The gentle formula of cleansing milk makes it ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin. Learn how to make a natural Japanese beauty recipe for rice milk face wash with ingredients you can find in virtually any supermarket.
Like all things surrounding the famous Japanese artists, a geisha's beauty routine is often presented as a thing of mystery. But truth be told, the secret of their beauty lies in all-natural ingredients.
Things like green tea, rice, sea salt, adzuki beans, camellia oil, seaweed, and apple cider vinegar have long been included in their beauty regimen. Of course, it also comes down to a lifetime of eating well... but who's counting?
For us in the west, it's never too late to start babying our skin using tips and tricks passed down through the centuries. This homemade rice face wash will have your skin looking as flawless as a geisha's in no time!
Rice Milk Benefits for Skin
As we age, we lose moisture and elasticity in our skin. That means we should replace our harsh cleansers with gentle facial cleansers if we hope to keep our skin looking soft and radiant. That's where rice milk can help.
Fights inflammation: The natural anti-inflammatory properties of rice milk can help reduce redness and inflammation, making it beneficial for individuals with skin conditions like rosacea or eczema.
Exfoliates dry skin: The natural starch in rice milk can act as a gentle exfoliant, helping to remove dead skin cells and promoting a smoother complexion.
Moisturizes: Since there aren't any foaming ingredients to irritate or dry out skin, rice milk cleansers are perfect for more mature skin (or anyone that needs more serious hydration in their routine). Rice milk can also provide some hydration to the skin, leaving it soft and supple.
Has anti-aging effects: Recent research has uncovered three specific compounds contained in rice grains that were shown to inhibit aging [source] by protecting the skin from free radical damage.
Gently cleanses: Rice milk is a mild and gentle cleanser that can help remove dirt, excess oil, and impurities from the skin without causing irritation. It is suitable for people with sensitive or delicate skin.
Soothes sensitive skin: Rice milk contains soothing properties that can help calm and hydrate the skin. It may be beneficial for those with sensitive or irritated skin.
Brightens complexion: Some people use rice milk in their skincare routines to achieve a brighter complexion. It is believed to help fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation over time.
Balances oily skin: The natural ingredients in rice milk can help regulate excess oil production, making it suitable for people with oily or combination skin.
Rice milk makes a gentle and natural face cleanser for aging and sensitive skin with its mild exfoliating and soothing properties. This recipe contains essential oils and other nourishing ingredients that help to soothe and calm the skin.
Rice milk — Because it's ground in a high-speed blender before being strained, rice milk is thicker and more nutrient dense than traditional rice water. Its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties make it a perfect addition to your daily beauty routine.
Honey — a natural humectant to help your skin retain moisture.
Rosewater — a natural toner that can help balance your skin's pH.
Make rice milk for skin cleanser: Cook 1 cup of rice. Let it cool for a few minutes and transfer it to a blender. Blend the rice and water in the blender until it's smooth and creamy. Pour the blended rice milk through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container to separate the liquid from any remaining rice solids. Transfer the strained rice milk to a clean, airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
Make rice flour: Grind rice in a food processor (or coffee grinder for smaller batches) until it turns into a fine powder. Sift the ground rice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger particles. Put in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.
Make rice cleansing milk: Combine rice milk, honey, rosewater and essential oil in small bowl and whisk together. Transfer to a sterilized bottle with a lid.
Rice water — A popular ingredient that's touted to help with basically everything (skin, hair, nails) is rice water, aka the starchy liquid that's left behind after washing rice. Studies have found that rice water has antioxidant abilities, protecting skin from free radicals and slowing down the signs of aging [source]. Pretty impressive, right?!
Add a little extra water when making your next batch of rice. Then strain out the rice and set the water aside to cool completely before using it in your next batch of cleanser.
Cow's milk — If you don't have any rice or rice milk on hand, you can use cow's milk instead. Milk is a gentle and effective way to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your skin. It also makes a great base for cleansing milk because it's rich in lactic acid, which can help exfoliate and brighten your skin.
Rosehip oil — You can sub the rosewater for a teaspoon of nourishing rosehip oil for its anti-aging benefits.
Rice Cleanser Variations
You can enhance a face wash by adding other natural ingredients, depending on your skin type and needs.
DIY rice powder cleanser: If you're in a pinch, you can use a rice flour scrub made with distilled water. Mixing distilled water with rice flour helps you take advantage of all the goodness of rice water without needing to have washed a whole lot of rice.
Foaming rice face wash for oily skin: Combine 1 cup of rice milk with 2 tablespoon liquid Castile soap, 2 tablespoon aloe vera gel and 2 drops tea tree oil for a gentle foaming face wash. Massage it gently onto your damp skin in a circular motion, avoiding the eye area.
Rice water toner: Swipe a rice toner over your skin to reap the skin-brightening effects of rice.
How to Use a Rice Milk Face Wash
Remove makeup: Before getting started, remove any makeup or sunscreen from your face using makeup remover or cleansing oil.
Gently massage: Use your fingertips to massage the cleansing milk onto your skin. Be gentle, and make sure you cover your entire face, including your neck and jawline. Avoid getting the cleansing milk in your eyes.
Mask: If you have time, you can leave the milk cleanser on your face as a quick rice face mask (for 5 minutes or so) to help your skin make the most of the ingredients.
Exfoliate: Add rice flour to the milk cleanser two to three times a week for additional exfoliation. Right before using, combine a small amount of rice flour (about 1 tbsp) with enough rice milk to form a paste. The consistency should be like a thick, but spreadable, paste.
Rinse: Use lukewarm water to rinse and remove the cleanser.
Moisturize: After rinsing, follow up with your favorite moisturizer for super-radiant skin, all thanks to the wholesome goodness of rice! It's an underestimated ingredient in almost everyone's pantry and actually does a lot for hair and skin—that is, if you know how to use it.
Can I use rice milk on my face every day? Yes, just keep an eye out for redness or irritation and take a break if any issues pop up.
Because this recipe contains water, it has a pretty short shelf-life. Store any leftover rice milk cleanser in the refrigerator and use it within 7-10 days.
Yes! Since it doesn't strip your skin of its natural oils, this cleanser will keep dry skin feeling soft and moisturized. If needed, follow up with a light face oil for added moisture.
There haven't been many scientific studies done on the subject, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it might. It wouldn't hurt to try it out for a few weeks and see what happens.
Rice-based treatments may help with acne to some extent due to their potential to soothe and hydrate the skin. However, they are not a replacement for targeted acne treatments, and people with acne-prone skin should continue using their regular acne-fighting products in addition to a homemade cleanser.
When it comes to rice water or rice milk beauty products, consistency is key. You may experience a temporary tightening or brightening effect as well as a smoother texture immediately after application. But it may take several months of regular use before you'll see an improvement in dark spots, scars, and hyperpigmentation.
More Rice Recipes
If you want more ways to incorporate rice milk and rice water into your routine, check out these recipes as well:
Rice Milk Face Wash Recipe
- Small bowl and spoon
- Make rice milk, if using homemade: Cook 1 cup of rice. Let it cool for a few minutes and transfer it to a blender. Blend the rice and water in the blender until it's smooth and creamy. Pour the blended rice milk through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container to separate the liquid from any remaining rice solids. Transfer the strained rice milk to a clean, airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Make rice flour, if using homemade: Grind rice in a food processor (or coffee grinder for smaller batches) until it turns into a fine powder. Sift the ground rice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger particles. Put in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.
- Combine rice milk, honey, rosewater and essential oil in small bowl and whisk together. Transfer to a sterilized bottle with a lid.
- Use your fingertips to massage the cleansing milk onto your skin. Be gentle, and make sure you cover your entire face, including your neck and jawline. Avoid getting the cleansing milk in your eyes. Let sit for 1–2 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- To exfoliate, mix 1 tablespoon flour and milk cleanser together to form a paste and apply to skin. Repeat 2-3 times a week.
Goufo P, et al. Rice antioxidants: phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, tocopherols, tocotrienols, γ-oryzanol, and phytic acid. Food Sci Nutr. 2014.
Quan NV, et al. Momilactones A, B, and tricin in rice grain and by-products are potential skin aging inhibitors. Foods. 2019.
Marto J, et al. Rice water: a traditional ingredient with anti-aging efficacy. Cosmetics. 2018.
Inamasu S, et al. Abstracts: the effect of rinse water obtained from the washing of rice (YU-SU-RU) as a hair treatment. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician with more than 20 years of practice experience. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana-Maria Stanciu285