So here is a recipe I fall back on regularly! An all-natural gel that is easy to make at home and you can tweak it to include ingredients that make your hair sing (not literally, of course!).
I first tried this gel about a year into my transition and loved it. I learned it from a couple of YouTube channels (shout out to Naptural85, though!). Over the years, I have introduced my friends to its' benefits too - usually by making them a batch to take home!
To date, my best twist-out was achieved using flaxseed gel and I'm currently planning to rock a braid-out to work thanks to the great hold I got on a set of Princess Braids I did yesterday night.
Why do you get a gel from Flaxseeds (also known as Linseeds)?
One word, Mucilage - a thick, gummy substance consisting of large polysaccharides (sugars). When in contact with water, mucilage becomes a slimy substance - in Flaxseeds, the outer shell swells and creates a gel-like consistency. Mucilage has been traditionally used for poultices (healing dressings or compresses), soothing cough mixtures and soothing abdominal pains (recommended by Hippocrates in ~650 B.C.).
Most plants produce some mucilage as this is part of how plants store and utilise their food and water. However, to be regarded as a mucilaginous plant, it must have at least 15% mucilage content. One plant commonly known to produce mucilage is the humble Aloe Vera. A food popularly eaten in Nigeria (where I'm from) for its' mucilage release on cooking is the Okra (yum!). Other mucilaginous plants (or herbs) include Marshmallow root (tried and like it), Fenugreek/ Methi(must try), Chia seeds, Slippery Elm (must try this), plantains, oats, Irish Moss and kelp (seaweed).
The benefits of flaxseeds (also known as Linseeds) for hair:
1. The slimy, gel-like consistency of the mucilage is great for helping to
make the hair strands slippery, allowing easier detangling.
2. Flaxseeds have a high Omega-3 content which can nourish the hair
follicles and strands, making them stronger.
3. Omega-3 also improves the hair's elasticity, protecting against
4. Vitamin E in Flaxseeds can prevent pre-mature greying of the hair.
5. The mucilage is rich in proteins, oils, minerals and vitamins to nourish
6. The gel provides much needed hydration to the strands.
Read on for the recipe and ways to use your gel!
1/4 cup of flaxseeds (golden or brown, your choice)
2 cups of water
(Optional) 1-2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera juice
0.5% - 1% Essential oil mix or Fragrance oil
(Optional) 0.5% - Polysorbate-20 (to emulsify the essential or fragrance oil)
1. Pour the flaxseeds into a clean metal saucepan and add the water.
2. Stirring well, bring to boil over a medium heat then reduce heat to
simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.
3. Pour the mixture through a fine metal sieve and save the remaining
seeds for another batch (store in freezer).
4. Add your aloe vera juice and essential oils and stir well. Optionally,
you can add Polysorbate-20 in a equal amount as your essential oil
and stir with a coffee stirrer for at least 2 minutes to mix.
5. Pour into your clean, chosen containers and label with date and
contents. (A pump-top container may easy application).
6. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 22
How to use:
Do let me know how you get on with your flaxseed gel.
I opted to preserve my current gel so I simply added 1% (of the total product weight) of my chosen preservative - Phenoxyethanol and Ethylhexylglycerin). This way I don't have to keep it in the fridge in the cold weather.
I'm Lola - a hair obsessed doctor who stumbled into running long distances and baking all the cupcakes.
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