This is a continuation from 20 Herbs, Oils & Powders to Include in Your DIY Hair Gel Recipe. If you’re keen on DIYing your hair products, these ingredients help achieve softness, shine, moisture, definition and much more.
INGREDIENTS FOR THICKENING THE RECIPE
Depending on the composition of your gel, you will most likely need a thickening agent for the recipe to clump together. Xanthan gum is one of the ingredients commonly used to thicken recipes. It is a plant based food additive and a stabilizer. Try Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum.
Guar gum is aka as guaran. It is derived from guar beans, which is grown in several countries around the world with India being the largest producer. Guar gum is also used as a thickening and binding agent in recipes, lotions and creams and is a suitable alternative if you can’t find xanthan gum. Try Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum.
To prevent unnecessary clumping in your products, mix the gum separately first in a little bit of water before adding it to the recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR MOISTURE
The Agave nectar is produced from the agave plant, which grows in US and South America. It is a sweetener marketed as a healthy replacement for sugar and even honey although it has a high content of high fructose corn syrup. Using it in your gel acts as a humectant and helps to seal in moisture. Avoid this ingredient though if you live in a dry/humid environment. Try Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave.
Honey isn’t a new ingredient in hair care. Curlistas use it in a variety of ways in conditioning treatments. It works the same way as Agave nectar in sealing in moisture. There isn’t really much difference if you use either one in your gel so it depends really on what your hair likes. Try YS Bee Farms Premium Honey.
INGREDIENTS FOR ADDED MOISTURE & SOFTNESS
Grapeseed oil is lighter than most oils and doesn’t weigh down the hair while helping to smooth the cuticles. When added to your hair gel, it helps seal in moisture and keep hair soft. Try La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil.
Sweet almond oils is light and non greasy and works the same way as grapeseed oil helping to smooth down the cuticles and seal in moisture. You can use either of the two or combine equal parts of both oils in a recipe. Try Now Foods Almond Oil.
Castor oil is more vicious than both of the oils mentioned above. It is great to use if you are experiencing breakage or hair fall. If you have thin hair, it’s also a good addition to the recipe. Try Now Foods Castor Oil.
You don’t have to use all the oils above. One is more than fine.
INGREDIENTS FOR PRESERVATION
Tea tree oil is an essential oil, which can be used as a mild antimicrobial. It is also effective if you have dandruff and itchy scalp. Try Sun Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil.
Peppermint oil has medicinal benefits, contains menthol and is an antifungal and antiseptic agent, which can also be used as a mild antimicrobial. Try Now Peppermint Essential Oil.
Vitamin E oil contains antioxidants, which can extend the shelf life of your gel to a certain extent by removing free radicals and preventing the gel from going rancid. Try Sundown Naturals Vitamin E Oil.
Using a combination of several ingredients above and in the previous article HERE, you can create your own gel, which should last up to 2 – 3 weeks when stored in the fridge. If you would like to keep for longer, have a look at the stronger preservatives below:
Citric acid is a weak organic acid derived from citrus fruits. It is an antioxidant and natural preservative that can also be used to balance the ph of your gel. It is sold as a grainy white powder and should be stored in an airtight container. Try Millard Food Grade Citric Acid.
Potassium sorbate is a preservative, which prevents mold, fungi and yeast growth in food and cosmetics. It is sold as a white crystalline powder but should be dissolved before being added to products. Try LD Carson Potassium Sorbate.
Optiphen is sold in clear liquid form and provides preservation against bacteria, yeast and mold in cosmetics. It might also act as a humectant. It shouldn’t be added to the gel while still hot, as this will hinder the preservative qualities in the product. Try The Chemistry Store Optiphen.
ONE MORE INGREDIENT
In order to work effectively, the final outcome needs to close your cuticles, which would have been raised from any of the earlier processes you applied to your hair. The pH level (an abbreviation for potential hydrogen) of the product should be in the 4 – 6 range ideally. Testing your gel with pH strips will let you know if you are in that range or not. Try Micro Essential Laboratories ph Test Strips.
Here is a picture of a gel I created for myself although I’m still working on perfecting the recipe. It’s red because I used hibiscus in my recipe.
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