Have you heard of the Hualong village in China where the ladies only cut their hair once in their life? Pictures of these women show up in Facebook articles every so often where they mention they have made it into the Guinness Book of world records for longest hair. Their hair is 6 to 7 feet long, it is thick, shiny and dark. They also say that the women don't start going grey until they are in their 80s. Their secret for beautiful hair is said to be rinsing their hair with the water leftover from rinsing rice.
This article on Hair Buddha gives a great explanation of why rice water works. In her article she mentions SK-II has a skin care product called Pitera. SK-II say they were inspired to create Pitera based on the hands of older sake workers, which would appear smooth and youthful in contrast to their wrinkled faces. The Birth of Sake is a documentary currently on Netflix and I re-watched in recently paying particular attention to their hands. It is remarkable how compared to the faces of the older workers, their hands were smooth and wrinkle free.
A few years ago I decided to go "no-poo" and detox my hair from my daily shampoo and conditioner routine. I did the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse and tried a few variations. None of them were really my favorite. When I found Morrocco Method shampoos I was so happy to find a non stripping formulation with raw ingredients. My hair had reset and no longer needed daily washing. However...Morrocco Method, due to it's cost is more of a treat to me, once a year I will order a set and enjoy spa like showers for a few months. When I'm out of Morrocco Method I use a shampoo from Rudy's Barbershop (this product does not meet my standards of not putting on your body what you wouldn't put in your mouth, but compared to most store bought brands I prefer it), thankfully since my scalp detox I don't have to wash every day. Once or twice a week works great. My hair routine does not include using conditioner. I have tried many different conditioners, most of them leaving my hair feeling film, oily or just contributed to the build up of product that needed to be stripped.
When I tried the rice water for the first time it was better than some of nicest conditioners I had used (including Bumble and Bumble, and Morrocco Method). My hair was so soft after using it and it did an amazing job of detangling. Considering that it was so incredibly easy to make and it is basically free, I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever buy conditioner again.
Another benefit of soaking your rice overnight is that you will have rice that cooks quicker and is also easier to digest. In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon talks quite a bit about soaking grains
Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and, in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestion process in our own kitchens.
Lovely hair and more nutritious rice. Win Win!
Fermented Rice Water Hair Rinse
1 Cup of Organic White Rice
2 Cups of filtered water
Rinse the rice and then pour into a glass bowl with the two cups of water and cover. Let sit overnight. Strain the rice pouring the water into a jar or bottle. If you do not plan to use right away you can refrigerate for a day or two (but let it come to room temperature if you don't want an extremely cold rinse!). Shampoo hair as usual and rinse. Pour rice water over hair and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If you have longer hair, use a separate cup and place the ends of your hair directly in the rice water. You can capture the rice water in the cup as you pour the water from the bottle over your hair for complete coverage. Rinse hair with warm water and dry as usual.
Have you ever tried rice water for your hair? Let me know what you think in the comments!
 Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 25). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.: