The Power and Benefits of Rice Water for Your Hair

If you’re in the good habit of regularly washing your rice before you cook it, you may not have given much thought to the cloudy water that’s discarded down the drain (or sometimes shared with your houseplants ). But this slightly opaque, aptly named “rice water” is actually packed with powerful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have tons of benefits—from healing skin from sun damage, to aiding digestion, and even working to strengthen, protect, and reverse damage to your scalp and hair.

Next time you wash your rice while prepping your dinner, consider holding on to that starchy water that remains after you’ve given your rice a good swirl or soak—it may just hold the magic ingredients that can transform your scalp and hair care routine.


Rice in Water


For centuries, Japanese and Chinese women have tapped into the vitamins, minerals, vitamins B and C, zinc, magnesium, amino acids, antioxidants, scalp-healthy benefits, and strengthening powers of rice water to care for their hair. Lately, rice water has been having an “on-trend” moment in the beauty world and all over TikTok, finding its way into many people’s self-care and wellness routines thanks to its undeniable strengthening prowess.

Before you toss that water out, let’s take a closer look at what makes rice water an ultra-reparative, must-have for your hair care routine—and why it may be worth adding to your weekly regimen.


The Origins of Rinsing Hair With Rice Water

In Japan, during the Heian period, the women of the court (known for their floor length hair) practiced Yu-Su-Ru: the act of combing and rinsing their hair with rice water. In ancient China, the extraordinarily long locks of the Yao women are the stuff of folklore. These women use fermented rice water to wash and nourish their legendary long hair. Their impressive strands are so enchanting, that the village of Huang Luo village in Guangxi Zhuang where the Yao women live is a renowned tourist destination.

Washing your hair with rice water isn’t just a trendy fad to strengthen and repair your hair—it’s a ritual that dates back to ancient times and continues to this day.


Our Founder’s Personal Experience with Rice Water

Rice water is so much so the “real deal,” that Briogeo’s Founder and CEO, Nancy Twine, turned to the restorative, reparative, and strengthening benefits of this naturally powerful treatment after she bleached her hair as a teenager, leaving her strands extremely damaged and broken.

Nancy Twine's Mother 


With the help and expertise of Nancy’s mom, a doctor and chemist, Nancy and her mother turned to their family tradition of whipping up nourishing, natural hair care treatments right in their kitchen. Together they made a homemade rice water treatment to successfully mend Nancy’s hair, bring it back to life, and protect her strands against future damage.


Discover the Power of Rice Water: Hair Care Meets Intense Repair

Rice water is a truly transformative blend of fortified nutrients that works miracles on your hair. The benefits aren’t just limited to your strands. They also deliver nutrients to your scalp—so much so, that some experts lean heavily toward touting the benefits of rinsing your scalp with rice water over your hair.


Don't Despair, Repair!™ MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment


Luckily, you can simultaneously treat both your strands and your scalp in one wash day with our NEW Don’t Despair, Repair™ MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment. Here are just a few reasons why rice water is the powerhouse ingredient that will bring your dry, damaged strands back to life:

Promotes hair growth: Healthy hair growth starts with a nourished, healthy scalp. Our hair follicles thrive when they’re supplied with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Rice water is packed with the nutrients your scalp craves for long-term healthy hair growth and less breakage (aka, fewer split ends!).

Boosts shine: The milky residue left behind when you wash your rice is actually starch. When you soak your rice, the water is infused with minerals, amino acids, vitamins B and E and antioxidants. All that hair-healthy goodness coats your strands, helps to moisturize and seal your hair cuticle, brighten your strands and add lustrous shine.

Repairs split ends: When your hair is looking dull, limp, and flat, it’s often due to split ends. Rice water is a deeply hydrating treatment that’s fortified with protein to strengthen the structure of your hair. Rice water replenishes moisture, reduces split, ends and revitalizes the appearance and strength of your strands.

Strengthening Treatment: When you rinse your hair with rice water, this starchy water envelops your strands, creating a thick, protective layer that adheres to the hair shaft and helps to thicken your hair.

Supports scalp health: Rinsing your scalp with rice water sends vital nutrients where it matters the most: your scalp. Adding rice water to your weekly wash day routine will promote a supportive environment for optimal scalp health.

Soothes scalp irritation: Rinsing your scalp with rice water can calm painful inflammation. This starchy water contains comforting properties for your skin, however it’s important to use moderation when applying starchy water to irritated skin, as too much may contribute to future irritation and discomfort.


Who should Use Don’t Despair, Repair™ MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Treatment?

This intensive hair treatment features a unique dual chamber, delivering two formulas in one to help you achieve the perfect protein and moisture balance for stronger, healthier hair: The dark pink side features our Powerful Advanced Rice Protein Complex to reverse damage in dry, brittle hair and strengthen the hair cuticle with vital protein while the the light pink side contains a surge of moisture with Rosehip Oil, Algae, Biotin, Sweet Almond Oil, and B Vitamins to deeply hydrate, nourish, and support healthy hair elasticity.


Duel Chamber Rice Water Proteing + Moisture Strengthening Treatment


Your hair is made up of mostly keratin (a protein), so it already has naturally occurring protein in each strand—however, these proteins and bonds break down and degrade over time. This process is accelerated when we use heat styling, chemical processing, damaging products, etc. When the hair bonds are weakened, they crack, widen the hair cuticle, and lose their elasticity—this is when we start to see visible signs of damage.

Adding Don’t Despair, Repair™ MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment to your weekly repair routine is an effective add-on for all hair types and textures experiencing extreme dryness or breakage. Implementing this intensive treatment will help restore the protein that has broken down, seal the open hair cuticles and reverse the damage.


Do rice water treatments contribute to protein overload?

There’s a lot of buzz in the beauty world about rice water—especially when it comes to the best ways to implement this treatment into a healthy hair routine and how it supports keratin and amino acids, the building blocks of healthy hair.

The term “protein overload” often follows closely behind when discussing rice water because some hair types (specifically hair that is low porosity) should avoid excessive protein treatments. Protein overload occurs when there is an imbalance of moisture and protein in your hair, which leads to dry, brittle, weak strands. It’s simple math: the perfect balance of protein + moisture = strong, healthy hair!

Not sure if your hair is high, medium, or low porosity? Take an easy at-home strand test to discover if a rice water protein treatment is the right fit for your unique hair care needs.


Meet your Ultimate Intensive Don't Despair, Repair!™ routine (for extra dry, brittle strands)

The Don't Despair, Repair!™ Collection


As the newest addition to our Don’t Despair, Repair!™ collection, we formulated our Don’t Despair, Repair™ MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment to increase the efficacy of our cult-favorite Don't Despair, Repair!™ lineup. Set aside one day a week for a self-care, hair treatment day and get ready to experience the incredible power of your new Don’t Despair, Repair™ strengthening routine:

Don’t Despair, Repair™ Super Moisture Shampoo: Cleanse your hair with this sulfate-free, daily formula. Rinse and wring your hair of excess water.

New! MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment: Apply treatment evenly throughout damp hair. Leave in for at least 10 minutes (or overnight, as desired), then rinse.

Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask: Immediately following, massage this hair mask treatment into hair from mid-lengths to ends. Leave it in for at least 10-15 minutes, then fully rinse.

Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Strengthening Treatment Oil: Apply a few drops to dry or damp hair, focusing on mid-length to ends or other areas of damage. A little goes a long way!

Re-think your rice water and don’t discard this nourishing, centuries old, beauty secret. Rice water is more than just a trend—it’s a powerful, nutrient-rich treatment that can transform the health of your hair and scalp.

We’ve made it easier than ever to create the optimal balance of protein and moisture with our MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment—our most intensive treatment ever for extra dry, damaged, and/or brittle hair in one beautiful bottle.

Ready to add our newest MegaStrength+ treatment to your healthy hair routine? Shop this post below!





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Don't Despair, Repair! MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment
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Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask
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Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Super Moisture Shampoo
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