Even though I don’t do much to my hair — i.e. I rarely heat style it or attempt to put it into a trendy updo — it just looks lackluster. To quote Kim Kardashian: It’s the least interesting [head of hair] to look at. You’d think an air-drying habit would leave my strands more healthy and buoyant, but that’s not the case for me. Instead, my fine, slightly wavy hair is dull and doesn’t give off the Cher-esque vibe I’m going for.
This is why I’m always down to try masks and other restorative concoctions that deliver intense TLC to the hair so that it looks glorious and salon-worthy. And that’s how I discovered the recently launched Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment — a product that actually gives me good hair days thanks to its multitasking formula. I like it so much that I’ve even found myself sassily tossing my hair behind my shoulder whenever I catch my reflection in a mirror. Read on to hear more about how the formula works, along with photographic proof of the magic this product does to my strands.
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First Up: The Basics
Briogeo’s latest creation is a two-in-one: It delivers a protein treatment and a potent dose of moisture, all during the 10 minutes you leave it in your hair. And it works on all hair types and textures. When I spoke with Nancy Twine, the brand’s founder, about the formula, I was intrigued — especially because protein and moisture are arguably two of the most essential elements behind having healthy hair.
To get a little science-y for a second: Protein is a building block of your hair. When you don’t have enough of it, or if you regularly get your hair color-treated (like I do), your strands become brittle and dry. But overdoing protein-based hair treatments will dry your hair out and make it more vulnerable to damage — and that’s where moisture comes in. Moisture tackles hair dryness (obviously) and is essentially the yin to protein’s yang.
The latest addition to Briogeo’s Don’t Despair Repair line relies on protein from rice water, a beloved ingredient that's been used for centuries by women in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia for its beautifying benefits. Alicia Yoon, licensed esthetician and founder of skin care brand Peach & Lily, previously told Bustle rice has been used for beauty treatments in Korea for generations. Besides its effects on the skin, she points to its nourishing prowess for the hair. “I’ve tried it on my hair and it leaves it quite soft, and I do feel it becomes stronger,” she says. You may have seen it on your TikTok feed too: The hashtag #ricewater currently has over 459 million views and reveals countless videos of users gushing about its effects on their skin and hair. That’s all because rice protein is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids, making it an MVP at strengthening your strands.
To balance out the protein, the formula uses a slew of moisturizing oils — including rosehip, avocado, jojoba, and coconut — along with various plant-derived waxes so your hair remains hydrated and shiny.
Why I’m Obsessed
The rice water treatment is as easy to use as a conditioner, though you can also leave it in overnight for more intensive TLC. After shampooing, you press down on the pump to get the protein and moisture-spiked product out of the dual-chamber bottle and apply it evenly through your damp hair. It’s a creamy pale-pink elixir that smells like fruity florals, which made the application process feel like a mini aromatherapy moment. To let it do its thing for the full 10 minutes, I proceeded to do the rest of my shower routine before rinsing it out. Immediately after the water hit my hair, I noticed it felt dolphin-smooth.
I let my hair dry naturally without any styling so I could see its full effects. Fast forward to about an hour later, and I peeked into the mirror to see a head of hair that looked like it had been exorcised from the dead: It was glossy, incredibly soft, and even the color appeared more vibrant. It also felt lighter than its usual languid state, likely due to the plethora of B vitamins in the formula — ingredients that are known to improve hair elasticity.
After one use, I was impressed. But I’ve continued to use the treatment once a week for about a month now, and each time my hair looks even better when it dries. It’s not nearly as frizzy as it used to be, it feels like it’s about as soft as it was in my adolescent years pre-heat-styling and dyeing, and it doesn’t just hang there anymore. I like my hair again.
Briogeo has also made it easier to use rice water in your hair: To follow millions of others who use the ingredient and post about it on TikTok, you have to make rice, let it soak (for at least a day), strain it, then pour the remaining concoction over your head. It’s messy and takes effort. Though I’ve been wanting to try the DIY beauty hack, I’m not patient enough to do all of that — hence why this product is so great.
FWIW, I’ve used plenty of cult-favorite protein-based hair treatments (think: Olaplex and K18), as well as targeted formulas that deliver moisture. With the Briogeo product, you’re getting both in one bottle — and I’m all for anything that makes my beauty routine easier. Whether your hair’s dry, damaged, color-treated, or ravaged by the winter elements, this stuff can help restore it to a better, healthier state. Personally, I’m going to keep it in my weekly hair care regimen.