A two-hour drive away from Southern China’s Guilin City lies the Huangluo Yao Chinese village, along the banks of the Jinsha River. Huangluo Yao is home to an indigenous community that originates from the Qin Dynasty.
They are called the Red Yao and have a population of only 600 tribe members, made up of 78 families. The “red” in the name is all thanks to the traditional hand-woven red jackets and shirts that the women wear for special occasions. This isn’t the most remarkable trait of the village though, as real-life Rapunzels with hair longer than 1.4 meters reside there.
The Yao women’s most prized possession is their long hair, which they believe symbolizes prosperity, good fortune, longevity, among others. Did we mention that the women don’t have a single grey hair even when they hit the age of 70? There must be some secret, and truth be told, there is: rice water.
The Yao women love their rice water, which has numerous benefits. It cleanses and conditions, so you can forget about that Rejoice 2-in-1, and fall in love with the all-natural way the Yao women clean their hair.
Rice Water Benefits
Promotes hair growth
The rice water is rich in amino acids, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, which all encourage hair growth. It boosts protein and keratin production and helps maintain the hair’s strength. If you’re worried about greasiness, the Vitamin C will keep that in check. Vitamin E prevents hair loss and keeps your hair hydrated. It also maintains your hair’s shine.
Prevents split ends
While rice water won’t mend the split ends you may currently have, it will prevent new ones. So before you get into the rice water hair cleansing routine, you will have to cut off a couple of those inches. After that though, you’ll never have to think about it again and let your locks grow to the length you desire.
Everyone’s struggled with dandruff at some point. Dandruff can be caused by a lot of different things like product buildup, stress, skin conditions, or maybe even your regular shampoo being too drying. Rice water fights off dandruff-causing fungi and will get rid of most of those white flakes. It’ll also help maintain the pH level of your hair, which is a huge plus.
From blow dryers to straightening irons to curling wands, our hair goes through a lot of heat damage. Add to that sun exposure, and it’s no wonder the market for hair heat protectants exists. But why spend so much on those chemical products when we have rice water? The carbohydrates in rice water is a great damage protectant. It reduces surface friction and increases hair elasticity making it less prone to damage from heating tools and the tropical heat.
Now that we’ve probably got you interested in this rice water, you might be running for your kitchen, and that would be perfectly fine as long as you have organic white rice. The Yao women prefer white. But the most important factor in the equation is that it is organic and free of chemicals.
Ways to Use Rice Water
So all you have to do is rinse two cups of organic rice and dispose of the dirty water. Then, you just add four cups of distilled water to it and seal it tight. You can leave it for anywhere from an hour to overnight. Some people will even leave it for up to two weeks. When the liquid is milky white, strain the rice water and seal it in an airtight container.
Even social media has gotten a hold of this recipe and they suggest that you add some kind of citrus or ginger essential oil to the mixture because while a fresh batch smells fine, the longer you leave it, the smellier it can get.
If the rice water is too mild for you, the Yao women use tea seeds powder as a natural cleanser. It has microbial properties that will keep any scalp infections at bay. If tea seeds are nowhere to be found, you can use Shikakai, Amla, Reetha, or even aloe vera powder instead.
Mix half a bowl of rice water with the powders and let it boil for a minute. Strain it out and you’re good to go!
Now that you’ve got the cleansing formulas ready, how do you use it? There are a couple of recommendations. One is you can dip a cotton ball and spread the mixture on your scalp. Another is you can place the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it onto your scalp.
Other people just pour it over their head and massage the water into their scalps. What each application instruction has in common is you have to let the liquid sit on your head for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it out with plain water.
It’s recommended that you use the rice water mixture three times a week for optimum results. So if you decide to try this, just be consistent to really reap the benefits. The effects of using the rice water will vary, but you’ll surely feel a difference after the first use!
Now that you’ve got your hair taken of, don’t forget your skin! Check out ancient Chinese secrets for better skin here.