Hair gels are popular and there plenty on them around. There are some that claim to be all natural but the list of ingredients on the packaging seems to say otherwise. I had shied away from using hair gels until I read blogs which inspired me to try aloe vera and DIY flax seed gels. I was expecting the natural gels to hydrate my hair, make it easier to style and to give good curl definition.
What did I find out?
Aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) gel
I now know that unless you grow an aloe vera plant, it is impossible to get 100% pure fresh aloe vera gel. I also learnt that aloe vera gel which is extracted from the inner part of the aloe leaf is more of a liquid consistency and so it is commonly known as aloe barbadensis leaf juice. Thickeners e.g. acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, pectin, carrageenan are often added to products containing the juice to create a true gel.
Fresh aloe juice/gel has very high water content, typically 99.5%. The remainder 0.5% aloe solids are made up of various compounds such as vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates. The nature of the fresh juice makes it susceptible to micro-organism contamination and degradation. Virtually all liquid forms of aloe vera gel are preserved using either a food grade or cosmetic grade preservative system which may include one or more preservatives. Examples of preservatives used include methylparaben, benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, citric acid and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
The aloe vera gel product that I used in my trial came from my local supermarket. It is made by Aloe Pura and marketed as a skincare product. I liked the fact that the formula wasn’t too complicated (no alcohol, hair conditioning polymers or parabens) and used organic aloe vera and panthenol which is supposed to be good at hydrating hair.
The gel had a nice consistency and no odour. It was fairly good for styling hair and providing reasonable hold. Although my hair felt soft soon after application, it did feel dry with time. One of the big issues I had with this gel is that it irritated my eyes every that I used it (scary as I only applied it to my hair). I later discovered that the preservative used (sodium hydroxymethylglycinate) is likely to be the culprit.
DIY Flax seed (linseed) gel
I made my own flax seed gel following a recipe from Ashley’s Green Life blog.
One good thing about this gel is that it is natural with no thickeners or preservatives so at least I know exactly what is in the finished product. I used golden flax seeds that I bought from Sainsbury’s and simmered the seeds for 9 minutes. The gel was fairly easy and quick to make so no complaints there except when it was time to use the gel. I really didn’t like how the gel felt to touch. It is really slimy (mucus like) and has poor flow properties making it a bit tricky to use. The gel also had some specks from the seeds so sieving is probably not the best way of removing them. I think maybe a filter may be better but I will need to explore this option.
On the positives, the gel had no strong odour and spread easily over my hair leaving no residue once dry. Initially I used it on clean hair without any leave-on moisturiser and the results were dry frizzy and tangled hair. After that I decided to use the gel after applying a leave-on hair conditioner and the results were a lot better (no frizz, soft and wavy hair).
However I didn’t think flax seed gel alone provided as good hold as the aloe vera gel but to be fair it had no additives.
To conclude, I think flax seed gel has potential and I am going to experiment more with it. So trial number 2 is on the horizon and next time I think I will process the flax seeds for less time to see if this improves the flow properties.
Do you make your own flax seed hair gel? Got any tips on how to improve the gel?Last modified on
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