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20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include in Your DIY Hair Gel – Part 1

Choose from a few of these ingredients to find the perfect composition for a DIY hair gel that’s just right for your curly hair needs at home. 

The use of hair gel can be traced as far back as the ancient Egyptians. Hair gel has been used for decades to define curls, hold a style in place and help create dynamic styles.

However, the many commercial hair gels on the market can cause dry hair issues and ultimately lead to breakage.

Some also leave unattractive flakes behind once dry or create a hold as stiff as a starched shirt.

In some extreme cases, some have been known to cause hair breakage.

20 herbs, oils and powders you should include in your DIY hair gel. Mix and match for the best results for moisture, definition, shine and softness

Related Content: Feed Your Hair with Herbs & Spices

In recent years, many companies have introduced gels free of synthetic ingredients making life easier for curlistas.

One of the popular natural hair gels is Kinky Curly Curling Custard which works quite well for definition and moisture.

However, at nearly $18 for an 8 oz jar, it’s not something one can always invest in.

In between jars of your favorite hair gel or curl defining cream, you can craft your own perfect hair gel at home with a combination of the 20 ingredients I will share in these articles:

DIY Hair Gel – 20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include

DIY Hair Gel – Ingredients for Strength, Condition & Shine

Stinging Nettle

stinging nettle powder

Stinging nettle is rich in iron, silica, calcium and vitamin A, D & K. It strengthens the hair and also helps to control dandruff.

It can also help prevent hair breakage from over manipulation. It is usually available as dried tea leaves.

I recommend Frontier Organics Stinging Nettle Leaf.


dried horsetail

Horsetail is also commonly known as shavegrass. It contains many minerals and nutrients including iron, tannins, phytosterols, selenium, cysteine, and silica.

Horsetail is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. The silica, selenium, and cysteine contained in it help strengthen the hair and prevent split ends.

I recommend Starwest Botanicals Organic Horsetail.

Chamomile Flowers

chamomile flowers

This herb is cultivated in several countries worldwide. Chamomile has tiny yellow flowers surrounded by white petals. The yellow flower is the active ingredient used in gels.

The flowers are plucked and dried before being sold. They impart shine on the hair and can also lighten the hair over time.

Skip this ingredient if you’re not interested in lighter hair. Try Frontier Organics Dried German Chamomile Flowers.


dried hibiscus flowers

The hibiscus flower is known as kardake in the Middle East. The petals are dried and are a culinary delicacy in some parts of the world.

Back home, we make a refreshing drink out of it known as zobo with water and honey or sugar. Hibiscus helps prevent hair fall and makes the hair glossy.

I recommend Frontier Organics Dried Hibiscus Flowers.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

indian gooseberry amla powder

This tree grows in India and produces a tiny green fruit. The fruit is dried and then ground to yield the herb commonly known as amla powder in Ayurveda.

The powder can prevent premature greys and also conditions hair. I recommend  Feel Good Organics Amla Powder.

For more on herbs in your hair care regimen, have a look at Healthy Hair Care Series 6 – Feed Your Hair with Herbs & Spices.

DIY Hair Gel – Ingredients for Slip & Easy Detangling

Irish Moss


Irish moss is an algae, which grows in rocky areas. It contains protein and is rich in iodine and sulphur as well as beta-carotene, iron, and zinc.

It provides lots of slip and makes it easier to manipulate hair with minimal breakage. Try Divine Organics Raw Wildcrafted Irish Moss.



They are aka linseeds and contain significant amounts of omega-3, vitamin B1, selenium, manganese, copper, and dietary fibre.

Flax seeds are a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, and selenium. It provides slip but not as much as Irish moss. It also helps to combat frizz.

I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Whole Golden Flax Seed.



Okra is a green pod-like edible plant prepared in many ways around the world. Back home, we use it to prepare a soup-like meal to go with other dishes.

The dish is very slippery like gel. Okra is high in fibre and vitamin C. Try Native Forest Organic Okra or grow your own with these seeds.

Marshmallow Root


Marshmallow root grows in moist sandy areas. The root contains starch, pectin, and mucilage making it a perfect ingredient to use in hair gels.

The root is dried and is available as is or as a powder. There is no evidence that one works better than the other.

I recommend Hippy Bunny Organic Marshmallow Root.

Slippery Elm Bark


The inner bark from the branches of this tree is collected and used for various purposes including medicinal.

Slippery elm can be consumed as a tea. This is also available in bark or powder form. Some people believe the powder form works better than the bark form.

I recommend Starwest Botanicals Slippery Elm Bark Powder.

Aloe Vera


Aloe vera is a short-stemmed plant that can be grown in most areas of the world. It is produced in many forms including as a liquid juice for use.

For the purposes of a hair gel, I recommend purchasing the fresh leaf, opening it up and scraping the gel out of the middle.

You can also grow your aloe vera leaf at home. Try Hirt’s Gardens Aloe Vera Leaf Plant.

Grab all the ingredients with free shipping when you sign up for Amazon Prime HERE. You can read 20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include in Your DIY Hair Gel – Part 2 here.

Main Image credit

Abi is a curly hair expert who delved into the world of natural oils after severe hair loss issues. Through her research, study, and testing, she was able to regrow her bald spots & a healthy head of hair. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Ade Ori Hair Care, and the author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She continues to study hair science, Ayurveda, and natural and healthy solutions for hair and skin. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines

This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.

20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include in Your DIY Hair Gel

Monday 3rd of August 2015

[…] This is a continuation from a previous article. You can read 20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include in Your DIY Hair Gel Recipe – Part 1 HERE. […]

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Saturday 1st of August 2015



Monday 25th of May 2015

I hadn't heard of horsetail before. I'll be learning more about it. Also, I didn't think of okra being used for gel before. Seems like it could work, though.

Natural Oils for Hair

Sunday 14th of June 2015

It definitely works although it has been ruined for me as food. Everytime I look at it now, I think it's an ingredient for gel and I don't wanna eat gel. lolllll.