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Do you struggle with frizziness or have naturally curly hair that could use just a little assistance? Using flaxseed gel on your hair may offer a solution. You can even make your own for minimal cost and effort.
You may have even added them to your daily smoothie or used them as an egg substitute when baking.
On top of the nutritional and skin benefits, flaxseed even has a reputation as a healthy addition to your hair care routine.
Flaxseed, also known as flax, is an annual plant grown for its fiber and seeds.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the ancient Egyptians were probably the first to use it. Flax has historically been used for its fiber to make clothing and fishnets. The seed is used for food and medicine.
Flaxseed is packed with nutrients and has several hair and health benefits due to its makeup of:
- omega-3 fatty acids
- vitamin E
- lignans, or bioactive compounds
- vitamin B
What is flaxseed gel?
If you want to get the possible hair benefits of flaxseed, you can’t just throw ground flaxseed on there and hope for the best.
First, you’ll need some flaxseed gel. Flaxseed gel is made by cooking or processing flax seeds to release their natural oils. This process results in a thick, gelatinous substance you can put on your hair.
Flaxseed gel can easily be made at home. See the recipes below!
Flaxseed gel vs. flaxseed oil
Flaxseed oil can provide benefits for your hair too. It’s made from flaxseed that has been ground and pressed to release its natural oil.
You can buy flaxseed oil at the grocery or health food store, usually in the cooking oil section. Flaxseed oil is often used for:
- complementary health practices
- home remedies
While the consistencies between flaxseed gel and oil are different, the potential benefits for your hair are about the same.
“Flaxseed gel helps hair grow faster and longer by providing nourishment to the hair follicles,” explains Celeste Arnold, senior stylist and owner of Celeste Arnold Hair and Makeup. “The presence of vitamin E in flaxseed provides nutrition to the scalp and reduces free radical damage.”
For curly hair
“Flaxseed gel is amazing at creating nice curl clumps to reduce frizz,” says Arnold. “Clumping is an area many struggle with, especially when first embracing their curls. Flaxseed gel helps clumps come together easier than other styling products, and this in turn, greatly reduces frizz.”
The vitamin E present in flaxseed plays a significant role in fending off damage. It’s known to combat free radicals and reduce scalp inflammation. Additionally, it can increase elasticity in the hair while adding shine.
“Flaxseed gel is specifically beneficial for curly or wavy hair, as it doesn’t harden too much but gently defines [and] moisturizes the hair, giving it movement,” explains Holly Zoccolan, Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coach and Founder of The Health Zoc.
For hair growth
- treat the scalp
- prevent hair loss
- promote hair growth
For straight hair
While flaxseed gel is great for defining curls, it can also help keep straight hair smooth and moisturized.
For 4c hair
Some say flaxseed gel works wonders for individuals with 4c hair.
“The gel can be applied to the hair and scalp as a moisturizer and to help stimulate hair growth,” says Arnold. “It’s used to lay edges and define curls.”
Since flaxseed gel has hydrating and moisturizing properties, it may help locs feel softer.
See below for a flaxseed gel recipe specifically for locs.
For dry or damaged hair
“Flaxseed is rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids,” Arnold says. “This can nourish dry, damaged hair, and fatty acids have been touted for their ability to provide moisture.”
For wavy hair
Similar to curly hair, flaxseed gel is widely used by people with wavy hair and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of its benefits.
Prepping your hair to use flaxseed gel is as simple as using the gel itself.
“Make sure your hair is washed and conditioned and rinsed thoroughly,” Zoccolan explains.
That’s it! You’re ready to apply the gel.
To use flaxseed gel as a hair mask, Arnold suggests pouring a small amount into your hands and massaging it directly into your hair. Leave on for up to 15 minutes, rinse, and shampoo as normal.
You can also use it as a pre-conditioning rinse after shampooing as well.
If you want to make your flaxseed gel at home, it’s pretty easy. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing some ready-made flaxseed gel either.
Here are a few options to try:
- CurlMix Pure Flaxseed Gel with Organic Jojoba Oil for Moisturizing Hair & Lavender Fragrance
- Cantu Flaxseed Smoothing Oil
- Briogeo Curl Charisma Chia + Flax Seed Coil Custard
Flaxseed gel recipe with aloe vera
- 1/3 cup flaxseeds
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (optional)
- 1 tsp. collagen peptides (optional)
- 15–30 drops of oil (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. magnesium sulfate (optional)
- Bring the flax seeds and water to a boil in a pot over medium heat.
- Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the pot.
- Once the mixture has a slimy texture (about 6 minutes), remove from heat.
- Add collagen before it cools, if using.
- Using a cheesecloth, pour the contents into a bowl.
- Add in any of the optional ingredients, if using, and mix well.
- Store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
This flaxseed gel recipe provided by Arnold can be used with or without aloe vera, but you may find the aloe provides additional moisturizing benefits.
Simple flaxseed hair gel recipe
- 4 tbsp. whole flaxseeds
- 2 cups water
- muslin cloth
- glass jar with lid
- Add flaxseeds and water to a small pan and simmer on medium heat.
- Stir flaxseeds often to avoid sticking.
- Remove from heat after 2–3 minutes and/or the water is a gel-like consistency.
- Stir the mixture while it cools slightly.
- Strain the gel and liquid through the cloth and into the glass jar.
- Let cool for up to 2 hours before using.
- Store in the fridge.
Zoccolan provided this simple, straightforward flaxseed gel recipe. You can, of course, add additional ingredients for moisturization and fragrance.
Flaxseed gel with coconut oil
- 1 cup water
- 5 tbsp. golden flaxseed
- 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. aloe vera (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add flaxseed immediately.
- Mix well and let boil for 5 minutes.
- Pour into a metallic strainer to strain flaxseeds and filter the gel into a glass container.
- Add coconut oil and any of the optional ingredients you’re using.
- Store in the fridge for 1 week.
Eve at Organic Beauty Recipes suggests making this in small batches to avoid using preservatives.
Flaxseed gel for locs
- 1 cup of water
- 1/8 cup whole brown flaxseeds
- cheesecloth (or panty hose)
- Mason jar
- pot or pan
- 2–3 drops of oil (optional)
- Boil water on medium heat.
- Add flaxseed and stir for a few minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until a gel consistency.
- Pour through cloth into a jar.
- Add optional oils if desired and mix well.
- Let it cool.
- Retwist your locks using only a little at a time.
Recipe creator Faith n Turtles suggest adding coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or vitamin E oil.
Additionally, they suggest just making a fresh batch right before you are ready to retwist your locs, which they do about once a month.
Flaxseed gel recipe
- 1/4 cup brown flaxseed
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 2 ounces (oz.) hemp seed oil
- 1/4 cup marshmallow root
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 20 drops fragrance
- 1 oz. aloe vera juice or gel (optional)
- Other oils (optional)
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add marshmallow root and boil for 10 minutes.
- Strain marshmallow mixture into a Mason jar.
- Pour liquid back into pot and put on low heat.
- Add xanthan gum and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
- Once it becomes gel-like, remove from heat.
- Pour into Mason jar and set aside.
- Bring remaining water to a light boil.
- Add flaxseed and boil for 7–8 minutes.
- Stir occasionally.
- Remove and strain into a jar.
- Add hemp seed oil or fragrance if desired and mix well.
- Cool in fridge before using.
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Kimberly Lewis of CurlMix provides this flaxseed gel recipe with great step-by-step photo instructions and a how-to video.
How to store it?
Make flaxseed gel in small batches and store in your fridge for up to 1 week, unless the recipe recommends otherwise.
How long does the gel last?
Some individuals add preservatives so it can be stored for longer, but the most common preference appears to be small batches and no preservatives.
Can you eat it?
It is suggested that you do not consume raw flaxseed as the body cannot properly absorb it. Ground flaxseed can be consumed, however, and often is in smoothies or baked goods.
Flaxseed supplements should be avoided if pregnant as they can trigger hormonal side effects.
- If your flaxseed gel or flaxseeds smell rancid, throw them out.
- Flaxseed gel is a film-forming gel. Arnold reminds us that if you use too much of it, it will flake. If you notice a white powdery residue, you can pretty easily brush it out.
- If you have low porosity hair, mixing oil or cream into your homemade flaxseed gel may weigh your hair down.
Do not use flaxseed gel on your hair if you have an allergy to flax.
Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult their physician before using or consuming flaxseeds due to possible hormonal effects.
As with any new product or DIY recipe, proceed with caution by doing a patch test before using on your entire head of hair.
There are a few potential side effects of eating flaxseed seeds or oil. These include:
- gastrointestinal problems, like cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation
- toxicity from unripe seeds
- decreased blood pressure
- a possible increased risk of prostate cancer
- an increased level of estrogens
- certain drug interactions, like blood thinners, cholesterol medications, and insulin
- skin sensitivity to topical oils
While more clinical research is needed to confirm the hair benefits of flaxseed, there is strong anecdotal evidence of its hair-friendly properties.
Additionally, the research showing the benefits of flaxseed on human health poses a strong possibility of its use for hair.
Ashley Hubbard is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, social justice, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. Visit her website wild-hearted.com.