Women in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia have used rice water as a hair treatment for centuries. But does rice water have any scientifically proven beauty benefits? While rice water isn't proven to actually make your hair grow faster, it can make it appear shinier, healthier, and fuller.
The Yao ethnic women from the village of Huangluo in China is a testament to this tradition. With their average hair length of about 6 feet, these women made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s longest hair village”. The Yao women don't tend to have grey hair until their late 80s, and they believe that the fermented rice water is what helps to keep their hair long, dark and clean. Rice water enables these women to detangle and manage their long hair, which they wrap around their heads in an elaborate high bun.
Rice water is the starchy water left over after rice is cooked or left to soak. PROS: It contains carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins that can help foster the scalp and hair follicles. CONS: The minerals in rice water can cause hair hardening, build-up, brittleness, and breakage. Rice water can also have a sour smell, and make your hair smell if it’s not rinsed it out.
Remember, all heads of hair are different and unique. What works for one individual might not work for the other depending on the origin hair type.
A 2005 study in the journal International Journal of Dermatology found a difference among races in the rate of hair growth. For example, Asian hair grows the fastest, while African hair grows the slowest. The average hair growth rate of Asian female participants was nearly 6 inches per year.
African hair follicles produce more oils and sebum than follicles in other ethnic groups, but the oils are not evenly distributed along the length of the hair fiber because of its coiled shape. As a result, the hair fiber can typically get very dry - and this is why African hair is more likely to need hair oils to supplement the natural oil production. Moisture is also needed to help keep the hair fiber flexible. Using the right balance of moisture and oils helps reduce the friction and static from combing and makes the hair more manageable. African hair responds differently than Asian and Caucasian, and prefers grooming products that contain humectants.
Here are the 10 best oils for natural African/Black hair.
1. Coconut Oil
2. Jojoba Oil
3. Argan Oil
4. Jamaican Black Castor Oil – Best Oil for Hair Growth.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6. Grape Seed Oil
7. Avocado Oil
8. Sweet Almond Oil
9. Tea Tree Oil
10. Shea Butter
I personally do not recommend this treatment for my African American/or kinkier hair textured clients, because it can interfere with the professional hair care regimens that I formulate which are designed to remove built-up, aid moisture, and give the proper nutrients to the hair.
Always consult with your trained hair care professional before experimenting at home.