Introduction: Homemade Flaxseed Hair Gel for Curly, Frizzy Hair

This gel is easy to make, and it works very well to control my naturally frizzy hair. It isn't sticky or drying like some store-bought gels I've tried, and ever since I discovered this, I don't even use conditioner anymore!

A lot of people ask me if my hair color is real, and the answer is yes. I have never colored my hair, and none of these photos were altered or enhanced in any way. It does look brighter in the sunlight, though. I also get asked if it's naturally curly a lot, and again, the answer is yes. In fact, I do not do a single thing to my hair beyond what I'm going to share in this instructable. So let's get started!

Step 1: A Brief Hair History

This picture shows my hair after I've washed it and let it dry, but haven't put anything on it. This is my hair in its natural state. It's very curly, but the individual hairs are all doing their own thing, making it look fuzzy and messy.

Up until a few years ago, I didn't know what to do about my frizzy hair, so I kept it in braids a lot. One day I searched "crazy frizzy curly hair" on the internet, and that's where I learned about keeping conditioner in your hair and not rinsing it out, which is a method that a lot of people use to control their curly hair.

The problem with leaving conditioner in my hair was that it made it feel stiff, a bit greasy, kind of heavy... and it darkened my hair so that it didn't show its natural color. Many people commented that my hair was turning brown, when it was actually all that conditioner on it that made it look darker! I searched the internet for a clear conditioner to use, thinking that a clear one wouldn't look darker while it was on my hair, but instead, I ran across this flaxseed hair gel. I've been using it ever since, as my "conditioner" as well as a styling aid that defines my curls. The only thing I put on my hair is shampoo and this gel. I love how it makes my hair feel, and how well it works to banish frizz!

Step 2: Boil Flaxseeds in Water

Place 1/4 cup (60 grams) of flaxseeds in a saucepan, and add 4 cups (1 liter) of water.

Bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and let it cool for one hour.

Start with these proportions for your first batch, but after you see how your hair likes it, you can play around with the recipe. You may need more or less holding power, which can be adjusted to suit your hair's needs.

These things make the gel thinner, with less holding power:

  • Using Golden Flax seeds
  • Boiling it for a shorter amount of time
  • Using more water
  • Using fewer flax seeds
  • Applying the gel to wet or damp hair
  • Reusing the flax seeds

These things make the gel thicker, with more holding power:

  • Boiling it for a longer amount of time
  • Using less water
  • Using more flax seeds

In its plain form of just flaxseeds and water, the gel will smell very mildly like bread. If you want to, you can add essential oils to make it smell nice! I use 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) each of lime and ginger essential oils, but you can use whatever you have on hand, or omit them entirely. It's up to you.

It will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or you can freeze it in a plastic bottle and take it out of the freezer on the morning or night before you plan to wash your hair. You can also add about 2 teaspoons (9 grams) of vitamin E oil if you want, to make it keep longer in the fridge.

Step 3: Strain Gel

Line a bowl with a clean kitchen towel.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into the towel-lined bowl.

Gather the edges of the towel and gently squeeze, straining the hair gel through the towel and into the bowl.

Discard the seeds that are left in the towel, and pour the gel into a plastic squeeze bottle.

Step 4: Put the Gel on Your Hair

Wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo. Don't use a shampoo that leaves your hair feeling "squeaky clean"... in my experience, that squeaky clean feeling means that your hair is dried out! I use Pantene's Curly Hair series "Moisture Renewal", but you probably have one already that works well for you. If you have incredibly dry hair, you could certainly use a moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo, and then rinse it out. However, I do not do this, as it seems to make the gel not hold as well.

After washing, let your hair dry.

Apply the gel to your hair by getting some on your hands, rubbing your hands together, and then rubbing your hands through your hair. Make sure to get all of your hair coated evenly, even the roots! Sometimes it's easier to separate your hair into sections and work with one section at a time.

See how much longer and darker my hair looks when it's wet?

Step 5: Brush Your Hair

For my hair, this is the kind of brush that works the best. I used to use a wide-toothed comb, but it didn't press the curls together as well as this brush does. It has really thick, flexible bristles that bend very easily. My brush is infused with jojoba oil, but I don't think this makes much of a difference. I've heard good things about Denman's line of hairbrushes, but the one I use is made by Goody.

Separate your hair into 8 to 12 sections, and brush each section well while it's wet with the gel. And then leave it alone! Let it dry without playing with it or running your fingers through it. I just go to sleep at this point, haha. You could probably use a good diffuser to dry your hair if you're in a hurry, but make sure that the airflow is gentle enough not to blow your curls apart. You don't want to start the week out looking like you rode in a convertible for 8 hours!

Don't ever brush your hair while it's dry! Curly hair looks frizzy and fuzzy when the individual hairs are farther apart. Brushing your hair when it's dry will turn it into fuzz instead of smooth, well-defined curls.

Step 6: Scrunch It!

Once your hair is completely dry, it will still look wet, but it will feel very stiff. You can see in the first pictures how it's standing out straight all by itself. It will also sound stiff when you move your head. Now is when you scrunch it! Squeeze it in your fists, pack it against your head, and just in general mash it until it's soft, bright, and fabulous! It should only take about 30 seconds or so.

Step 7: Continued Care and Tips

I don't do a single thing to my hair after that until it's time to wash it again, which will be in 4 to 8 days. I'll need to wash it sooner if I've gotten caught out in the rain, or ridden in a car with the windows down, or gone hiking and gotten my hair snagged on twigs and branches. Usually I wash/gel/brush it exactly once a week.

When I take a shower, I just put on a shower cap to protect my 'do from the water and humidity of the shower.

When I sleep, I just... sleep. I do not braid it, or put on any sort of hat, or use a special pillowcase. I just go to sleep, roll out of bed in the morning, and my hair is good to go. My hair probably does most of its frizzing while I'm asleep, from me rubbing my head against the pillowcase, but I haven't bothered to try to prevent that. I figure an average of washing/brushing my hair once a week is pretty darn low-maintenance! All told, the entire routine (excluding drying time) takes me about 40 minutes every week.

The flax gel doesn't seem to work very well for people who have straight hair, but user zialeon recommends using fenugreek seeds for fine, straight hair. Soak them overnight, and then proceed as you would for the flax gel. Or use part flax and part fenugreek if your hair is in-between fine and thick.

Users JudesJewels, chall35, and zialeon recommend adding some dried herbs to the water, if you don't have essential oils on hand. Let the herbs boil right along with the seeds, then strain the whole mixture. The herbs give the gel a nice scent.

User DeeRilee suggests using muslin to strain the gel.

User raginmama recommends using a silk pillowcase to avoid frizzing your hair while you sleep.

User JudesJewels says that the flaxseed gel works well as a facial moisturizer, as well!

Thanks so much for the tips, to everyone who has contributed. You all make everything awesome!

Comments

author
pi2373 (author)2015-09-04

Thank GOD for your article!!! I've been transitioning my relaxed hair to my natural 3b-3c hair type and was becoming so frustrated not finding the right products for my hair. So I made this FSG for the first time and it worked!! I washed my hair with sulfate free shampoo, put in a placenta based leave in conditioner then saturated my hair with the FSG and finger combed thru it. Since I am not using any heat on my hair I ran the house fan towards me as I worked on my computer. A couple hours later my hair was 95% dry and my hair had fantastic curl definition and so shiny!. I still had a lot of crunchiness but I normally get that from the terrible hair mousse's I'd previously used so I took some 100% coconut oil rubbed in my hands and fluffed out the crunchy areas a bit. I'm telling you my hair looks GORGEOUS!!! Bouncy, shiny, moisturized, no flaky residue, no stickiness or heaviness!! No more store bought gels, mousse's or custards for me. This is the perfect low maintenance hair regime I have been praying for!! Can't wait to see if this will last at least 3 days!!!

author
SnazzyBot (author)pi23732016-04-18

That's so great, how well it worked for you! It does make hair shiny, doesn't it? It makes me smile that my instructable was an answer to prayer. ;) I don't think I've ever been told that before, but I love it!!!

author
pi2373 (author)2015-09-05

Day 2 and my hair looks even better than day 1. I slept on my satin pilliwcase, woke up and the FSG was still holding beautifully! Still defined curls, no flakes and still shiny! I rubbed a little more coconut oil and fluffed my hair a little and now i have the volume i love without the frizzy dryness of those store bought products. I will be using/making FSG for life. Thanks again! ?

author
SnazzyBot (author)pi23732016-04-18

That is awesome!!! So glad to have another "convert"!

The good news is that your hair should look better as time goes on and it recovers from that drying store-bought products you used to use (that is, if your hair does what mine did!)

author
pi2373 (author)2017-03-02

Its been over a year now and still using FSG! My hair has grown from ear length to shoulder length and is the healthiest and thickest it's ever been. I even got lazy a few times and went back to using my old store bought hair mousse and realized how dry it made my hair. FSG gives me at least a week of beautifully defined frizz free voluminous curls. My hair is so low maintenance and even my husband loves me not having to wear the head wraps to bed anymore. My satin pillowcase keeps my curls in tack. Thanks again for this article which truly changed my whole hair regimen for life.

author
staceyclea (author)2016-11-04

This is a brilliant recipe! Thanks so much ?
And my chickens absolutely love the left over flaxseed!!!

author
JennyF33 (author)2016-10-25

I just tried making this for the first time. Unfortunately, it's a fail...I can't get it through a towel and I can't even get it to go through a strainer. It's very mucousy/snotty looking.

author
Lazy_bug (author)2016-09-22

Can i use organic gluten free flax seeds? Please help.......
P.s - love ur hair??❤

author
jaysh (author)2016-07-03

Oh wonderful article. Its been a week I have been googling about flexseed gel. Your method is so different as others usually apply gel to wet hair. I tried that and it took 9 hours for my hair to dry. This was a deal breaker for me. I am certainly going to try your way. How long does it take for you to completely air dry after you apply the gel? I have very dry hair so should I add a little bit of oil in the gel or dab a little on hair ends and then apply the gel to hair? Can we apple the gel to second or third day hair?
Do you recommend adding glycerine to the gel?
Thanks for sharing.

author
MaryW151 (author)2016-06-28

My preference is the GKhair gel for creating sleek, smooth and long lasting hair style with strong hold. Best product for strong hold. Love it. :) <3

author
SG48 (author)2015-10-14

Waiting for this to cool as we read! Question though, has anyone tried straining it while still hot through a mesh strainer? Would that really change the desired effect? Just wondering if that would make less mess/clean up. I've also read on other blogs that people have saved the seeds for a second use..any experience with that? Thanks! Cant wait to try this tomorrow! Will let ya know how it went for me then!

author
SnazzyBot (author)SG482016-04-18

The mesh strainer might work, I haven't tried it because my strainer has a plastic rim and I'm scared of melting it. If the gel was very hot when you strained it, it might flow through the holes nicely, but it thickens quickly as it cools.

Saving the seeds for a second use does work somewhat, but the gel is thinner and doesn't hold as well. Usually I just compost the seeds once I've used them, but I am guilty of using them a second time with less water than was in the first batch. ;)

author
DTayTay (author)SnazzyBot2016-06-11

It's actually easier and less messy to strain if you do it immediately. I use a cheap knee high panty hose (from Walmart or target) to strain it into a glass jar, then I let it cool and thicken. Squeeze it out with tongs too.

author
SG48 (author)SG482015-12-28

I never reviewed the final product!! I've made it twice and really like it. First time batch had a more snotty consistency, second more watery, but desired effect seemed the same. Going to make another batch after posting this. It did seem to go bad rather quickly, so what I plan on doing is putting the gel in clear containers like diner style mustard and ketchup squirt bottles and freeze bottles for later use. What I liked most about this recipe is its water consistency, so I could go a day or two without washing my hair but apply this daily with no greasy finish. Thank you!

author
SnazzyBot (author)SG482016-04-18

I'm glad you like it! I do wish it had a longer shelf life. I have heard that adding vitamin E oil will lengthen it some.

I use the same kind of bottles, by the way! I washed out empty honey squeeze bottles and freeze my gel in that. It works great!

author
ScarletRed14 (author)2016-06-03

is it supposed to be really watery

author
liangxin (author)2016-05-11

Hair extensions, Toupee, lace wigs here - Emeda Hair

author
MustafaK46 (author)2016-04-21

Can we apply this and leave overnight tooo??!!

author
Kissmeindec (author)2016-04-20

Hello,
I'm eager to make this for my hair but I do not have flaxseeds I have grounded flaxseeds can I use this and possibly strain it? Thank you so much for your reply

author
corski67 (author)2016-04-19

My wife has very curly hair like yours and she's tried so many things over the years. The affect on your hair is really incredible! I'm going to show this Instructable to her and I'm sure she will want to try it.

Your hair is uncommonly beautiful BTW. :-)

author
SnazzyBot (author)corski672016-04-19

I really hope your wife likes it!

Thank you very much, btw. :)

author
islamom (author)2016-01-26

awesome article , never thought it would be that easy,

but i have a question please.

how does it react under the sun , i live in a hot weather country , and i tried all kinds of gels it makes my head like i am an oven .

author
SnazzyBot (author)islamom2016-04-18

I haven't noticed any effects at all from the sun, though being a redhead, I try to stay in the shade as much as I can. The end result of using the flaxseed gel is not like that "helmet" feeling of having you hair frozen by storebought gel... it's very light and airy and your hair moves like it does when you aren't wearing styling products. I think you would be happy with the results of the flaxseed gel, and I hope you give it a try! :)

author
islamom (author)SnazzyBot2016-04-19

thanks for ur replay , and i will give it a try !
Appreciate the effort

author
TangoChicago (author)2016-04-10

Can I use flaxseed oil instead?

author
SnazzyBot (author)TangoChicago2016-04-18

I'm guessing that might work for a conditioning treatment, but I don't think it would have very good hold. It won't harm your hair though, so if you want to give it a try, go for it and let us know how it worked for you!

author
dancingstar (author)2016-04-02

Great instructable, thanks!

author
SnazzyBot (author)dancingstar2016-04-18

Glad you liked it!

author
SakimaO (author)2016-03-31

Thank you..Thank you for finding the cure to my dry, frizzy, crazy curly hair. I made the hair gel and it worked great all day and is still holding...

author
SnazzyBot (author)SakimaO2016-04-18

That's wonderful! I'm so glad it worked for you. Thanks for posting! :)

author
rrtbeart26 (author)2016-03-23

Hi!
I am planning on making the gel this weekend. I just order all natural flaxseed gel from Etsy this morning. At least being able to make it myself I will not have to pay shipping. I do have a question. When adding tje essential oils, when do you add them? While boiling or afterwards while cooling?
Thanks
Robin

author
SnazzyBot (author)rrtbeart262016-04-18

I add them afterwards, when the gel has cooled some. It might not matter, but it seems to me that a little bit of the scent is "boiled out" while the gel is cooking, if you add them during the boiling process. Of course, that could just be my imagination. ;)

author
GiridharR2 (author)2016-02-27

wow, a perfect homemade gel, excellent recipe, kudos for sharing and thank you very much idea maker. Loving the gel

author
SnazzyBot (author)GiridharR22016-04-18

Awesome! I'm glad you like it! Thanks for your comment :D

author
ChristinaR23 (author)2016-02-11

Works great! My hair isn't as curly, I made it for my daughter and myself. My other kids can't use it because she's allergic to flax, but I'm guessing that chia would work too (but her hair is really think and straight, no frizz issues with her).

author
SnazzyBot (author)ChristinaR232016-04-18

So glad you like it! I didn't know flax could be an allergen... I'm glad your allergic daughter doesn't have frizz issues though.

author
CaroleB11 (author)2015-12-05

I recommend using tulle instead of the cloth to get rid of the seeds at the end. It is cheap and a lot les messier!

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SnazzyBot (author)CaroleB112016-04-18

The tulle that I have on hand is really fragile, but I will keep an eye out for a piece that will work! It does sound easy to use. :)

author

OMG... cant wait to try

author

I hope you like it!

author
StellaH2 (author)2015-11-03

Made this and followed the instructions last night. I still have lots of frizz?. I haven't found anything that works. Suggestions?

author
SnazzyBot (author)StellaH22016-04-18

You could try using conditioner on your hair after washing and then rinsing, letting your hair dry, and then applying the gel. You could also try one of the hot oil treatments and see if that does anything for you.

The gel will have a stronger hold if you use more seeds or less water, so you could give that a shot if you haven't already. It also helps to make sure your hair is completely dry when you apply the gel.

It's also possible (maybe?) that your hair is damaged from heat treatments or other styling products you have used in the past, and would have less frizz if you kept at the gel routine, but I really don't know for sure. It might just not work very well with your exact hair type. :( I'm sorry.

author
GinaB13 (author)2015-11-01

I got toasted flax seeds at Trader Joes...the gel, when I strained it through a knee-hi, wasn't very thick. Is that normal? Thanks!

author
SnazzyBot (author)GinaB132016-04-18

I have never used toasted seeds before, but I suspect that the toasting process "melted" some of the oil and other good stuff out of the seeds. If you can get ahold of some raw seeds, give it another try and see if you like the results better. :)

author
annakcmbs made it! (author)2015-09-21

I need to try the satin pillowcase. But the gel works great! I made mine with a little bit more water so that I could use more of it and also on dry hair to refresh my curls. But basically after washing my hair and conditioning, I wrap my head in a towel for a few minutes. Then I use two small dabs about the size of a coin, spread and scrunch throughout and let air dry. Also I use coconut oil for a bit of shine and smoothness.

image.jpg
author
SnazzyBot (author)annakcmbs2016-04-18

Your hair looks awesome!!! I'm glad you liked the gel! Thanks for sharing :D

author
SnazzyBot (author)2015-09-08

I loved reading your updates!! My hair always seems to look the best on the second/third days, too. I don't know why. :D

It's pretty cool how something so simple can work so well, without any weird textures or smells or anything! If your hair seems a bit crunchy after the gel dries, you can "smush" it around with your hands and squeeze it to soften it up a little bit. Although, if I'm not going out on day 1, I just leave it crunchy and then my 'do will last for an extra day!

I must say, I think you're the first person to say that one of my instructables was an answer to prayer. :o I think that's awesome though, it really made me smile. Thanks for your comments! And high-five for going natural with your hair. I'm sure it looks stunning!

author
pi2373 (author)SnazzyBot2015-09-09

I made the FSG for the 2nd batch and this time I made the consistency a little thicker by letting it cook a little more to get better definition on my roots which are a lot thicker and frizzy and still fantastic results. And you are right by letting it stay crunchy that first day I will probably get an extra day of hold. My husband even noticed and asked if I was doing something different with my hair because it looks so good. He knows how frustrated I was with transitioning and threatened to just cut it all off! I was also becoming a product junkie and my vanity had become a mini hair products counter. I couldn't afford to keep buying all these different products. So yes I prayed that I could find one, low cost, natural product that was good for my hair that didn't flake, wasn't sticky or damaging to my hair. Thanks again!

author
rajani yadav (author)2015-07-19

Hey :) thankz a ton for diz recipe :) it really really helped me a best crazy way :) only problem m facing iz after it dries n after finishing da scrunch ng part... still m left a white cast on my hair... it looks like small snow flakes al over da hair. I hope it made sense... can u plz help me how to get rid of it. ( Itz nt dandruff)

Thanks
Rajani yadav
India

author
SnazzyBot (author)rajani yadav2015-07-24

Hey, Rajani! You could try using golden flax seeds instead of regular ones? Or possibly you could use more seeds and shorten the boiling time? I don't really have this problem, but maybe if I had darker hair I would. :( I hope you find something that works for you!

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