Totally over waking up to lifeless, dry tresses? Feeling frustrated that no matter what hair masks or deep conditioners you use your locks still lack luster? Well, we’ve got a secret to share with you! With a little bit of rice and a pinch of rosemary, you’ll have healthy, happy hair in no time. Who would have thought these grocery store staples could be the answer to your hair care prayers?

Rice has been a hair care must-have for women of the Red Yao tribe for centuries, earning their town in China the nickname Long Hair Village. We’ve compiled simple recipes to help you too harness the potent properties of rice from home, with a boost of essential oil power. If you are looking for clean, shiny, must-have hair, discover how making your own rosemary rice water will save the day.

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How to make rosemary rice water hair rinse: Method 1

This hair rinse recipe will reap all the benefits of rice water but keeps the process nice and simple.

½ cup uncooked organic white rice (don’t use brown rice or instant rice)
3 cups distilled water
5─10 drops Rosemary essential oil (depending on your personal skin sensitivity and scent-strength preference)

Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under flowing water to remove any impurities. Once the water from the rice runs clear, transfer to a bowl. Add distilled water and let sit for 20 minutes. Next, knead the rice until the water becomes cloudy. This shows that the minerals and vitamins from the rice have soaked into the water. Strain and place the rice water into a glass jar. Add Rosemary oil and place a lid on the jar. Let sit 12─24 hours.

How to make rosemary rice water hair rinse: Method 2

For even more benefits, we recommend that you try out this method inspired by the process the Red Yao women use. It requires some patience, but the results are well worth the wait.

1 cup uncooked organic white rice
4 cups distilled water
Peel from 1 pomelo (pomelos are commonly sold at Asian markets, but if you can’t find one, use a grapefruit)
6 drops Rosemary essential oil
2 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under flowing water to remove any impurities. Once the water from the rice runs clear, transfer to a bowl. Add distilled water and wash the rice. Do this by continuously kneading and rubbing the rice together thoroughly. Once the water is a milky color, strain the rice out and place the liquid into a pot on the stovetop. Bring the rice water to a boil and add your pomelo peels. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer everything, including the peels, to a jar. Add Rosemary, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang essential oils and mix.

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This concoction can be used right away, but to get the maximum benefit, it needs to ferment. Set the jar aside for 3─6 days. The rinse may start to smell a bit sour, but it shouldn’t be too extreme of a smell and should not have any mold growing in it. If you do happen to notice mold, do not use the mixture.

How to use your rosemary rice water hair rinse

Now that you’ve made your very own rosemary rice water, it’s time to incorporate it into your self-care routine and experience its hair-enhancing effects. Start by shampooing your hair as normal and rinsing out the shampoo with clean water. Below are some of our tried-and-true shampoo recommendations for different hair types:

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After shampooing and rinsing with clean water, squeeze the excess water from your hair. Place the rosemary rice water hair rinse mixture into a large bowl. If you have an extra sensitive scalp, dilute the fermented hair rinse by adding 1 cup of distilled water to the bowl and mix. In the shower or over a sink, flip your hair over the bowl and use a cup or scoop to pour the liquid over your hair. Saturate your hair and massage the mixture into your scalp. The rinse may feel slightly slippery, like a watery conditioner.

Take this time to relax and enjoy the blissful scalp massage. Once the entire length of your hair and your scalp are completely saturated, squeeze the excess out and clip your hair up. Leave for 20─30 minutes.

For optimal results, it is best to rinse your hair out with filtered or distilled water, but you can rinse in the shower if you are in a hurry. Follow up with your favorite Young Living conditioner or make your own leave-in conditioner.

YL tip: Be sure to thoroughly rinse your hair. This rice water contains a lot of protein, which can be drying if left in the hair for long periods of time.


Let your hair air dry and enjoy your rejuvenated, gleaming locks. The Red Yao women use this hair rinse 2─3 times a week as a replacement for shampoo to achieve their lovely, long tresses, but they are accustomed to it. Your hair may react differently depending on its porosity, texture, and structure. Start by using it once a month. See how your hair reacts to the rinse and gradually increase up to once a week if your hair loves this DIY as much as we do! If you want to know more about the Yao Tribe and their long, healthy hair watch this video.

What happens if you leave rice water in your hair overnight?

If you are wondering if you can leave rice water in your hair overnight; the answer is technically yes, but as we have already suggested above, you shouldn’t need to leave rice water in that long. Rice water will start to grow bacteria if left at room temperature too long (18-24 hours) and some people’s sensitivity may make this a non-option.

Want to try this DIY ASAP but don’t have Rosemary essential oil? Experiment with some of our other favorite hair-loving oils while you wait for Rosemary to arrive!

Can’t get enough hair care DIYs? Check out some more ways you can incorporate these oils into your life!

Give your hair the care it deserves with this essential oil DIY hair mask and quick tips to fix frizzy hair.

What are your favorite hair-loving essential oils?

Let us know in the comments below.