If you’re keen on homemade hair gel, here are some top tips to help you get the best out of your DIY recipe.
In a previous article, I shared 5 homemade hair gel recipes for natural hair.
If you’ve definitely decided to cancel Eco styler gel, then you can try these recipes instead.
Alternatively, you can find some commercial natural hair gel suggestions on the article about the Eco Styler Gel.
All of the recipes shared in the homemade hair gel article will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
In this article, I will share the top 6 tips for getting the most out of your homemade hair gel.
I’ll also be discussing ingredients you can use to achieve various other results with your homemade hair gel.
6 Best Tips for Homemade Hair Gel for Natural Hair
1. Use a Preservative for Long Term Use
The basic recipes shared in the previous article will help the homemade hair gel last up to two weeks.
For a longer-lasting hair gel, you need to add a stronger preservative (suggestions below).
2. The Smell Test
If the recipe smells funny before the two-week deadline, discard and make a fresh batch. It won’t harm you but your hair will smell odd for a while.
3. Mix and Match
You can mix two recipes together. For instance, you can add aloe vera gel to the flaxseed gel and mix together for an even stronger gel.
4. Test pH Levels
Test the pH level of the hair gel. If it’s not within the range of 4 – 6, add a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar like this one to the hair gel and mix.
This should bring the pH level down to the recommended level. You can buy pH test strips HERE.
5. Keep It Sterile
When using the hair gel, don’t dip your hands into all the gel or mix other things into it.
Separate only the amount of hair gel you will use for that session and do whatever you want to that batch.
If you don’t finish using it, discard it but don’t pour it back into your bottle. This will preserve the integrity of the hair gel and make it last longer.
6. Add the Best Vitamin E Oil
Use vitamin E oil that has 70,000 IU or above as this is the purest form and the best type of vitamin E oil.
The best vitamin E oil is Sundown Naturals Vitamin E Oil. It has 70,000 IU.
Common Ingredients for Homemade Hair Gel
I haven’t included the ingredients in this section in any of the recipes shared earlier because their addition depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your recipe.
Feel free to mix and match as you like from the list below. If you’re not sure, do a patch test before applying it to your hair.
Rosewater and Lavender for Homemade Hair Gel – Fragrance
An alternative to distilled water is flower waters like rosewater and lavender water. They give the final homemade gel a delicate and attractive scent.
Preservatives for Homemade Hair Gel
Vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil are great short-term preservatives.
Alternative natural oils and essential oils you can use as preservatives include:-
- Abyssinian oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Star anise seed oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm for Homemade Hair Gel – Slippage
These ingredients make the homemade gel even more slippery. This means easier to detangle and style your hair with a minimal amount of breakage.
They also help with curl definition. You can include these ingredients in your homemade gel in the following ways:-
How to Use Marshmallow Root
Boil the marshmallow root separately for 15 minutes then strain and mix in with the gel before you add preservatives.
Some great marshmallow root brands include:-
How to Use Slippery Elm Bark
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil then remove from stove. Soak a handful of slippery elm powder or bark in the hot water for 15 minutes.
Afterward, strain and mix the tea with the homemade gel before you add your preservatives.
Some great slippery elm brands include:-
Stinging Nettle and Horsetail – Stronger Hair
These ingredients strengthen your hair as it conditions.
If you have weak hair strands or damaged hair, stinging nettle and horsetail will help work on these issues.
Hibiscus Flowers for Homemade Hair Gel – Shiny Hair
Hibiscus promotes shiny hair and gives your hair a great and healthy tint as well. Make the tea separately then prepare the gel in the tea.
I’ve only used this for the chia seed gel and flaxseed gel recipe.
I like using dried hibiscus flowers but you can use hibiscus powder as well.
I shared a lot of plant-based teas for hair growth recipes in Tea Rinsing Secrets for Healthy Hair Care and Growth.
Below is a picture of the hair gel I created some time ago using hibiscus tea as part of the ingredients.
Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum for Thicker Homemade Hair Gel
These ingredients help thicken up the gel. Some people also use them to make a standalone gel but I didn’t care for the texture when I tried that.
When I mixed it in with my homemade gel though, the results were phenomenal.
If you find your homemade gel too watery, these ingredients can rectify it.
Prepare the gum separately before mixing it into the gel because it might cause clumps if mixed directly into the gel.
Citric Acid and Potassium Sorbate – Stronger Preservatives for Homemade Hair Gel
Potassium sorbate is used for stabilizing ingredients and preventing the growth of mold, fungi, bacteria, etc on products.
It’s a food-grade preservative that is safe to use in your homemade gel.
Dilute significantly before adding to your homemade gel. The brand I use is LD Carlson Potassium Sorbate.
Citric Acid is derived from citrus fruits. It is an antioxidant and a natural ingredient that preserves the homemade gel while balancing the pH.
When I don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, I use citric acid instead. 1/4 teaspoon diluted in water is more than enough.
Natural Oils for Homemade Hair Gel
Apart from castor oil, grapeseed oil, and sweet almond oil, alternative natural oils you can add to your homemade gel include:-
- Argan oil
- Camellia oil
- Carrot oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Emu oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Jamaican black castor oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Rosehip seed oil
These oils play well with homemade gels and help with softness, shine, strength and hair breakage.
I hope this series answers any questions you have about homemade hair gels. If you have any more questions, let me know in the comments section.
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Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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