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Healthy Hair Care

Curly Hair Salvation: Flax Seed DIY Gel

By June 6, 2013May 4th, 201846 Comments

Curly haired women listen up! You don’t need a bunch of chemical-laden serums and gels that weigh hair down, feel crunchy, or leave behind a dull residue. We’ve got a curly hair gel recipe you’re going to love!

You can have a luscious head of curls with a completely natural DIY recipe that I created,which is more effective than any store-bought product I’ve ever found. I have a lot of very curly hair, and I’ve been using this recipe for over five years to create shiny, frizz-free curls.

This flax seed gel is amazing because it doesn’t flake like a normal alcohol-based gel and it doesn’t leave behind a yucky residue. Meaning, you’ll need to wash your hair less often, something your curly hair will really appreciate! And here’s the best part, you can apply it generously even on hot and humid days without it looking heavy.

My recommendation is to apply the gel on damp hair, then let it air-dry. Once dried, gently scrunch the hair until it is soft.

Easy DIY, natural recipe for gorgeous ringlets

For this project, you’ll need a large sauce pan, a mesh strainer, a large glass bowl, a spoon and a container to store your hair gel once you’re finished.

This recipe is very flexible. Once you’ve made this gel a few times, you can always tweak and adjust your measurements to suit your needs. You can always add more or less water and flax seeds.

The proportions in the recipe below are what I use and work wonderfully for most people.


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds
  • Optional ingredients: aloe vera (2 ounces) and essential oil for scent (2-3 drops max)


Boil the water on medium heat. When it reaches a boil, add the flax seeds and let simmer for 10 minutes. You will want to keep a watchful eye while it’s simmering, and stir frequently so the flax seeds do not stick to the bottom of your pan. You will see a gelatinous mixture form that will look like egg whites. (You’re almost done!)

Once it’s finished simmering, remove from heat and put the mixture through a strainer. You’ll want to act fast during this step because this gel will thicken as it cools.

In the picture above, you can see the gel from the strainer is already nice and thick. If you would like to include some aloe vera gel to the mixture, add it now while the gel is still warm and stir well. If you’re using essential oils, add them once the gel has cooled. Wash your pot and utensils immediately!

Once cooled, store the gel in a clean jar or travel container. This gel is preservative-free so it will keep for a 1-2 weeks in the fridge. If you have extra gel left over, or would like to make a larger amount, you can safely freeze it. This gel freezes well in ice cube trays.

Alright all you curly-headed gals, I’d love to hear how this worked for you! Leave a comment below.

About Our Guest Contributor:

Marnie Cipriani, 43, is the founder of the skin care line Pelle Beauty™ in Toronto. Holding both a business degree and a cosmetology license, her passion and enthusiasm have remained focused. For over two decades she has been an aficionado in the beauty industry.

Starting out as a Makeup Artist and Consultant, her detail-oriented attention to perfecting image is equally matched by her knowledge and first-hand experience of how one cares for their skin.

The impact is as direct as her mantra; if your skin glows radiantly, so do you as a person. In her off time, she passionately pursues DIY projects that are healthy & fun for her family and promote clean living.

All photos by Marnie Cipriani.

Kristen Arnett

Author Kristen Arnett

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Join the discussion 46 Comments

  • Sandi says:

    Further to the comment I left earlier, I had used the Flax Seed gel a second time after doing a co-wash and I did not get the same result.
    I came to find out that not rinsing hair completely after using conditioner prevents the Flax Seed gel from adhering well. I have been using this gel for a couple of weeks now and it is wonderful.
    Bottom line – rinse well before using flax seed gel generously. It works!!

  • Sandi says:

    I am so grateful that I came across your flax seed gel recipe.
    I kept it simple using only the 2 cups water with 2 Tbsp flax seeds.
    It turned out really well and I love how it makes my curly hair look and feel.
    I have used many different (pricey) products over the years but none of them have produced this positive effect on my hair.
    Sandi xx

  • Shelley says:

    I love that this method does not include squeezing the gel through nylons or muslin cloth! So much easier to pour it through the strainer while it’s hot. And OMG…what this gel does for my unruly curls is insane! I wish I had paid attention to flaxseed gel hundreds-of-dollars-of-styling-products ago! Thank you so much for this super-easy method for making an amazing natural HG hair styler!

  • Shaunetha says:

    Has anyone here ever frozen this gel after making it for preservation? If so please tell me how do you use it after freezing it. Do you let it thaw or microwave it? And after what is the consistency like?

    • Tanya says:

      Let it thaw

    • Rick says:

      I freeze it in disposable ice cube bags, you could also use an ice cube tray to make them and store in a bag/jar instead. Every day I pop one ice cube out and put it in a small glass. By the time I am ready to use it 10 minutes later, it is thawed in the cup.

      This flax gel retains its thickness when frozen/thawed. Beef gel does not, beef goes runny once thawed. When I make beef gel I add a cube of this flax gel to it for conditioning and frizz. I use pau d’arco tea instead of water, my scalp loves it.

  • ms amazing says:

    I have naturally wavy hair – not too curly but definitely frizzy. I wear my hair both ways – naturally wavy as well as pin straight (via a flat iron).

    Either way I style my hair, I use the Somaluxe Exotic Oil Conditioner – It eliminates/makes the frizz go away and gives you a smooth and sleek look. This product does as good a job and smells great. I have been using the same bottle now for 2 months – it lasts a long time. . .

  • Yénika says:

    I wonder how you apply the aloe vera, do you have to blend it first, or once you put it in the hot flaxseed “gel” will it dissolve? I’ve used aloe vera before and it can be a bit chunky gelish (haha, don’t know how to describe it, for sure you know best). Thanks!

    • Shauneatha says:

      Hi I have blended aloe before in my mom’s nutribullet. No water is needed, only peeled aloe. However when dried it leaves little pieces of aloe in your hair and can look very messy.

  • Jannat says:

    do this straighten up the hair permanently ?? .. or just i use it and my hair are manageable and when i washed off the gel again the hair are frizzy curly? sorry i dont know much accurate english 🙂

    • Rhonda says:

      It is not a hair straightener , it helps reduce the frizzy halo that you get with curly hair

      • Jelisa says:

        I have NEVER thought to freeze flaxseed gel until today!! After some googling I came across your post. Thank you and your commenters for reassuring me that the gel will still be thick (after thawing).

        This is a major help and time/money saver. I accidentally made a large batch of gel that I won’t be using in a timely manner (putting Marley twists in my hair tonight). I felt guilty for being wasteful, but that’s changed. Thanks again! So happy about this lol

  • gowtami says:

    I have read this article and tried using it on my damp hair twice.but still I couldn’t make out much hair was unmanageable and frizzy after its dried as always.any help?

  • arlene says:

    I just foubd your website and your recipe for natural gel I have veen looking. So now I am going to try it and ket you know. One question I have kinky natural hai,r will the gel gives me curls?

  • Marnie says:

    Hi Linda,
    Glad you are loving the hair gel recipe 🙂 I have been freezing my extra gel for ages and haven’t had a problem. I’m not too sure what could have happened to yours.

    I have only made this recipe in my kitchen in small batches for personal use as there isn’t a preservative and I’ve found it much easier to share the recipe with others. Good luck with your findings.

    All the best,

  • Linda says:

    I love my flax seed gel but when I froze it and thawed it, the water separated from the gel and would not go back to the same consistency. So now I have big globs that are useless. What can I do next time to prevent this from happening? I want to start selling it and could sell to more people if they have a good way to store it without preservatives! Thank you!!

    • Green Beauty Team says:

      I’m so glad Marnie was able to answer your question on this, Linda. I do want to make an extra certain that you understand we strongly advise you not to sell Marnie’s recipe. This recipe is meant to be a DIY project for personal use only and there really would be no marketable way to sell this gel due to the lack of preservatives which could cause health issues and open you to liability if you were selling it. Hopefully you’ll just enjoy the sheer pleasure of mixing it up on your own at home and the results you receive!

  • Elaine says:

    I absolutely love this. I’ve been using this for over three weeks. I love the way my hair looks, and feels. A small amount is all that’s needed. So affordable to make, and easy. I love it. Ohhh and my husband tried it and he is now using it as well. :0) Thx

    • Green Beauty Team says:

      That’s so great to hear Elaine! And you got your husband on board…well extra high five for that! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Hope you’ll find more articles to love here. – xo Kristen Arnett

  • Jamie says:

    I’m excited to try this! A few questions. We have flax seed mask in the fridge, but no whole seeds. Have you ever tried it with ground flax seeds, or are white seeds recommended. Also, is this a product you recommend applying generously or sparingly? Thanks! 🙂

  • ashley says:

    So I just made this and I’m really excited to try it out once it cools. I bought flax seed meal at the store instead of a full seed…does this make the same thing?

  • Marnie says:

    Hi Nancy! First off there is no such thing as a silly question. Chances are if you are wondering something, so are others!

    Regarding aloe, I’m referring to the actual aloe juice/gel that comes directly from the plant. I purchase it from the health food store to make things easier. Adding it to the flaxseed gel will thin out the texture but will add to the hydrating value. You can also experiment with the amount as this recipe is extremely flexible. You can make this gel as thin (runny) or as thick ( by adding more flaxseeds) as you like 😀

    Essential oils are not like typical oils such as olive or avocado. Instead, essential oils are concentrated scent essences that hold aromatherapy value. For example, the petals, leaves, stems or skins from Lavender, rosemary, citrus or rose (just to name a few) are pressed or expelled for their scent (there are literally over 100 different types of essential oils). You can get the most popular ones also at your heal food store. You can add a few drops for a natural scent or just leave your gel unscented.

    Thanks for your questions Nancy!

  • Nancy says:

    This sounds very interesting. I have unruly curly hair. Looks dry and not attractive at all. Thanks for this recipe, but I have one dumb question. For the optional you said aloe vera, is this product a hair gel, the actual plant or aloe in a bottle or something? Also the essential oil. What exactly is that and where can this be purchased?

  • Lesa says:

    Ok, I have just a little wave to my hair. I’ve just started using the sea salt spray but would like something a little stronger sometimes. I don’t put anything in my hair most of the time. Would it be a good idea to just freeze it to use when I want a little better hold or is it just a little much for a once a month type use?

    • Marnie says:

      Hi Lesa. You can easily portion it out & freeze it right away. This way it will be handy when you do want to use it. It will keep in the freezer for a long time without any worries.

      How do you like using sea salt spray? Does it make your wavy locks more curly?

      • Lesa says:

        Actually, it does. I was very surprised when two years after my last perm I still had curls. For some reason my straight hair has decided to wave…lol! The sea salt spray works very well.

      • Julie says:

        I’m curious about this sea salt spray. Could you tell me more about it or where to find a recipe to make it? Thanks!

  • Great DIY hair recipe!

  • Carla says:

    Dynamite! This was a fun Saturday project. I went to Wholefoods & got my flax seeds & aloe. I made gel! My hair finished drying about an hour ago & it looks great. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Marnie says:

    Hi Stacey!

    Glad you already know about this recipe! I take it you’re a curly-top too? I’m glad you love it as much as I do. You are right about the fridge, but that’s the way this gel rolls 😉

  • Stacey says:

    I have been using this gel for a long time. I love it. It does take some getting used to in the beginning. The only downside is it does need to be refrigerated, and to remember to get it from the fridge!

  • LStyler says:

    I can’t wait to try this!

  • Michele says:

    I use to make this product. It spoils FAST even with preservative and I don’t mean antioxidants. I notice you don’t have a preservative at all. 🙁

    • Marnie says:

      Hi Michele! Yup no preservatives are in this, as it’s meant to be used quickly. That is why I suggest keeping any extra in the freezer. With any DIY product I always suggest you make it to use right away, rather than make a huge batch to “store & stock up” on for that very reason alone.

      With all of that that being said, I personally go through my gel within 2 weeks time & it’s always kept in the fridge. I don’t recommend keeping it in the cupboard.

      • Michele says:

        I keep reading less is more for conditioning. I gave it a try this past week and my curls are like your photo. I soak my hair in the shower then squeeze some excess out. I then pull it into a ponytail and only conditioner the tail. I leave it in while I wash my body…few minutes then rinse without touching the hair. I follow up with leave-in, t-shirt towel dry and then my gel (xanthan gum based).

    • Andrea Myers says:

      I am so glad that this recipe was posted. I have very curly hair and use this religiously for both myself and my young daughter for years with no problems ever. I always make extra and freeze the extra in smaller portions–it freezes well and there is no difference between fresh and thawed. No preservatives are needed or wanted and no need to worry about humid weather:-)

  • Robyn Engel says:

    Marnie and Pelle Beauty are the best. I fully trust these products more than any other line. Thanks for this feature.

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