INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Since returning to the news desk last November after a breast cancer diagnosis, you've seen the hair of Eyewitness News Anchor Andrea Morehead transform before your eyes. She bravely took to the airwaves sporting peach fuzz, and a year later, her natural hair is thicker and longer.
Morehead recently met a woman who goes by the name Jaazz Mary on social media. She shared her secret to naturally speed up the growth process with Morehead.
In one year, Jaazz Mary has become a social media influencer. It all started after she had her baby.
"I didn't know postpartum shedding is a thing," she told Andrea Morehead.
"I didn't either," Andrea shared. "I'm like, 'Mom, we have to share that with everyone. You will lose your hair.'"
"Some people don't but most people do," said Jaazz Mary, as she pointed to her edges. "I pulled my hair into a ponytail and this, everything right here is gone."
She took to YouTube and posted a question: How do I grow my hair back? Someone suggested she use rice water. It's a centuries-old Chinese tradition that apparently grows longer hair.
"You just have to wash the cup of rice and strain it. Then put it in a Mason Jar, and fill it with water," Jaazz Mary described.
The liquid needs to ferment for 24 hours. After you shampoo your hair, soak it with the rice water and rinse.
How does rice water help grow your hair?
Rice water has more than a dozen nutrients, like magnesium, folic acid, and Vitamin B.
It’s natural protein for your hair that helps stimulate growth.
Rice water is so popular, many hair products are incorporating the ingredients to fight hair loss and detangle hair.
To make sure this treatment is a good fit, you are urged to consult with your doctor, beautician and/or stylist before using rice water treatment.
Rice water is growing in popularity, especially on social media
The phenomenon has been taking off in the United States and beyond. On social media, post after post after post document folks showing off their new locks, like Jaazz Mary.
"I guess my video went viral because I actually recorded every week, like showing my results every week, and that's when everybody was like, 'her hair is really growing back,'" she said.
After only two months, her edges were back, her views were up, and the numbers keep growing with now over 80,000 Instagram followers and over 52,000 subscribers on YouTube.
"I still pretty much respond to everybody," Jaazz Mary said. "I get messages all the time. People send me messages and pictures of their hair."
"What are they saying to you as you are interacting with them through social media?" asked Morehead.
"I didn't even know what alopecia was or anything like that until people reached out to me and said they had hair loss going on, and they tried it, and it's working for them, and it's like worked better than medications they've been taking," replied Jaazz Mary.
Her reach is wide.
"There are people that reach out to me from Africa, Paris and like places I've never even been," she said.
And her influence is very close to home, including her own sister Jocelyn Johnson who also had hair loss after giving birth.
"She's like, 'Oh, your edges are going away,' and I'm like, 'Oh they're still there,'" said Johnson.
Take a look at the picture before Johnson used rice water and compare it to the picture she took after just two weeks of using rice water.
After building a strong following from helping people to grow their hair back, her subscribers are now begging for more about Jaazz Mary's personal life. Her son Jayce's birth a year ago inspired her now full time career in social media, and it's all because she used social media to help her through a real-life challenge.
"It kind of helps people to realize that I'm a person, like I'm normal just like anyone else," Jaazz Mary said.
Taking the Rice Water Challenge
Eyewitness News anchor Andrea Morehead tried the Rice Water Challenge with other participants in the month of October.
Morehead said she saw significant hair growth during the treatment:
"There are so many hair products now available for natural hair, and it's been really challenging to find the ones that work for my hair type and promote growth, too. I was intrigued by the rice water challenge because of the quick results, and positive testimonials and pictures of others. I cut up lemons, squeezed the juice, and added the rinds in my rice water to give it a nice aroma. You can also use essential oils. I was amazed by my growth, and will definitely use this homegrown natural product again."