When I cut my hair at the start of the first lockdown in 2020 I suddenly needed a product to style it cos it wouldn’t just clip up on top of my head which was my mum go-to! I knew I didn’t want to add a plastic tube of product to my bathroom or begin the search for a pricey, good ingredient hair product. Especially since I’ve tried that before and (a) it’s pricey and (b) it’s still really hard to find.
I’m very careful what I put on my skin across the board and our scalp is just the same in absorbing a lot of what goes on it so I always want to choose my ingredients well. Parabens, PEGs, Phthalates, Fragrance… all things that are often in hair care products. You can look them up and see if you’d want them on your scalp regularly, but for the ways they can affect our bodies I always want something free from those things.
So I decided to make one from flax seeds which are incredible in their uses, and if it was going to fail at least it was cheap and I could just compost it! Turns out after a pretty simple making process it’s a BRILLIANT hair gel. You need to keep it in the fridge and remake it every few weeks. But for the money saved and the very simple clean ingredients with no waste, it’s highly worth it for me.
Flax Hair Gel
- Nut milk bag or muslin
- 1/4 cup flaxseed whole
- 1 cup water
- Add the flaxseed to a small saucepan with the water and stir well so that there are no big clumps of flax seeds stuck together. Stir regularly as you bring it to a simmer. Keep simmering and stirring until the liquid has reduced by about half and looks and feels more gel like as you stir it. Be warned, it will thicken up more as it strains and cools so don’t worry if it looks too runny at this point! If you wait till it feels like the gel you want it will be too thick to strain. You want about half the liquid gone and a runny gel like liquid.
- It’s easier to strain when it’s not fully cooled but you don’t want to burn yourself so let it cool a bit then pour the flax gel mixture into a nut milk bag or muslin. I have used a sieve but it’s really hard to I’d even use a dish cloth before a sieve. Start to squeeze it through and scrape the flax gel off the outside as it seeps through. It’s not the fastest process but it will go through. Massage the bag to move the seeds around and squeeze again. If after a while you have no luck at all then you’ve over thickened it and you need to pop it back in the pan and add a little more water, whisking it to combine it well. Then go back to straining.
- When you’ve strained off the gel part well, you can compost the seeds (or probably add them to baking if you wanted to use them but I haven’t tried that!) and transfer the gel part to a small glass jar - ideally one you can fit your hand in easily to scoop it out to use! Store it in the fridge.
- You can add in a drop or two of an essential oil you like when it’s cooled - I’ve used lavender - but equally you can use it as is. It takes a bit of an adjustment to adapt to it but it’s a very effective hair gel! It goes best on wet hair, rubbing on your fingers then combing it through your hair with your fingers. But if you dampen the hair first and wet your hands before using the gel it can be used on dry hair too. As it dries it can make your hair crispy if you’ve applied too much, but scrunching your hair with your fingers will make the crisp disappear but the shape stay.