How fermented rice water became the hair industry’s next power trend

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 5-Apr-2023

Despite being an old school hair secret, rice water’s popularity for nourishing locks has blown up and is making its way into mainstream products. This is why….

You need to be a subscriber to read this article.
Click here to find out more.

Fermented rice water is a beauty buzzword right now, with countless videos on social media dedicated to the trend’s incredible hair conditioning benefits – and for good reason. 

DIY hacks for rinsing hair at-home in fermented rice water, which is said to be high in lock-nourishing vitamins B, C and E, are doing the rounds, with the likes of American rapper Cardi B and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian swearing by the trend.

‘Rice water for hair’ has 661.2 million views on TikTok alone, while videos on the social media platform mentioning ‘rice water growth challenge’ – where users show off their before-and-after results – have 202 million views. 

But although the hype may be new, fermented rice water’s use in hair care is actually a tradition that dates more than 1,000 years to the Heian period in Japan where court ladies practiced 'yu-su-ru' – rinsing their hair with collected rice water. 

The amino acids in the fermented rice water are able to penetrate follicles and fortify the hair from within – Daniel Hodgdon, CEO of Vegamour

“Rice water has been used in Japanese and Asian cultures for hundreds of years because it helps to rebuild hair and lock in moisture,” says Gustav Fouche, celebrity hairstylist and founder of new hair care range Fabulosity. 

“The rice aminos specifically bond to hair to help restore dry and brittle cuticles, strengthen follicles and prevent deterioration.

“This keeps locks subtle and bendy, which in turn prevents breakage.”

The women of the Red Yao tribe who live in China’s Huangluo Yao Village, for example, have been washing their locks with fermented rice water for years.  

Known as real-life Rapunzels because of their floor-length locks which they only cut once in their lifetime, these women say the process of rinsing hair in rice water makes it stronger and delays greying – a real source of hair-spiration. 

The women of the Red Yao tribe have been washing their hair in rice water for years

The women of the Red Yao tribe have been washing their hair in rice water for years

Why rice water-infused hair care is hitting the mainstream

Fermented rice water’s rep for moisturising hair is now spreading fast among consumers and many are looking for easy options to incorporate it into their routines. 

Not yet a Subscriber?

This is a small extract of the full article which is available ONLY to premium content subscribers. Click below to get premium content on Cosmetics Business.

Subscribe now Already a subscriber? Sign in here.

You may also like