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?
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.
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 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.