Secrets of The Red Yao: The Path to Body-Length Hair

I’m sure at some point you’ve seen the crown of another naturalista and uttered to yourself “#HairGoals”. Whether it be for the length, health, shine, bounce, elasticity, manageability, or whatever it is, I’m sure it must have happened at least once, right? We all get a little bit of Hair Envy every now and then: for some reason, we tend to want what we don’t have. While I strongly believe it’s important to be content with your own hair, there is nothing wrong with trying techniques that can enhance what you’re already working with!

Part of how people become our “Hair Goals” is by finding and sticking with the techniques and ingredients that work for them. Plain and simple. And there’s a group of women located in the Huangluo Yao Village in China who are doing just that! They have found exactly what works for their hair, and in doing so have achieved body-length hair: hair that is longer than life! To learn more about the Red Yao Women, click here.

Red Yao Women: Front Ponytail

Red Yao Women: Styled

Red Yao Women: Styling

The secret to the Red Yao Women’s super-long hair is found within grains of rice, believe it or not! More specifically, the water that is left over from rice that has been cooked or soaked. Rice water, which contains vitamin B, C, and E, is said to add elasticity and shine to the hair, increase its manageability by serving as a conditioner, and also provides protein.

Yes, I do recognize that the Red Yao Women have straight hair- and at first, I myself thought that the effectiveness of this technique was probably specific to people with Asian hair- but after attending a Black hair workshop recently (Hair Inside Out, sponsored by Francine Francis, and hosted by Kym Niles of I Can and I Will), I found out that rice water is actually good for all types of hair, including African hair. So why not give it a shot?
Rice Water Recipe:

  1. 1 Cup of Organic Rice (any kind brown, long grain, short grain etc)
  2. 4 and a 1/2 Cups of cold water

Instructions:

  1. Mix the rice and water in a container.
  2. Let mixture sit for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 30 minutes, strain, and transfer the water into a spray bottle.
  4. Store in the fridge for no longer than 2 weeks.

Rice water works as a wash day/pre-poo treatment, so when the time comes, follow these instructions:

  1. Saturate your strands with rice water and oils of your preference.
  2. Cover your head with a plastic shower cap or bag for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. After the time has elapsed, take the cap/bag off, and continue on with your regular wash day routine.

And there you have it- the secret to length from the Red Yao Women of China is right in your pantry! And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a fortune!

Have you ever used rice water in your healthy hair journey? Tell us how and whether it worked for you in the comments!

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