rice extract is a seriously underestimated beauty ingredient (with a few “dangerous” caveats)

You might know that rice extract is a powerful skincare ingredient if you’re a fan of Tatcha’s ever-popular Rice Enzyme Powder, but what you might not realize is that it goes beyond face polish. Rice extract can do everything from exfoliate to hydrate skin and is even effective on hair/scalp. But not all rice is created equally. In fact, rice is an ingredient that is often contaminated by pesticides and, because the FDA requires ingredients to be listed by their INCI name (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), you won’t know the difference between contaminated rice and non-contaminated one unless you buy 100% organic products. Given this, it’s essential that if you’re not opting for a totally organic product, you’re only buying from a trusted brand (like Tatcha) that meticulously source all of their ingredients.

To find out more about the beauty benefits of rice extract I spoke with Elina Fedotova, cosmetic chemist and formulator/CEO of Elina Organics (and yes, they make products with rice extract!).

What exactly is rice extract?

Rice is one of the ancient sources of skin nutrients! For centuries, people have used rice water infusion to soothe and calm inflamed skin. Nowadays, science has proved that a water extract of rice has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect. It also provides both short- and long-term skin hydration.

-Rice extract could also be delivered by acid, enzyme or other method of hydrolysis.

-You can find rice bran wax (oryza sativa) used in skincare products as a binder.

-Rice starch has been used in face and body powders, because it is a good absorbent.

-Grinned rice is a base ingredient in some scrubs, because it has very gentle abrasive properties.

-The most precious for the skin are rice protein. Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, extracted from rice bran, is a water soluble, vegetable protein that is rich in amino acids beneficial to hair and skin. Rice proteins are obtained after the processing of rice with specific enzymes. Rice is known for being safe to use on sensitive skin. It is naturally gluten-free.

Are there quality differences when looking for this ingredient?

Yes. If rice is organically grown or conventionally grown. The concern of the quality of this is chemical contamination.

What are the skincare benefits of rice extract?

Rice is known for being safe to use even on sensitive skin. It nourishes the skin, stimulates collagen production, helps to improve elasticity, and protects it from free radicals.  Rice is rich in amino acids, vitamin E, ferulic acid and allantoin.

What are the haircare benefits of rice extract?

Hydrolyzed Rice Protein has been shown to increase hair flexibility and thickness as well as total hair volume by up to 30%. It also adds shine to the hair by increasing the ability of the hair to retain the moisture.

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