12 April 2021
No, you haven’t accidentally made your way to a cookery website – rice extract is the next big thing in skin and hair care. With its popularity spanning Asia and more recently brought to fame by the popularity of Japanese beauty regimes, rice extract is quickly gaining a following in Europe and America. In fact, the new must-have ingredient has even become viral on TikTok thanks to the #RiceWaterChallenge and has celebrity endorsements, including Kim Kardashian and Alexa Chung.
But what exactly is rice extract? How does it work? And is it right for you?
What Is Rice Extract?
Rice (Oryza Sativa) has been a Japanese beauty tool for centuries, with women embracing “nuka biji”, or “beautiful by the rice”, as their secret weapon for hydrating and protecting their hair. Traditionally, rice and water were combined and sometimes boiled to release the rice’s starches; the liquid was then strained to create “rice water”. Women have been using this water to wash their hair since 1185 BC, enjoying faster-growing hair that is deep in colour and effortlessly healthy.
And it isn’t only hair that can benefit from rice water. Skincare brands like Shiseido also include the extract in their products for its brightening properties – as well as its ability to reduce irritation.
No longer a beauty secret handed down through generations, rice extract is being infused into a wide range of products in combination with other beneficial ingredients, revolutionising the practice of nuka biji for a modern audience.
How Does It Work?
Rice extract restores strength and treats damaged hair without weighing it down. How? It’s rich in amino acids and other beneficial minerals which work together to encourage healthy hair:
• Amino acids – to strengthen and repair damage
• Folic acid – increases the thickness of each strand of hair
• Magnesium – stimulates growth and new cell production
• Selenium – encourages hair growth and eliminates dandruff
• Niacin – high in B3, which strengthens hair and increases shine
Who Can Benefit From Using Rice Extract?
Rice extract can be used on all hair types to encourage growth and reverse the signs of damage. Thanks to its protein content, rice extract enriches each strand of hair, leaving it stronger, smoother and healthier. With its weightless consistency, hair products infused with rice extract are particularly well-suited to fine, thin, damaged and curly hair.
When it comes to skincare, rice extract is suitable for all skin types, though it’s particularly useful for dull or sensitive skin. Some evidence suggests that rice extract can offset irritation caused by sodium lauryl sulfate, making it an excellent choice for those using skincare with SLS as an ingredient.
What Products Contain Rice Extract?
A growing number of brands include rice extract in their formulations, but one of the most popular is the Japanese brand, Shu Uemura, which became part of the L’Oreal family in 2004. Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset range is enriched with Japanese-sourced rice extract and is particularly popular for boosting hydration and health of dry, damaged or frizzy hair. In particular, we love the Extreme Repair Masque, which fortifies and nourishes your locks.
When it comes to skincare, Dermalogica, Shiseido & Erborian are just some of the brands that have included rice extract in product formulations to help cleanse, exfoliate and brighten. Shop our edit to find a full range of products that contain Oryza Sativa (Rice Extract).