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There's a 5,000-percent search spike for 'rice water' for hair — but does it work?

It might be the best thing that ever happened to your hair.
by Kristin Granero / / Source: TODAY
Wash rice in wooden bowl
Wash rice in wooden bowlGetty Images

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Google search interest in rice water as a hair treatment is on the rise, showing a 5,000-percent spike over the past three months alone.

A search for similar terms on YouTube yielded more than 100,000 results, with plenty of vlogger videos discussing the apparent hair benefits of rice water — especially its supposed growing powers.

According to Rita Hazan, a celebrity colorist, salon owner and product developer, rice water can not only help with hair growth, but also with shine and volume.

"Rice water contains rice protein, which plumps up the hair cuticle," she said. "In the same way rice expands when you cook it in water, it expands in your hair, making it appear healthier and more voluminous."

And there are other benefits, according to Julian Guerrero, hairstylist and educator at Butterfly Studio Salon in New York. “Fermented rice water is acidic, and when you rinse your hair with it, it restores and balances the pH of your hair," he said. "We’ve been seeing hair care brands bring the benefits of rice to hair products, from cleansers to styling creams."

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It can also be used to fight frizz. "Rice water contains inositol, which is (a) carbohydrate that helps strengthen elasticity and reduce surface friction," said Guerrero.

All you need is a cup of rice — brown long grain or white — to get started. "Add your choice to two cups of water in a jar or bowl and let sit for 20-25 minutes," he said. "Drain the water out and store it or use it directly after."

Once you've shampooed, he said, apply the rice water from roots to ends while massaging it in. "Then condition as normal with your regular conditioner," said Guerrero. "Rice water could also be used as a conditioner if mixed with an oil and applied from roots to ends, or just on hair ends, then rinsed and styled."

Don't have extra time on your hands? Stash one — or all six — of these rice-infused hair products in your shower to start achieving your hair goals.

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