Natural Homemade Hair Gel

November 23rd, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Beauty and Cosmetics


I did it! An all-natural, all-vegan, simple DIY styling product. No more harsh chemicals!

So adding to our arsenal of deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo/conditioner, we can now tame our fly-aways and fashion our mohawks in an ethical and eco-friendly manner. Trés faboo, non?


There’s 3 levels of ‘hold’ here:

Level 1, Smoothing Serum
“You want your hair to stay soft and silky, but dry air and static cling are seriously cramping your style.”

No problem! Just apply a small dollop of pure Vitamin E Oil to the center of your palm. Rub your hands together, and then run both palms over your hair, starting at the roots and moving down. A little goes a long way, and don’t use too much or it’ll end up looking oily. For split or dry ends, apply a bit more E directly to the tips.

Level 2, Light Hold
“You’re looking to keep that ponytail in place or set those bangs, despite the blustery wind waiting for you outside.”

For a little bit of action, Vitamin E isn’t enough. You’ll need to get your hands on some pure (99%) Aloe Vera Gelly. Apply it straight, just like you would with any store bought hair product. It’ll offer a gentle hold that won’t look gummy or gunked-up.

Level 3, Hard Helmet
“You like it spikey, pomped, or hawked. You require some serious hold in order to achieve your aesthetic of choice, perfect for the active lifestyle of an activist like you! If only it weren’t made from beeswax or gelatin . . .”

Never fear, my dears – Seaweed is here! The Bonzai Hair Hold is made from Aloe Vera Gel and Japanese Agar Agar. Derived from seaweed, agar is common in foods like jelly desserts, and is also the culture medium used in most bio labs (which is where I first encountered it). It is sold in thin sheets or flakes and is available at health food stores, ethnic markets, or online. Don’t be alarmed by the initial investment – a little goes a looooong way, and a bag will last you for years.


For a ‘normal hold’ hair gel, use the Agar Agar at the concentration listed on the package. For an even tougher product (perhaps to take on your liberty spikes?), you can mix up a batch at 150% or 200% concentration.

1/2 cup Agar Agar (concentration of choice)
1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gelly
10 (+/-) drops Essential Oil of choice (for aroma only)

Prepare 1/2 cup of Agar Agar as instructed on the package, usually by simmering and stirring. When all the agar flakes are dissolved, remove from heat and whisk in the Aloe Vera and Essential Oil. Transfer the solution to a container of your choice and refrigerate, at least 6 hours or overnight.


Once the agar is set, you’re good to go! Store the in bathroom as normal.



This stuff is awesome, I’ve been using it to set my mess for about a week, with absolutely no complaints. I love it, and I’m so glad to share it with you!


  • Kyla Dearman

    I like this but do u have any ideas for ‘hairspray’? I use lemon juice sometimes but its a light hold not as strong as I need

  • Kyla Dearman

    I have very thick straight hair and keeping curls tends to be an issue

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’ve heard that sugar water works, but haven’t tried it myself.

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  • NevadaHomes

    Has anyone perfected the recipe for “extra hold” version?

  • Debbie Dyanand

    I need a product I can put on my freshly washed hair (dried) to help the curl stay in
    when I using my curling iron. Can I use this product? (agar/aloe gel) I don’t want to
    use hairspray after to keep it curly, My hair is very thin so I have to be careful. What do
    you think? Thank so much for your help. Debbie

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’m not sure if this product would work for your needs – I haven’t used it with heat. Sorry!

  • Nirtana77

    I tried this with the agar agar stick I got at the Asian grocery… It was a great experiment….
    First I used the whole stick in about 5 cups of water with your added ingredients..
    It turned out solid Tried it on my hair and had whitish flakes..
    so I cut the cylinder in half and added about 2 cups of water and reboiled
    and it still came out solid…
    so I cut it in about a half again… boiled it with about 2-3 more cups of water
    finally it was more the consistency of regular hair gel and I am so excited… it is great stuff I love it because it holds my hair well and if it gets fluffed I just re-wet my hair and it is working again…. Also it is non toxic and does not burn my scalp like so many of the store bought prodects
    so if i am correct i think that if you use the stick of agar…you would use about a 2-3 inch piece of it with about 2-3 cups of water with your added ingredients and it is cool stuff

    THANKS for your recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mcmaestas

    This is a great hairspray recipe:

  • Mcmaestas

    That will give you 4 pints of Agar Agar, it doesn’t reduce. For 1/2 cup Agar Agar, add 1 1/2 tsp. of the dried flakes to 1/2 cup water.

  • Ljsantillana

    if there is no agar agar what will you exchange

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Sorry, there is no substitution for agar in this recipe.

  • lala

    Thank you soooooo much for sharing it with us.

  • Anonymous

    Would vitamen E oil be harmful if applied to one’s beard, ie under ones nose to smooth out the mustache?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Not at all!

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  • Servien

    I tried it but it didn’t hold at all. Even tried 250 ml of water and 10 grams of agar agar flakes, it gels up nicely but doesn’t keep my hair in place. Or should I leave out the water and just use aloe vera and agar agar?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’m sorry Servien, it does seem like people have a lot of trouble replicating this recipe. I think because there is so much variability in agars out there.

  • Karina

    and what about flax seeds? :)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I know people who have done it, but I haven’t ried it. It definitely would not be a 1:1 sub in this recipe.

  • frugalmom

    Other recipes call for grapefruit juice that holds really well.

  • Crunchydudeicus

    I’m assuming this works well for men’s hair as well? I love a pompadour, but the stuff I’m using now is oil based, and I want to get away from that (for obvious reasons).

  • mikal

    Thanks to information share these site..

  • mikal

    Best product is best natural hair gel

  • Dallas Vegan

    Our shop White Rock Soap Gallery makes an all natural lip balm that is 100% Vegan! My coworkers at my “real job” are “Obsessed with the Purely Peppermint”. It can be found here: :)