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Fermented Rice Water For Hair Growth- Everything You Must Know

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While researching one natural hair care topic, I stumbled upon this question: Can fermented rice water go bad?

Rewind; two years ago, I never knew rice water was useful to the skin and hair until last year when I joined a natural hair Facebook group.

I knew many more people would be asking a similar question, so I dived into research

And here’s the catch.

In this post, I would be covering every single thing you need to know about rice water for hair growth, but let’s answer the first question on the desk.

So can fermented rice water go bad?

Unlike regular water, which has a theoretically innumerable shelf life, fermented rice water can go bad- especially if you don’t store the fermented water properly. And Because it is a made-at-home product without preservatives, it tends to get spoilt quickly.

But how quick? Let’s go more into this:

How Long Does Fermented Rice Water Last?

This question’s answer strictly depends on how it was stored, where it was stored, and the bottle or container’s condition used. But usually, fermented rice water can last for 3-4 weeks in a refrigerated condition.

Yes, you heard me right. I have seen a lot of opinions saying it should be in the fridge for only seven days.

But I had a long conversation with some ladies in that Facebook group, and one of them managed to preserve and finish up her fermented rice water in 2 weeks. (Not the seven days everyone is saying)

A lady even said she left her rice water for three weeks before use, and the result she got was astonishing.

But, what is the point of storing rice water for more than two weeks, when you can make another within a few days without stress?

If I am to recommend, I would say you should make enough rice water for 2-3 times usage. And when it finishes, make another one.

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How to Make Rice Water and Store the Right Way

A plastic or bottle container is the best to store fermented rice water. And if you are choosing a container, make sure you go for a container that is in perfect condition.

Ensure air does not go inside by any means; you can even add nylon to the top opening before you put on the cover.

Nevertheless, here is a quick step-by-step process to prepare and store your fermented rice water.

  1. Take 2-3 spoons or a half cup of raw rice, pour some water into the rice, and wash, then drain the water off.
  2. After that, get a jar, pour the washed rice, and add 2 cups of distilled water to cover it.
  3. Add orange peels to the rice and water mixture and cover the jar.
  4. Please leave it to ferment under room temperature for 24 hours ( I believe this answers your questions on how long should rice water ferment.
  5. After that, strain out the rice and make sure no single rice seed drops into the water.
  6. You can use it right away or transfer the water into a very clean and well-covered bottle or plastic container and store it inside a refrigerator.
  7. You can also add essential oil to get rid of the smell if it’s still strong.

Not satisfied with the written guide? Here’s a complete video tutorial on how to make and use fermented rice water.

Also, don’t forget to warn your kids not to temper with the container.

Feel free to play around with the quantity of water you use, how long you leave the rice water to soak and ferment (but not longer than 24 hours)

Doing this will enable you to understand your hair for a better and outstanding result.

Rice For Hair Growth

Signs to Tell if Fermented Rice Water Goes Bad

You probably added enough scented after the fermentation, and it had a pleasant scent.

But after some days, you decide to use it again and notice that the smell is so bad that you can’t even use it on your hair again. That is a sign that the fermented rice water has gone bad.

Another sign is dense color change on-air exposure, which can happen when the container is not tightly covered. Maybe your kids tampered with the container.

Also, the appearance of mold and some physical changes are signs that it has gone bad. Leftover rice seed in the fermented water is mostly responsible for this condition.

Lest I forget, another rice water alternative is now trending, make sure to read my post on rosemary water to get every vital information you need.

Real-Life Honest Positive Reviews About Rice Water

“Y’all I’ve tried rice water 4 times, it grew I was so shocked, I think consistency is KEY I’ll just continue using it…”- Roxanee Muvhuso chandule (Youtube Comment)

“I have been using rice water to transition my hair for the past two months & all I can say is that it works! It works! It works!. I always leave mine for weeks so it ferments, I use up all the rice too cus it ends up fermenting into very thick water.”- Oloja Deborah (Youtube Comment)

“Hello, person with 4c hair here and I’d like to say I’ve been doing this for like 3-5 weeks now and it honestly does work!! I put it in my hair in the early morning and before I go to sleep and now my hair can barely fit into my plastic bonnet I recommend adding some good oils to the rice water and let it sit in the rice water but seriously my hair is growing like crazy update y’all next month”- Cloud Chan (Youtube Comment)

“my hair usually grows very fast but I always get split ends! I did the rice water treatment 2 times during quarantine and my hair went from SIXTEEN INCHES TO 22!!!!!!!”- Jaiden W. ( Youtube Comment)

Boiled or Fermented: Which is Better?

According to research, testimonies from some of my African Natural hair ladies, plus testing it with my mom– fermented rice water is better. Why?

When you boil, without a doubt, you are killing some nutrients that will be needed for the rice water to perform very well.

But fermentation helps break down some natural compounds like Pythic acid, which interferes and binds some nutrients like zinc and iron, making it available for hair in the water- Source.

Also, rice water for hair- causes amino acid levels to increase, which, if applied to the hair, makes it healthy and grows longer.

Pros of Rice Water

If rice water isn’t beneficial for hair growth, nobody will ever apply it to their hair; it’s not easy to put fermented rice water on your hair but the rewards make it tolerable.

If you want to know what these rewards are, here are some of the advantages of rice water for hair growth.

  1. Smoothens your hair

In addition to growing your hair, rice water can also help make your hair smoother and more manageable.

While there are better, more expensive hair smoothening solutions, using rice water is an inexpensive, DIY way to get silky smooth hair, without sacrificing your hair’s length.

If your main goal is smoother hair, you may be better off with hair smoothening treatments. But if you want longer hair that’s also smooth, rice water is a compelling option.

  1. Detangles your hair

If you’ve never struggled with trying to detangle your hair while you work your way up using a brush, you can’t appreciate this advantage of using a rice water treatment.

Since rice water makes your hair smooth and silky, that, in turn, makes your hair free of any tangles.

If you’re worried about rice water growing your hair and subsequently making it more difficult to brush as a result of excessive tangles, you shouldn’t be.

  1. It is chemical-free!

If you’ve always been hesitant about using chemical-based hair growth solutions, you’re not alone. Many hair care products contain formaldehyde, which is a confirmed carcinogen.

However, with homemade rice water, you can breeze through your hair care routine without worrying about a product with trace levels of a chemical that could cause cancer.


Cons of Rice Water

While rice water is undoubtedly great for hair growth, it doesn’t come without some annoying side effects.

Here are some of the side effects that may come as a result of using rice water on your hair, and how to proactively prevent them.

  1. Very little scientific proof

Little effort has gone into researching the correlation between the use of rice water and hair growth.

Most of the claims that rice water helps in hair growth are mostly anecdotal, with some scientific evidence that fermented rice water could actually help cure atopic dermatitis.

While that doesn’t mean this treatment doesn’t work, it’s just worth noting. Also, most people who try using rice water report excellent results, and so should you.

  1. Could worsen dry scalp

Leaving the fermented rice water in your hair for too long could result in an ever drier scalp, which isn’t a very interesting experience.

A dry scalp usually results from too much yeast in the hair scalp. After absorbing all the required nutrients from the rice water, your hair may start to absorb the remaining starch for the yeasts’ consumption. This reaction will quickly multiply the yeasts on the hair, leading to a dry scalp.

To prevent this situation, avoid leaving the rice water on your hair for extended periods. Letting the water sit for 30 minutes to an hour is sufficient, and you should never leave rice water on your hair overnight.

How Long Does it Take for Rice Water to Grow Hair?

We should try to understand that it is a slow and steady process. It doesn’t just grow hair overnight or within one week.

It takes at least two weeks before you notice very significant hair growth. But you will see a quick difference in hair texture and overall hair integrity after the first or maybe the second try.

How Often Should You Use Rice Water on Hair?

It is recommended you use rice water once in 2 weeks or once in 4-6 weeks or even more, depending on your hair porosity.

For you to see a significant result in your hair health and hair growth.- you first need to know and understand your hair.

Some ladies told me they use it weekly, but they made sure their hair care for it and their hair is working in the right direction they desire.

In case you aren’t aware- rice water is a protein treatment, and the recommended amount of time to get a protein treatment is usually once a month.

Protein overload damages hair by altering hair structure, curl pattern and can cause breakage.

If you’re putting that much protein on your hair, you need to follow through with a deep moisture treatment.

Also, keep in mind that you should, for no reason, leave the rice water on your hair for a whole day.

5-30 minutes is the recommended time it should sit on your hair; anything higher than that can give you a bad experience.


The bad side of this rice water is that it smells awful. So you have to do some tweaks to make it scent a little bit good.

The tweak most ladies do is to add some essential scented oil or ferment with orange peels.

Rice water works like magic; it just depends on how you use it.

If you notice that rice water treatment is doing your hair more harm than good, I will advise you to stop doing it.

Other Posts, you might find helpful;

Now I would love to hear from you:

Did you find this post on fermented rice water lasts helpful?

Or maybe you have questions or experiences to share with us.

Either way, do let us know by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget to share with friends interested in using fermented rice water for their hair growth.

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grow hair faster with rice water


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I am Stanley. A Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

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  1. I purchased rice water from Etsy at least 6 months ago. It’s been refrigerated but I have not used it yet. Should I assume it’s no longer good and throw it out?

    1. Hello Sharon,

      It’s nice to have you here.

      Honestly speaking, this is the first time I hear that rice water can be purchased online.

      Considering how long the rice water has spent so far in the refrigerator, I cannot conclude that it has gone bad already. But, I would suggest you throw it away and make a new one instead of buying online. Trust me; the process is easy.

  2. I made ricewater and I finished fermenting it an put it in a spray bottle. I always see people saying it can only last for 5-7 when stored in the refrigirator. For now its only been in there for 6 days. I put it back after every use. Is there anyway I can keep it longer for a week because I dont want to just throw it out after the week is over.

    1. Sorry the response was late. Our system mistakenly flagged your comment. I don’t know if there is any other way to save it. If you have Ginger, you can wash and add it to the water. Ginger is a very good at this.

  3. If i opened the jar after letting it sit for 2 days just to smell if had gone bad but i closed the lid again and put it back for another 2 days, would the short time in betweent he total 4 days of fermenting that it was exposed to air cause it to go bad?

    1. Hello Marrisa,

      The short time of air exposure in between cannot make it go bad like that, except a third party is introduced into the rice water either by mistake or knowingly.

  4. I made a some rice water some weeks ago and stored in a spray bottle after some time though I noticed it started to change colour from bright yellow( i added lemon peels to get rid of the smell) to a dark murky colour. Does this mean it’s gone bad? should I throw it out?

  5. I got bad advice and let the rice sit in a bowl which was not airtight for four days and then used it on my hair. Is this bad? Any recommendations on how to reverse this? getting worried now that I’m reading all these articles…

    1. As long as no damage was caused then it’s not that bad.

      But in case of next time do not allow the rice to sit in water for that long.

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