I was born with a head full of curly hair.
Well, actually, I was bald. But as soon as I got hair, it was snarly and kinky and very ill-behaved. One of my earliest memories was of me sitting on a stool in the bathroom, holding on to the doorknob for dear life so I wouldn’t fall off while my mother tried to scalp me with a comb.
She claims she was only trying to brush my impossible hair.
In any case, the whole incident scared the curls right out of my hair. The snarls turned into respectable waves, and everything was songbirds and rainbows until I hit puberty.
In a twist of providence, the puberty fairy messed up. Instead of bringing me the curvy body and pin-straight hair I’d been longing for since fifth grade, she brought me curvy hair and a pin-straight body.
I still hate puberty. But over the years, I’ve learned to love my hair.
It’s not care-free and easy like all the grocery store checkout girls seem to think it is:
“Oh! I love your hair! Curly hair is so easy!”
Meanwhile, in the real world of curly hair, that wash-and-go look has taken a lot of perfecting. One of the things I have found to help tame my curls is a magical recipe for flax seed hair gel.
Okay, so it’s not really magical. But it does keep my hair frizz-free and manageable, even though I live in the Pacific NorthWet where frizz is as much a part of life as fleece pullovers and strong coffee.
The best thing is, it costs a fraction of the price of anything you’ll find in the store and it works just as well. I’ll even go so far as to say it works better.
Here’s how to Make Your Own Flax Seed Hair Gel (in less than five minutes!)
What You’ll Need
2 tablespoons flax seed (you can use brown or golden, but brown is cheaper)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
2-3 drops essential oil (I like lavender)
Be sure you have a fine mesh strainer, funnel, and a container to store the finished product.
How You’ll Do it
In a small saucepan, combine flax seed and water. Be sure to stir gently because the flax seeds tend to stick to the bottom of the pot and can burn. Bring the water to a slow boil, stirring constantly as it begins to get hot. The mixture will start to get small white bubbles, resembling egg whites, and the flax seeds will begin to suspend in the liquid. This takes about 4-6 minutes.
Once the flax seeds begin to suspend in the liquid, remove the gel from heat and immediately pour through a strainer to remove the seeds. Do not overcook. If you overcook it, the entire thing will turn into a gloppy mess. It is much better to undercook it than to overcook it.
However, even when it is perfectly cooked, the gel will cling to the seeds; stir it around with a metal spoon to get the most gel off the seeds. I find this works best in two batches. Pour the first bit in with as few seeds as possible. Once strained, remove the seeds to a separate bowl and strain the remaining gel. If too many seeds collect in the strainer, it makes it harder for any more gel to get through.
Reserve seeds. You can store them in the fridge and use them for one more batch. Frugal joy! After the second batch, discard.
Meanwhile, you can stir in any or all of the optional ingredients to the strained gel.
Raw honey is fabulous for curly hair (and no, it’s not sticky) because it draws moisture from the air and traps it around the hair follicles. This sounds like it would create a frizzy mess, but just the opposite is true. Well-moisturized hair means less frizz, and that is always a good thing. Raw honey has natural antibacterial properties which means it will help to keep things from growing in your hair gel that shouldn’t. Plus, it has tons of other great things for your hair so I always use it.
Unrefined coconut oil is one of the best moisturizers you can use on your hair. When you add it to the gel, it will solidify as it cools and create tiny flecks of hard coconut oil in the gel. This melts when you squeeze the gel into your hand and adds extra moisture to your hair. If you have oily hair, you might want to skip this ingredient. Will refined coconut oil do the same thing? No. Refined coconut oil is a totally different animal. Or oil. Stick to the good stuff. Your hair will thank you.
Essential oils add a lovely smell to an otherwise scentless product. Plus, they have powerful antibiotic properties which will help to keep the flax seed gel fresh longer. Lavender essential oil is great for your scalp too. It helps to prevent dandruff, encourages hair growth, and reduces buildup that can make your hair dull. Don’t overdue it however. A little goes a long way.
Once you’ve stirred in any optional ingredients and allowed the gel to cool, pour it into a squeeze bottle for easier use. You should have about 3/4 c. of gel.
It is best to store the flax seed gel in the refrigerator between uses. It spoils quickly, especially in the summer months. Simply warm a small amount in your hands and use in place of hair gel in your styling routine.
This hair gel does not make your hair curly. It simply defines the curls you already have. I find it works best when I scrunch my hair or use a diffuser to blow dry. This is what my hair looks like using only flax seed hair gel.
Eat your heart out, Puberty.
Now it’s your turn! Go cook up a batch of hair gel and let us know how it works for you.