DIY Beauty Bar: Flaxseed Gel For All Your Coiffure Needs

queer-beauty-bar-graphicLet’s talk about how sexy it is to run your fingers through someone’s hair after they’ve put gel or hairspray in it. Spoiler alert: it’s actually not that sexy. Even if you firmly reside in the “no one can touch my hair” camp (no worries, I’m your neighbor!), you have to admit that most hair holding concoctions leave a lot to be desired. They turn your thousands of lovely locks of hair into crunchy, hard clumps that have to be gently combed out so that you’re hair doesn’t break (ugh) or washed out before you even think about doing anything else with your hair (double ugh).

Flaxseed gel is not most gels. It somehow magically holds your hair in place while keeping it pliable. It doesn’t leave any buildup or flake off if you decide not to wash your hair immediately. And it’s next to free. The cost breakdown here is almost laughable because all you’re using is water, 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds (which go for $2-3/pound) and maybe a drop of essential oils. The only downside to it is that it’s a lot less shelf stable than most things I like to make. It’ll stay good for 2-4 weeks if you refrigerate it; meaning if you use a lot, you’ll probably have to make a new batch every month. Luckily, it takes less than 10 minutes to whip up.

Flaxseed Gel



1 cup of water – Whenever you’re making a homemade body product that involves water, you’ve got to take a few extra precautions. The short and short of it is that, just like water helps keep you alive, it can give sustenance to all kinds of gross things that you don’t want growing in your gel or lotion. If you want to know more, head on over to Crunchy Betty and read what she has to say. She’s funny and smart; I think you guys’ll get along.

2 T of flax seeds – When boiled, flax seeds turn into sticky mushy things that are perfect to use as eggs in vegan cooking, as glue for weirdo projects where you’re not allowed to use elmer’s glue and… as gel to keep your hair in place!


Essential oils (optional) I used tea tree oil and peppermint to make my gel smell good and to keep it from going rancid as quickly. You can also use lavender, rosemary or eucalyptus oil since they’re also anti-bacterial/fungal

Honey (optional) Honey provides a little extra hold and is a natural humectant, which means that keep your hair moisturized.


1. Pour the water and flax seeds into a pot and boil them.


2. 5-7 minutes after it’s come to a boil, you should have a gel. Cook longer if you want a gel with more hold. My hair is really thick – meaning it needs a heavy hand when dealing with it but it’s also curly enough that if I stick it somewhere, it won’t really move on it’s own – and I go with 6 minutes.

3. Strain the flax seeds out of the gel using a thin mesh sieve and/or pantyhose to squeeze out the really thick stuff that’s stuck to the seeds.


4. Add essential oils and honey if you want and put it in a sealed container, and store it in the fridge.

Resources: Naptural85, Black Girl With Long Hair, Crunchy Betty

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. AHH! How did you know that I needed this? It’s so hard to find cruelty free hair products that aren’t $100000000000.

  2. This. is. amazing. And if it doesn’t make my hair look greasy (like every other gel I’ve ever tried), I’ll love you forever!

    • i’ve only every used whole flax seeds but give it a try and let me know! i stay away from ground because the seeds go bad faster and i like to buy a bunch so i can make this stuff whenever.

  3. This is awesome! I have been bowing down to the manufactured chemical gods for the sake of good hair for far too long! This stuff rocks, feels really fun on my fingers, and I won’t have to resort to AXE de-glue shampoo to get residue out of my hair.

    I am also really excited whenever I get to use essential oils for something.

    • I made some and used it on my short hair, I have shaved sides and longer on top. It put my hair in a queer pompadour that looked awesome and even the next day after sleeping on it, it was still holding strong!

    • I’m going to experiment with it some more, but at least when it’s super hot (and I’m all sweaty by the time I get to work) I think I might end up doing my usual products on shower days and using this on non-shower days when my hair is a little more receptive to being ordered around. I wear my hair straight up and it was pretty melted by the end of the day. But I’m going to experiment and see if using more of it will help. But the current verdict is that it will decrease my use of some products, but I’m not sure it’ll replace them entirely.

      • thanks for reporting back, emma and leigh! i’m guessing that just like everything else, this works really well for some hair types and not so great for others. i’ll keep looking and seeing what else is out there and report back!

  4. brilliant! i have some psyllium husk that gels up in the same way that flax seeds do and i’m totally going to try this. right now.

  5. Okay so I just tried making this and it’s a lot messier/harder than it looks in the tutorial. How do you go about separating the seeds from the gel when it’s boiling hot and it’s all sticky and gooey? The gel wouldn’t go through my strainer so I had to pick the seeds out with my hands/a spoon. While it was super hot.

  6. Also: that Crunchy Betty site is such a time suck, and now I have a long list of homemade beauty products I want to make.

    • i can’t click through the link because i know this will happen to me. like i actually told myself “don’t you dare click through until all your major project deadlines are over.”

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