I've been using/making flax gel for the past two years and after my first batch, I was hooked. I have super curly 3c/4a hair and this is the best gel/spray I've found to style it. When my hair was longer, I diluted the gel with water to make it into a hairspray to use in the shower for a wash and go. Now that my hair is very short, I simply use the gel spread it through my hair to get the curls together. I keep my batches refrigerated for about 1 to 2 weeks. You can kind of tell when it starts to turn which is when I now its time to make a new batch. I usually mix it with a few drops of glycerin but since I ran out, my last batch was made w/ out it without any noticeable differences to my hair. I love that its "dirt cheap" to make. I've heard you can reuse the seeds but I just toss mine after boiling once. Oh, and another thing I like is how light it is at the end of the day. I don't feel like I have "product" in my hair. It doesn't feel icky if I sleep with it in my hair and it doesn't break me out. I can't sing its praises enough and I recommend it to any curly haired person who is willing to try it.
This is a godsend for my curls, I've never had such beautifully defined soft bouncy curls from any other product. It's incredibly easy to make, and you can customize it to your wish! I personally like putting some agave nectar and rose oil in mine, it smells so good! I highly recommend anyone with curly hair to go buy some flaxseeds and make this, the seeds are very inexpensive and you can find it in safeway and wholefoods. The only downer is that it goes bad I think after 2 weeks, but I don't mind making small batches every week and experimenting with ingredients to find what goes well with my hair. I'd say it might take about 10ish minutes to make, but your hair will thank you for it :)
First off, I would like to thank all who posted demos and articles online for this wonderful method! This is an affordable and wonderful alternative natural gel that works really well at keeping my hair in place, without flaking and drying out my hair. I have tried so many hair gels (both low-end and high-end) with unsatisfied results, as I needed a gel to keep my hair healthy, yet styled. After reading and seeing many articles,tips, and demonstrations online (naturallycurly.com, ehow.com,youtube etc), I decided to make this stuff at home. The process does involve trial and error-the gel that forms from the flaxseeds is thick, like egg whites,however if you boil them for too long, it becomes almost impossible to strain;if you boil the flaxseeds for less time, the consistency becomes too runny. Here are the standard instructions:
1) Boil 1 cup of water in a saucepan on high heat;
2) Add 2 tbsp. of golden whole flaxseeds (as per the info online, they say golden seeds are better for hair gel than brown flaxseeds) and reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly for 6-10 minutes with a whisk to ensure that the seeds do not stick to the bottom;
3) Keep stirring until a gel forms (i.e. the water is thicker and the seeds come to the suface;with the whisk, you can judge the texture of the liquid; a white-opaque gel should form-keep stirring;
4) strain Immediately with a mesh sieve on top of a bowl;
5) with the whisk, stir the seeds in the sieve, so that most of the liquid comes out into the bowl: the mixture should be like egg-whites, thus quite slimy;
6) In the bowl, stir the gel with a spatula once or twice; let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour; if you want to speed up the process, put the mixture in the freezer for about 15 minutes;
7) Pour into the funnel over a wide-mouth jar or squeeze bottle; store in the fridge for about a week or two.
This gel works really well in keeping my hair shiny, soft and healthy, while offering a medium-firm hold. You can add essential oil and other stuff to the gel once the gel is in the bowl (do not do this while the seeds are boiling!); I just stick to the plain recipe. However, I still use other styling products like serum, etc in conjuction with this gel, since it is all-natural, it doesn't have preservatives and other ingredients to prolong shelf-life, etc, and the outcome is great: my hair is so much softer and looks better. The gel does not have a scent per se, and does not contain alcohol which dries out the hair. Overall, I use this gel as a base for my other styling products-works great and is affordable.
Here is what you'll need:
1 bag of whole Golden flaxseeds (they look like big sesame seeds;do not get the ground (powdered)form. These are available at healthfood stores, Wholefoods, etc;
a funnel (again, easily available at the dollar store)
mesh strainer with small holes ( I got mine at the dollar store-they are easily available there);
measuring cup and table spoon.
TIPS & WARNINGS: 1)This stuff dries very quickly to a gel, so wash the pan, sieve/strainer, spatula, etc soon after,otherwise you'll be washing for quite some time, LOL;
2)The texture is quite slimy, but it the gel does not make the hair flake, or cause buildup;this gel is pilable, in that you can reapply without flaking or drying out your hair;
3) Depending on your hair type, don't use too many protein products with this gel, since it may cause overconditioning; I tried using this in conjuction with leave in conditioner, but my hair went all "poofy" and fluffy.
4) I found this gel to be comaptible with other styling products. As mentioned above, I still use serum, but much less of it;otherwise my hair will get limp; I also use this gel in conjuction with another commercial gel (an alcohol-free one that I bought @ the dollar store);
5) Since everyone's hair is different, you can visit naturallycurly.com to see which type of hair you have. I found this very helpful, as some products are great for certain hairtypes, while others aren't, etc.For example, I need some silicones for my hair; if I use all natural herbal products only, my hair will be limp, while for others, it's the reverse, etc;
6) Again, as mentioned above, this process does involve trial and error: it took me about 5 times to get it right. That said, patience is required. On the upside, this process is quite fast, though.
Hope this helps:)