We're continuing with our theme of eliminating plastics from the bathroom without having to live an extreme spartan lifestyle. This week I thought we could tackle some products that really aren't available in sustainable or refillable packaging - hair products. Dun dun dunnnnnnn....
Making your own hair products does not mean the final result is always going to be as good or better than your salon quality products. But just because we're trying to be conscious consumers doesn't mean we have to walk around looking like we've spent 6 months on the Pacific Crest Trail! So while what we're making may not be absolutely amazing, it is better than nothing and some recipes might be quite good. The key is experimenting to see what works for us as individuals with all of our crazy hair uniqueness.
You guys are in for a treat. Over the next few weeks (that's right, we're extending this plastic free bathroom theme on through December!) we're going to cover a few recipes to replace the following:
- Heat protection serum
- Texturizing paste
- Hair Gel
- Beach Spray
- Hair Spray
What I did play with over the last few weeks was a home made hair gel using flax seeds and a texturizing paste. Read on for results.
I was intrigued by the flaxseed hair gel. Talk about a cost effective swap! Flaxseeds are also rich in omega 3, nourishing for the hair, leaving it soft, shiny and moisturized. The gel mixes well with other oils, conditioners or moisturizers and this allows for a variety of additions to customize the product.
The following is a basic hair gel recipe.
DIY FLAXSEED HAIR GEL
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 2 cups of water
- Pantyhose / cheesecloth / small mesh strainer
- 1 Tbsp. glycerine (optional)
Mix the flax seeds and water in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent seeds from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Turn off the heat when a thick white frothy mixture forms, similar to whipped egg whites. Give it a stir or two as it cools down.
Strain out the flax seeds being mindful that the mixture will be VERY hot if you are using cloth to strain it. You can save the used flaxseeds for re-use in making your next batch of hair gel.
Now add in your glycerine if using. You can also add vitamin e oil for extra preserving power and some essential oils if you want to scent it up some.
Here are some great step by step photos by Curl Mix and their recipe which includes the addition of marshmallow root.
You'll want to store your gel in the refrigerator and it should keep anywhere from a few months up to a year according to some DIY'ers. Obviously be on the look out for any discoloration or changes in smell as signs that it's time to toss it.
So how did it work?
If my hair was longer I would be using it every day. My hair gets more wavy and frizzy the longer it is and currently I'm rocking a short asymmetrical bob so don't really need hair gel. The pros of the recipe: It's cheap, easy to make, and it does add a beautiful healthy sheen to hair without flaking once dried. The gel hold itself can be adjusted by adding more flaxseed for more hold. It won't be as strong as spiking gel but it will hold curls and waves nicely. The only real con is the mucus like texture of the gel. It's slimy. If that doesn't bother you and you are a gel user, definitely give it a try.
As for the texturizing paste, this is something I need with my short bob because I have what I can only describe as thick helmet hair. I need something to separate my hair and add chunky texture. My expectations were low on this one because come on, there are some pretty amazing texturizing pastes out there that you just can't make in your kitchen.
This recipe comes courtesy of The Hippy Homemaker and she has options for making strong, medium, or light hold. I adapted some of the ingredient quantities below by weight that way if I decide to make it again it will be the same formulation.
DIY ALL NATURAL HAIR STYING POMADE
- 3.5oz beeswax pastilles
- 3oz unrefined shea butter
- ½ cup jojoba oil
- 1 tsp. vitamin e (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (optional)
In a double boiler, melt the beeswax and shea butter, stirring every so often.
Mix together arrowroot powder, jojoba oil, and essential oils in a small bowl. Using a fork, stir until the arrowroot is dissolved into the oil. If using Vitamin E to lengthen the shelf life of the pomade, poke the vitamin E pills squeezing the contents into the bowl and let cool until hardened.
When the beeswax shea mixture is melted, remove it from the heat and add arrowroot/jojoba oil/essential oil mixture.
Using your hand mixer, blend the hair pomade until it begins to turn into a pudding/taffy-like texture. (It shouldn't take too long since there is a decent amount of beeswax in the recipe!)
Scoop into your designated container and store in a cool dark place. The pomade will harden further overnight.
Use only a small pea sized amount on hair. A little goes a long way!
The recipe above is the strong hold option. I did manage to take some before and after photos using my DIY texturizing paste. Then somehow I deleted them. So here are some last minute ones I did this morning.
This first photo is fresh bed head. Fluffy on one side and flat on the other! You can see the natural wave I have that generally starts at my jawline.
Photo #2 is post application. I do not really have a specific styling technique. I'm pretty much winging it and pretending to know what I'm doing! You can see it tamed down the fluff on the left side of the picture and added a little definition to the curls on the right. While the right side might look a little flat - see picture #4.
I finger scrunched some through the back and ran some along the bottom hairline.
Here is that side shot that really showcases the little bit of wavy curl I have that makes using a paste desirable. And even though its a little dark you can see that the paste does help separate chunks of hair for some texture.
As for general notes after using this for the past few weeks - I did notice that by the end of the day my hair felt heavier, whatever voluminous lift at the roots I got at the beginning of the day subsided some, but I didn't look like a drowned rat so no complaints. I found it very useful for that thin top layer of super curly frizz that likes to emerge with the slightest bit of humidity.
Another great perk is that it can double as a nourishing and protecting hand salve! I spent the last week up in Washington and my little sister has a hard time with dry cracked hands in the winter. Lotion wasn't helping. I told her a salve or something with beeswax would be beneficial to provide a longer lasting seal between her skin and the elements. Then I realized, hey. My texturizing paste contains everything a common salve would - the only exception being the addition of arrowroot powder. She gave it a shot and liked it better than her Burt's Bees hand salve. (Sorry Burt)
I love it when DIY recipes can be multi-purpose like that!
Downsides of the paste: not a super strong holding power, for my hair at least. With cooler temperatures setting in, I have to shoot the paste with my hair dryer to soften it up before use. Rubbing between my cold hands just wasn't doing the trick and resulted in teeny tiny bits of paste that didn't quite melt and were visible on my dark hair.
Overall opinion on both of these recipes - - not bad. I think they are both strong candidates to grace the bathroom cabinet and feel a little more freedom and independence from the dominion of salon products.
We'll see if that holds true for next week's contestants. Stay tuned.....
Comment below if you have any questions or if you have your own similar experiences.
Disclaimer: The recipes & benefits provided are for general reference only and should not be taken as medical advice. Wild Radish Studio does not guarantee the accuracy of information provided on referenced blogs & websites. Products and/or information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please do your research & make decisions in partnership with your healthcare provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication please consult with your physician.