DIY Beauty: how to brighten your skin with rice powder

Back in April 2009, I blogged about using rice water to wash your face and that entry remained popular even today. The reason is because a lot of girls want fairer skin and the rice water can help them achieve the desired effects without burning a hole in their pockets. Actually, instead of rice water, a better ingredient would be the rice powder or rice flour.

Popular in Asia
Rice powder or flour is a widely known ingredient to treat blemishes, wrinkles and pigmentation. In fact, this ingredient has been used as an anti-aging skin treatment in many Asian countries for centuries. The Geishas in Japan, for example, use rice powder in their beauty routine and despite their heavy makeup, their skin remain porcelain smooth.

UV protection
A reader pointed out that rice water can make our skin photosensitive but based on what I’ve read, rice powder can actually protect our skin against the harmful UV rays. In fact, I understand that field workers in various Asian countries often apply something of a paste made from rice powder and water to protect their skin from the sun.

Exfoliating properties
Besides offering UV protection, rice powder has exfoliating properties and so that can help to keep the skin looking brighter. Other than that, rice powder has a chemical structure similar to ceramide, and ceramide increases collagen production to make skin more supple.

Use it alone or with other ingredients
In this picture, I’ve only used pure rice flour mixed with mineral water into a paste. However, you can also mix the rice flour with yogurt or even milk or honey. It’s really your choice of ingredients. Apply on your face and neck and rinse off after 10 minutes or when the paste dries. Easy peasy!

Instant brightening effects
There were pictures I took of my hand in the experiment and I took them down because I’m so pissed with some random readers just thinking it’s their right to give me their cow sense as if I’m selling them something here. This is DIY, duh. I’ve explained earlier that there were lighting issues and no photo enhancements were made. Plus my hand did look brighter to my naked eyes. But do note that the effects are temporary; you’ve got to use this treatment frequently like once or twice a week over a course of a month to see a change in your skin tone.

Availability of rice powder
Rice powder is not really readily available in Singapore. I’ve seen one that is organic selling at Cold Storage. That’s probably a good choice since you have no worries that the rice might have been bleached. Alternatively, you can grind your own powder out of rice grains. A bit troublesome no doubt but it’ll cost you practically nothing!


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  1. Angel says

    Oooh! I’ll have to try this. Thanks for the tip!
    I have a coffee grinder…I’ll have to experiment grinding my own. :)

  2. says

    Thank you, I will eat my rice flour, instead!
    Soos last post is: The Most Delicious Beans – the Tooting Comes with the Territory

      • says

        Mixed with some water and sugar and steamed or baked as a sweet treat once in a while. Or used like regular flour to coat fish or chicken before sauteing.
        Soos last post is: I Had a Heart Attack…on a Plate

        • sesame says

          Oh I didn’t know about using rice flour! I always use corn flour to coat the fish or chicken.

  3. says

    This post reminds me of the traditional rice face powder or called bedak sejuk. Not sure if you have use before? All the pastilles are packaged in a bottle and pastilles will form to a paste when applied with water. Mom always put this on my face and really have to thank her for that. My face is always smooth and pimple free.

    Hmm…looks like I have to look for it now:)
    Alexandra last post is: Review: Garden of Wisdom Argan Anti Aging Serum

  4. Rainbow says

    Hello! Great idea, I want to try that one out!!
    I was wondering whether you recommend white or brown rice powder for this? i think the white one is also unbleached, but just made out of white rice.

    • sesame says

      White rice is fine. I haven’t read anything on brown rice but I suspect it should yield the same, if not better benefits.

    • sesame says

      Good question…if you wash, it would be wet and you can’t grind. It should be dry but then again, our question is would it be clean. Hmm…I think the rice grains aren’t too dirty.

  5. says

    Oooooh interesting! The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant I use (Twice a week at most) also contains rice powder amongst others, but this is of course more natural haha 😛

    Though like reader Alexandra pointed out above it reminds me of bedak sejuk… which IS made of rice powder too. It’s been slowly going through a revival now as far as I can see :O
    Stephanie/Yukaeshi last post is: What’s In My Bag Part Deux

      • says

        I think you can get it from traditional Chinese medicine shops, or the really small old grocery shops. Not sure about Singapore but if it’s the same as Malaysia it should be like that 😛 Old timers would remember it more, because I remember my late grandmother owning a bottle of one. My mother knows of it but the use of has declined since her generation.
        Stephanie/Yukaeshi last post is: What’s In My Bag Part Deux

        • says

          Like Stephanie said, it can be found in traditional Chinese Med Shops. I must admit that it’s hard to find one bottle in KL area but you can get loads from Penang. It’s usually in a bottle and some may come with dry bits of screwpine leaves.
          Alexandra last post is: Review: Garden of Wisdom Argan Anti Aging Serum

          • Mai says

            Y0u can get it in th0se malay stalls selling traditi0nal jamu & medicines. That Ind0nesian sh0p in Marina Square (Sari Ayu?) should have it c0z m0st 0f the ones in SG comes from Ind0nesia.

          • sesame says

            I thought so too but I haven’t go round to check. I saw one such store at Parkway Parade some time back. Anyway, I’m getting one from a reader who just bought from Malaysia. :)

  6. says

    Can I grind up brown rice instead of white rice? Would it work the same?
    Chris last post is: Makeup Breakdowns: Irene Ippoliti

    • sesame says

      Should yield the same benefits…if not better but I haven’t read anything specific about brown rice so can’t confirm.

  7. says

    Oh my, what a shame! I am Asian and I have not heard of this. I was thinking of grinding my own too but if it isn’t organic – a produce fertilized by chemicals, is it going to have a negative effect on my skin?

    • sesame says

      Should not have negative effect. I have been using one that is not organic…no issues. But of course organic would be better if you can get hold of them.

    • sesame says

      Might be…cos some of them are so white. So that’s why I recommend organic if you can go for that.

    • sesame says

      Yup, that’s why if you’ve read my review carefully, I mentioned that the lighting might have played a part.

  8. jc says

    Bedak sejuk is also rice powder. My mom has been making them for as long as I can remember and she has perfect complexion! I still remember my sisters and I going to school with the bedak sejuk splattered all over our faces and the girls would laugh at us! This ritual has passed on to my daughter and hopefully to hers. You can find them in most chinese sundry shops especially in Penang, and pretty cheap too.

    • sesame says

      All of you are making me curious about this bedak sejuk. I’ve never seen it before. MUST go and check it out.

    • sesame says

      Er…not so sure. Still rice right? So probably yield the same benefits. I did a quick check and yeah, seems that others are using it for beauty purposes.

  9. says

    Thanks for this post!
    I just “obtained” some rice flour from my grandma’s place and it’s called 粘米粉 in chinese. I’m wondering if it’s the same cuz it says “Rice Flour” in front. According to my mum, this is readily available at the provision shops.

    • sesame says

      Not too sure…is it from pure rice? If so, then should be the same. I’ve seen that in Chinese around.

    • sesame says

      I have clean forgotten about it…since I haven’t seen it around. If I still don’t see it around, I’ll forget about it again until someone point out.

  10. says

    WoW…i didn’t know rice powder could do that too..!! Thanks for sharing…btw.. i love the fact that you gave the before/after pictures..

  11. says

    Wow I think I saw Michelle phan talking abt he benefits of rice water some time ago. I have never seen this powder in the supermarkets but I’ll go hunting for it soon. Anything for fairer skin
    Blovetbeauty last post is: EOTD with NYX Super Fat Eye Marker

  12. Eu Gene says

    Hello Sesame, I assumed that you are the author of this post.

    I have doubts, I can see the pictures you posted for comparison do not match the color setting. Four out of four differences can be seen with naked eye.

    Such as wood are much darker in color in the first picture, and then the color getting lesser and lesser until the last picture lost most of the brown color.

    The porcelain also lost some of the green color compared to the second picture.

    I assumed that the first and the third picture are “before applying the rice”, and here again we can clearly see the differences.

    Can you clarify these doubts?


    • sesame says

      Did you read my review? Did you notice that I’ve mentioned about the lightings accounting for the difference? Yes, my eyes can also see the difference and that’s why I qualified in my writing.

      It’s not possible for me to control the lightings and I am not a professional photographer and I cannot take perfect pictures that matches even when the timings are just one after another.

      If you have doubts, than don’t believe it. I’m not selling anything and there’s nothing to benefit if you think I’m lying or something.

  13. Beezy says

    if u get a zit, apply the bedak sejuk directly on it & leave overnight. the pimple will dry out faster. :)

    • sesame says

      If I understand correctly, the bran in the unpolished rice is quite beneficial for our skin so brown rice comes across better.

    • sesame says

      I’m sure you can but with the body, but it’s such a bigger area…if you use frequently enough, you probably see some results in a month or two.

  14. marie03 says

    another thing. is it ok if i only mix rice powder in mineral water? or is milk more effective? thanks. :)

  15. Elaine l. says

    It’s been a while since I diy-ed:)
    I like diy facial masks:) I used to do 2 or a combination of honey, oatmeal and green tea powder mask. But it gets rather messy. So instead of a paste, I diluted the mixture and use sheet mask to dip in with.
    Found brown rice powder at ntuc and did a mask just, with honey so that the paste is stickier and more easily managed. I think it is too harsh as a face scrub, but would be good as a body scrub instead. I just wash off without scrubbing after putting on for about 20mins or so. I’ll keep using it (since I already bought one big pack of powder ) to see if it yield any brightening effects. All I need now is persistence… 😉

    • sesame says

      Great…I’m glad you’re enjoying the DIY process. It’s kind of fun and I now look for ingredients in the supermarket for such purposes rather than to cook. Haha…

  16. Sherah says

    Ooooooh my goodness… I found rice flour in the impossible place… I’m gonna faint. It’s in Market Place at paragon for $$$1.70 only.
    I’m very sure it’s correct. It
    Ingredient states: rice n water…!
    Im So Happy. Grab 1 n left..:D

  17. Xin says

    I am using rice water as toner recently. I only use it on the day as I can wash it off by night. My wear time is shorter than my night time wear of toner application…as I am afraid of bacterial growth that may arise from rice water or rice flour as pointed in blogs and articles. I live in a tropical country. The climate is hot and humid that makes me sweat a lot. I really wanted to use rice powder/flour as face powder or face mask like you did. My question is – have you tried it as face mask? If you were, how long before you cleanse face? Were you able to reach around 8 hrs or more?

    Anyone here experience using the rice powder as powder or use it as mask daily? Anyone got any problem like acne after wearing the powder for the day? For the paste, do you use it at night as cleanser before you sleep? Anyone experience having blemishes after? Thanks.

    • sesame says

      Mask as in like a paste applied to the face but only for 10 – 15 mins or once it dries up and I’ll wash off. I think you should try to use it about twice or thrice a week…not daily.

    • sesame says

      It should but you need some patience. Try with yogurt…it should take a few weeks with regular usage.

        • sesame says

          Yes, if your skin is not dry. But I would encourage alternate usage. You can use the yogurt daily though. Remember to apply sunscreen.

  18. jeyten says

    Thanks so much for the enlightenment,I rily appreciate it will try it out.I don’t really understand why some people are quick to attack your piece lyk u hav something personal to gain when it is not as if you are selling the product ,reading testimonies of others is enough for anyone to believe…..u either tak it or not as no one is forcin anyone to try it out

    • sesame says

      Hi Jeyten: hope this will work for you and you’ll like it. Thanks for taking my word for this remedy…I really appreciate it. :)

    • sesame says

      According to some readers, it takes a few week with consistent usage. I use it once a week and my skin does appear a tad fairer but then again I have to qualify that I am also using other skin care products and they might have contributed to the fairness.

  19. saya says

    Thanks for sharing this Sesame! I’m definitely giving this a shot.

    I’m curious about how the rice powder is actual absorbed by the skin – would the rice powder be more effective if it were mixed with an oil (like jojoba) rather than water, since oil absorbs into skin a lot more readily.. or is that overkill?

    would you know if mixing a bit of jojoba oil or another “carrier” oil would make it m

    • Sesame says

      Oh no…don’t use oil. Rice powder is not meant to stay on but to be washed off. It can be used like a mask or powder but it’ll probably be messy with oil.

  20. carmen says


    I am so glad i found this. But can i use rice flour? Would it be the same? i dont know where i can find rice powder..

  21. Faith says

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. I intend to give it a try! Previously I came across a comment made by one of your readers who had mentioned the amazing result given by mixing rice powder with charcoal powder.. But where can we get charcoal powder in Singapore?

    • Sesame says

      I’m not too sure. I’m sourcing for the charcoal powder. If I do find it, I’ll post about it. 😉

  22. gella says

    hi there!

    just wanna ask how long it took for you to see skin lightening improvements on your skin? and what are the measurements you used to make the paste? t
    -thanks xoxo

    • Sesame says

      It might have to take at least a month of consistent usage to see results but it also depends on skin types. The measurements are rather loose…just add enough to make into a paste.

  23. Airie says

    I’m from Philippines and we only have glutinous rice. Is it the same with rice powder? because I look up rice powder on google and encyclopedia says, rice powder in Philippines is Glutinous rice.

  24. sofie says

    Dear sesame,
    My rice paste doesn’t seem like paste at all. The rice flour i bought from mustafa does not dissolve in water, and forms sediments with cloudy water(the kind you get when washing rice) instead, such that when i apply it on my skin, it drips off leaving rice flour on my body. Yours seems to actually form paste. Is it true?

  25. Girly says

    Hi, just like to share with you. You can actually find rice powder in Singapore.
    They sell it at Tanjong Katong Complex at Geylang Serai. There’s a store at level 1 (near second chance/first lady) selling medicated ointments/books etc.
    You can ask the cashier for bedak sejuk/rice powder for the face. It works miracle. It cost SGD2.50 and you can buy rose water from the store too and just blend the powder with the rose water. It works miracle. =)

  26. karen says

    I not sure maybe you do some picture enhancement to make a difference..just observe the color of the container where you mixed the ingredients as what you can see it was darker before (1st pic. vs. 2nd pic.) ..and try to observe the color of what you call that kind of wooden stick table cover? It is brighter than before (3rd pic. vs. 4th pic.)….but despite of that i do hear & believe that rice flour can do help in making skin fair :)))) Godbless..

  27. 3sh says

    Hi there, loved your review. Well just wanted to know, cause im indian and well light brown skin( not tan) so just wanted to go maybe 1 or 2 shades fair. just wanted to ask whether will it cause blotchiness on face or side effects and any ideas of getting rid of puffy eyes( mine are more likely to permanent :/ )
    ps: in a day do it twice or once?
    thanks alot :) have a great day!

    • Sesame says

      It won’t cause blotchiness if you used it consistently on your skin. Once would be good enough. If you’re concerned about blotchiness, try it on an area of your skin that you’re more comfortable with eg. your hands? As for puffy eyes, depending on what’s the reason, drinking tea might help.

  28. says


    Just shared this post on Facebook. Must say I’ve tried many homemade skin lightening recipes and none of them was worth the mess. This one realy works and is not even too messy. I must try and make a soap from it.


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