By Choya Randolph
If you’re not seeing the curl definition you want then you probably need a gel. A lot of us have our go-to gels to slick back our edges but can your gel capture your curl pattern? Your gel could be doing a good job at getting rid of any frizz but when you put it directly on your hair, it’s not cute. It could fail at bringing out your curls and if it does give you some definition, it makes your hair feel crunchy in less than 20 minutes. And don’t get me started on the flakes. Some gels will make it look like you have dandruff. Now you look dirty. The gels that actually get the job done effectively tend to be expensive and may not even have enough product. Now you’ve spent $25 on a couple of ounces of gel that will only last you a week or two. Store-bought gels could also have ingredients that you simply don’t want in your hair. If you’re looking for a natural gel for your natural hair, flaxseed gel may be the gel for you.
You may have heard of flaxseeds but nothing about flaxseed gel. Flaxseed gel is made from flaxseeds. When consumed, flaxseeds can lower your cholesterol and relieve constipation. But when boiled in water, a gel forms. This gel is rich in vitamin e which promotes hair growth and revitalizes the scalp. The gel also protects, strengthens, and moisturizes hair. It adds elasticity to the hair which can combat breakage. Flaxseed gel is very inexpensive to make and can last weeks in the fridge. I know weeks may sound like a short shelf life but remember that flaxseed gel is completely organic and doesn’t have unnatural preservatives that your store-bought gel may have.
Now you’re probably thinking “So the gel is all natural, inexpensive and healthy for your hair? Drop the recipe sis!” Well let me tell you everything you’ll need. You of course need flaxseeds. You can buy a bag of flaxseeds for a couple of bucks online or at your local grocery store. These bags tend to be fairly large and can last months in your cabinets. Make sure you get whole flaxseeds, not roasted or ground. You will also need a pair of pantyhose. (I know that sounds weird but trust me, you’ll need it.) Everything else you’ll need should already be in your kitchen: a small or medium sized pot, container and spoon.
Now let’s get into portions. As a black woman, I do not measure. I listen to my ancestors and wait for them to tell me to stop. I encourage you to do the same. But for the sake of the recipe, put about two cups of water into your pot and a generous handful of flaxseeds. A fourth of a cup should be enough. Your flaxseeds should be taking up less than 20 percent of your pot of water. After that, boil your flaxseed water. While boiling, stir it every 3-5 minutes to check the consistency. It should have the consistency of mucus. Once the gel has that consistency to the point that it’s attaching to your spoon, turn your stove off. Let the gel cool down. You do not want to mess with boiling gel.
When making this gel, it’d be convenient to do it on wash day. After you’ve shampooed those beautiful curls, you better be deep conditioning. Deep conditioning tends to last 20-30 minutes. That’s the perfect amount of time to let your flaxseed gel cool down. Go watch an episode of The Parkers on Netflix while you condition and wait for your gel to fully congeal.
After about 30 minutes, your gel should have thickened to a slimy consistency. Get your container and pantyhose. Cut the leg out of the pantyhose and put it on your container so it can act as a strainer. Pour your gel in the pantyhose and squeeze. This is the fun part because the gel is so fun to play with it. When done squeezing, the pantyhose should be nothing but seeds and your container should have nothing but gel. If you’re really tryna save a coin, you can wash the pantyhose to use again. But after that, you’re done!
Your flaxseed gel can last days in the fridge. If you’re nervous about the expiration date, your nose will tell you. If it smells bad, don’t put it in your hair. If you want to make your flaxseed gel last up to weeks, you can incorporate natural preservatives such as lavender or rosemary oil. You can also add whatever you want to the flaxseed gel such as aloe vera gel or other oils of your choice. Again, the smell of the flaxseed gel will reveal if it has expired.
When putting the flaxseed gel in, it should be the last step of your hair care routine. After deep conditioning, you probably bust out your leave-in conditioner, oil and cream. Once you’ve put all those products in your hair, run the flaxseed gel in your hair. Make sure your hair is soaking wet so you can reap all the benefits of the gel and avoid any crunchiness. Crunchy is for cheetos, not your hair. Don’t be afraid to use a generous amount of gel. It’s okay to use a lot, it was cheap to make anyway. While combing it through your hair, you’ll be able to see those pretty curls of yours. Once it’s distributed on every hair strand, you can style how you want. You can even put your hair in a twist-out so your hair will be stretched when you’re ready to style. Don’t worry, a twist-out will not ruin your curl definition. This gel is long-lasting and healthy for your hair. Plus, it embodies one of the fun parts of going natural: making your own products!