rice Water RInse. 

How often can we do the rice water rinse? This depends on how much protein your hair needs and how much it can take. Weekly is ideal. Don't do it too much, I say. High Porosity wavy hair like @powerdomi generally needs more protein anyway so in that case you can do one every wash.

The key is to balance protein with moisture.

Always condition or deep condition after your rice water rinse. This is a protein treatment so you want to avoid doing this with other treatments like the clay treatments. Never mix two special treatments together. Here are a few options to help you balance:


  • Cowash to balance moisture before rice water
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo that won't “dry” out your hair.
  • Follow rice water with a protein-free DC (protein + protein can be too much!)


Get it? Remember to use this article as a guideline. Ultimately, you have to decide the right method based on what your hair needs. You are in charge here. 

Thank you for watching & reading!

Need Help? Ask Liz here!


It took a while for me also. Good things take time. Look up child, Ooo ay ay🌸⁣ ⁣ #stayencouraged #curlygirlmethod #healthyhairjourney #curlygirl

5,290 Likes, 194 Comments - Elizabeth Alex (@honestlizhere) on Instagram: "It took a while for me also. Good things take time. Look up child, Ooo ay ay🌸⁣ ⁣ #stayencouraged..."


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