A common ingredient found in a lot of Asian skincare products is RICE WATER.
Yes, rice water.
Besides being a food staple, rice water has been a constant for Asian skincare and haircare because of its multiple benefits. Some beauty brands even have their own rice water collection (we’ll share them with you too, don’t worry)!
So if you frequently cook rice, don’t throw away the water yet! We’ll share with you the benefits of rice water, how to make your own rice water, and how to use it for your skin!
Is Rice Water Good for Your Skin?
Yes, it is!
Rice water includes A LOT of nutrients known to soothe and tone your skin. It can even lighten skin tone.
In fact, a lot of Asian cuisine promotes drinking rice water to enhance the digestive system too! The advantages of rice water are born out of its proteins, triglycerides, lipids and white rice starch.
These components of rice water can also ENHANCE the skin barrier by boosting the regeneration of our skin cells. It’s an ingredient that has been used in so many Korean beauty hacks and is a popular K-beauty culture trend.
Here are some beauty benefits of rice water:
1. Evening Out Skin Tone
Rice water contains some natural chemicals that can even out pigment.
It’s great as a toner and for spot treatment in your skincare routine! Many Korean whitening creams actually use rice water as a main ingredient.
A 2018 study found rice water to reduce the activity of elastase, an enzyme involved in skin aging and reduce formation of wrinkles and lines on the skin.
Studies from academic research institutions have shown that rice water is packed with:
- Amino acids
- Vitamins B and E
All of which (especially the amino acids) are CRUCIAL for collagen production which keeps your skin tight and supple! Most Korean anti-aging creams and serums contain a mixture of the three components mentioned above.
3. For Dry, Sensitive and Oily Skin
Believe it or not, rice water is actually great for all skin types!
Rice water defying skin ageing makes it a PERFECT REMEDY for dry skin problems and a sensitive skin condition. Its nutrients can treat sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) damaged skin.
Using rice water TWICE A DAY in your daily beauty routine can smoothen your skin’s rough texture and strengthen the natural skin barrier health.
Since it’s a natural substance, rice water doesn’t have harsh chemicals making it PERFECT for those with sensitive skin.
Although experts like Dr. Mona Gohara recommend that people with ultra-sensitive skin should dilute the rice water solution with a few tablespoons of normal water. Especially if you’re using fermented brown rice water as it may be too concentrated.
Starchy rice water provides natural weapons for pore tightening and can give a toning effect on oily skin.
Using it as a toner can help decrease the grease and give you a matted look!
4. Protection from Sun Damage
It’s a traditional ingredient in a lot of daily skin products as it provides protection from sun damage.
This study talks about how the starchy water works as an effective sunscreen when combined with other plant extracts.
Besides providing protection, it also HEALS SUNBURNS by enriching the natural barrier of your skin. This makes skin cell recovery QUICKER than normal!
5. Rice Water as an Anti-Inflammatory Ingredient
If you suffer from INTENSE acne or atopic dermatitis (eczema), rice water can be a remedy for you!
Dry skin is the common cause for atopic dermatitis and as mentioned earlier, rice starch helps the skin barrier function.
Different Ways to Prepare Rice Water at Home
Rice water is also ACCESSIBLE as you can make them on your own!
The most important thing to remember when making rice water is YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT THOROUGHLY FIRST!
Most commercial rice products may contain pesticides, dirt, and bacteria that can harm your skin.
ALWAYS wash your rice before you start.
Here are some methods you can do to make your own rice water!
1. Quickest Way: Soaking Method
The SIMPLEST way to get yourself some rice water is to soak it!
- Scoop up a cup of uncooked rice and clean it by giving it a little rinse.
- Drain it and add two cups of plain water.
- Let the rice soak in it for 30 minutes.
- Stir the rice GENTLY and press it down to squeeze out all the nutrients you need.
- Strain the rice and pour water in a glass bottle.
Store it in a refrigerator to avoid quick spoilage. You can use the soaking method for both your skin and hair.
2. Upgrade Your Beauty Routine with Fermented Rice Water
Fermented rice water turns into rice wine. This is a more concentrated solution and can have a STRONGER EFFECT for your skin care.
The fermentation process enriches the rice water with anti-aging nutrients that can prevent wrinkles and dryness.
Start by using the same soak method as above by rinsing the rice and soaking them in water. But instead of refrigerating it, here’s what you’re going to do:
- Leave the bowl of rice soaked in room temperature for a couple of days to ferment.
- After two days, stir the mixture and strain the water from the bowl.
- Transfer it to a glass bottle or any sealed container and store it in the fridge.
Remember to DILUTE IT with water before using as it can be very strong.
3. Upcycle Using Leftover Rice Water from Boiled Rice
You can collect the water you used for cooking boiled rice!
- Wash and rinse your rice ALWAYS before cooking it.
- If you’re cooking a cup of rice, add 4 cups of water. Stir them together before boiling.
- Bring it to a boil and remove from heat once it’s cooked.
- Press the boiled grains to suck out all the nutrients from it.
- Strain the rice and collect the starchy water. Let it cool.
- Put it in an airtight container or glass bottle and store it in the refrigerator.
How to Use Rice Water for Skin
Now that you know how to prepare rice water, here are some skin care hacks you can do next!
1. Use It As a Toner or Face Mask
Here’s how you can use it as a toner for your skin:
- After cleansing your face, put a drop of rice water on a cotton pad or a cotton ball.
- GENTLY apply it onto your face and neck as a toner. It can unclog and tighten up your pores so make sure you let your skin absorb it.
You can use it as a face mask by either:
- Massaging a FEW DROPS directly into your skin.
- Soaking a face sheet in rice water (dilute it first if you’re using rice wine) and putting it on your face.
- Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse.
You can also just splash the water on your face for more absorption if you don’t want to use a cotton ball for drier skin. It can be a pre-step to your skin care routine.
2. Make Your Own Face Mist
Rice water from the fridge can be useful as a face mist for its cooling effect.
Here’s what you need to do after you strain and cool the rice water:
- If you’re using fermented rice water or rice wine, scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of the solution and put them in a bowl.
- Pour in 1-2 cups of water then mix it. Store it in a spray bottle.
- If you’re using soaked rice water or water from cooked rice, transfer it IMMEDIATELY in a spray bottle. No need to dilute it.
- Store it in the fridge when not in use.
- After cleansing your face, you can use a cotton ball or directly spritz it on your face for a cooling effect and leave it on.
- Feel free to wash it off after a half hour.
3. Use It As a Bath Additive
You can mix the solution into your bath to moisturize your skin and even your hair since it can act as a hair treatment.
Here are some hacks you can do:
- Have a RELAXING bath soak by mixing it in your bubble bath. Add some vitamin E or coconut oil for extra nutrients.
- Make a DIY bath scrub by adding some sea salt and your chosen essential oil. Rub it on to exfoliate your face and body from dirt and clogged pores.
- Use it to rinse your hair. Its low pH and components can give your locks a bright shine.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What's the Difference Between Fermented vs. Regular Rice Water?
While regular rice water has its benefits already, the fermentation process lets all the enzymes incorporate with the water longer.
Fermented rice water has STRONGER and MORE CONCENTRATED components that can be more effective in boosting collagen production such as:
- PITERA: Enriches our skin cell regeneration, preventing dryness and wrinkles.
- FERULIC ACID: An antioxidant that contains vitamin C & E. Kills free radicals and keeps bacteria out of your pores.
2. Is It Safe to Leave Rice Water on My Face Overnight?
YES, it is safe to leave on your face overnight!
You can use it as an overnight face pack and wash it off the next morning.
Tip: You can mix it with moisturizers, night creams, and facial oils.
3. Is it Safe to Use Every Day?
YES! It’s actually better to be used TWICE A DAY. Despite being rich with a lot of benefits, it’s also pretty light on the skin.
4. How Long is the Shelf Life of Rice Water?
Homemade rice water can last up to seven days.
If stored in a very clean container, the fermented once can last for several years.
Make sure to DO A SMELL TEST before using it. If it has a sour tinge, best to throw it away and make a new batch.
We have shared with you the different benefits of rice water and why it’s a POPULAR REMEDY for skin and hair care.
The benefits of rice water for skin include:
- Skin brightening
- Sun protection
Whether you have dry, oily, OR sensitive skin, rice water is THE HOLY GRAIL. It can even give great hair benefits.
It is a constant in Asian beauty products AND it’s also easily accessible. You can make it yourself at home!
There are only a few studies on its actual benefits but do trust that we have strict sourcing guidelines. All the studies cited are all from published research journals.