Rice Water For Natural Hair: Week 1

by Kristal C
Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

I shared my skepticism of using rice water for fast natural hair growth in this recent post. To prove myself right (or wrong), I decided to hop on a 6 week rice water for natural hair challenge. I just had to see for myself if the many claims women (and not just the black sisters either) are not too good to be true and that using rice water can expedite our hair growth in a matter of weeks.

This post is the second one of eight in my rice water for natural hair challenge series that I will be sharing with you weekly. To read my initial thoughts about the whole rice water challenge ordeal, visit this post to catch up. In this post, I will discuss my thoughts during and after my first rice water application, what I would do differently for the second week, and my initial length check stats.

Let’s not waste any further time.

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Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

Before Using The Rice Water For My Natural Hair

Straining The Fermented Rice

I did the fermented rice water method (recipe and details here) and allowed the rice to sit in room temperature for 26 hours. Here is where things got a little mucky.

Using a cup of rice in a little 2 cup mason jar did not leave much room for the actual rice water. The boiled rice expanded almost across the entire volume of the jar. At the end of the 26-hour period, I was only able to strain a quarter cup of rice water liquid.

BUT before we get into that dilemna…

The Smell Of The Fermented Rice Water

About the smell yall. Many women straight up said this rice water was going to smell like some hot sweaty monkey butt scent of repulsiveness. Hence the need for EOs (essential oils) to mask the absurdity. Therefore, I was nervous when it came time to open the jar.

Well, when I slooowly opened the jar, sis…

…I heard the pop and…

…the results blew me away.

Girl, I was smelling straight up peppermint and rosemary. Not a hint of wet hot monkey balls anywhere.

Although I was pleasantly surprised, in a way I was disappointed. This stuff smelled good. Then I questioned: did I do this right? From my understanding at this point, the sour smell was a sign of fermentation and the presence of inositol in the water. If I am wrong, drop a comment below and educate your fellow sister. Nevertheless, I proceeded to use what I made at this point because my wash day had to happen that night.

Now back to the previous issue.

Working With What I Had

Since I was only able to get a small amount of liquid from my “fermented” batch of water, I ran a cup of filtered water over the rice in a strainer to “rinse off any surface nutrients” into my rice water batch. I used quotes for fermented because I am not sure if the rice water actually did despite the 26 hour waiting period.

I added the strained rice water into my applicator bottle and proceeded with my wash day (night) regimen.

Wash Routine Adapted For Rice Water Application

  1. Washed hair in four sections with my Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-seal Shampoo
  2. T-shirt dry for 20 minutes
  3. Did initial length check (see measurements below)
  4. Applied rice water to scalp and hair thoroughly with the applicator bottle
  5. Massaged scalp
  6. Applied my Shea Moisture High Porosity Moisture Correct Masque over the rice water
  7. Cover hair with a plastic cap and sat under my Soft Bonnet Hood Dryer for 25 minutes
  8. Detangled hair in the shower as I rinsed off rice water and deep conditioner under warm water
  9. LCO my hair to moisturize and seal hair using Cantu Coconut Curling Cream and Extra Virgin and Unrefined Coconut Oil
  10. Twisted my hair to protect it for the week and take a break from my banded ponytails/buns.

The actual washing and conditioning portion did not take significantly longer than my typical wash day routine. Styling was longer because I installed twists which takes a good amount of time due to my hair length. Nevertheless, I was pleased with how smooth the process went.

My Initial Length Check Measurements

Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

I did a trim of 1-2 inches back in May to help improve the health of my ends. Therefore, my hair was more or less even on both sides. I took the following measurements:

  • Left and right nape: 18.5 inches
  • Left and right front: 14.5 inches

Let me state as a disclaimer that my measuring skills are not the greatest. However, these values are pretty good for my standard.

Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

Recovering Hair Thickness From Two Previous Setbacks

Upon examining my twists after styling, the first 5 inches from the roots are substantially thicker than the rest of the twists. This excited me because the postpartum shedding plagued me hard the second time around. I lost sooo much hair that it was ridiculous. The shedding plus a few episodes of trichotillomania over the past two years, I have several short 5-7 inches sections of hair in a few areas of my head. The combination of these two setbacks has affected my hair thickness tremendously.

This is a reason why I am on a mission to restore my thickness rather than grow longer hair. My hair is already past my waist and honestly, I have little desire for longer hair right now until things thicken up. And I am ecstatic to notice it returning. I guess I can consider this another “transition” from thin to thicker hair.

Thoughts About My First Rice Water Rinse

Here are a few notes I jotted down:

  • The process was messy considering I did it outside my shower. I was dripping everywhere.
  • The combination of the rice water and deep conditioner made my hair feel amazingly smooth
  • My scalp tingled from the rice water due to the peppermint oil. This could have a factor in stimulating the scalp for growth in conjunction with the rice water
  • After rinsing, my hair felt different. It felt like I put in my Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor treatment. My hair felt stronger after the rinse.
Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

Considerations For The Next Rice Water Rinse

  • Reduce the amount of rice from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup and increase the amount of water to 2 cups for fermentation.
  • Allow the mix to sit for 48 hours in a dark cupboard to see if this effects the fermentation process.
  • Apply half the rice water to a spray bottle and half in my applicator bottle. The spray bottle would make it easier to apply the rice water on my hair without water dripping everywhere. The applicator bottle worked great for my scalp.

Hopefully these changes will improve the strength of my rice water for my natural hair and allow the application to go much smoother without making a dripping mess. I will not do a length check until the end of week 2 of the challenge and right before the third application.

The Wrap Up

Overall, I did not find the rice water rinse to be tedious. It does require a little prep work initially but once the mixture has set and been strained, the process is not bad at all. I am curious how my hair will change (if it does) in response to the rice water. It has been a few days since the rinse and my hair feels great. I cannot (and will not) pinpoint it on the rice water, however. The state of my hair could be a combination of a solid wash day process, thorough moisturizing and sealing, protecting my hair overnight, and spritzing it daily with water. It is too soon to make any observations and claims, so this skeptic will continue her quest and wait to see what the next week will bring.

Rice Water For Natural Hair Challenge

Read Also: Rice Water on Natural Hair: A Skeptic’s Thoughts

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Engage and Connect

Have you tried the rice water challenge/regimen yourself? If so, were the results yay or nay? How do you feel about the idea of using concoctions to manipulate your natural hair growth?

Other Posts Of Interest:

Detangling Natural Hair guide
Detangling got you all in a knot? Read this ultimate guide for a smoother detangling process (video tutorial included).


Allison S July 10, 2019 - 9:39 am

Excited to read the next update!

Kristal C July 10, 2019 - 10:47 am

I am too Allison! So curious to see what this rice water is doing to my hair. I have been wearing my hair in the same twists all week with little manipulation. I will do my next rinse on Thursday and do the update on Friday. Thanks for visiting!


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