DIY Homemade Lemon Hair Gel

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Making DIY Homemade Lemon Hair Gel is easy, all natural, and way more affordable than store bought! It takes just minutes to make and has been the perfect way to control frizz!

Straight down view of Homemade Hair Get with lemon slices around it.

This lemon hair gel is great to have around for a little frizz control. My family and I have been making this hair gel for 20 years now! That feels so crazy to say, but it really has been that long.

My parents starting going more natural with bath and body products and eating organic back in the early 90’s. It was a wildly different time where options for natural bath and body products were almost non-existent. And things like health food cookies meant they most likely had carob chips in them. Thankfully times have changed!

But at the time, my mom got creative and started making her own gelatin based hair gel. It’s worked so well, I’ve been making it ever since. It’s just the perfect amount of hold for my curls. But I’ve also had so many people write in to say they’ve loved it on their straight hair as well.

Homemade Lemon Hair Gel in a bowl with aloe vera and coconut oil in dishes around it.

At one point I tried the popular flaxseed gel, and it did work really well. But it’s a bit messy, and I’ve never made it again because it was too much hassle for me.

So… that’s where gelatin comes in. I need something around for those ‘we have an emergency’ frizz days, which let’s face it with curly hair is almost ever day! It keeps for several weeks in the fridge, and about a week at room temperature.

Let’s dive into some tips below for this DIY Lemon Hair Gel!

The ingredients for the DIY Homemade Lemon Hair Gel measured out.

I make 3 different versions of this hair gel. For the first, after the gelatin has completely dissolved you can pour it into squeeze bottles.

Or you can add the moisturizing ingredients to the lemon-gelatin version as the second option.

And finally down in the recipe you’ll find my favorite most stable version which makes way less. It also omits the lemon juice and uses a few drops of essential oil. I love lemon, but you can use any essential oil you love the fragrance of.

Tip #1: Use a good quality gelatin like the Great Lakes brand for the best long lasting shelf life. You can definitely use the standard Knox brand. But I’ve found through a lot of testing it goes bad much faster.

The finished Hair Gel in a bowl and ready for storage.

How to make natural hair gel:

Warm the gelatin and water in a saucepan over low until completely dissolved. Or heat up some water until it’s hot but not boiling and pour it over the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice or essential oil.

From here, you can leave it plain or follow the moisturizing variation. Refrigerate whatever you think you won’t use in a week. And if some of it does go bad there’s no need to worry because this recipe costs just pennies to make!

Tip #2: Use a small funnel to help you pour the gelatin mixture into the squeeze bottle.

Tip #3: Experiment with a less gelatin to water ratio for a lighter hold and softer gel.

I put my two different gels into small squeeze bottles for ease of use. You want to keep your hands out of it if you can, or it will spoil more quickly.

Tip #4: Pour the gel into several small squeeze bottles. That way you can put one in the bathroom, and refrigerate the rest to keep it longer.

As a bonus, it only cost me $0.60 to make my own hair gel. And it works just as good as the one from the store that cost $10.00.

A close view of the Homemade Lemon Hair Gel.

Looking for more natural bath and body recipes? Check out my favorite basics below!

What’s your experience with natural hair care? Do you have any favorite natural products?
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The finished Hair Gel in a bowl and ready for storage.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel


Making DIY Homemade Lemon Hair Gel is easy, all natural, and way more affordable than store bought! It takes just minutes to make and has been the perfect way to control frizz!



1 tablespoon plain gelatin

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

For Conditioner Version Add:

12 Teaspoons of coconut oil

4 Tablespoons of aloe vera gel

Small batch essential oil version:

1 teaspoon plain gelatin

1/31/2 cup water

a few drops of lemon essential oil, or oil you desire


Mix together the water and gelatin in a saucepan. Then place it over medium heat and stir just until the gelatin dissolves.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let cool until it’s set up.

For the conditioner version, add the coconut oil and aloe vera to the lemon-gelatin mixture, after the gelatin had set.

Place everything in the blender and blend on low until creamy. You can also whisk this together by hand, but you will need to melt the coconut oil first.

Store the first and second hair gel options in squeeze bottles and use within 5-7 days at room temperature. I’ve had both versions keep for 2+ weeks refrigerated. So you can store the extra and get the bottles out a week or 2 later to use at room temperature.

For the small batch essential oil version, heat the water and pour it over the gelatin. Stir until dissolved and add a few drops of essential oil. Store in a squeeze bottle and use within 10 days.


If at any point something seems ‘off’ with your hair gel, throw it away! Natural products go bad at different rates according to temperature and such. My small batch essential oil version easily lasts me 10 days, and the lemon and conditioning versions last 5-7 days.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Category: DIY
  • Method: Mixing

Keywords: How to Make Hair Gel, Homemade Hair Gel, Homemade Hair Gel Aloe Vera, How to make natural hair gel

This recipe was originally published in 2013, but has been updated in 2021 with more information, tips, and new photos!

106 thoughts on “DIY Homemade Lemon Hair Gel”

    • The small amount of lemon juice shouldn’t be a problem, (I’ve personally been using this for over 10 years) but there’s no way I can give you a definitive answer because everyone reacts differently to different ingredients. I hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂

    • Hi Sudha, while it might seem like a good idea to post a before and after pic, this gel works differently for each person so I don’t want it to be misleading. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know how your experience goes! 🙂

  1. This is the first time used gelatin for anything and OMG IT STINKS!!! My hair gel is setting now and I’m not going any

    • Gelatin shouldn’t stink a lot when you first make a product (however it can spoil over time), it has a fairly light smell when you first make something. In fact it’s so light, you’d have to put your nose right next to it to smell anything at all. I’m thinking there must be something wrong with the batch of gelatin you have, and I definitely wouldn’t use it! Regular store bought gelatin does work for this, but it doesn’t last as long as a higher quality gelatin like Great Lakes. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

  2. Hi Kari!

    I literally found your post by way of so many links I wouldn’t attempt to count. ☺ I have natural curly hair that has such an attitude it hates everything I put on it especially gels with alcohol.

    I’m going to put this recipe to the test and report back to you. I pray for amazing results!

    • I’m so glad you found us, and I hope this works for you! I’ve found a combination of this gel and a leave in conditioner works wonders for taming down the ‘wild’!

  3. The best I have ever used is the GKhair gel for creating sculpted sleek, smooth style with long lasting strong hold. Generates best results when applied prior to blow drying. Amazing hair styling product. 🙂 <3

  4. I happen to stumble upon your blog about 2 years ago and I still get excited when your email pops up in my email box. I am in love with all your recipes and I haven’t found one that I don’t enjoy, so thanks for your hard work. You can truly see you ❤️love❤️ what you do and again thanks! So this recipes is very cool, I have been making the gelatin hair gel for years now and I haven’t thought of adding extra ingredients to help with my hair. So anyhoo, the point of my comment is that you said that you had curly hair and I was tooling around with my recipes and I found a good spray “leave-in-conditioner”, so I thought I would share it with you.
    6 tablespoons filtered water
    6 tablespoons aloe vera
    2 tablespoons rose water
    1 tablespoon argan oil
    5 drops rosemary essential oil
    5 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
    I put it in a glass spray bottle. I use this after I have towel dried my hair and wowsers does it help with the curls and keeping them intact. I have found that I haven’t used my gelatin gel as much, just on my ends. Okay, now that I have talked your ears off I just thought you would like to try something a little different!
    Thanks again for what you do….keeping my little butt healthy!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! I am beyond excited to try this leave in conditioner out because I like to use this hair gel in combination with a conditioner to make sure my curls stay moisturized, (I’ll let you know soon how it works out)!

    • This looks like an interesting recipe and I would love to try it. When you say “6 tablespoons aloe vera,” do you mean the juice or the gel?

      • I’m not sure if Stephanie meant gel, but since she said it’s a spray and leave in conditioner maybe aloe vera juice might combine better than gel? For my recipe I do mean aloe vera gel and I’ve just added that to the recipe to clarify.


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