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Ask a Chemist – Reset Rinse Q&A with Esha

In honor of our Reset Rinse launch this week, we’re shining a spotlight on Esha, the chemist and formulator who helped us create this amazing product! A beauty enthusiast herself, she talks about her personal experience with making DIY rice water treatments, why rice water is so beneficial for your hair, and about rice water’s deep beauty roots in Asain cultures, specifically in India, where she grew up. 

 

Tell us about yourself! 

Hi, my name is Esha!  I am a cosmetic and over-the-counter (OTC) drug chemist. I have been a chemist for over 10 years working internationally and domestically, specializing in clean beauty. I love formulating cosmetics, specifically hair care products. I have always been interested in science and how the products we use affect the human body. I am currently working as the lead R & D Chemist at the company I work for in Florida and am also pursuing my PHD in chemistry!

 

What is your personal experience with rice water as a hair treatment? Have you ever DIY’d it yourself?

Rice water treatments have been used for hair care by Asian women for many years. The water in which the rice is soaked contains an abundant amount of beneficial minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that have amazing positive results when used on human hair!

There are many methods to use rice water, but Fermented rice water is the easiest way to use for DIY and what I have normally done for my own hair care routine.

After I make it, I typically spray the rice water on my hair and let it soak for about 20 minutes while I run through my nightly routine. I do not shampoo my hair every night, but I do rinse out the rice water contents while taking my evening shower.

 

Searching the web for DIY home remedies is how a lot of people learn about this ingredient for the first time. It’s actually the first product that La La started making herself out of her kitchen and what inspired her to create INALA! There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence as to what rice water treatments can do for your hair since it’s been used in various Asian cultures for centuries, but from a chemist’s perspective, what makes rice water such a good ingredient for hair? 

The nutrition that is left in the water after the rice has soaked is like “Miracle Grow” for your hair.  It is rich in vitamins and nutrients that feed the hair and scalp and encourages healthy growth. Since it is a completely natural and drug-free source of minerals, vitamins, and other hair-nourishing nutrients, it just seems the way to go…It feels very good to use on your hair!

 

From a formulation perspective, rice water can benefit hair in the following ways:
  • It serves as a natural and drug-free hair growth promoter.
  • It contains amino acids, which provide nourishment to the hair and scalp. Rice water contains an impressive 8 amino acids, so it's easy to see why it's so beneficial for hair growth!
  • Contains Vitamin B, which is needed for strong hair.
  • Contains Vitamin C, which is needed to produce sebum to keep the scalp healthy and moisturized.
  • Contains Vitamin E, which helps prevent hair loss.
  • It helps prevent split ends.
  • Strengthens damaged hair shafts to keep them healthy.
  • It promotes shiny hair.

 

What makes the rice water used for INALA products unique?

The rice water that we have sourced to be used in the INALA collection is 100% pure rice water that is product stable. Many “do it yourself” types of products that use rice water are using fermented rice water, which tends to leave behind a heavy odor that can be difficult to mask.

 

We launched our Reset Rinse this week that you formulated for us – Tell us about how the other key ingredients like lactic acid, glycolic acid, and aloe were chosen, and what kind of benefits they give to the hair and scalp.

You may be familiar with them in skincare products, but AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) such as lactic and glycolic acid, are also super helpful for your hair and scalp, especially when trying to promote healthy hair growth.

Lactic acid was added to the Reset Rinse as a gentle and non-abrasive way to assist with breaking down dead skin and product build-up, both of which can contribute to hair thinning if not thoroughly removed. It also helps to maintain the pH balance of your hair and scalp and helps to make your hair more manageable. Unlike the Power Potion, which is a scalp-specific product, the Reset Rinse is designed to be used on the scalp and hair, and lactic acid helps your strands by increasing the tensile strength of your hair, thus preventing breakage, shedding, and thinning. It’s definitely an all-star ingredient!

Another AHA, glycolic acid, was used in the Reset Rinse because it is known to attach itself to keratin to help protect the hair from damage and help promote hair growth. It works by penetrating the hair shaft’s cuticle layer, much like water, and enhances the softness, protection, and manageability of both healthy and chemically damaged hair! Unlike water, glycolic acid persists in the hair shaft for a longer-lasting effect. Additionally, it moisturizes and exfoliates the scalp, resulting in less flaking, to give the scalp a healthy look and feel. In skin care, glycolic has a long-proven reputation as an effective non-physical exfoliant and moisturizer, and it does the same for the scalp when used at the appropriate levels in hair care products. 

Aloe, also a common ingredient in skincare, was used to help provide hydration to both the scalp and hair. Enriched with natural minerals, aloe vera contains vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which may help strengthen the hair. This soothing plant also naturally contains zinc and provides moisture and hydration, which can be helpful for people who have dandruff or who have other scalp conditions. And most famously, aloe gel has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a common remedy for sunburns. For the scalp, it can help soothe and prevent irritation and aggravation of various skin conditions.

 

When La La was getting INALA up and going, her mission was to create treatment-focused products that were easy to incorporate into a routine, that felt beautiful and luxurious, and that worked. Being in the public spotlight, she saw a personal link to the condition of her hair and her confidence in being out in the world. What is your personal #StrandStory?

Living in India for the first twenty-plus years of my life, I learned first-hand how great Rice Water is for one’s hair. India has an ancient history with a treasured herbal medicine practice called Ayurveda, which includes complex medication techniques as well as a plethora of amazing, yet simple, home remedies. Something as simple as rice water can do wonders for your hair. Asian women have used rice to beautify their faces, bodies, and hair for centuries. I believe that having long hair is an auspicious sign of good health, good fortune, and longevity.

After graduating from the university, I started my scientific career in personal care, cosmetics, and haircare. Being able to bring the Asian practice of rice water into the mainstream with its scientific backing is very exciting to me!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Who should we interview next? Let us know in the comments!

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Power Potion

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Turn your hair into locks of confidence with our Power Potion leave-in treatment. Formulated to strengthen hair and stimulate the scalp for healthy growth.

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Reset Rinse

$30.00

Weekly Scalp & Hair Treatment with 100% Pure Rice Water Extract

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The Starter Bundle

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