Getting your hair to look on point is no easy feat. Far from a wash-and-go technique, you rely on daily application of your favorite products and styling with hot tools to pull off your everyday look. While a flawless style is the obvious upside, the downside is the damaged strands and product build-up that makes your hair appear dull and feel weak. Instead of adding another off-the-shelf product to your routine to restore its health, a more natural, DIY option could be your best bet.

Believe it or not, rice water (yup, the liquid left behind after soaking the grains) just might be the treatment you’re seeking. Rinsing your hair in rice water has been something Japanese women have practiced for centuries because of its ability to help your hair grow longer, stronger, and shinier, according to Marie Claire. Since it’s rich in the carbohydrate inositol, which has been known to help strengthen strands, some studies have even proven its effectiveness at increasing elasticity. The old school hair hack seemed so intriguing to me that I put it to the test.

Prepare Your Rice Water

There isn’t a ton of prep involved in this beauty DIY, so it’s pretty fool-proof. First, add two cups of uncooked rice (I used white rice) into a bowl with eight cups of water — it’s important that the water completely covers the rice. Let it soak for 20 to 25 minutes, or until you notice the water begin to appear milky. Strain the rice from the water.

Rinse Your Mane

I shampooed my hair like I normally do, but instead of conditioning, I thoroughly rinsed my hair with the rice water. It felt and smelled like normal water — only with a cloudy appearance. After I rinsed, I let my hair air dry and waited for the results.

Did It Work?

Kinda. My hair definitely felt softer and more hydrated — even when it was still wet it didn’t feel stripped. That said, I didn’t notice a huge difference in my shine factor, so that was a slight fail. Since I only have taken the rice water hair plunge once (so far), it’s hard to say whether or not the strength and elasticity of my hair has improved. My honest opinion: If you want silky, smooth, soft hair and are down to soak rice in water to get it, this DIY is for you. If you just don’t have the time — or have a more effective DIY hair mask on standby — skip it.

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