OK this is a long overdue post. I have been meaning to post about this for 2 weeks but just have been too busy. I don't know why I am so busy because I never seem to anticipate it. Anyway, been on ravelry talking in the Curly Girls group where we all share ideas and info on keeping our feisty curls under control and looking good. Everyone has been raving about flax seed gel that they have been making and using. I am so glad I paid attention because I was just saying to a friend that I would like to buy a product for styling that wasn't tested on animals or full of chemicals and/or alcohols. There are limited choices when you look for anything like that suited for curly hair. I admit, I was skeptical but I LOVE this gel and it has been making me look good for 2 weeks now.
There is also a chemist on the group who has given info on different things you can add to this to suit your particular needs. I've known that I can use some fresh ground flax as a sub for eggs in baking recipes but now I know why! Here is the recipe:
Flax Seed Hair Gel
1 cup water
1/4 cup whole flax seed
Aloe Vera Gel
1. Pour 1 cup of water (not warm or hot - just cool from the tap) into my saucepan, then 1/4 cup of flax seeds and then turned the heat on high. Stir to keep the seeds moving and keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
2. Once your water comes to a boil, stir frequently. When you start getting a gel consistency turn the heat down a little and keep stirring. Once seeds look suspended in the gel it is done cooking. Don't cook too long or you won't be able to strain it through the mesh strainer. ( If that does happen though, put a little more water in it and heat it up again, then repeat with straining.)
3.Then shut off the heat and pour the liquid and seeds into a fine mesh strainer over your bowl. There are several things you can add to your gel, some of which I consider a must. One this is Grapefruit Seed Extract. You can find this at health stores like GNC usually in small bottle that will last ages. This acts as a preservative to your gel.
Another thing is essential oils if you want to scent it. Some like rosemary or lavender oils. I added a premixed "nag champa" blend to mine, just a couple drops to scent it. Just make sure to check out if these oils you want in it aren't drying or harmful to skin in any way before you add it to your gel.
Another thing you can add is Aloe Vera Gel, the kind they sell in health stores for consumption. I have found that it adds a bit of moisture to the gel, so if you think your gel is drying, you can add up to Tablesoon and mix it in. I have found myself that i prefer less than that.
The last thing you may want to add is epsom salts, this activates your curls a bit to make sure they all look happy and uniformly curly. Be careful though and start small, add up to a tablespoon (or more after you have experimented for awhile). I think I will be using only a tsp in my own.
Just do not add any of these extras while cooking on the stove, only afterwards. Boiling breaks them down and destroys their scent and other properties.
Now you can store your gel in a bottle or jar. I put half in the fridge (to last longer) and half in an empty lotion jar I had washed out. I find that this is an egg white consistency, sort of gross like mucus! But I swear leaves no residue or color behind. In fact I have found that when I touch my hair too much and it gets messed up all I have to do is sprinkle a little water on it and it's fixed! I have tried it with a diffuser and without with the same results. I like to dip my fingers in it to coat them and then brush through my hair until I have enough. Be slightly liberal, don't worry about being to goopy. Let it dry with a diffuser or without and then scrunch it out to soften ( I am sure you all know the drill)
Sounds complicated, but the whole process takes me only about 6-8 minutes. Especially once you have done it it's much easier afterwards. Talk about inexpensive too! Now if you are too lazy and/or sleptical I know a person who makes and sells this flax gel on etsy. She gives you the option of many different additives and your own scent choices and is from my old stomping grounds, MN. But it will cost more, and I've heard that people prefer their at home version, even though it works well enough. I've also read that this is almost identical to Jessi Curls Rockin Ringlets gel which costs around 12 bucks a bottle. So if you want to try these in lieu of the DIY that is your way to go.
I know! DIY gel! who knew? ha ha.