The various hair care products available in the market are loaded with chemicals and are not at all effective in stimulating the hair growth. Recently, there has been a sudden increase in natural beauty products all over the globe. People are switching to a more natural hair care and skin care regime rather than opting for commercial products. I have made the switch recently and I am amazed to see the results. The various Diy hair oils, hair packs or natural shampoos are much more effective and I have seen instant results within a few usage and they are not harmful for our health too. It is estimated that by 2019, the global shampoo market is going to reach the value of $25.70 billion but deep in the mountains of Southern China’s Guanqxi province, the women of the Huangluo Village won’t be contributing a single cent to the billion dollar industry because they have the cheapest natural secret for growing the longest hair in the world.
I have been trying out a lot of DIY hair rinses and dIY hair shampoos these days and I am more than happy as they are so mild on the scalp and yet so effective. My quest for learning new DIYs and different methods for washing my hair with natural ingredients is increasing and in that search I stumbled upon a post where I read that women of a remote region in China owe their famously long hair to a very natural and very cheap natural method. For the Yao minority of women, their hair is the most prized possession. The ancient settlement is known across China as the “Long Hair Village” and is even recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Longest Hair Village”. The average length of the women in Huangluo is 1.7 meters and the longest hair length exceeds to 2.1 meters long and they manage to keep it looking strong and healthy and free of grey hair well into their old age.
Hair has always played a big part in the lives of the Yao women of the Huangluo. Until a few years back it was considered that no one, apart from the husband and children of the women were allowed to see their hair when let loose. During the summer and the autumn season, all the women would go to the river to wash their hair and would keep it covered with a blue scarf to keep it hidden. Only the man who would become her husband was allowed to see their wife’s hair in all its beauty and that would happen on their wedding day. If a local or foreigner accidentally saw the woman with her hair open, he was forced to spend three years with her family as their son-in-law. But thankfully this old tradition were abandoned in 1987 and now the Yao women can proudly show off their beautiful jet black hair in public without worrying about the consequences.
The women of the Huangluo village can only cut their hair once in their lifetime, when they turn 16 but the hair is not thrown away, it is given to the girl’s grandmother and made into an ornamental headpiece. When the girl gets married, the hair is gifted to the groom and the headpiece later become a part of the women’s everyday hairdo. It is said that a Yao women hair is made up of 3 bunches. One is her original hair, the other is the cut headpiece and the third bunch is made from the falling strings of hair, which are collected every day. They all are joined together to form elaborate hairstyles which represent the social status of the women. It is an ancient belief that growing their hair long brings longevity, wealth and good fortune. The longer the hair, the more fortunate one will be.
he different hairstyles of the Yao women depict different stages of her life and it is really interesting to read their customs and how hair plays such an important part of their lives. For example, if the hair is wrapped like a circular tray on the top of the head means she is married but has no children. If she sports a bun at the front of her wrapped style-it means she is married and has children. If she wears a scarf around her head, with her hair hidden, it means she is looking for a husband, who traditionally will be the only man who will have the privilege to see her hair in all it’s beauty. So enough about the customs of the Huangluo village, now let’s get into the real secret for such long and beautiful hair.
Fermented Rice Water.Yes, generations of Yao women have been using fermented rice water to wash their hair, which has resulted in their impressively long and beautiful hair. It’s been their secret to long hair for centuries. According to various studies, fermented rice water has been found to be rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamin E as well as restorative properties that help improve hair’s elasticity and condition. Inositol, a carbohydrate that is found in rice water has the ability to repair damaged hair as well as protect it from future damage. In addition to this, amino acids in the fermented rice water helps to strengthen the hair roots and surface of the hair making it much more shinier.
Fermented rice water can become a very good, healthy and cheap alternative to commercial shampoo as it may significantly improve your hair condition. I personally have this opinion that homemade hair rinses or shampoo, based on the right choice of ingredients can be much more beneficial than any other commercial product.
How to Prepare Fermented Rice Water?
- Rinse a cup of rice to get rid of any dirt.
- After rinsing the rice cover it with enough water and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes stir the rice a few times or till the water becomes sort of cloudy.
- Strain the rice water into a bowl, cover it with a lid and leave it at room temperature for a day or two or until it starts smelling slightly sour and starts to ferment.
- After 2 days when the rice water ferments keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to stop the fermentation process.
- You can add a few drops of essential oil like rosemary or lavender essential oil if you feel like.
- Use the fermented rice water to as an alternative to shampoo.
For example if you cook rice two to three times a week, you should be able to connect enough liquid for two to three hair washes.
How to use the Fermented Rice Water to wash your hair?
Rice Shampoo works in a different way than commercial shampoos , so don’t expect your hair to foam up while massaging your scalp with it. Do not expect a miracle after the first application—- it is possible that you won’t like the effect after the first application — this is just because your hair need some time to get used to such natural products. So you need to be a little patient while trying out natural and chemical free products.
- Fermented Rice Water is a concentrated liquid so you may need to dilute it with a cup of water before use.
- Wet your hair as usual and then slowly pour this rice water onto your scalp and hair length and massage gently.
- You can take a container with you while you wash your hair with fermented rice water. When you pour the rice water on your scalp you can collect the water in the container and dip your hair in the collected water for some time. Dipping your hair is water for 5 minutes is advisable for better results. You can massage your scalp for around 2 to 3 minutes and after the massage leave it for 5 minutes and then rinse off completely with tap water.
- You will have an unpleasant smell of fermented rice on your hair but that is going to disappear once your hair dries up. You can use this fermented rice water on your scalp twice a week.
- In the beginning you can use this rice water after shampooing your hair with a mild shampoo. Once your hair gets use to this hair rinse you can slowly say goodbye to your commercial shampoo and use only the rice water for cleaning and washing your hair.
What is Fermentation?
Fermentation is the process of conversion of a carbohydrate such as sugar into an acid or alcohol. To be more precise, it can refer to the use of yeast to change sugar into alcohol or the use of bacteria to create lactic acid in certain foods. This process often occurs naturally in many different foods given the right condition. Fermentation lowers the pH of the liquid, and this is similar to our hair’s pH, which is also on the lower side( slightly acidic). As a result, slightly acidic pH plus the added nutrients through the fermentation process help restore hair’s pH balance, nourish hair follicle to promote healthy hair growth and improve the general condition of the hair.
Benefits of Fermented Rice Rinse for Hair
- Rice contains so called water soluble vitamins and minerals and it is more abundant of vitamins of group B(Vitamin B helps hair cells to produce the black pigment present in the hair).
- Rice water contains rich protein and amino acids and the process of fermentation will make the process of protein turn into amino acids, so nutritional value of such rice is very high.
- Rice Water boosts the elasticity of the hair and decreases surface friction which helps to reduce frizziness of the hair. It is rich in Inositol, a carbohydrate that not only protects the hair against damage but also repairs it.
- Fermented Rice Water is acidic which makes our hair smooth and soft, so regular wash with rice water will give you amazing results and will make your hair healthy and shiny.
- Fermented Rice Water also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, nourishing the hair follicles which aids in the healthy growth of the hair and improve the total condition of the hair.
I came to know about this fermented rice water for hair around a month back and I have washed my hair 8 times with it. I’m really amazed to see that how something as simple as fermented rice water can be so effective and can do wonders to the hair. The women of the village have been using fermented rice water to wash their hair since hundreds of years and their hair is so long and healthy. It is really hard to believe that all the women of the village have such long hair. I really wish that someday my hair also grows as long as their hair.
Washing your hair with this milky coloured liquid may sound a bit strange because we’re so used to washing hair with commercial shampoo. Women in China, Japan and in Southeast Asia have used rice water to wash and rinse the hair since ages and you can clearly see in the picture how long and healthy their hair looks. When I heard about this myself I was a bit skeptical to try it out but when I read about it in detail and saw the pictures of the ladies with such long black and healthy hair, I knew I had to try it out, for sure. My hair feels much more soft and healthy after the rice water rinse. These days I have been really interested in natural ways to prevent hair loss and since I have started using natural remedies for my hair I feel my hair is much more stronger, softer and manageable. I can also spot new hair growth around my hair line.
Do not make the mistake of washing your hair with the concentrated rice water. If you use the concentrated liquid your hair will stick together in clumps because the rice water is too potent for your hair. You will need some time to find out the correct ratio for your hair, I prefer 1:1 ratio, means one cup rice water to 1 cup of plain water. Adjust the ratio according to your individual need. Use less plain water if you have oily hair and vice versa. Once you get this ratio right, you will find your hair responding very positively to this rice water wash.
It took me a couple of weeks to adjust to this hair washing technique and now that I have adjusted it to this one I am surely going to use it as I too want that long hair. Fermented Rice Water acts as an excellent conditioner for the hair. Rice water may build up on the hair shaft overtime so you will have to use a clarifying rinse once a month to remove the buildup.
You can read about the Clarifying Hair Rinse HERE.
I was really satisfied with the results of washing my hair with such natural product and I wanted to share it with you. I am not sure how many of you will actually go ahead and try this out but trust me guys do not rule out this hair rinse without giving it a shot. This one certainly deserves a trial. Please do comment if anyone has tried out this hair rinse because I myself hadn’t heard of this before so I really wanted to know the experience of someone who has been using this hair rinse for some time.
Yamini Sud, a beauty blogger and a makeup enthusiast from Dehra Dun, is the founder of Beauty and Blush, a go-to DIY website that offers beauty, skincare, hair-care, makeup and everything else in between.