I’ve got some good news for you. You know those expensive rice flour scrubs you see in department stores and spas? They cost hardly anything to make, and they’re so, so easy to whip up. Even if you have problem skin, all you need are a few simple ingredients to soothe inflammation and fight oil, and you’ll be on your way to clearer skin in no time.
Rice water has been used for centuries to brighten skin, but this DIY rice flour scrub takes things a step further. It uses super soft rice flour and soothing botanicals like chamomile flowers [source] and essential oils to scrub away dead skin cells and calm acne-prone skin.
Plus, it’s one of the few homemade beauty products you can actually make ahead of time and use for months to come (with a little tweaking). So if you’re ready, let’s get scrubbing.
Benefits of Rice Flour for Skin
You may have already heard about the benefits of rice water for skin, but I’m personally convinced that rice flour is one of the best-kept beauty secrets around.
Use brown rice: It is important to know that the properties discussed here apply mostly to pigmented rice, and thus rice flour made from whole grain brown rice where the bran and husk have been retained [source]. But if all you have on hand is white rice, you can still get many of the softening and smoothing benefits without having to rush out and buy brown rice.
Lightens skin: Not only does rice flour contain a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals [source] that soothe skin from the outside in, but it may also naturally brighten and whiten skin discoloration (a must if you suffer from occasional breakouts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), leaving it soft, smooth, and glowing.
And as if that weren’t enough, it has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and oil-absorbing properties to boot.
Gentle texture: But what I love most about rice flour is that the grain is so fine that it’s almost like getting a microdermabrasion treatment at the spa. If used once a week, it will help polish away dead skin cells and lessen the appearance of acne marks (as well as wrinkles, dark spots, and sun damage). And since it’s so fine, you don’t need to worry about it damaging the sensitive skin of your face and neck.
Without a barrier of dead skin or a layer of old makeup, dirt, and sebum, your serums and moisturizers can penetrate more deeply and work their magic more easily. If you experience frequent acne breakouts, gentle exfoliation may help open up clogged pores.
Rice Scrub Ingredients
In addition to rice flour, this scrub is infused with soothing ingredients like honey, tea tree oil, and yogurt, so it will leave your skin satiny-smooth and soft.
Honey is wonderful for sensitive skin because of its healing and natural antimicrobial properties [source].
Tea tree oil is naturally disinfecting, anti-inflammatory, and soothing [source], but unlike other acne treatments, it won’t cause further damage by stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Yogurt is a natural source of lactic acid, which is ideal for rejuvenating sensitive skin [source], and probiotics to help restore your skin’s microbiome.
Dried chamomile flowers provide gentle exfoliation and soothe inflammation [source], making them ideal for sensitive or irritated skin.
How to Make Rice Flour Scrub
Store-bought rice flour is easy to find at most health food stores and online. Because it’s commercially ground, the texture is perfect for use in a homemade rice scrub. But if you have a clean coffee grinder and some uncooked rice in your pantry, you can make your own rice flour in a pinch.
Grind dry rice: Pour ¼ cup rice into a clean coffee grinder (don’t overload the grinder, or you may end up with large, sharp chunks).
Grind the rice in short pulses and check the consistency after each burst. It should gradually turn into a fine, soft powder. For a super fine texture, sift the flour through a fine mesh to remove any large particles.
Mix up rice scrub: Combine the rice flour, chamomile, and tea tree essential oil in an airtight glass jar.
Use rice polish: Scoop a little rice flour into a separate bowl or the palm of your hand. Add water, a dab of honey, and a small spoonful of yogurt (or just water, if you’d prefer to keep things simple). Mix until it forms a paste and apply to your face.
Almond flour — If you don’t have rice or rice flour on hand, try making your own oat or almond flour with a coffee grinder. Just remember when using almonds, grind them into a very fine powder, or they can tear the skin.
Chamomile — Feel free to leave out the dried flowers entirely or replace them with essential oil. Chamomile oil, particularly German chamomile, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s often used to relieve skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and rashes [source].
Essential oils — Several essential oils have been scientifically studied for their acne-soothing properties:
- Lavender: Lavender oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. It has been studied for its effectiveness in soothing skin irritations, such as minor burns and insect bites, and improving wound healing [source].
- Frankincense: Frankincense oil has anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-aging properties [source].
- Calendula: Calendula oil is derived from marigold flowers and is well-known for its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties [source]. It’s often used to soothe irritated or sunburned skin.
Rice flour face pack: Thoroughly mix all the ingredients until you have a smooth paste. Add a bit more yogurt to thin the texture. Use your fingers or a brush to apply the rice flour face pack evenly to your face and neck, avoiding the area around your eyes and lips. Allow the face pack to dry for about 15-20 minutes.
Rice scrub for oily skin: If you have oily skin, add 1 tablespoon of clay to the rice flour and mix up the scrub with witch hazel or rosewater. Apply it to oily areas (like the nose, chin, and forehead) 2-3 times a week.
How to Use a Rice Scrub for Face
A homemade rice cleansing facial scrub can irritate your skin if used too often. Stick to 1-2 times a week and see how your skin responds. Then adjust accordingly.
Cleanse your face: Use your regular facial cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oils. Then gently pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Prepare the scrub: Take a small amount of the homemade rice flour scrub in the palm of your hand. Add just enough water to achieve a paste-like consistency. Adjust the liquid as needed to get the desired texture.
Apply the scrub: Using clean fingertips, apply the rice flour scrub gently to your face, avoiding the sensitive eye area. Massage the scrub onto your skin using circular motions. Be gentle, as rice flour can provide exfoliation and you don’t want to be too harsh on your skin.
Let it sit: Leave the scrub on your face for 2-3 minutes to let the ingredients work their magic. The chamomile and rice flour will soothe and exfoliate your skin as it sits.
Rinse and moisturize: Rinse your face thoroughly with lukewarm water to ensure that all the scrub is removed. Pat your face dry with a clean towel and follow up with your regular moisturizer to lock hydration.
Don’t overdo it: For sensitive skin, it’s generally best to use it once or twice a week. But be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can backfire.
As with any exfoliator, it’s best to only use rice flour scrub 1–2 times a week. Using it too often can strip your skin of moisture and make it more sensitive to the elements.
No, rice flour is non-comedogenic and shouldn’t cause you to break out. That being said, test any new products on a small patch of skin to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.
Once you’ve tested it, feel free to apply it to your face, neck, and anywhere else you’d like.
As long as it’s very finely ground, rice is safe to use as a facial scrub. Go easy when applying it and use a light touch to prevent causing microtears that can damage sensitive skin.
While I couldn’t find any scientific studies on the topic, circumstantial evidence suggests that it might. It couldn’t hurt to try!
Rather than using it as a scrub, try applying a bit of rice flour as a mask to the undereye area and letting it sit for several minutes. Then gently rinse it off, being careful not to get any in your eyes. Over time, it may help to lessen dark circles.
More Rice Recipes
If you want more ways to incorporate rice water and rice flour into your routine, check out these recipes as well:
Rice Flour Face Scrub Recipe
Exfoliating your skin is essential for keeping breakouts at bay, and this rice flour scrub does the trick—but without irritation.
Yield: 1 scrub
Combine everything except the water in a small bowl and mix well.
To use, take a bit of scrub into the palm of your hands and add 1–2 tablespoons of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to freshly cleansed skin, using gentle circular motions to slough away dead skin cells. Rinse with warm water, and follow with moisturizer.
When you’re ready to use it, scoop a little rice flour into a separate bowl or the palm of your hand. Add water, a dab of honey and a small spoonful of yogurt (or just water, if you’d prefer to keep things simple). Mix until it forms a paste and apply as usual.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.