What Is Rice Water and What Is It Good For?

Posted on May 21 2020

Today, we have a ton of skincare products from the innovation and advance of beauty technologies, but I wonder... What about our ancestors? Recently, a lot of people are more careful about products or food that we consume because sometimes it said that natural and organic products are better for our body than advanced artificial products, especially for beauty products. When we take a look at older generation’s wisdom when there is no technology, oftentimes we find a little surprising life hack that recent researches prove smart and safe for ourselves. And today, we will explore one of Japanese traditional skincare: Rice water!

What is Rice Water?

For those of you who don’t eat rice regularly at home, rice water might not be that familiar, but rice is an essential food for Japanese and it is the main article of diet. When you cook rice, before putting rice into a rice cooker, you have to “wash” the rice to get rid of dust, rice bran, and some pieces of rice that are left after being polished. Rice water is the water used for “washing” the rice, and the water gets cloudy, but mostly consists of rice bran which has a lot of water-soluble good nutrients. Although recent rice polishing technology is more advanced, and there is not really much rice bran left compared to before, it is still said that there are a lot of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, ceramide, lipids, and protein in rice water. Historically, Japanese women found the benefits of rice water for skincare by their hands which always used to wash rice, then they started to use it as their part of a cheap and easy skincare routine that makes clear skin. There is even a historical record where it reports that people used rice water as facial washing, toner, and soup by putting the rice bran into a small bag in the Edo period (1603-1868). As you can see, rice water is one of the oldest popular skincare life hacks among Japanese women.

What are the benefits of Rice Water for skin?

Peeling effect

The best benefit of using rice water for washing face is its peeling effect. There are a lot of products that have a peeling effect, however, oftentimes those products are too strong for skin, not affecting in the good way to assist skin’s turnover cycle. Peeling is supposed to be functioning as getting rid of the old skin layer to assist the skin’s turnover cycle (the cycle new skin comes out) and make more clear skin, but there is also a risk of giving too much damage to the skin. However, on the point, rice water functions as a more mild peeling effect, which means more effective at functioning as an assistant of skin’s turnover. It also gives a refreshing feeling on your pores, and if the skin’s turnover works correctly, it also prevents blemish on skin.

Improves skin’s barrier function

The essence called ceramide that is in rice water gives skin adequate moisture. Normally, the skin layer is filled with ceramide, but as aging, ceramide in the skin slowly reduces. Since ceramide works as a barrier of skin from dryness and UV rays, if the barrier gets weaker, the skin will get direct damage from dry and UV rays. By refilling ceramide in the skin by using rice water, it could improve the skin’s barrier function and keeps skin moisturized and prevents sun damage.

Fix skin and mucous membrane

Rice contains various vitamins that are good for skin, especially vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 has a function of fixing skin and mucous membrane, leading higher skin metabolism. Higher skin metabolism helps the skin’s turnover cycle, resulting in assisting beautiful better skin from the foundation.

How to make Rice Water?

  1. First pour water over raw rice and wash them briefly, drain the water. (First one is usually consist of dust and dirts so not recommended for using it for other usages)
  2. Do the process over and over until the water gets cleared but keep in mind to pour the cloudy water into some containers to preserve it for other usage! Of course feel free to eat the rice after you cook them!

How to use Rice Water for skincare?

Face wash

  1. Wash your face normally with your own cleanser
  2. Dilute rice water with hot water (rice water: hot water= 1:1.5)
  3. Wash face with the diluted rice water

** Don’t rub your face strongly, try to gently wash face with it

Face pack

  1. Pour the rice water in a container. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for about half a day. There will be some sediment at the bottom of the container from the separation.
  2. Drain the water above the sediment and take the sediment out and apply it over the face and wait for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Rince the pack before it gets dried out completely
  4. You’ll get soft skin!

*** Before you use the rice water for skincare, please do the patch test! Rice water is a little strong for skin so definitely dilute it before using it. When you find your skin got a little reddish or itchy by applying the diluted rice water on your soft skin part (such as inside of your elbow), DO NOT use the rice water for self-skincare.

Look Ahead

Rice water is actually very eco-friendly because it is totally natural and saves water by not just draining them. It is also wallet-friendly as well! During this quarantine time, it might be harder to shop beauty products, but with rice water, you can self try, and might be the best way for your skincare that you’ve never thought of. Be creative, respect old Japanese women's wisdom and get yourself a clear beautiful skin to be ready to go out and shine after this hard quarantine time!

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 Etsuka Tomonaga

Was born and grew up in Japan and currently studying global business in college in South California. Loves beauty products and makeups in general, and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. 


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