a scenic detour

"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." ~Noelie Altito

diy: natural styling gel for curls

7 Comments

I love my curls. Most people tell me they love my hair and then ask me if I hate it. I guess most people assume that we always want what we don’t have (in my case, straight hair), but that is not the case for me at all. I suppose there was a time when I struggled with my curly hair. I got teased in school and it took me a long time, testing a zillion products (all claiming to tame the frizz) to finally find a routine that works. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I spent.

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I prefer not to beat my hair into submission. Spending hours with a blow dryer and flat iron does not seem like a good time to me…and well, I have better things to do. I run into so many seemingly straight-haired girls who tell me that they have natural curls, but if they let their hair go curly it would never look like mine. Well, ok, it probably wouldn’t look exactly like mine because we’re all different, right? That’s what makes the world an interesting place. But, I would argue that your curls can look awesome with a few simple tricks. One of mine is flax seed gel.

I learned how to make it a few years ago when I used to frequent the boards of naturallycurly.com.

It’s really pretty easy.  Go grab the following:

  • a small saucepan and spoon
  • a fine mesh strainer
  • flax seeds
  • water
  • a container for storage
  • *optional*: citric acid, essential oil

Ok, have you gathered all your supplies?  Good.  Let’s get started.

  1. First, boil about 2 cups of water on the stovetop.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add about 1/2 cup of flax seeds and turn the heat down to med-low.
  3. Simmer the flax seeds for up to 10 minutes.  DON’T walk away!  You really gotta watch this stuff once it starts simmering.  It can get thick pretty quickly and if you cook it too long you won’t be able to strain it.
  4. It’s ready when the liquid thickens, sticks to your spoon, and has a snotty consistency.  Sorry, I can’t really think of a better comparison.  It really does look like snot.
  5. Once you think it’s ready, strain out the seeds with the fine mesh strainer and collect your gel in a storage container.
  6. Now you have a few options.  This stuff will go rancid (and stinky) if it’s left on the shelf.  You can either store it in the refrigerator or add about 1/4 tsp of citric acid to act as a preservative.  You can also add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance.  I prefer to store mine in the fridge because it stays thicker.  I’ve found that if I add citric acid and keep it on the shelf, it tends to get runny, but this method is good if you want to travel with it and don’t have access to a fridge.

Ok, now you have your amazing curly hair gel.  Next, the trick is applying it.  One of my favorite things about this stuff is that it doesn’t make your hair crunchy or sticky.  To get the best results, you have to use a lot of it.  Don’t be afraid to use too much.  I use it in combination with a technique called plopping.  Once I’ve plopped for about 10 minutes, I just scrunch a couple of palms full of this gel into my hair.  It’s ok if your hair feels a little slimy.  Now let your hair air dry and when it’s dry or almost dry, you can turn your head upside-down and scrunch it a little to soften any crunchiness that might have formed.  You could blow-dry with a diffuser, but I rarely do this.

Viola!  You are going to have awesome curls!

So, do you have natural curls?  Do you embrace them or fight them?  What do you do to tame the little beasties?

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7 thoughts on “diy: natural styling gel for curls

  1. Pingback: caring for curls | a scenic detour

  2. Gonna try this today :) Trying to go all natural and organic with products. It makes sense because for me, I use hair gel, but as it’s drying I’m afraid it will touch my skin and clog my pores, why would I think the cheap stuff is good for me? Besides this is much cheaper! I’m going to add lavender and vanilla …yum! :)

  3. Pingback: caring for curls |

  4. When you say Citric Acid do you mean from freshly squeezed lemons or limes or the powdered kind?

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