Tips & Tricks

Rice Water: The Oldest (K-Beauty) Trick in the Book

In Korea, rice is a staple food that is served with most Korean meals.  So it’s almost no surprise that the easiest, most accessible DIY skincare trick that’s been used by Koreans for decades involves rice.  More specifically, rice water.

If you ask anyone with a Korean Mom, they’ve probably tried rice water cleansing at some point in their lives.  (Korean Moms LOVE cheap skincare that WORKS.  But that’s a topic for another day.)  It really is the oldest K-beauty trick in the book because it’s easy, cost efficient, and highly effective.  Consistent rice water cleansing 2-3 times a week is known to bring visible change to your skin’s health.




Why Rice Water?

So what exactly is it about rice water?

It’s probably the fact that it’s a quadruple threat—different vitamins and minerals from the rice make for one batch of nutritious rice water that delivers all kinds of benefits to the skin.




For one, rice water is known to have a great BRIGHTENING effect on the skin.  Back in the days, women often used rice water to get lighter skin because of this particular effect.  The ceramide component in rice water helps to promote clearer and more even toned skin.

Rice water is also known to have high moisture content to bring about MOISTURIZING effects.  It will strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier to lock in that moisture for a prolonged hydration.

The nutrients in rice water nourishes the skin to bring about FIRMING and ANTI-AGING effects.  Vitamins and minerals help to keep cleaner and healthier skin to improve skin elasticity.

Consistent rice water cleansing has also been proven to SOOTHE break outs and keep skin troubles and acne at bay.

Another useful tip: BROWN RICE actually has way more nutrients than white rice, so rice water created by brown rice can bring about more powerful effects.




Tips to Know Before Rice Water Cleansing

Rice water cleansing sounds easy and simple enough, but there are a couple of ground rules to follow.

Don’t use the first batch.

When washing the rice, discard the first batch of rice water, as it will probably contain dirt and impurities washed off from the rice.  You don’t want to put that on your face, honey.  As a general rule of thumb, use the second and third batch of rice water to cleanse your face.  Those batches will contain the minerals and nutrients of the rice without the impurities.

Double-cleanse first.

If you are wearing makeup, remove your makeup first by oil cleansing.  Then follow up with gentle foam cleansing.  Start with a clean, fresh face before using rice water.

Warm water is better.  

Most people wash their rice with cold water.  But before washing your face with it, mix a little bit of hot water to make the rice water warm.  This is to help your pores relax and open up a bit.

Be gentle with your skin.  

Don’t wash your face too roughly with rice water.  No rubbing.  No soap needed.  Just gently scoop up the rice water and let it cleanse your face.  A little bit of a massage is okay, but trying to rub rice water into your face isn’t going to do you any good.

The ending is the most important.  

Finish off by splashing some cold water on your face.  DO NOT dry your face without rinsing off the rice water with clean water!  You don’t want any residues of the rice water on your face, as it may actually cause irritations and skin trouble.  Too much of anything, no matter how good it’s supposed to be, can be harmful.




How To Make a Rice Water Wash-Off Mask

Another fun way to utilize rice water is by making it into a wash-off facial mask.

Leave the rice in the water for 10-15 minutes to let the sediments packed with vitamins and minerals settle on the bottom of the bowl.

Then, drain a little bit of the water to leave the most nutritious part of the rice water at the bottom of the bowl.

Add flour and mix to create a thicker mixture.  You can use plain yogurt, too.

Then add honey to create a wash-off facial mask that you can leave on for 10-15 minutes.


Some More Rice For You…

Use SKINMISO Rice Foam Cleansing as a part of your double-cleanse routine.
COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask can be your night cream or sleeping mask.






Simple, easy, done.


Will you be trying the oldest K-beauty trick at home?


Stay Curious,



  • Freya

    I’ve really been into k-beauty these past few years & recently came across a video on “The Gram” where the girl (she had the most gorgeous skin btw) shows how she uses rice water in her skincare routine. Intrigued, I set out to try this out myself. The girl in the video used cotton rounds to apply the rice water but I decided to soak a compressed cotton face mask in the rice water before putting it on my face & then covering it with a silicone mask cover (both items are very inexpensive & available on Amazon). The reason for the silicone mask cover is to seal all everything in while my body heat furthers the absorption of the nutrients. I’ve been doing this once or twice a week for the past month & my skin is glowing! I’ve had issues with dry skin after turning 40 (a little over a year ago) & consistent use of these rice water masks have made a huge improvement in the condition of my skin as there’s been no more dry patches & redness around my cheeks & chin. To make the rice water more potent I learned to let it somewhat ferment by allowing it to sit out on the kitchen counter, covered, for 6-9 hours or overnight. It may smell slightly sour (very little) but that’s what you’re looking for. If the smell is too offensive or if you’re sensitive to scents in general you can try disguising it with a 1-2 drops of essential oil or you can add a little honey.

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