Ever feel like your hair could use a little, for lack of a better term, assistance? I know we’re squarely in the 2020s, but I’ve got that 1990s Cindy Crawford side part in mind and my flat hair just won’t cut it on its own. Traditional gel, mousse, and hairspray make my locks look flatter than ever. So, I need something light but with a fair amount of hold. And this homemade flaxseed gel is perfect. Not only does it add some flexible hold, but it also nourishes the strands, leaving you with softer, shinier hair when you’re done.
Benefits of Flaxseed for Hair
Nutritionally speaking, flaxseed is a hair powerhouse—thanks to things like antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats [source].
Specifically, flaxseed is rich in ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, an essential nutrient found in the hair shaft and root bulb. Studies show that upwards of 70% of flaxseed’s total fat profile is made up of just ALA, making it one of the most potent plant sources of the fatty acid [source].
It’s also high in other fatty acids, like oleic, linoleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, which are the building blocks of healthy hair and skin [source].
Flax is high in E and B vitamins, as well as lignans [source], which have been shown to support hair growth [source].
How to Make Flaxseed Hair Gel
Like chia seeds, when flax seeds get wet, they create a gel-like substance that can be used for all sorts of purposes: vegan egg replacement in cooking, a soothing face mask, or in this case, a nourishing hair gel.
If you’re not exactly a fan of hair gel, the good news is that flax gel doesn’t get crispy like the ones you’re probably used to. Instead, it gives hair shape and lift without hardening or weighing it down.
—1/4 cup whole or ground flaxseed
—2 cups purified water
—1–2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
—Essential oils for hair (optional)
Step 1 | Combine flax and water
In a small saucepan, combine the flaxseed and water.
Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes, whisking regularly to keep the seeds from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Step 2 | Let gel thicken
Remove from the heat and let sit for another 45 minutes.
As it sits, the gel will thicken until it’s about the consistency of egg whites.
Step 3 | Strain
Line a small bowl with a couple of layers of cheesecloth. Then pour the cooled flax gel into the center of the cheesecloth.
Gather the edges together and squeeze the seeds, letting the gel collect in the bowl.
Step 4 | Add aloe
Add your aloe vera and 4–5 drops of essential oil if using. Stir well.
Transfer the flaxseed gel into a clean glass jar. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
While this recipe certainly doesn’t require additional ingredients, if your hair is dull, brittle, or just lackluster, you may need some help fortifying and strengthening your locks. Try adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of the following ingredients to your homemade hair gel.
Egg whites – used to cleanse the hair and scalp of excess oil
Collagen powder – rich in the amino acids that make up keratin, the main protein in hair
Olive oil – can help keep dry, brittle hair moist and strong
Gelatin – provides a stronger hold and nourishes at the same time to help tame stubborn locks
3 Ways to Use Flaxseed Gel
1. Hair gel
This one’s a no-brainer! Wash your hair and use a towel to get rid of as much moisture as you can. Using your fingertips, apply flax gel, starting at the roots and working it through the length of your hair. Let your hair air dry. Note: you can also apply flaxseed gel to dry hair if that’s how you normally do it.
2. Hair mask
Not just a styling aid, flaxseed gel also makes for a great hair mask. Pour a small amount into your hands, and massage it into wet or dry hair. Pop on a shower cap to tame the mess and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse and shampoo as you normally would.
3. Leave-in conditioner or shine serum
If you’ve got split ends, try using flax gel as a conditioner and shine booster. Wash and dry your hair. Then simply apply a little to the ends, working it in as best you can. Style your hair as normal.
Flaxseed Hair Gel FAQs
Flaxseed gel is best for what hair types?
Because it’s so lightweight, flaxseed gel is good for all hair types. But like other kinds of gel, flaxseed gel really helps to define curls and decrease frizz.
How often can I use flaxseed gel?
You can use flaxseed gel daily without adverse effects.
Is flaxseed gel good for skin?
Absolutely! Feel free to use the leftover gel as a face mask or nourishing face cream.