Active Ingredients: Rice

Reyanna Ng Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Rice

Rice isn't just a staple in the kitchen but should be in your skincare as well!

Rice is a staple in many cuisines, especially in Malaysia. I mean how often do you go on your day not having rice? Well, I’m pretty sure, not very often. Not only is rice a staple to countless cultures, rice is also a popular ingredient in K-beauty/skincare, and this isn’t something newly discovered. Instead, rice has been used in traditional cosmetics and medicinal practices for centuries as it delivers an abundance of benefits.

If you’ve noticed on TikTok, there was a trend of using rice water to wash your hair and many saw incredible results. Now, why is that? This is because rice is made up of around 16% of proteins which is fundamental to our cell health, as well as other components like Triglycerides, lipids, phytic acid, inositol, starch and more.

To know about the benefits of rice, it is important a little history behind the revelation of using rice for cosmetics and medicinal purposes. Although use of rice for beauty benefits has been prevalent all over East Asia, the most prominent role would be by the Japanese court ladies during the Heian Period (794-1185). They are most famed for their long, luscious hair that reached the floor. It was discovered that the secret to their famed hair was due to using rice water, also called Yu-Su-Ru. While geishas used rice water to wash their face to keep their skin looking smooth and supple. Also, there’s been a saying that men who made sake (Japanese rice wine) saw that their hands were smoother and brighter than any other part of their body.

Another secret to rice extract is that it is a key ingredient to a cult favorite, SK-II Pitera Essence. It is developed with fermented rice water, which is rich in minerals, antioxidant, vitamin B, E and pitera, considered to be an anti-aging fountain of youth. So, read on more to find out what it does for your skin!



Evens out skin tone

  • Rice water (made by steeping or boiling the rice) formulates antioxidant activity similar to Vitamin C which is why rice is known to lighten the skin and any pigmentation. Resulting in a brighter and clearer complexion.

Reduces wrinkles

  • Rice water, particularly fermented rice water, is shown to increase collagen in the skin and inhibit elastase activity (an enzyme that damages elastin), thus, contributing to firmer skin which helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

Antioxidant protection

  • Rice wine also contains antioxidants that help the skin heal from sun damage and possess natural sun protection properties. 

Soothes the skin

  • Rice water also contains linoleic acid, a fatty acid, that has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and heal inflammation or irritation experienced by those with chronic skin conditions like eczema, or even suffering from acne or rashes. 

Strengthens the skin barrier

  • Other than stimulating the skin healing process, rice water enhances the skin barrier and delivers a boost of hydration preventing further dehydration. 

Regulates oil production

  • Use of rice extract/water can help to mattify the skin by regulating sebum production.


What to note?

  • As with all new ingredients and products, we advise you to conduct a patch test either behind your ear or on your inner forearm at least 24-48 hours prior to application.


Products we recommend and where to find them

COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

This 3-in-1 mask pack actually works as a wash off mask and moisturizer too! It is enriched with 68.9% rice extract that works to brighten, nourish and hydrate your skin all while you’re sleeping.


Dear, Klairs Fundamental Ampule Mist

dear klairs fundamental ampule mist

This facial mist is a green-tea based mist that is further enriched with rice, cucumbers, okra (ladyfinger) and mugwort, all skin-healing ingredients. This facial mist helps to deliver intensive hydration and additional antioxidant care.


AXIS-Y Cera-Heart My Type Duo Cream


axis y cera heart my type duo cream

This duo moisturizer by AXIS-Y is simply amazing! It includes 2 type of moisturizer consistency, suitable for those with combination or oily skin. Both moisturizers are formulated differently for different uses. Rice extract is used to help brighten the skin, strengthen the skin barrier and reduce oil production.


The Face Shop Rice Ceramide Moisturizing Toner


the face shop rice ceramide moisturizing toner

This toner contains both ceramide, a natural moisturizer that protects and strengthens the skin, and rice extract, that brightens the skin and corrects skin texture.


The Face Shop Rice Water Bright

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright

This cleansing line by The Face Shop is formulated with rice water which were favored by the royal court ladies to keep their skin smooth and sufficiently hydrated throughout the day.


Rice deserves more than just a spot in your kitchen but possibly in your skincare routine as well. Many women swear by rice extract and rice water as their beauty secret and maybe there's a reason to it. So, I hope this blog has opened an interest to rice-infused products and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below. 

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