Rice facial masks [Beauty secrets of the ancient geishas]

The more colorful and expensive the kimono,  the thinner the lips and the whiter the face, the more beautiful and desired the geisha. This understanding exists in the Japanese culture from the 18th century when women get the privilege to entertain the Emperor. This is when they began to practice the geisha profession.

To keep their skin healthy, despite the pink and white foundation layers she applies on daily basis, the geisha washes her face with rice water. This century-old practice is becoming more and more popular today, and rice is involved in cosmetic products in a variety of forms.

Scrabs made of rice bran, rice flour masks, rice water toners, they can all be easily prepared at home and at affordable prices, without damaging the skin like chemically-derived ingredients for skin lightening do.

Cheap, yet effective

500 gr rice flour is enough for your beautifying masks during the next few months!

Uncooked rice
source: skinpractice.com

The rice flour is mixed with water until you obtain a thick paste, then apply the so-prepared mixture to the face and neck with slight massage movements and after about 15-20 minutes wash it off. Rice flour is made from milled rice (powdered), so even it can be prepared at home, by simply using a blender.

The water left after the rice is cooked can be also considered a finished cosmetic product. It is enough to boil some rice until completely cooked – it usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on the particular type you are using. Then leave it for another 10 minutes and separate the white and slightly dense liquid that remains on the surface.

Rice water
source: skinpractice.com

Instead of throwing it, pour it into a bottle and wash your face with it every day or every other day. If you dilute it with some rose water, you get a completely natural homemade toner you can use to clean the skin with a cotton swab (perform the procedure every evening just before bedtime).

The rice water provides an additional benefit during the winter season. Those, suffering eczema (atopic dermatitis [1]) or cold allergies, affecting the skin on the hands and face can successfully eliminate the problem by applying rice water to the sensitive areas just before going out. Rice water also relieves the inflamed corners of the lips. This is due to the antioxidant activities and skin hydration effects of rice [2].

According to the ancient Chinese, it also acts as a beneficial hair balm. It gives the hair a natural shine and makes it thicker and stronger. That’s why the Chinese have long and glossy hair.

Benefits of rice

Rice contains a large amount of aminobenzoic acid [3], which provides a sun protection function and is the main ingredient in SPF creams and lotions.

There are two other ingredients, playing an important role when it comes to skin regeneration – ferulic acid [4], which is proven to have strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties and allantoin [5] – a gentle, non-irritating, skin hydrating agent, which helps exfoliate the outer layer of the epidermis and promotes healthy tissue formation.

Thanks to them, rice masks soothe the irritated skin, which is often associated with acne breakouts. It is also used for the removal of pigment spots, freckles, and acne scars, as it provides a lightening effect on the outermost skin layer making blemishes disappear. In India, people often use the cooked rice (white) as a skin healing ointment.

Nutritional value

Besides the skin care products that can be made of the pearl grains, rice also provides the skin with various nutrients.

That’s why Ayurvedic specialists recommended rice products for the high nutritional value they can provide which has undergone as little processing as possible before it reaches the consumer.

In the white rice, which is the most popular, the grain, the germ, and the pollen are removed. Still, white rice is among the super healthy foods – it is rich in protein and fiber, free of cholesterol and harmful fat. The manganese in it is beneficial for the bones, nails, and skin, and strengthens the immune system.

Historical reference

Despite the long hours of work on the rice fields under the bright sun, women in Japan have always been famous for their porcelain skin- white, soft, smooth, and blemish-free.

Today scientists believe that this paradox is due to the fact that women working in the rice fields, used the water left after the rice was cooked as a facial cleanser, just like geishas did.

They transferred this tradition to their homes and even expanded it to the point that they even bathed in rice water. That is why rice is traditionally considered a universal source of beauty in Asian cultures.


  1. Efficacy of Fermented Rice Flour for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis
  2. Antioxidant activities and skin hydration effects of rice bran bioactive compounds entrapped in niosomes.
  3. Aminobenzoic Acid Cream
  4. What Is It: Ferulic Acid
  5. Allantoin
Facial masks with rice
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Facial masks with rice
Scrabs made of rice bran, rice flour masks, rice water toners, they can all be easily prepared at home and at affordable prices, without damaging the skin like chemically-derived ingredients for skin lightening do.
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About the author

Monika Hristova

Monika is the Editor-in-Chief at SkinPractice. She is a skin care addict and researcher, who feels strongly about helping people with different dermatology conditions from alopecia to warts.

You can read her recommendations and advice both here at SkinPractice or at Quora where she answers skincare-related questions frequently and is the most viewed author in the Skincare category with more than 3 million views or follow her on LinkedIn.

She is also a certified skin care specialist with certification from the Medical College in Sofia.

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