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


Description

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!


Ingredients

Scale

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


Instructions

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.

Notes

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”

  1. Acids (like lemon juice, or vinegar) prevent gelatin from firming. Grapefruit seed extract, essential oils, and alcohol prevent bacterial degeneration of gelatin to some extent. Refrigeration is the most inexpensive and effective means of preservation, for about a week.

    Reply
  2. Hello,

    I guess that others haven’t had the sort of issue that I have because I have read through the comments. So, I am unsure if you left this out of the procedure due to simplicity or not. I am adding gelatin to medium hot boiled water and allowing it to dissolve, then adding lemon juice. However, the mixture is not setting up. I think I need to have the component of cold water to hot. For my third attempt I am going to dissolve warm boiled water with gelatin then pour into cold water.

    Please let me know if I am doing something wrong!

    Reply
    • I reworded the directions so that hopefully it will be more clear. 🙂 I mix together the gelatin and water, then place it over heat and heat only until the gelatin dissolves. It’s important not to let gelatin get too hot or it will start to break down. Also another thing that could be going wrong is your gelatin. The only time I’ve had my gelatin not set up is because it was really old, once I bought a new container, I’ve never had the problem again. You can also place the gelatin into the refrigerator to help it set up faster. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore details that might help me solve this!

      Reply
  3. I love this! I have super curly thick hair. I use lots of product and like to stay away from chemicals, but the natural products are sooo expensive. I tried this and I have wonderful results. There is no frizz at all and my hair is shiny and bouncy. Thank you soo much for this recipe!

    Reply
    • I know what you mean, it seems like every natural hair product I’ve tried is so expensive and half the time they don’t even work. I’ve never found anything that works as well as this simple hair gel, and I’m so glad to hear it’s working great for you too! 🙂

      Reply
  4. I usually make my gel with guar gum or xanthan gum added t water. It is much easier than doing the flaxseed version. That is a huge mess and doesn’t work any differently than the gum version. Give it a try 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, I definitely will try that out! I never could get on board with the flaxseed version of hair gel, just way too much mess for me. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Won’t the lemon juice lighten hair? I have very dark brown hair and don’t want to change the color. Is there a substitute for the lemon juice? Also, what is the shelf life?

    Reply
    • I don’t know if such a small amount would lighten your hair, but you can leave it out. Lemon juice acts as a preservative but you could replace it with a small amount of alcohol like vodka, (I’m not sure if that’s known to lighten hair or not). The shelf life for the lemon version is usually around 7-10 days at room temperature, which is why I keep half of my batch in the refrigerator for the next week so that I don’t have to make it as often. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions! 🙂

      Reply
    • I think it should work fine, I used to use a plant based one but I lost my source when they quit making it so I don’t have a particular recommendation. I do know that not all vegetarian gelatins are a 1:1 ratio so you might need to do a little testing with whichever one you choose. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Reply

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