• Some women have grown hair as long as 6 feet long and it did not grey until they reached their 80s.
• Wambui also said that constant exposure to high heat also changes the shape of your hair's keratin strands.
For the past few years, using rice water for hair growth has gained popularity, especially for people with 4C hair.
There are many types of hair ranging from type 1, straight hair, curly hair and type 4.
Type 4 hair is common among people of African descent. The hair is densely packed with strands that form delicate, tight coils. It ranges from super fine to very coarse hair.
According to hair expert Millicent Wambui of Trendy Hair Kenya, type 4 hair requires very consistent, high maintenance and use of gentle products.
“Rice water is just like an essential protein treatment that easily works to penetrate damaged hair and repair it inside out, “Wambui told the Star on Saturday.
“The strands of your hair are constantly prone to dullness, thinning, dryness, frizz or breakage. The sun exposure, heat and poor hair routine causes the hair to switch from growth phase to a shedding phase,” she added.
Wambui also said that constant exposure to high heat also changes the shape of your hair's keratin strands.
Rice contains anti-oxidants, B Vitamins, amino proteins and minerals.
When boiled or soaked, the water is composed of a starchy whitish substance that is packed nutritional properties that give rice water its unique hair strengthening properties.
Research says that a carbohydrate compound in rice water helps form a protective barrier on the hair strands that help prevent hair breakage.
The amino acids increase the hair volume and make the hair smooth and shiny while Vitamin B, C and E promote healthy hair growth while increasing the elasticity of hair strands.
“Rice water also reduces the surface friction of hair, making it stronger. This helps the hair from detangling,” Wambui said.
In as much as hair grows an inch every month, accompanying good hair care and good health and nutrition can also help with consistency.
“Eating fruits, leafy greens, eggs and fish can also help boost body nutrients. Drinking at least two litres of water a day will help the strength of your hair, increasing growth,” she said.
“Ensure you add essential oils to the rinse water for extra benefits as it helps with the smell due to the fermentation process.”
Wambui advises not to leave the rice water for longer than 1 hour because too much rice water left in the hair for too long can damage hair.
Rinsing the hair with lukewarm water is also advised.
“If you are using rice water as a rinse after shampoo and conditioner, you will not require a conditioner. However, if you used it as a hair mask, it is essential to follow it up with a deep hydration conditioner to help moisturize the hair,” she said.
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. She advises going in with the conditioner from the middle of the hair to the ends. Then finishing up with the scalp.
History of rice water use for hair.
The Yao women of china are famous for growing hair as long as 6 feet long that did not grey until they reached their 80s since they bathed in the rice water from their rice fields.
In addition, researchers also found women in the Heian period in Japan had floor-length hair as they kept bathing in rice water.
To date, the benefits of rice water however remain unproven. More research is needed to support the existing anecdotal evidence about the benefits of rice water for hair.