DIY Natural, Toxin-Free Flaxseed Gel

Updated: Aug 20


You may be wondering why you should make your own gel when you can conveniently buy it in the store. Before I go over my personal DIY, I’d like to talk about mainstream gel. If you'd like to skip directly to the DIY, click here.


The Dangers of Mainstream Gel

The ingredients I am about to discuss are based on the gel I used before adapting a natural way of living and avoiding toxins to the best of my ability. Keep in mind that I have type 3B curly hair and used Eco Styler Professional Styling Gel with Argan Oil.


Carbopol 940

According to ThermoFisher Scientific's Safety Data Sheet on Carbopol 940, it's not classified as a hazardous chemical, but its acrylic resin component has some interesting first aid measures in place. For instance, part 4, the section that discusses First-Aid Measures, under Skin Contact, says:

"Wash off immediately with soap and plenty of water while removing all contaminated clothes and shoes. Get medical attention (1)."

Then in that same section, under Inhalation, it says:

"Remove from exposure, lie down. Remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. Get medical attention (1)."

Better yet, under part 7, the section where it discusses Handling & Storage it says explicitly:

"Avoid contact with skin and eyes (1)."

Yet we are expected to put this in our hair like it won't end up on our scalp or inhaled?


Dissolvine Na-X

According to hazard.com, Dissolving Na-X has reports of carcinogenicity as it's listed as a suspected carcinogen by IARC and NTP. Under Health Hazards Acute & Chronic, they said:

"Contact may cause mild eye irritation. Skin contact is not expected to cause irritation. Inhalation may cause irritation of mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. No significant toxic effects are expected if ingested. Chronic prolonged and repeated exposure may cause kidney toxicity. Material is also listed as a suspect carcinogen (2)."

Glycosperse L-20

Glycosperse L-20 is polysorbate 20; POE (20) sorbitan monolaurate is a high HLB surfactant (3). I usually shy away from any ingredient that has a number in it. Polysorbate 20, in its original form, is harmless sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol. For its use in personal care products, however, it's treated with ethylene oxide. Thus, the name "polysorbate 20" because it's treated with 20 parts of ethylene oxide. This is where it becomes problematic; any ingredient treated with ethylene oxide (or "ethoxylated") can become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a potentially dangerous by-product. 1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen that penetrates readily into the skin (4).


Fragrance (Parfum)

Fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. These chemicals include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and many other known toxins capable of causing cancer, congenital disabilities, nervous-system disorders, and allergies. To learn more regarding The Truth About Fragrance click here.


FD&C Yellow #5

This chemical has been linked to neurological disorders like ADHD, allergies, learning disabilities, irritability, and aggressiveness (5). Not to mention, Yellow 5 contains compounds such as benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl that have been linked to cancer (6). To learn more regarding The Truth About Food Coloring, click here.


A Safer Alternative

So instead of using the mainstream stuff that’s brimming with toxins, I’ve decided to make my own with enthusiasm and confidence that you will use it, benefit from it, and appreciate it as much as I do! This recipe is non-toxic yet still pretty strong and smells amazing. Let me break down each ingredient that I chose so you can better understand the benefits of my DIY recipe.


Distilled Water

The process of distillation rids water of impurities, such as trace amounts of minerals, bacteria, pesticides, and other contaminants (7).

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is not just to get the thickening in the hair gel; flaxseed has many skin and hair benefits, including:

  • May help repair hair

  • Rich in vitamin E

  • Reduces free radical damage in the scalp

  • Improves circulation in the head

  • Slows hair breakage

  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids

  • Reduces brittleness

  • Nourishes the hair and scalp (8)

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil isn’t just for the smell; it has many hair health benefits, including:

  • May help promote hair growth

  • Antimicrobial properties

  • May help prevent and kill head lice

  • May reduce skin inflammation (9)

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil also has many hair health benefits, such as:

  • Keeps hair moisturized

  • Prevents hair from falling out

  • Reduces dandruff

  • Antifungal properties

  • Antibacterial properties (10)

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil isn’t just for smell, but it also has many hair health benefits, like:

  • Antimicrobial properties

  • Improves blood flow and may stimulate hair growth

  • May improve itchy or dry scalp

  • Anti-inflammatory properties (11)


Orange Essential Oil

Orange essential oil is mostly used as a preservative but also has many hair benefits, like:

  • Soothes an irritated scalp

  • Moisturizes dry strands

  • Infuses the hair with vitamin C

  • Prevents hair loss (12)


Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E is not a single vitamin but rather a group of fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant effects. Some benefits of vitamin E oil are:

  • Moisturizing skin

  • Reducing itchy skin

  • Relieving eczema and psoriasis (13)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 jar or container for storage (glass is preferred)

  • 1 nut milk bag (order here)

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed (organic is preferred)

  • 2 1/2 cups distilled water

  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (order here)

  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil (order here)

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil (order here)

  • 5 drops orange essential oil (order here)

  • 5 drops of vitamin E oil (order here)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pour your flaxseed into your distilled water and mix well.

  2. Bring your mixture to a boil in a pot on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture often to avoid sticking to the pot. Ensure the result is not too thick yet not too runny; it should be similar to regular hair gel.

  3. Turn off the stove and allow the gel to cool for about 1 hour. This allows the gel to thicken.

  4. When your hour is up, pour the mixture into the nut milk bag (or a stocking) to strain the gel. You may have to strain it more than once; I did it twice and still had some seeds left, but it wasn't noticeable since I have dark hair.

  5. Pour the gel into your jar or container for storage before adding your essential oils and vitamin E oil.

  6. Store your flaxseed gel in the refrigerator; if you use all the recommended essential oils for this DIY, your gel should last approximately one month; if you don't use all the oils, it will only last about two weeks are no preservation oils.

⚠️ Warning: Although this is a natural gel, I do not recommend using this on small children as the essential oils are not child-safe. I suggest doing your independent research on essential oils safe for children if you wish to use this on children under 10.


What is your go-to hair gel alternative?


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