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8 Benefits of Rice Water for Skin and Hair—and 15 Unique Ways to Use It

CEO Tinh Phung
If you've been browsing through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, chances are you've stumbled upon the idea of using rice water as a secret ingredient for healthy hair and glowing skin. Yes, you...

If you've been browsing through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, chances are you've stumbled upon the idea of using rice water as a secret ingredient for healthy hair and glowing skin. Yes, you heard it right! The water left behind after soaking or boiling rice can actually bring numerous benefits to your skin and hair. In fact, women in Asian cultures have been using rice water for thousands of years. So, what exactly are the benefits of rice water and how can you incorporate it into your beauty routine? Let's dive in!

Meet the Experts

Before we explore the wonders of rice water, let's introduce the experts who will guide us through this journey:

  • Richy Kandasamy, hair colorist and R+Co Collective Member
  • Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery (MDCS)
  • Brendan Camp, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology

What Is Rice Water?

Rice water is the cloudy liquid that remains after rinsing or soaking uncooked rice. While it may seem surprising, applying rice water to your face is a tried and tested beauty secret. Suitable for most skin types, rice water can be used as a base for various homemade skincare recipes to brighten, soothe, and nourish the skin.

So, what are the benefits of rice water for your skin and hair? Let's find out!

Rice Water Skin Benefits

Figure 1: Rice Water Caption: Rice water offers numerous benefits for your skin and hair.

1. Rice water improves skin tone

According to Marisa Garshick, M.D., rice water contains essential antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can help improve skin tone. Incorporating rice water into your skincare routine can have positive effects on fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots.

Use it in: Face toner To reap the benefits of rice water, simply soak a cotton pad with rice water and gently sweep it over your face. This will cleanse your skin of impurities, brighten your complexion, and even out your skin tone.

Use it in: Face scrub For a rejuvenating face scrub, mix ¼ cup of brown rice flour with 1-2 tablespoons of rice water to create a paste. Gently massage the mixture onto your skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for 1-2 minutes and then rinse with warm water. This will help remove dead skin cells and leave your skin glowing.

2. Rice water brightens skin

Rice water has been known to brighten the skin by affecting the enzymatic pathways involved in pigment production. It can address the appearance of healed blemishes and contribute to a brighter complexion.

Use it in: Bath soaks For an overall skin lightening effect, add 1-2 cups of rice water to your bathwater. Soak in the bath for about 15-20 minutes to enjoy the skin-brightening benefits.

Use it in: Lightening lip scrub Create a lip scrub by mixing rice water with sugar. Gently rub the mixture onto your lips to remove dead skin and reveal smoother, brighter lips.

3. Rice water reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation

If you're dealing with dark spots or hyperpigmentation, rice water might be your solution. Rice bran is believed to inhibit tyrosinase, a key enzyme responsible for dark spots. Additionally, rice water's antioxidants can help heal changes caused by sun damage, resulting in a brighter complexion overall.

Use it in: Acne spot treatment To fade dark spots or blemishes, dip a cotton swab into rice water and apply it directly to the affected areas.

Use it in: Hand soak or mask Soak your hands in 2 cups of rice water for 15 minutes. Dip your hands in the bowl and rub them in small circular motions over the backs of your hands. Apply light pressure for 1-2 minutes, let it soak for a few more minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Finish off with a nourishing moisturizer. You can also use rice water to lighten darkened areas and soften the skin on your feet.

4. Rice water soothes inflammation

If you have dry patches or conditions like eczema, rice water can help alleviate inflammation and itchiness. According to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, using rice water once a week can provide relief without irritating the skin.

Use it in: Skin-soothing face mask To soothe your skin, use cotton rounds or squares to compress rice water on your face like a sheet mask. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse and continue with your regular skincare routine.

Use it in: Dark circle eye compress Warm 1 cup of rice water and saturate a washcloth with the solution. Place the washcloth over your eyes for 5 minutes to reduce inflammation and puffiness. Alternatively, soak cotton pads in rice water and place them over your closed eyes for a soothing and brightening eye treatment.

5. Rice water won't dry out your skin

Unlike some commercial products, rice water doesn't contain foaming ingredients that can irritate or dry out your skin. This makes it perfect for those with more mature skin or anyone in need of serious hydration.

Use it in: Milk face wash Mix rice water with milk, rosewater, honey, and calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Apply the mixture to your neck and face, leave it on for a few minutes, and then rinse off for a refreshed and hydrated complexion.

Use it in: Face mist Pour rice water into a spray bottle and use it as a refreshing face mist for all-day hydration. Spritz it on your face whenever you need a medicinal dose of moisture.

6. Rice water has anti-aging effects

Research has uncovered three specific compounds in rice grains that inhibit aging. Studies have shown that rice water possesses antioxidant abilities, which can protect the skin from free radicals and slow down the signs of aging. Impressive, right?

Use it in: Hydrating face masks Mix rice water with natural ingredients like matcha, honey, yogurt, or aloe vera gel to create a hydrating face mask. Apply it to your face, leave it on for about 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off for a more youthful complexion.

Use it in: Rice water ice cubes Don't let excess rice water go to waste! Freeze it into ice cubes, which can serve as multi-tasking beauty tools. Before using, allow the ice cube to soften slightly and gently rub it over your face and neck. Let the rice water sit on your face for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.

7. Rice gently exfoliates

The texture of finely ground rice flour makes it perfect for a gentle body polish that won't over-exfoliate or irritate your skin. Additionally, brown rice flour has anti-inflammatory benefits, making it ideal for treating sensitive skin.

Use it in: Body scrub Create a gentle exfoliating scrub by mixing rice water with finely ground rice flour. Massage it onto your face to remove dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion.

Rough skin? Buff off flakiness with a spice scrub:

  • 4 tablespoons ginger powder
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 cups rice flour

Combine all the ingredients and apply the mixture to the affected area. Rinse with warm water for smoother and more radiant skin.

8. Rice water encourages hair growth

The nutrients found in rice, such as amino acids, can strengthen your hair from the roots and maintain its integrity and luster. Richy Kandasamy suggests applying rice water to your scalp to promote hair growth.

Use it in: Strengthening spray Combine rice water with ingredients like caffeine, rosemary, keratin, and vitamin B5 to create a strengthening spray. This combination will mend brittle hair, reduce breakage, and nourish the scalp.

Use it in: Scalp rinse Mix rice water with apple cider vinegar and aloe vera to create a rice water hair rinse. Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle for easy application in the shower. Before applying rice water, shampoo your hair and let the rice water sit like a mask for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and condition as usual.

How To Make Rice Water for Skin Care

Here's a step-by-step guide to making and using rice water for brighter and healthier skin:

  1. Rinse uncooked white rice to remove any impurities.
  2. Soak the rice in water for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Swirl the rice around, allowing the water to become cloudy.
  4. Strain the rice water into a clean container.
  5. Your rice water is now ready to use!

Hint: Before applying rice water to your skin, it's important to conduct a patch test. Apply a small amount of rice water to the inside of your arm and observe any reactions. This is particularly important for those with sensitive skin.


Incorporating rice water into your skincare and haircare routine can provide a multitude of benefits. From improving skin tone and reducing dark spots to encouraging hair growth, rice water has proven to be a versatile and effective beauty ingredient. So why not give it a try and unlock the secrets of this natural remedy? Your skin and hair will thank you!

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