Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fermented Rice Water Hair Rinse

I was making organic brown rice flour and thought it was a shame to pour the soaking water down the drain. Surely it could be used for something? I googled and the most popular method using it as a hair rinse. Other uses were as a facial toner and for watering plants.

I was intrigued by the hair rinse because use as you may know, I'm obsessed with natural hair care. There were blog posts about it, referencing it's use with Chinese villagers who grow their hair super long. Apparently they cleanse their hair with fermented rice water. I'm not one to readily believe stuff from the internet but since I had the rice water, there was no harm in trying it.

I had a litre of water from rice that was soaked in it for 24 hours and let out to sit. There was foam on the top and it looked carbonated when it was shaken. I kept the bottle on the counter with the lid on and decanted a cup or two everytime I used it on my hair. To make the fermented rice water, you have to leave it for a few days. Allegedly the method the villagers use requires the water to be boiled before using and couldn't find an explanation as to why. I don't see the point of boiling it so I skipped that part.

After a day of letting the water sit, I poured a few cups on my head and let it run through my hair. This was done after it had been washed and conditioned. It smelt wonderful like fresh rice. I had feel-good vibes letting it sit in my hair for a few minutes. I rinsed it off although it smelt so good I didn't want to. After my hair had dried I noticed it felt shinier and softer.

Even my friend mentioned it, saying my hair looked glossy and healthier. I wasn't convinced it was because of the rice water. I intended to make a judgement after all the rice water was used up.

For the next wash which was two days later, there was a definite pong in the rice water. I was weary so I kept the bottle in the fridge at that point. I tested the pH with a test strip and it was at 7, which is neutral. Not acidic as I expected after fermentation.

When I poured the rice water through my hair, I started to regret it because it smelt a bit like horse poo. The bad bacteria had gotten to it and it was going rancid. The smell remained in my hair until it dried. The results on my hair were similar to the first time.  Although I noticed my hair strands felt not as weak or stretchy when I combed it.

I used the last of the rice water the third time and the smell was much more pungent. The pH was the same at 7. I was at the gym when I used it and I wish I hadn't because the person using the shower next to me must have thought I'd done something very nasty! The smell was revolting, like a fresh steaming cow pat. Again I got soft and shiny hair but no way would I ever use rice water that old again.

So the conclusion is that I think rice water is beneficial for hair. It's a mystery as to how but it worked for me. From now on I'll retain the rinsing water when I cook rice and store it in the fridge.  If you make rice, don't let the water go to waste-give it a try and see if it works for you too!


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