The moment you type ‘Fermented Rice Water’ in the Google search bar, about 1,80,00,000 results pop up in 0.43 seconds. It’s proof of how popular a beauty buzzword it is. But this technique was hardly born on the Internet, as opposed to many millennial beauty trends that began on Instagram.
This ritual dates back to ancient Japan, when court ladies would immerse their hair in Yu-Su-Ru, aka fermented rice water, to promote hair growth. This technique recently blew up on YouTube, courtesy of beauty bloggers and influencers. But its efficacy is still a bit of a debate. Here, we breakdown what it is and how it can help protect your mane glory.
So, What Is it?
As the name suggests, it’s fermented water obtained from washing rice. To make the same, you need equal parts rice and water, a strainer, and an empty jar. Start by pouring rice into a cup of water, and stir until the water turns milky white. Then, strain the water in a jar and leave it for up to 48 hours to ferment—you’ll know it’s ready when it starts smelling sour.
Rice water is rich in vitamins and amino acids, two things known to increase hair growth. Other claims include soft, shiny locks that are strong, it soothes the scalp and treats damaged hair, and also reduces dandruff.
Does It Actually Work?
We asked Dr Jaisrhee Sharad, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and international trainer for aesthetic procedures, to weigh in. “Fermented rice water I not a fad. It’s an ancient procedure that actually works,” Dr Jaishree says, adding, “A major part of our hair is made of a protein called keratin. A blend of 18 amino acids, keratin is essential for hair growth. Fermented rice water has about eight of these vital amino acids.”
“Using this treatment as a post-shampoo rinse or a leave-in treatment saves hair from breakage, as it brings down the friction between hair strands and lends them the much-needed elasticity. Besides amino acids, rice water is also rich in Vitamins B, C, and E—together they boost hair regeneration. Plus, the selenium mineral present in fermented rice water makes a great anti-dandruff remedy,” she adds.