Japanese rice terraces

Why Asian Women Value Rice

When I wrote the book Beauty Confidential – Build Your Happiness with Homemade Skincare Products and Home Spa, the first thing I wanted to share was the rice cleanser recipe that I have been practicing since youth, which my grandmother taught me.

Rice is the lifeblood of Asian life, not only because it is a staple food. Indeed ‘rice’ literally means ‘food’ in many Asian languages, and we often greet one another by saying ‘Have you eaten rice?’ instead of ‘How are you doing?’ In Japan we believe rice has a soul! and is used in traditional ceremonies.

But in cosmetics, rice serves as a natural source of ceramides which is an excellent moisturiser and helps to condition dry skin. What is more, rice oil contains vitamins, minerals and tocopherols, which are recognised as antioxidants. This explains why the beauty tradition using rice water exists in most Asian countries where rice is a staple food. Yes rice water, which you may have been throwing all into drain all these years!

A study conducted in Japan in the late 1980s with nearly 1,000 women who washed their faces with rice water twice daily showed that 90% percent said their skin improved and importantly, none claimed any side effects. Yes it is completely ‘natural’ in every sense!

The secret is that rice water actually contains very fine rice residue that is rich in vitamins and minerals, which works as an effective natural exfoliation that is gentle enough for daily use.

So, here is the real ‘too good to be true’ and ‘too simple to be effective’ but truly natural and effective daily cleanser recipe – you should try today!

Ingredients (1 cup for one time usage)

  • 3 cups Japanese rice
  • 1 cup clean water


  1. Pour water into rice and immediately discard without touching. This will remove unwanted dust.
  2. Pour a cup of clean water into rice and this time wash rice several times. 
  3. Pour the rice water into a clean cup and store in refrigerator for one day to settle. 
  4. Remove from refrigerator and let it set until room temperature before use.    
  5. Use the water without stirring it to wash the face. 
  6. Gently massage the face with the thick residue left at the bottom of the container.


If Jasmine or other types of rice that are not as glutinous as Japanese rice, is the only option, then you can leave the rice to soak overnight. This way you can get most of the rice extract before taking the ‘golden drip’.  The overnight-soaked rice may be suitable for porridge rather than cooked as steamed rice.
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