How to Grow Natural 4C Hair Using Rice Water

Lovingkinkycurls4C Hair, DIY Remedies30 Comments

Rice water for 4C hair growth

For many rice is food BUT for some, rice is a beauty product! Have you seen blogs titled: Rice water for Hair Growth? If you haven’t then you are in the right place because I will share my experience of using rice water on 4C hair.

Can rice water be used to grow natural hair? Consistent and correct use of rice water promotes healthy hair growth, improves shines and elasticity and effectively conditions the hair by smoothing the cuticles and reducing the surface friction which prevents the strands from tangling.

Asian women, for a very long time have used rice water to enhance their skin and hair beauty. Traditionally, female rice farmers in China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian countries used to bathe and wash their hair in the water used for cleaning rice.

In this article I will cover the following: (i) What is rice water? (ii) Benefits of rice water, (iii) How to prepare rice water, (iv) How to use rice water and (iv)Answers to popular questions on using rice water on hair.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

What is rice water?

Rice water is the milky liquid left over after soaking, washing or boiling rice. Rice water is believed to be beneficial to both the skin, as a toner and hair as a conditioner.

Rice water for natural 4c hair growth

The rice water craze has recently been trending among hair bloggers especially natural 4C Hair bloggers, I personally came across the rice water terminology 3 years after going natural! I wish I discovered it earlier!

Since the very first time I rinsed my natural 4C hair with rice water, I have never looked back. I currently use rice water once in every two weeks but when I started out, I would use it on a weekly basis during wash days.

The most remarkable thing I noticed when I started using the rice water was that it instantly conditioned my hair, making it super soft and super easy to detangle. In fact, these days I primarily use rice water for detangling and as a conditioner.

Benefits of rice water in hair

What makes rice water such a phenomenal hair product? This is a questions that so many natural hair enthusiasts are asking. Below we will explore the various benefits you will get from using rice water on your natural hair care regimen.

1. Promotes hair growth

Rice water contains amino acids that helps in hair regeneration. Rice water also contains Vitamins B, C and E which further promotes hair growth. Consistent use of rice water has been proven to promote hair growth as evidenced in Asian women.

It is no wonder the Yao women have an average length of over 1.5 meters. Not only do these women have long hair, the hair is luscious and very healthy.

I have consistently used rice water for over 6 months and I have noticed faster growth. My breakage has also reduced significantly.

2. Protects hair from damage

Research shows that rice water contains inositol which is a carbohydrate that can repair damaged hair.(1) Even after rinsing off the rice water, Inositol stays in the hair acting as a protective shield.

In addition to the carbohydrates present in hair, rice contains between 7-16% proteins. The rice proteins form a protective coat on your hair hence preventing breakage.

3. Increases shine and improves hair elasticity

The amino acids contained in the rice water strengthens the hair roots, increases the hair volume and makes the hair smooth and shiny.

4. Detangles hair

Rice water smoothens the cuticles and reduces the surface friction which helps the strands of the hair not to tangle.

If you’d rather eliminate all the headache with using rice water but still want to get all the goodness from rice water, you could try products that have rice water

Mielle Organics just dropped the Mielle Rice Water Collection: This collection has 5 products: 1. Rice Water Moisturizing Milk 2. Rice Water Clay Masque 3. Rice Water Split End Therapy 4. Rice Water Hydrating Shampoo and 5. Rice Water Shine Mist. You can try the line and see if it works for your hair.

How to make rice water for 4C hair growth

There are several method to prepare rice water. In this article I will share 4 recipes for making rice water for hair.

One of the most recommended methods of preparing rice water is the fermentation method, the process of fermentation results in a solution that is very potent for the hair. In fact some people find it too strong that they have to dilute the fermented rice water.

Below are 4 methods of preparing rice water for hair growth.

1- No Boil Method


  • ½ cup of clean raw rice
  • 2-3  cups of water
  • 3-7 drops of an essential oil (Where to buy)


  1. Place clean rice in container and add water.
  2. Swirl it using a spoon in a round motion.
  3. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes in room temperature, the longer the better so that all nutrients are obtained from the rice.
  4. Strain the rice water and add 3 drops of an essential oil
  5. Rinse your hair with the rice water


2- Minimalist/simple life hack method

Are you already worried that after soaking the rice there is going to be wastage? I had a similar concern until I discovered a simple ‘life hack’ in preparing rice water.

  1. On the day you are cooking rice, start by washing your rice. Pour out the water from this wash as it may contain impurities depending on the quality and where you purchase your rice.
  2. Proceed to do a ‘second’ wash but this time do not pour away the water. Store the water in a jar for up-to 24 hours and voila! you have rice water and no wastage.
  3. Why this works: When you are washing the rice you intend to cook, because of quantity, the water resulting from the wash has a lot of minerals in it hence can be used for your hair.


3- Fermentation Method


  • ½ cup of clean raw rice
  • 2-3  cups of water
  • 3-7 drops of an essential oil (where to buy)


  1. Place clean rice in a container and add water.
  2. Swirl it using a spoon in a round motion.
  3. Cover and leave the rice water to sit in room temperature for 1-2 days.
  4. Strain the rice water and add 3-7 drops of an essential oil.
  5. Rinse your hair with the rice water.
  6. Store the fermented rice water in the fridge to stop further fermentation.

Whilst fermented rice water is more beneficial than plain rice water, the challenge that comes with fermentation is the bad smell. The recipe above includes an essential oil, this will help in making the rice water smell better.

There are several other ways you can take away the bad smell from rice water. Read this article to learn about 8 different ways to make fermented rice smell better.


4- Boil Method


  • ½ cup of clean raw rice
  • 2-3  cups of water
  • 3-7 drops of an essential oil (where to buy)


  1. Boil water as you normally cook rice
  2. Add twice the amount of water as you normally measure.
  3. When the rice nearly cooked, strain the water out and let it cool under room temperature
  4. Add 3 drops of an essential oil
  5. Rinse your hair with the rice water

**You can vary the quantities based on your hair volume, frequency of use and your desired concentration of the rice water. The quantities below are what I have found to work best for my hair type and volume**


How to use rice water on 4C hair

I have experimented with several methods for using rice water and I have found the following to be the most effective ways. You can get as creative as you want after you have tested how your hair reacts with rice water.

1- Use rice water for detangling hair

When applied to hair, rice water instantly conditions the hair making it soft and easy to detangle. Rice water smoothens the cuticles and reduces surface friction which prevents the strands from tangling.

  • Use your preferred preparation method (from the list above) to prepare your rice water
  • Spray your hair with warm water to make it damp not wet.
  • Using a spray bottle, apply the rice water generously to your hair until you starts feeling the softness. (if you don’t have a spray bottle, slowly pour the rice water on your hair using a jar, contain the overflow by using a basin. You can reuse the overflow during the same session)
  • Leave the rice water in for about 5 minutes and then proceed to gently finger detangle your hair.
  • Rinse your hair and proceed with your hair care routine.

3- As a shampoo/Add it to your shampoo

  • Because of its effective conditioning properties, adding rice water to your shampoo makes a big difference in your wash day. The hair will be much easier to manage as you wash it.
  • Another way to use rice water as a washing agent is to prepare your own shampoo using rice water. If you are a DIY person who prefers to carefully examine what is in your products, then you should try this. To make the shampoo, simply add liquid castile soap to your fermented rice water. For added benefits, you can add an essential oil to your mixture.

3- Hair Rinse/Conditioner

  • One of the most popular ways the natural hair community is using rice water is as a hair rinse.  This is achieved by using the rice water to rinse your hair after shampooing. Leave the rice in for about 10 minutes and then rinse off with plain water. For a more pleasant smell, add an essential oil to your rice water.

4- For Pre-poo

  • This is for people whose hair can stand Rice Water for longer periods.
  • You can use rice water as pre-poo or overnight spray. To do this, add your usual pre-poo oil such as Olive oil and an essential oil to diluted rice water. Spray your hair with the mixture and leave overnight if your hair can stand the hair proteins for long or for 30 – 45 minutes if rice water makes your hair hard when left in for long, don’t try this.

Is fermented rice water better than plain rice water?

A 2012 Study has shown that fermented rice water is more effective than plain rice water and here is why:

The PH of plain rice is higher than that of your hair, fermentation brings down the PH level to that of hair and helps close the cuticles hence protecting the hair.

During fermentation, a substance called ‘Pitera’ which is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic acids forms in the rice water. Pitera is known to promote cell regeneration and keep your skin and hair healthy.

How Long should you leave rice water in your hair?

Rice water should be left on the hair for at least 15 minutes so that the nutrients are absorbed into the hair strands and not too long that it may lead to damage.

How long you leave the rice water depends on several factors such as hair porosity and the concentration of the rice. Some people, especially those with low porosity hair find that leaving rice water on hair for too long, e.g overnight, leads to drying of the hair.

In this article, we have done a case study of 7 Influencers who have shared their experiences on using rice water in order to determine on average how long they left rice water in their hair. Check the article out to find out the results of the case study and to understand the different factors that determine how long to leave rice water on your hair.

Can I leave rice water in my hair overnight?

As mentioned above, If you have low porosity hair or if your hair is protein sensitive, you should rinse off the rice water after a maximum of one hour.

Even after rinsing off the rice water, Inositol stays in the hair acting as a protective shield. So really, there is no added benefit of leaving it on for too long. I found that when I leave rice water in for too long, my hair starts to feel extremely dry.

There are obviously many schools of thought on this but this is my view based on my experience. You can experiment by leaving the rice water for long and see what happens. Your hair may behave differently.

How often should I use rice water on my hair?

Using rice water too often on hair may result in damage especially if you have low porosity hair or if your hair is sensitive to the rice proteins.

Rice water contains a significant amount of proteins and hence should be treated as a protein treatment. Therefore using of rice water on hair should not overdone.

When you are just starting on the rice water treatment, you will need to experiment on the frequency but ensure you start off with once a week or after every two weeks. With time you may adjust to once a month especially if you are treating your hair with other types of treatments.

Should I use a conditioner after rice water?

Rice water is a conditioner in and of itself and it does a perfect job at conditioning your hair. I therefore find no added benefit of using a store bought conditioner after using rice water. Use the rice water as the last rinse after you have shampooed your hair.

Here is an important note on rice water….

It is extremely important to manage your expectations on using rice water. We all react differently to rice water. Just because you saw a Youtuber claim that their hair grew 4 inches in a week after using rice water, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the same for you.

You will need to learn how your hair behaves when you use rice water, determine how long and how long often to use this natural remedy and most importantly, be patient on your journey!

I have found rice water to be extremely beneficial to my hair, it is natural, cost effective and easy to make. This does not mean that I entirely rely on rice water to grow my hair, I have developed a simple realistic routine that considered all the important hair care factors. You can check this detailed guide on how to grow 4C hair to learn more about natural 4C hair care.

Did you find the article useful? What is your view on leaving rice water overnight? Leave your responses in the comment box below.

Finally, before you leave, you may find this recommended products page useful. Here you will find the natural hair products that my friends & I have found to be very good for natural hair.

Pin Me For Later 🙂

How to Use Rice Water For Hair Growth

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30 Comments on “How to Grow Natural 4C Hair Using Rice Water”

  1. I heard about rice water but never tried it. A close friend mines said they have prepared and used it on there child’s hair and loved the results. So I decided to research it and found your post most reliable, your own experiences and honest. I am willing to gave it a try since I’ve gone natural

    1. Hi Susan,

      I hope all is well with you. Thank you for your kind words. Am glad you found the article reliable. Our goal is to share reliable, helpful and well researched information to help women who are transitioning to natural hair do it easily and as naturally as possible.

      Looking forward to hearing about your experience with rice water. As always, if you have any particular questions not answered in this post, you can reach me via the contact us page.

      1. Hi Susan – this is a very good question, based on research, most types of rice that are readily available in your area should be fine to use. I have mostly used white rice but will give brown a try and test the difference. I will come back with results 🙂
        Organic or inorganic should also be fine, but ensure you clean the rice well if the rice is inorganic.

  2. Thanks for the great info. I’ve been natural for about 6 years and is constantly looking for tips on hair health and growth. I’ve recently come across the rice water method and is very interested in giving it try. Your article has a lot of great info which has been helpful and has given me the confidence to try it out. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will work on my hair. Thanks for a great article.

    1. You are most welcomed! Glad that you found the article useful, interested to know how the Rice Water works for you. Feel free to reach me through the Contact Us page if you have any further questions or if you need support in your journey.

  3. I liked the post, it was very useful and encouraged me to try the rice water in My hair. Still, I wanted to ask … Once I tried to get fermented rice water, but a kind of white dough formed in the jar where I left the rice water, and I don’t know if I just have to mix it. with the top water, or leave it there and simply use the part that still looks like water.
    Another thing I wonder is… due to the fact that my hair’s got oily roots, maybe if i use water rice on my roots and i just leave it there, it may get rid of the oil, what do you think?

    1. Thanks for reading the post, Valentina. I appreciate your feedback that you found the article useful.
      Ensure you shake the rice water well after you leave it to ferment. It is normal to see the separation of the ‘white dough’ and clear water.

      About your oily roots, I have not seen any research that shows Rice Water is a remedy for an oily scalp. You can consider other remedies such as Apple Cider Vinegar and Aloe Vera.

  4. Hi! Absolutely loved this article and will be using rice water in the future. Personally, what method do you use to apply rice water to your hair and how long does it typically take to see significant growth? Also, what remedies do you suggest for a dry scalp? Thanks!

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Am glad that you enjoyed the article.

      On Rice water, I have experimented with all the different methods but the one that I use the most is using rice water for pre-poo to help with detangling hair. After undoing an hairstyle that has stayed on for long, I usually prefer to prepare my hair for the shampoo process by using dilute rice water to condition and detangle.

      On growth, it varies from person to person but from my experience it took about two months of consistent use to see a change in my hair.

      For the dry scalp, I find Aloe Vera, to Apple Cider Vinegar or Olive Oil to work for me.

  5. THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! I’ve been reading articles and watching videos and vlogs about Rice water use in Black natural hair for weeks, and was always left with more questions than I started with. There was always vital information (that I needed but didn’t realize it until I’d read the article or watched the video) being left out. But I kept reading and watching. Then I found your article!! And EVERY question I had was answered. Even questions that I hadn’t thought of were answered!!! This has been the BEST comprehensive article that I’ve found! THANK YOU!! Now I feel as though I’m ready to start my hair repair & restoration journey using Rice Water!!!!

    I forgot to mention, for most of my life, I have had super thick & long hair. A couple of years ago I ended up with hyperthyroidism and most of my hair fell out. I was devastated and couldn’t believe how fast it seemed to occur. Since then I’ve chopped all of my hair off, tried different methods, different styles, everything I thought would help my hair return to its normal state. Unfortunately, nothing has been very successful in helping my hair return to it’s original form. So this is my last ditch effort to get my hair back. Crossing my fingers & saying a prayer. Here goes!!! THANK YOU again for true direction. This information was just what I needed!!! Be blessed!

    1. Hey Kita!

      Thanks for stopping by, am really glad that you found this article to be helpful.

      Sorry about your hair fall, you have a positive attitude and that is the most important thing to have when you want to achieve any goal.

      Please ensure you test your hair hair porosity so you know how best to use the Rice Water. People with low porosity hair have raised concerns about the rice water making their hair break…so remember not to overdo the treatment.

      Also, have you had about onion juice? It is a very effective natural remedy for hair loss. This is supported by research. Read up about it and see if it is something you might want to try.

      Otherwise, I will you the very best in your hair journey.

  6. Thank you so much for the article, so many of my longed asked for questions have finally been answered. But there is one thing I never get to know, how frequently should I do this? How long must I do this for? And while doing this is it okay to use extensions? Thank you again for he amazing article!

    1. Hi Lindsey!

      Thanks for reading the article and reaching out.

      When it comes to how frequently to use Rice water, there are a number of factors that will come to play.

      One of the most important is your hair porosity. If you have low porosity hair, then you may want to reduce the frequency of using rice water because using rice water too often on such hair may actually lead to dryness and eventually the hair may break.

      Now, because all our hair types are different and react differently to rice water, I recommend that you start out slow as you watch how your hair behaves. You can start by using rice water twice a month and do it for the next 2-3 months and observe your hair. If you find that all is well, you can maintain this schedule and perhaps with time increase or reduce frequency by alternating with other natural hair treatments.

      You can use extensions while using rice water, this is just a part of a hair routine that can be done together with other routines. Once you are done with the treatment, yes you can rock your extension!

      Hope that answers your questions.


  7. Hi, I was wondering if it’s ok to put in some moisturizer in your hair after using the rice water rinse?

    1. Hi Andisiwe – After a rice water, it is OK to proceed with moisturizing your hair, ideally it is a similar process to when you use a regular conditioner.

      Here is an example* of the steps you can follow:

      1. Cleanse hair
      2. Rice water rinse
      3. Moisturize and seal ( you can use oils)
      4. Finish off with a styling cream to lock in everything together.

  8. I’ve been using rice water for two weeks now and it has worked on my hair it was severely damaged from all the dyes and then the perm I tried to put in which caused it to become coarse and break so my weekly regiment is

    Take a biotin vitamin everyday

    Rice water leave it in for 10 min then rinse
    Use a coconut oil cowash called.” As IAM” u can get it in most Walmart stores leave it in 6 min then rinse
    Put a leave in conditioner after I towel dry my hair

    So far it has worked

    1. Thanks for sharing your amazing results!

      Totally agree with you on leaving the rice water in your hair for 10 minutes, very close to what I recommend (at least 15minutes). Glad that you have found a regimen that works.

      And the vitamins bit, for sure!

      Will borrow that.

  9. Everything you said here is true and it has also worked for me. Btw, can I use it as a deep conditioner?

    1. I would recommend you use rice water as a regular conditioner if you are not adding anything else, for deep conditioning consider adding other ingredients that have a deep penetrating ability.

  10. Pls I have relaxed my hair up to three times but right now I need natural hair (virgin) back but I don’t want to cut my hair pls is it possible that if I use the rice water it will still go back to virgin hair?

    1. Hey Mira – thanks for your question.
      Unfortunately, I don’t think rice water can reverse relaxed hair back to natural.
      If you don’t want to cut your hair you can use the transitioning method. Continue taking good care of your hair so that with time, you can start to trim a few inches of the relaxed hair, slowly. You can do this at your pace, even over 1-2years until your natural/virgin hair replaces the relaxed hair.

  11. This is very useful, thank you. However, I’d like to know if rice water can be used on permed hair. Thank you.

    1. Hey,

      Thanks for your comment. Very kind of you.
      I believe rice water should be good on permed hair as well but not very certain as I do not have permed hair. The best to know is to give it a try. Start slow, e.g once every two weeks and observe the results before committing to fully using it.


  12. Hello, i am wondering. Today i had Rice for my meal, and for the first time i saved the Rice water.
    Its cooked. For about 20 minutes. Can i use cooked rise water for the Hair benefits?
    Or is the water useless because of the boiling Heat?
    Hope to hear from you. Thnx

    1. Hello,
      Yes, you can use the rice water from the boiling method. It is less potent compared to fermented rice water but it will still work.

    1. Yes but Only* if your hair can handle it. If you have low porosity hair, leaving it in will lead to protein overload

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