TikTok Is Using Rice Water to Make Hair Super Shiny—Does it Actually Work?

You may want to start saving your rice water.

Recently, our favorite dinner staple has been popping up all over TikTok—rice. While crispy rice has taken over “FoodTok”, aka the food-focused side of TikTok, rice water has started dominating “HairTok.” Rice water is being praised for its ability to make hair thick, shiny, and strong hair, and it’s so popular on TikTok that nearly 150 million views with the hashtag #ricewater have been viewed.

And TikTok’s not the only place where rice water is gaining popularity. In the past year, online searches for rice water have skyrocketed to over 10.2%, according to database Spate. The internet is onto something, as rice water is bursting with hair-friendly ingredients like natural proteins, vitamins, and minerals that help to detangle, strengthen, and hydrate your hair. According to scientific studies, this method is more than just an old wives’ tale for hair growth.

On TikTok, people are sharing how they rinse their hair with rice water and show the before and after results. In most instances, hair looks way shinier and longer than before. We have lots of questions, so we tapped a celebrity hairstylist to gives us all the details on this popular DIY hair trend.

What are the benefits of using rice water on your hair?

Using rice water for beauty benefits has been around way before TikTok was even a thought. In China, there’s an ancient city that is often referred to as “the land of Rapunzels” as the women of this village are known for their strong, shiny, and down-to-the-floor hair. Long hair is central to China’s Red Yao tribe’s culture, and they’ve been keeping their locks long and strong for centuries with Longsheng rice water.

Rice water is filled with plenty of hair-healthy nutrients such as amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins B and E, and inositol. “One of the key ingredients found in rice water for hair growth is inositol, which penetrates damaged hair and repairs it from the inside out,” explains celebrity hairstylist Jessica Elbaum. She adds that it can even protect hair from future damage as stronger hair is less prone to breakage—which ultimately prevents your hair from reaching its full long hair potential.

Does rice water make your hair grow?

While there still isn’t concrete scientific evidence that rice water can help with hair loss in humans, using this treatment as a hair rinse can help strengthen your hair, reduce breakage, frizz, and tangles, and this can ultimately help with hair growth. Rice water is highly concentrated in starch, so in addition to improving your hair’s health, Elbaum says that it will also appear brighter, fuller, more manageable, and have fewer split ends. FYI: The effects of a DIY rice water rinse will last for up to two weeks and can be applied after regular shampoo and conditioning.

Are there side effects of using rice water on your hair?

Although there are no known side effects of rice water, Elbaum says that since every person is different, there is always a chance of having an adverse reaction. Depending on a person’s hair type or texture, she explains that “side effects could include protein buildup on the scalp.” Elbaum recommends using this rice water daily for curly and thick hair types while suggesting that people with sensitive scalps and thin hair types should only rinse once or twice a week to avoid buildup.

How to DIY rice water for hair

rice water hair benefits tiktok

While looking for shampoos with rice water is always an option, anyone on a budget can make their own DIY rice water rinse at home. All you need is a bag of white rice, water, and a spray bottle to spritz the rinse through your hair. Here’s Elbaum’s step-by-step guide for shiny, healthy hair.


  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 cup of water

How to create your rice water rinse:

  1. Rinse and strain your one cup of rice to remove any dirt or impurities that you don’t want to apply to your hair.
  2. Mix the strained rice in a medium-sized bowl with one cup of water. You should mix until the water becomes cloudy.
  3. Strain the rice and reserve the water in a bowl.
  4. Put the rice water in a plastic container and cover it. Let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours to allow it to ferment and for all vitamins and minerals to come out.
  5. Next, fill a small container or spray bottle with the rice water. Refrigerate the rice water until you’re ready to use it. Then, take it into your shower and apply it evenly throughout damp hair post-shampoo.

Thank you “HairTok” for the best hair hack!