Having spent the last two weeks locked up in my house, sick, I had a lot of time to do some experimenting with my skincare regime. I don’t remember what initially sparked my interest in brown rice flour as a skincare product, but nevertheless, I began researching its beauty benefits.
Brown Rice Protein
As is common with natural skin care ingredients, research is limited. However, early research looks promising: A 2002 study noted that brown rice starch appears to help eczema and skin damage. The results further showed that rice starch baths did not change the amount of water loss in normal areas of skin, suggesting this treatment does not cause the skin to dry out. The cause is likely to be a mix of skin-healthy components. For instance, related oat bran extract is a natural source of polysaccharides, lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids (Cosmetic Dermatology, 2008).
Brown rice protein is also noted to be a natural mechanical exfoliant (Dermal Institute). Exfoliation “…helps the natural shedding process of skin and encourages healthier, smoother, more even-toned, and clearer skin,” according to Drs. Gina and Sid Dinesh. As you exfoliate, brown rice flour does not completely dissolve in the water, allowing it to exfoliate away dead skin cells as you wash your face.
And while it’s not exactly scientific, many beauty gurus also support the use of brown rice protein. Shalini Vadhera, author of Passport to Beauty, explains the “natural anti-inflammatory and skin-protecting properties” of rice, and how using the grain leads to “…a soft dewy complexion and, over time, a reduction in the appearance of dark spots” as a guest on the Dr. Oz website. So, of course, I was eager to try it out.
I went to my local Whole Foods and picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour. I made the initial mistake of putting the flour in a little bottle and mixing it with water, thinking that it would keep for a few days. Well, it must have been the sickness that got to my head to make me think such a thing, because the mixture went bad. Fast.
So, I got a new bottle and simply put some of the flour in it, dry. I then poured the flour in my hand, mixed it with water, and washed my face as I normally would. The result? I definitely had dewy skin, just as Shalini Vadhera claimed, and my skin was SO soft. My mom even commented on how nice my skin looked (although she thought it was the antibiotics, but she had no idea I was conducting this experiment. It was definitely the brown rice flour, not the medicine!)
Better yet, when I put on my moisturizer after washing my face, it sunk right into my skin-an amazing feeling. I never quite understood what people meant when they said, “your face will just drink up the moisture,” because I had never experienced that myself. That is, until now. I was in love.
If you decide to try this cleansing method out for yourself, please keep in mind a few things. First, I do not wear foundation. So if you wear makeup, I would suggest removing it with a separate makeup remover beforehand, because this brown rice flour cleanser is just that- a cleanser/exfoliant, not a makeup remover.
Second, everyone’s skin is unique and reacts differently to every product. So do a patch test first!
Additionally, I chose to use brown rice flour over white rice flour because brown rice isn’t stripped of its nutritional benefits, whereas white rice is.
As I mentioned earlier, I just use straight rice flour on my face, but if you’re interested in cooking up your own batch of proper rice water, here is an easy way to do so.
So long as you are careful not to abrade your skin, a mix of brown rice protein and water gently applied can exfoliate and soften the skin quite well.
However, as Nicki often notes, it can be risky to apply products you mix yourself over the kitchen counter, because there is no cosmetic or stability testing, much less formulation standards! So, if you prefer pre-made products, rest assured these all contain rice bran extract:
Komenuka Bijin All-Natural Skin Care Body Cream with Rice Bran ($33.00, Amazon.com). A truly skin-softening formula, this drinks right into the skin and leaves you hydrated. Perfect right after a bath or shower. And natural product lovers would be happy to know it contains only seven ingredients, with rice bran right at the top: Rice bran, Rice oil, Glycyrrhiza, Jojoba Oil, Aloe, Sweet Basil, Silk Extract. Just be sure to use it all right away after opening, as it does not contain chemical preservatives.
Komenuka Bijin Cleansing Foam with Rice Bran Extract ($33.90, Amazon.com). Is your skin sensitive, reddened, irritated, or rosacea-prone? This luxurious foam gives your face a soothing finish. Nicki loves it whenever the fall/winter months hit – a few uses of this foam, and she’s back to her regular routine. The only issue here is that it does not exfoliate, but sometimes your skin just needs a hug. This gives it.
Do you have any favorite rice bran protein products? Let us know!