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Homemade Hair Gel

Homemade Hair Gel

I’ve been looking for a good homemade hair gel recipe for a long time.  I tried aloe vera gel but it’s not very strong.  Flax seed gel is better but it’s a lot of work for a small amount of product.  Then I discovered agar agar.  This is a gelatin derived from seaweed that makes a really good hair gel without a lot of fuss.  It’s typically sold in health food stores, asian markets and online.  I found Eden brand flakes at Whole Foods.  I initially balked at the high price tag ($8 an ounce!) until I realized how much gel a little bag will make.  When kept in a cool dark place agar flakes have a shelf life of about two years and will easily make many batches.

Homemade Hair Gel


  • 1 teaspoons agar agar flakes
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup aloe vera gel
  • 10-12 drops essential oil (optional)


  • Pour water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil (covered so the water doesn’t evaporate)
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, add agar flakes and stir constantly until the flakes are dissolved (it’s important to completely dissolve the flakes or your gel will be chunky)
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the aloe and optional essential oil
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes at room temperature then pour into your desired container and refrigerate for several hours until it’s completely chilled
  • After cooling you can keep it at room temperature and use as normal


  • I found many recipes for agar agar hair gel that all used similar ingredients but were really vague about the amount of water needed.  Based on this I figure either different batches of agar have different thickening powers (although I found nothing to support this idea).  Or a lot of people are posting recipes they haven’t actually tried.  Regardless, this created a lot of trial and error and I experimented with a half dozen different amounts of liquid before finding a ratio I’m happy with.   If you’d like to test the consistency of your gel before it sets, try the following:
    • While simmering, put a teaspoon of hot gel into a small bowl and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes (keep the remainder hot during this time so it doesn’t crystallize).
    • After 5 minutes check the consistency of the chilled gel – if it’s watery add a tiny bit more agar, if it’s too solid add some more water.
  • This recipe makes a good regular hold hair gel.  If you want an extra strong gel, you can double the amount of agar.  I’d caution going above that because in my tests more than 2 teaspoons agar per cup of water came out a clumpy mess or solid like a jelly fish, yuck!
For additional DIY bath and body recipes, please see:

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