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DIY Hair Gel

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 59 Comments

DIY Hair Gel Recipe

Need to keep your curls in check?

Tame flyaway frizz? Well then, it’s time to whip up this quick and easy styling gel. Unlike commercial gels which contain weird ingredients, like:

Sorbitol, VP/Methacrylamide/Vinyl Imidazole, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Pantolactone, Isopropanolamine, Benzophenone-4, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodpropynyl-Butylcarbamate, Tromethamine, C12-15 Alkyl Benazoate, Hydrolized oat protein,  Fragrance, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl, and Methylpropional

. . . this one just has three, and that’s if you include the optional ingredient.

DIY Hair Gel


  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon gelatin (where to buy gelatin)
  • 1/2 cup very warm purified water
  • 3-5 drops essential oil (optional)

A Few Essential Oil Options

To Make

1. Dissolve gelatin into warm water, using 1/4 teaspoon for less hold and 1/2 teaspoon for more hold.

2.. Add essential oils if desired. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

To Use

Apply as you would regular hair gel.

Shelf Life

1-2 weeks.

Next post: DIY Pomade


Click here for the recipe

Looking For More Recipes?


My ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is a 198 page guide that will show you how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products, like:

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  • Body sprays
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59 Responses to DIY Hair Gel

  1. Melissa Gomes via FB says:

    Would this be special gelatin or the same to make fruit snacks?

  2. Leah says:

    LOVE gelatin!!

    Your recipe and instructions have different amounts of how much gelatin to add. One says 1/4-1/2 the other says 1/2 to 1.

    Love your recipes and ideas, always! Can’t wait to make some beeswax food wrap! :)

  3. Rebekah says:

    A friend of mine makes hair gel for her son, who likes the spiky look: She just boils up flax seed and then strains the seeds out. That stuff is megahold!!!

  4. Maria says:

    Oh WOW so cool and nutritious for your hair too, thank you Heather 😀

  5. Dana Seilhan via FB says:

    Straight up regular plain gelatin. If you look at that list of weird ingredients, they use protein in commercial hair gel anyway.

  6. Amy Schmidt via FB says:

    Anyone tried this? I have really curly frizzy hair

    • Gina F. says:

      I have curly, frizzy hair, and this one works great for me. I use a generous amount of peppermint oil, and it lasts in the fridge a lot longer than 2 weeks — I think it depends on how much essential oil you use.

    • jessica says:

      boiling flaxseed in water yields a wonderful gel and you can still add oils, essential oils . I have naturally curly dry hair and this gel is amazing!

  7. Amanda Cline via FB says:

    Bill Bear Cline the answer to our wanting no chemical hair de-frizzer for our lil lady:)

  8. ch says:

    what are good sources of gelatin? where do you buy it from?

  9. Amanda Cline via FB says:

    Annie Tucker

  10. Sarah Parker via FB says:

    Amy Schmidt, I make flax seed hair gel for my super curly/frizzy hair and it works really well! Here’s the recipe I use:

  11. ( : David'sKate : ) says:

    I use this ALL of the time on my curly hair and have been VERY pleased with the results* and how easy it is to make. Precise measurements are not critical AT ALL, I just guess and go and it’s always worked! 😀
    *Over time, it seemed to be drying to my hair, (curly hair tends to be drier than straight) so I’ve found it helpful to use a little coconut oil on my hair at the same time. And sometimes I just use coconut oil, and a little goes a long way!
    Mine lasts maybe 1 week un-refrigerated, 2 weeks refrigerated. When refrigerated, you have to get little blob out and kind of melt it in your hand before you use it.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’m sure a ton of your readers will LOVE it!

  12. Monica says:

    I tried the gelatin hair gel but couldn’t get it to hold together enough. It almost melted in my hands and off if my hair, even when I used the highest recommended amount of gelatin, so I went back to my flax gel. Does this gel hold together well enough to put it on my hair?

  13. Jess Comstock via FB says:

    Something About Mary popped into my head…

  14. Oils of Distinction via FB says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

  15. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Melissa Gomes – Same stuff :)

  16. Melissa Gomes via FB says:

    Cool. Thx. :)

  17. Melissa Holloway via FB says:

    Does it need to be refrigerated?

  18. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Melissa Holloway – Yeppers.

  19. Dan Moit via FB says:

    I just use 100% aloe vera gel.

  20. Heather Marie via FB says:

    Too funny – I just made it this morning! :)

  21. Jenny Yagow via FB says:

    How did you know I needed this? Thanks!!

  22. Roberta Johnson via FB says:

    So much easier than flaxseed gel- looking forward to trying it!

  23. Susan C. says:

    I make this for my husband and son all the time, and hubby loves it better than store-bought gel. It will keep for many weeks out on the counter, in a closed container, if you put Grapefruit Seed Extract in it (GSE). I boil my water and then stir in the gelatin, let it cool on the counter, put several drops (2-3) GSE into the gel in my measuring cup, mix and then pour into a lidded container. (I’ve tried mixing the GSE in after putting it into the container, but inevitably there is some around the upper edges that doesn’t get incorporated into the whole, and it goes bad. Better to mix it in a separate cup and then transfer to the storage container.) At that point, you can leave it out on the counter. It will go bad after awhile, but it’s usually a couple of months at least. Depending on which essential oils are used, they could also work this same way.

    Another tip for those who have consistency issues: I put mine in the fridge for a few hours so that it gets more gelatinous, and then pull it out and stir it up. It softens some as it goes back to room temp, but stays more gelatin-y than it does without refrigerating first–if I don’t do this, it stays too liquidy.

  24. Rachel says:

    I LOVE the idea of making my own hair gel, but what is everyone’s thoughts on the free glutamates in gelatin? My husband developed a neurological disorder called “Dystonia” and gelatin is listed as an ingredient that always contains neurotoxins – free glutamates. I buy a hair gel from that contains…Purified Water, Pure Aloe Vera Gel, Panthenol, Wheat Germ Protein. Seems like something one might be able to make at home?

  25. Dolores Frank via FB says:

    I am trying my hardest to go all natural.

  26. El Jennings via FB says:

    This doesn’t emulsify and turn slimy in the heat or near the scalp? I’m looking for a natural product for our wee ones curls. She doesn’t look it, but those tight curls are past her shoulders when wet. They don’t do much, but they sure know how to frizz. 😉

  27. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    El Jennings – It shouldn’t, at least not any more than store bought gel would.

  28. El Jennings via FB says:

    Thanks. It’s pretty hot here in Texas, but we will give it a whirl!

  29. Shout Kids via FB says:

    This is an awesome idea – but how long does it last? It says the shelf life is 1-2 weeks, but can it be longer if refrigerated? It seems like a lot to use in a week.

  30. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Shout Kids – It lasts 2 weeks in the fridge. If you think you’ll use less I recommend cutting the recipe in half.

  31. Sharon Lindsley via FB says:

    made this without the essential oil, works great – love it..

  32. Diane Riggs via FB says:

    Jillian Harris for when you start styling JAXTON’S hair & this doesn’t have all the harmful chemicals

  33. Jordie says:

    Great ‘recipe’, looks so simple! However, reading your list of ‘bad ingredients’ I saw phospholipids. Those phospholipids would be made of some vegetable oil or petroleum base, but just ‘phospholipids’ aren’t bad in themselves. Our cells have phospholipids! It just means that it can hold water on one side and fats/oils on the other :)

    • Heather says:

      Oops! I meant to remove that one. There were other ingredients, like, um, WATER that I did take out but I guess I missed it. Thanks for letting me know – correcting now!

  34. Stephanie Schlehuber via FB says:

    This stuff works way better than the store bought gel. I have been making it for about 6 months now and no complaints. And when you make it yourself you can make it smell how ever you want!! Thanks for sharing.

  35. Veronica Watson via FB says:

    huh! cool!

  36. Karen Fultz-Smith via FB says:

    I used to make my hair gel with flaxseeds….it worked really well!

  37. Kathleen says:

    I have a question. I made this last night and used it this morning. I guess I was thinking that it would add ‘lift’ to my hair, as that’s why I would buy hair gel. I put some on the roots of my hair this morning after my shower and blow dried it. It is now four hours later and my hair is flat, flat, flat. Is this gel just to tame the frizzies? If so, is there something I can add to it to give my hair body? (Another site said to use sugar water, but I don’t really want to use sugar! (bees anyone?)
    Heather, I absolutely LOVE your site! Thank you for all you share.

    • Courtney says:

      Mousse is for volume, gel is for hold, so you will need to use it a bit differently to achieve a volume effect. The only way I have managed to get body into my hair with gel is by putting it up at night, either a French braid down the middle, rope twist, or just a high bun! Whichever you choose, put gel in slightly damp hair, put up overnight, and in the morning take it down. Flip your head upside down and shake your hair out. If you want curl, scrunch in more gel :)

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  39. Sarah says:

    I have curly hair that has always been a challenge for me. For many I’ve used different gels and hairspray to keep my curls under control. I read your post recently and decided to try it and love it!! I’m so excited. I didn’t even need to use hairspray. It has hold that you can adjust depending on the amount of gelatin (i used WAY too much the first time) and still leaves hair soft. Thank you!!

  40. Virginia says:

    Mine is very watery and is not setup at all. What did I do wrong? I put 1/4 tsp of gelatin in a small cup, added a few drops of cold water, and then added 1/3 cup of hot water and 4 drops of EOs. It’s like water. I put some in my hands and applied, but it is not anything like the picture.

    • Tara says:

      Did you put it in the fridge? I believe it needs to be chilled to thicken (like making “jello” or gummies with gelatin).

    • Courtney says:

      Happened to me the first time too! Some Geletin needs to be hydrated before using. Put your powder into a cup or bowl and add just enough water to get it to gel up. Stir it a little and let it soften for 2-3 minutes. Now you can pour in your hot water to dissolve the Geletin with no problem. Put it in the fridge and it should set!

  41. Kay says:

    Why oh why didn’t I try this when you first posted this?! This is the best! I, too, put too much gelatin in the first batch….

    Anyone with crazy curly hair has to try this. I just hate to think how much time and money I wasted trying to find a product that worked. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!

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  44. susanna says:

    how long does it take to solidify?
    i followed directions and i used the recommended red gelatin can, but its still liquid in the fridge after couple of hours….

  45. jean says:

    hey there ! i tried this just now but as it dried i saw many flakes in my hair :(
    has anyone experienced this? i have jet black hair so it was really obvious… i looked like i had dandruff hahah

  46. DIY Hair Gel | All Natural Home and Beauty says:

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  47. Joyce says:

    Dear Sweet Heather,
    I could give you a big hug right now! After having several surgeries I started losing massive amounts of hair, I’m guessing from drugs and anesthesia. My once thick hair was my crowning glory. I’m desperately trying to heal, and that meant throwing out chemical laden hair products. I’ve been using Branch Basics for all of my cleaning and now it’s time to take action with my personal care products. I made the hair gel this morning… WOW! I’m never going back! I used Great Lakes Gelatin and added Rosemary, lavender and peppermint essential oil to it. After it set, I blended it in my Vitamix and the texture greatly improved and even turned a bit white-ish in color… resembling store bought hair gel! THANK YOU! I am truly grateful and hoping and praying that my hair will be restored. Already I’ve notice a difference. (I’m anxious to try some of your shampoo recipes next and will let you know how it goes… but until then I’ve been using Dr. Christopher’s BF&C shampoo and conditioner that I purchased at iherb. Love it! There is absolutely nothing bad in them at all, and my hair washed up great. I’m a big fan of his herbal products) Again… Thank you Heather!!!!

    • Heather says:

      Oh Joyce, I’m so glad you were pleased with the hair gel! You know, it can actually be used as a hair mask to strengthen hair. I need to write up a post with full instructions :)

      Wishing you a speedy recovery and a wonderful holiday season!

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