We can wax poetic about many hair-care products, but when it comes to busting brittle texture and dullness, rice water shampoos and treatments are top-tier. This ingredient, which is derived from your everyday pantry staple, is one of the best shine-boosting ingredients that also makes hair feel soft and smooth to the touch — no wonder TikTokers and celebs like Cardi B have been turning to it.
You can consider rice water as the Swiss army knife of additives, thanks to its abundance of nutrients. Los Angeles-based, board-certified dermatologist James Y. Wang, MD says that this nourishing ingredient assists in repairing the hair cuticle and plumps the look of hair through its abundance of protein. “Because rice water has protein, the amino acids in the protein can help strengthen the hair strands by diffusing through the cuticles,” he says.
With that being said, more rice protein in your routine is not always better: Dr. Wang suggests using a rice water-infused product no more than twice per week for up to 15 minutes. “Be aware that overuse of rice water can cause the protein to build up on the scalp and cause inflammation and irritation,” he warns.
Yes, rice water is undoubtedly an amazing addition to any hair type’s beauty regimen, but if you’ve noticed a few TikTok beauty reviewers calling it a must for hair growth, Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, previously told Allure to be skeptical of this claim. According to Dr. Bhanusali, rice water coats the hair and gives it a thicker, richer, and shinier finish. That’s why he refers to this ingredient as “a low-risk way of trying to add more life to hair.”
So, rice water won’t cure hair loss, but it certainly has nourishing properties that’ll make the hair you currently have softer, shinier, and thicker-looking. Want to try this impressive ingredient for yourself? Below, take a look at some of the best rice water-enriched formulas that will make dry hair and brittleness a thing of the past.
Brianca Liggins, a hairstylist at the Tricoci Salon & Spa in Chicago, says the Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask is one of her favorite hair masks ever for its rice bran extract–infused formulation, which leaves hair soft to the touch and reflective as glass. “I use it as a treatment on those self-care days a few times a month to revive my dry hair,” she says. “I can really see a huge difference in manageability and smoothness on the days I do use it.” This rich mask also prevents breakage and seals split ends through the brand’s proprietary alpha keratin 60KU, a synthetic derivative of keratin.