Benefits Of Flaxseed Gel For Holding Curls, Waves & Kinks
Flaxseed Gel, known also as FSG, is a popular Do It Yourself (DIY) recipe for fine tuning and holding curls, waves and kinks. Depending on the results you wish to achieve, you can may whole golden flaxseeds or dark flaxseeds.
Home made FSG has a gelatinous feel and can have the consistency of egg whites. Although it may look or feel yucky, the advantage of Flaxseed Gel is that it can be used on any hair that wants to refine the texture. When hair is damp it can be applied to individual section before twisting, scrunching or crunching the strands.
Depending on your goals for your natural texture you may want to apply the gel either generously from root to tip and comb through with a wide toothed comb for great clumping or you apply less to target areas.
FSG helps to set curls and can be used when plopping, during air drying or even for pin, pixie or finger curling.
Some people with softer water may find that the FSG works perfectly to add the hold they need.
Potential FSG Additives - Honey To Magnesium Sulfate And Essential Oils
The possible additives to the basic FSG recipe includes, but is not limited to, honey, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup, pancake syrup, jojoba oil, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), coco butter, salt, essential oils, mayonnaise, magnesium sulfate, citric acid, Epson salts, aloe vera gel, traditional leave-in conditioners and styling cream as well as a wide range of other possibilities. Flax seed may or may not be a wise ingredient if you have a thyroid condition.
Basic Tips For DIY Flaxseed Gel (FSG)
For everybody who loves home made FSG there are different recipes, methodologies, ingredients and application methods. Check out the following basic tips for making Flaxseed Gel:
1. Always use a large enough non-stick pot to provide extra room as the gel boils, bubbles and foams. Always mix on a stove and never in a microwave or other style of oven, like a toaster oven.
2. Stay with the gel throughout the process and keep stirring with a large wooden spoon or similar.3. When possible use organic seeds and bottled water to achieve a more natural formula. Some people use room temperature water, but others experiment with cool or cold water.
4. Flaxseeds are also known as linseeds and come in a variety of colors usually gold and brown.5. There is no right FSG for your hair. Start with the Best Basic Flaxseed Gel Recipe and if you like the results, experiment with other additives.
6. Most textured hair people (curls, waves, kinks, coils, ringlets) apply the gel to towel blotted wet strands either in or out of the shower. The gel is used to help define the texture and is often used when scrunching, crunching or twisting strands.7. When applying honey or similar syrup blends be sure to apply while the gel is still hot to warm. It is much harded to blend thick syrups when gel is cool or cold.
8. Honey is a humectant and may work better in hotter months then in colder.9. FSG may not work for all types of hair. When possible, buy the smallest amount of flaxseeds possible to experiment with. You can always buy larger quantities if appropriate.
10. You will need whole seeds and not pre-crushed seeds.11. It's best to find a clean squeeze style bottle to pour the cooled gel into to make it easier to apply to hair. A 4-5 oz bottle for storing finished gel is ideal.
12. All FSG must be kept refrigerated. The average shelf life of FSG is 1-2 weeks depending on some variables.13. Many people who utilize FSG on their tresses allow their hair to air dry, although some will use a diffuser or dryer.
14. There is no one correct recipe. Some recipes use more water and seeds, others use less.
Best Basic Flaxseed Gel Recipe
2 cups of water (experiment with bottled or filtered water when possible)
1/2 cup of flaxseed (linseed) in gold or dark seeds1 tbs of aloe vera gel (AVG)
2-3 drops of essential oil (EO) of choice such as lavender, rosemary, Tea Tree etc.,
Pour seeds into the water in a pot on the stove. Over low to medium heat gently bring water and the seeds to a rolling boil. Make sure the flaxseeds are stirred often. One mistake some novices make is that they don't keep a close eye on the seeds as they boil. You have to stir to prevent the mixture from. When a frothy gel-like substance forms, turn off the heat. While the froth continues to form, continue to stir.
Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the frothy mixture into the bowl. Let it cool down. 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel and 2-3 drops of essential oil can be added to the mix. You can place it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to speed up the cooling process.
Make sure you use the best wire or nylon strainer, which is fine, to separate the seeds. Also make sure the bowl you are straining into is deep enough to catch all the liquid.
Basic Flaxseed Gel Recipe
Boil 1 tbs whole flax seeds in 1 cup of water.
Simmer for 15 minutes and let cool.
Strain through a plastic or metal kitchen strainer. Some people prefer to strain through cheesecloth.
Store in the fridge for up to a week or more.
Flaxseed Gel Recipe With Grapefruit Seed Extract
Mix 2 tbs flaxseed to 1 cup of water.
Bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 10 minutes until the seeds start to thicken.Strain all the seeds through a cheesecloth and allow the remaining gel to cool.
Add a 2-4 drops of grapefruit seed extract and any other essential oils of your choice.Poor into an appropriate squeeze bottle of similar container and keep refrigerated.
Note: Some DIY FSG recipes call for up to 25 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract. Experiment with the amount which works best for you. Sweet Orange Essential Oil is often substituted for Grapefruit Seed Extract.
Flaxseed Gel With Aloe Vera Gel, Honey, Lavender Essential Oil
2 tbs flaxseeds1 cup water
1 tsp of FOTE or similar Aloe Vera Gel (AVG)1/4 tsp of honey
5-10 drops of Lavender EO
Boil the water and the seeds for 10 minutes. Measure out the aloe vera gel, honey, and Lavender EO into a separate glass bowl or cup.
While the mix is still full of bubbles pour the gel through a strainer into a glass bowl. Add extra ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together. Allow the mixture to cool for approximately 15- 30 minutes before pouring into a squeeze application bottle or other application container. If your hair is naturally oily you might want to increase the amount of honey to 1/2 tsp and also add a pinch of salt to minimize oils.
Note: Sometimes it's best to whisk in the honey while the gel is still hot or warm. It is much harder to blend in when the FSG is cool or cold. Some DIYers recommend adding up to 1 teaspoon of honey while others suggest as little as 1/8th of a teaspoon. Experiment to find your own sweet spot.
Be sure to use the proper whisk. A small wire whisk that is not springy kind with the classic teardrop shape is the best. You do not want the kind of whisk which springs up and down.
No Stir Super Thick Flaxseed Gel
Pour 1/4 cup dark seeds into a piece or bag of nylon. Knot the nylon securely so the seeds don't escape from the nylon. Immerse the nylon into 1 cup of water. Bring water to a boil and then allow to boil for 10 minutes.
Remove seeds from heat. Allow the seeds to cool for about 30 minutes. When cool, pour liquid into a 3 oz. travel sized squeeze bottle. Top the new flaxseed gel w/a few drops of aloe vera gel (AVG) and shake well.
Although this gel is a lot thicker than some of the other recipes, this gel provides extra hold and shimmer. This gel appears to just melt into curls, waves and kinks. This gel leaves air dried hair soft with well-defined curls and ringlets.
Note: The advantage to this recipe is that many find it difficult to strain out the seeds when they are allowed to float freely in the boiling water. When the seeds are poured into a nylon bag or piece of material the seeds are well contained but the gel still forms nicely.
Magnesium Sulfate - Pro Or Con With FSG?
Hair naturally contains disulphide bonds which causes the formation of the actual curls in the hair (twists, kinks and bends). Magnesium sulfate is thought to lead to an increase in curl and is considered a curl enhancer. Magnesium sulfate also absorbs oil which could in some cases lead to dryness in certain types of textured hair.
Magnesium Sulfate may be used as a drying agent in some products, including hair care products, because it has the ability to draw out moisture.
Flaxseed Gel With Magnesium Sulfate
2 cups of cool water1/2 cup flax seeds (dark or golden)
1/4 teaspoon magnesium sulfate (curl enhancer)
Pour seeds and water in a large saucepan with medium heat, stirring until the water begins to simmer. Stir constantly until the water foams and bubbles up. The gel will eventually makes a thread when dripped off a spoon. The final gel should be the consistently of egg white.
Turn off heat and pour the mixture into the strainer of your choice with a fine mesh to prevent seeds from flowing through into the mix.
Note: Some DIY fans of FSG recommend using a coffee french press instead of a strainer. You may or may not wish to experiment if you have a french press handy.
Flaxseed Gel With Tea Tree & Lavender Oil
Combine 1 cup water and the 1/4 cup seeds. Boil until it forms a string from the spoon. Combine 1 pinch of magnesium sulfate with two squirts of Fote Aloe Vera. Then add lavender, Tea Tree and any other desired oils.
Other Flaxseed Gel Tips
Besides helping to create fabulous curls, clumps, ringlets and coils, FSG is fun to make. There are additional tips you might like to consider if you become a fan of DIY homemade Flaxseed Gel. These tips include the following:
1. Although the final FSG formula looks like a goo, it has a limited shelf life. It it's refrigerated appropriately it may last from 1 to 2 weeks.
2. FSG is very economical to make. A huge bag of flax seeds was $4 from the organic section of my grocery store. That can last a very long time.
3. A pinch of citric acid added to the final formula might extend the average shelf life a few days. Others claim that adding Vitamin E gel and/or Lavender Essential Oils will extend the life of your FSG.
4. It's important to find the proper squeeze bottles or similar delivery system. The gel can be messy and hard to use unless in a proper type of styling bottle. You may wish to use a funnel when transferring the gel to your bottles of choice.
5. Not all of the possible ingredients work for all types of textured hair. While those with straight strands might like the effect of the FSG, it might be too thick or gooey for others, especially fine or thin hair. The FSG might not be best used on thin or fine tresses.
6. Flaxseeds can be frozen and the gel may also be frozen for a short time to extend use. Some users claim they reuse their seeds for more than one recipe.
7. Some FSG fans experiment by adding a small amount of the gel to regular commercial gels, leave-in conditioners and other styling products.
8. The only limitation to the uses of FSG is in your imagination.
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Credits: All photos of models included in this blog were styled by Barbara Lhotan.