The fermented rice water trend: Have you seen it?
Back story: For years, a group of women in Africa and China have used fermented rice water to grow their hair very, very long and prevent graying for DECADES. Of late, fermented rice water as a hair growth and retention aid has been trending. My INITIAL reaction was to balk at this “new” trend (it seems to repeat in cycles) and to ignore it completely.
Then, one of my favorite, most trusted, science-based YouTubers — the GreenBeauty channel creator — created and shared a video about the science behind fermented rice water. One thing she mentioned caught my attention: Fermented rice water acts as a (light?) protein treatment. Based on those women’s historical results and having fine, naturally highly porous hair myself, I decided to try a do-it-yourself (DIY) fermented rice water rinse. Making the rinse seemed simple and inexpensive enough, and the price and shipping fees of my holy grail protein treatment were concerning me at the time. Would fermented rice water reduce my need for that product, if not eliminate it?
My First Few Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Fermented Rice Water Hair Rinses
To test out the performance of fermented rice water on my hair, I grabbed some organic basmati brown rice I already had in the kitchen pantry. I let it soak and ferment for about 24 hours. I don’t know if it was just me, but I didn’t mind the smell at all.
Maybe it was the basmati-ness. 😀 Anyhoo, in the shower, just after deep conditioning and right before conditioning and styling, I rinsed my hair with the fermented rice water.
I liked the fermented rice water rinse . It seemed to leave my hair feeling stronger, and typically any protein on my hair tends to be a good thing. I did the rinse a few more times with the same results. Soon after, I watched the GreenBeauty YouTube video once more to solidify my understanding of how I might best incorporate fermented rice water into my regimen on a regular basis. While re-watching the video, other videos popped up in my YouTube feed about fermented rice water HAIR PRODUCTS. I briefly had the thought that using fermented rice water in my cleanser and conditioner might be more efficient: It might reduce my need for the extra step of fermented rice water rinsing.
Video Demos of RoyalHerbalOrganics Fermented Rice Water Products
I went to Etsy.com and ordered the fermented rice water -containing products that I saw most reviewed on YouTube (please see the videos below). This was the RoyalHerbalOrganics fermented rice water bundle — the no poo cleanser, the hair and body bar soap, and the conditioner. I also ordered CeCe Naturals Fermented Rice Water Deep Conditioner from Etsy.com. NOTE: I may review the CeCe Natural Fermented Rice Water Deep Conditioner in detail later, but for now I’ll just quickly note that on first use, the slip was phenomenal, a little went a long way, I could hardly detect any scent, and my hair seemed moisturized after rinse-out. I’ll keep trialing it.
My Initial Impression of the RoyalHerbalOrganics Fermented Rice Water Products
So, on first impression, I really love these three products but do not like the price (more on this last point later). I need to keep trialing them before making any conclusions, but so far I have the following opinions about these products:
The no poo and the conditioner smell great and natural, like natural peppermint (not the artificial kind). The scent gives you the impression that you are using something good for your hair on your hair. I don’t detect much of a smell from the hair and body bar.
- The bar:
I used the bar on my face, and it improved my skin instantly (even my husband commented). My skin looks more hydrated, tighter (less porous), and more youthful.
- The no poo cleanser:
I used the no poo cleanser on damp hair instead of dry hair as the instructions recommended (I had to, as I had just detangled). I also applied it to my scalp, that being one of the main reasons I wanted to get the product — as a scalp cleanser/treatment. IT FELT GREAT on my scalp. Serious yet comfortable, cool-feeling tingles.
I left the no poo on my scalp and hair for 30 minutes, per the instructions. My hair felt clean yet quite moisturized upon rinse out. However, I did miss that it didn’t lather. It was hard not to be heavy-handed with the product, due to the lack of lather. I feel like I used quite a bit of the product to ensure that all of my hair would get clean — much more product than I would have used had the product lathered. I am thus not sure how cost effective the no poo is.
The products’ creator says that especially if you miss lather, you can use the bar on your hair. I am torn: I want to save the bar for use on my face! LOL! If I do continue investing in these products, I may use the no poo only on my scalp, in part to preserve the product. I feel that using it on my strands will just use it up too fast, and it is not an inexpensive product.
- The conditioner:
I left the conditioner in my hair for 30 minutes, as the instructions recommended. I rinsed it out with cool water. After rinse-out my hair was very elastic, and in a stronger-than-usual way. I was really impressed. Impressed enough to return to the shop on Etsy and look again at pricing and submit a question about the pH of the products.
- The bar:
The no poo has the texture of a slightly watery jelly. The video demos above show this in a clear way. The texture of the conditioner is that of a watery lotion. Thick is NOT a word I would use to describe the conditioner. I didn’t mind this, though, as it didn’t result in poor performance on my hair, and it lent to ease of spreadability.
Both the no poo and the conditioner spread just fine. As I mentioned above, the lack of suds with the no poo made me feel I needed to be heavy-handed to ensure that product was covering my strands adequately to cleanse them.
The slip was decent for both the no poo and the conditioner. Nothing to write home about, but no complaints.
I did not try to detangle with either of the products. I will try to remember to test this next time.
- Residue-y feeling post rinse-out:
No: Neither the no poo nor the conditioner left a residue-y feeling after rinse-out. Good deal. 🙂
- Whether a little goes a long way or not:
No . . . as a heavy-handed product user, I did not feel that a little of either product went a long way. I feel like the conditioner will last sufficiently, but the no poo might not if I use it on both my scalp and strands. I’ll have to see.
- Customer service:
Pretty good. Shipping was somewhat slow, perhaps because it is a small operation. When I asked about the pH of each of the products, I received a timely reply: I was informed that the shampoo was a 6.7 and that the entire line was neutral in pH. If I can get it, I prefer a pH between 4.5 and 5.5, but that’s another story. LOL.
- Whether I will repurchase or not:
Hmm. Eke. Well . . . I will likely repurchase the RoyalHerbalOrganics bar for use on my face. For my initial purchase, I purchased their bundle — all three products for $59. As of the writing of this post (April 25, 2018), I see the conditioner available for $60. 😮 Yikes! That’s 16 ounces of conditioner for $60. I believe that’s $3.75 for one ounce of conditioner. If you have a lot of hair (and even if you don’t!), that’s quite costly in my book. The bundle is still available, but now for $65, as of April 25, 2018.
Based on the pricing and also because I miss having sudsing action in my cleanser, I have decided to trial a different Etsy shop’s fermented rice water products. This shop is NaturesEgo. This shop’s owner is a black woman, and it is always great to be able to support a fellow black business woman. And an important point: Her fermented rice water products are ayurvedic!!! Woot!
So going forward, I will use the RoyalHerbalOrganics bar on my body and face, the RoyalHerbalOrganics no poo on JUST my scalp, the NaturesEgo shampoo to cleanse my strands, and the RoyalHerbalOrganics conditioner to condition my scalp and to deep condition my strands. This should allow me to truly assess the effect of fermented rice water on my hair. So far, I looooove it! I really do.
What Are Your Thoughts on Fermented Rice Water? Trendy? Ineffective? Effective? You’ll Wait?
I don’t like trends just for the sake of trends. That’s why I was completely UNMOVED until I saw the science and was able to couple that with the historical evidence. I’d love to prevent graying with a natural product such as fermented rice water. I’d love to strengthen my hair and aid retention with something as simple as fermented rice water. And oh: I looked into concerns about arsenic and rice and felt okay with what I learned.
The deciding factor for me: I had the thought, “I’m going to wash and condition my hair REGARDLESS.” So I concluded that it was worth trialing fermented rice water specifically in my cleanser and conditioner, to see how it affects my hair. I didn’t want to give up the beneficial effects that I know I get from ayurvedic ingredients, so I went with RoyalHerbalOrganics on Etsy.com. However, as I mentioned, I later discovered NaturesEgo on Etsy.com, and over time I hope to trial her more economically-priced ayurvedic fermented rice water shampoo, deep conditioner, and hair lotion.
These are my arguments for giving this “trend” a go. What about you? What are your thoughts? Have you tried fermented rice water? Do you feel it’s wiser to stick with the economical DIY rinses? Are you considering trying products — either ones you make yourself or ones you purchase? Have you found any products not mentioned in this post that you can review or would recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear from you. 😀 As always, many blessings!