5 Top Side Effects Of Rice Water For Hair & Skin

rice water side effects for hair

We have been using rice water for hair care for centuries and it does have a lot of hair benefits. It strengthens hair, improves scalp health, calms scalp irritation, has a conditioning effect, and also helps boost hair shine, and is an amazing remedy for dull hair but like with any ingredient it does have some side effects. If we get to know them fully we can learn to use them to our advantage.

What Is Rice Water? 

The water in which rice was boiled is called rice water. In the olden days, when the concept of the rice cooker was not known, rice was boiled in clay pots with large amounts of water and once the rice got cooked, the water was drained. Since rice was consumed on a daily basis, rice water was always there at home and it was extensively used for both skin and hair care.

Types Of Rice Water: 

  • There are actually two types of rice water. The first is the water in which the rice was used to soak before cooking. It is also called rice water and it will be slightly cloudy as rice releases a little bit of its starch in it.
  • The second is boiled rice water got when we drain the water after the rice is cooked. I prefer boiled rice water as it is creamy and thicker.

rice water side effects for skin

5 Top Side Effects of Rice Water For Hair

1. Protein Overload

Some hair care experts warn that rice water can cause protein overload which can lead to brittle and dry hair. Rice does not have much amount of protein, 100 grams of cooked rice contains just about 2.7 grams of protein but for people with low porosity hair it will be hard to absorb even that amount of protein from the rice water so instead of the hair absorbing the protein, it gets attached to the hair and over time it can lead to dry hair. If you have low porosity hair try not using rice water often, use it weekly once or twice.

2. Can Cause Dryness

Rice water is basically starch so if you have dry hair and scalp and leave it on for a long time, it can dry out tightly on the hair making it drier. The workaround for this problem is to use it along with conditioning ingredients like virgin coconut oil and curd. If you have extremely dry hair and scalp please don’t leave it on for a very long time. I have dry hair and scalp and I always use rice water with coconut oil and it has never caused any problems at all.

3. Fermenting Rice Water For Too Long

Traditionally we ferment rice water overnight but some people ferment rice water for long durations of time which can increase the protein content. This is usually not a problem for people with porous hair but for people with low porosity hair, it can cause protein overload so please don’t over-ferment rice water. Over fermented rice water also smells bad and it will be very difficult to use it in hair care treatments. If you find the smell of even lightly fermented rice water irritating, you can add in few drops of essential oil to it before using.

4. Rice Water That Is Contaminated With Arsenic

Some varieties of rice have been found to contain arsenic. This is especially true of rice that is grown in fields that are sprayed with insecticides that contain arsenic. Arsenic can cause oxidative stress which can lead to excessive hair loss. So always try to use organic rice for preparing rice water. In case you don’t have access to organic rice, try to use plain white rice instead of brown rice as the arsenic is usually concentrated on rice grain’s outer layer and since the outer layer of the grain is removed while processing white rice, the amount of arsenic will be less.

5. Rice Water As a Leave In Conditioner

Some people use rice water as a leave-in conditioner. They usually spray and leave it on for the whole day but since rice water is pure starch, once it dries, it can cause hairs to turn stiff, the opposite of the smooth and glossy effect we were looking for. So try to avoid rice water as a leave-in conditioner, rinse it off after use. This is especially important for people with low porosity and dry hair. One of my friends used rice water as a leave-in conditioner before going out and she mentioned that she had one of her worst hair days!

rice water side effects

Rice Water Side Effects For Skin:

When it comes to skincare, rice water can cause little dryness especially if left to dry too tightly on the skin with drying ingredients like clay so try to use it with conditioning ingredients if you have dry skin. Also, try to use rice water made with organic rice, this is especially important if you have sensitive skin.

Tips To Avoid Side Effects Of Rice Water

  • Try to use organic rice for preparing rice water.
  • If you have low porosity hair, don’t leave it on for a long time, and use it only weekly once or twice.
  • If you have dry hair and scalp, always use it along with other conditioning ingredients.
  • If you don’t have organic rice try to use white rice instead of brown rice for making rice water.
  • While fermenting rice water, make sure not to over-ferment rice water, 24 hours is good enough.


  1. Sandy
    April 19, 2015 / 4:59 am

    Can we store rice water in refrigerator used for hair? For how long?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 19, 2015 / 2:32 pm

      You can store rice water for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator for using it on hair but in the freezer, it will last longer……

  2. Anonymous
    April 20, 2015 / 8:03 am

    Hi Ramya ! love your blog always : ) .. I m a working mom, so request u ,if possible kindly suggest some handy hair wash solutions for my kids (7 yr old daughter,1 yr old son) for twice in a week use. Keep posting ….treasure remedies 🙂 🙂

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 21, 2015 / 4:58 am

      Thanks a lot 🙂 For kids, I would suggest arappu powder (you can read about it in the blog), it is very mild, keeps the body cool especially if used along with oil bath. The second choice is shikakai shampoo or hibiscus leaves (you can find all the information about these ingredients in the blog)

  3. Habibi
    April 20, 2015 / 8:35 am

    Hello RamyaWhen making oils be it for skin, hair or other uses, would you always suggest to sun dry the ingredients first, e.g methi, blackpepper corns etc? Also would you always suggest that oils should be infused with said ingredients in the sunlight, rther than fried/using heat?Thank you and kind regards,Habib

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 21, 2015 / 4:50 am

      Hi, Sun drying the ingredients before adding them to the oil gives a longer shelf life to the oils. It is always best to infuse the oils under sunlight as the nutrients are not lost but certain oils made with fresh herbs need to be heated else the high moisture content in the fresh herbs will make the oil spoil faster. But even when you are frying the ingredients for making the oil, the oil should not be heated to very high temperatures………….

    • Habibi
      April 23, 2015 / 5:30 am

      Thank you for your reply Ramya 🙂

    • Ritub Bedi
      June 6, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Ramya ji can we use rice water as facewash daily for oily combination skin my tzone is oily ..and which one of these packs i can use fory oily combination skin

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 8, 2016 / 8:36 am

      You can use clay based masks as it will remove excess oiliness really well. You can use rice water for face daily, it won't do any harm….

  4. Anonymous
    April 21, 2015 / 5:05 am

    Thanks a lot Ramya ! for my kids hair wash remedies 🙂

  5. Anonymous
    July 18, 2015 / 9:34 am

    Hi mam I tried arappu for oil bath but oil doesn't go completely after hairwash. Please advise as i do not want to use shampoo. Even adding shikakai a bit doesnt take out oil completely …and after drying hair when i comb arappu is still there in comb inspite of washing so much

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 27, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      When mixing arappu powder for hair wash, try not to mix it very thick. If it is very thick it will be very hard to wash it out of the hair. It should be a semi thick batter without any lumps. Once you apply the arappu evenly on the hair, gently massage it well for some time to get rid of the oil. If the paste is too thick you won't be able to massage it well in the scalp. Sometimes if they add different leaves to the arappu powder, the paste gets too slimy and it does not remove the oil at all, so try getting good quality arappu powder too…

    • Anonymous
      August 14, 2015 / 7:35 pm

      Can rice flour b added to arappu?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 27, 2015 / 4:10 pm

      It is best not to add rice flour to arappu powder. Since rice flour is coarse, it will make it very difficult to use the arappu powder on the hair..

  6. sumathi subramaniam
    August 23, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    Hi ramya we are pure veg so pls tel substitute for egg in rice floor face mask

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 27, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      Use buttermilk instead of egg…

  7. Unknown
    September 11, 2015 / 11:26 am

    Please tell me tips regarding how to get a fair skin!initially my skin was OK BT when I started to use one cream it started to darken my skin so thought of going through naturals please suggest me the best which can glow my skin.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 17, 2015 / 4:56 am

      Rub your skin with fresh Aloe Vera gel for a few minutes, wash your face with just water and apply oatmeal face mask from the blog for a few days continuously. Both Aloe Vera gel and oatmeal face mask are very soothing and will greatly help in skin discoloration. Once the skin color is restored, continue using this treatment weekly twice…

  8. Anonymous
    November 16, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    can i use rice powder everyday to my skin

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 22, 2015 / 3:12 am

      Since rice flour is a bit grainy, it is a very good exfoliant and helps in removing the dead cell. I would suggest using it weekly twice…

  9. Deepshika Gookool
    November 24, 2015 / 3:33 pm

    Hello ma'am..can I just blend some rice if I don't possess any rice flour at my place?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      December 6, 2015 / 8:28 am

      Yes, you can make your own rice flour by blending rice. But make sure to soak the rice in water for some time then shade dry to remove moisture by spreading it on a cloth and then grind, it will make grinding easier….

  10. Anonymous
    March 1, 2016 / 6:34 am

    Hello madam . . I have dry skin . . So please suggest me with some tips to over come dry skin on my face as well to improve my complexion .. as well certain tips to lighten my dark lips which I have from birth . .

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 20, 2016 / 5:32 am

      I would suggest massaging your face daily with this homemade massage oil immediately after bath, also you can try using anyone of the face packs from the blog depending on your skin type weekly twice to improve the skin tone. You can see the recipe for massage oil here: massage oil

  11. Crystal Minguez
    March 20, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    Hi Ramya! Thanks for this! Would probably share this on my friends who have a big problem on her acne! Love lots from Philippines! ♡

  12. Akshara
    May 11, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Hello Ramya …can I use this bath powder for my 6yr old kid for removing sun tan

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2016 / 4:18 pm

      I would suggest the rose petal based homemade bath powder from the blog for her…

  13. Akshara
    May 29, 2016 / 3:17 am

    Mam this mask.can be used for kindergarten kids

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 7, 2016 / 3:06 pm

      I would suggest not using any masks for kids instead try using homemade bath powder from the blog for them…

  14. Nils Mitt
    June 11, 2016 / 9:01 am

    hello, may I know how to know your skin and hair type/texture in terms of oily dry or normal I'm always but confused in recognising the texture

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 11, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      To determine the skin type, wash your face off any makeup using a very very mild cleanser. After 45 minutes dab your face with a tissue, if the skin is smooth and fresh you have got normal skin. If there is oiliness in the tissue you have got oily skin. If it feels a bit dry then it is dry skin. Some will have combination skin too. Regarding hair, if you have oily hair and don't have hair wash for 2 consecutive days, your scalp and hair will look very greasy like as if you have oiled your hair…

  15. Anonymous
    July 7, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Hi mam pls say the remedy to remove the warts ( Maru) under my eyes…

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 15, 2016 / 7:28 am

      You can try either apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil or amman pacharisi for warts, you can read about amman pacharisi in the blog…

  16. Aliya
    September 3, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    Hi mamcan i use the mixture of rice powder and curd in hair and face. Plz rply…..

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 6, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      You can use a mixture of rice powder and curd for face but for hair I would suggest using rice water instead of rice flour as rice flour is grainy and will be difficult to wash it off the hair. You can make rice water from rice flour like given in the last step in the post…

  17. Aliya
    September 6, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    Thank you

  18. Aliya
    September 6, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    What about curd ? Can i use curd in hair

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 10, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      you can use curd for hair, it is a great conditioner but try to use only homemade curd…

  19. Anonymous
    October 16, 2016 / 4:00 pm

    Can I use rice flour to get rid of old scars?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 14, 2016 / 1:08 am

      Yes, you can. I mix rice flour with fresh orange juice, give it a try, great for reducing scars and evening out the skin tone…

    • Africa Mulatu
      December 14, 2016 / 11:10 am

      My face is oily and i have small pimples on my face can i use Rice flour & Milk?

    • Africa Mulatu
      December 14, 2016 / 11:15 am

      My face is oily & I have a small pimples on my face, as you recommended can i use rice flour & egg??

      November 15, 2017 / 3:01 am

      Can brown rice flour be used just as well ad white rice flour for cosmetic use?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 15, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      Yes, brown rice flour can be used for cosmetic purpose too, just make sure to grind it to a fine powder else it will cause skin irritation…

  20. Ritub Bedi
    December 16, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Hi Ramya ji which rice flour pack can be used on oily-combinational skin??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 15, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      You can mix rice flour with any fresh fruit juice like orange juice or strawberry juice and use, will be perfect for oily- combination skin. You can also mix rice flour with turmeric powder and rice water and apply as a face pack…

  21. Monika
    January 9, 2017 / 4:56 am

    Hi Ramya,Reading your blog for first time. Its really interesting. Im having hairfall problem even after shifting to ayurveda shampoo like patanjali kesh kanti. Can you please suggest me some good hair oil to make it on home and hair wash?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 15, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      Hi Monika, you can try any one of these natural shampoos(copy and paste the link): https://youtu.be/b-S-Rszl0rY. Regarding hair oil, I would suggest you try curry leaf hair oil from the blog, it works well for all types of hair…

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