How to Make Your Own Hair Gel At Home

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

How to Make Your Own Hair Gel

Making a batch of hair gel takes a few minutes, though you will need to let it chill for a few hours before you use it. Be sure to have enough to last a couple of weeks, so you don't have to make it too often.

What You'll Need:

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (the same kind you cook with)
  • 1 cup warm, distilled water
  • Essential oils (optional)


  1. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of gelatin in warm water.
  2. Add more gelatin as needed to reach the desired consistency, and stir.
  3. Cool your hair gel in the refrigerator for about three hours, or until set.
  4. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, if you'd like, and mix well.

To Use:

Simply style your hair as you normally would. Your homemade hair gel can be used on wet or dry hair and has a shelf life of around one to two weeks when stored in the fridge.

Customize the Hold

This recipe is easy to customize to your styling needs. So, whether you prefer a light or strong hold (or something in between), you should be able to make this recipe work for you. It's just a matter of tweaking the amount of gelatin, until you achieve the right hold. Just select your preferred hold below, and follow the accompanying recipe. It may take a few batches to land on your perfect mix, but with the money you're going to save, it's totally worth it.

  • Light Hold: use 1/2 teaspoon gelatin per cup of water
  • Medium Hold: use 3/4 teaspoon gelatin per cup of water
  • Strong Hold: use 1 teaspoon gelatin per cup of water

Use the 'light hold' gel to control frizzy hair. Use the 'strong hold' for spiking hair.

Customize the Fragrance

If you prefer a scented hair gel, just add a few drops of essential oils to create your own unique fragrance. Many of the most common oils are also beneficial to your hair's health, so it's a win-win. Here are several to try:

  • Chamomile: Great for fine and normal hair. Chamomile has a light floral fragrance and conditions hair.
  • Lavender: Perfect for all hair types. Lavender promotes hair growth and balances oils.
  • Lemon: Great for oily hair because it helps balance oils.
  • Ylang-Ylang: Perfect for oily hair. It pairs well with lavender or lemon.
  • Peppermint: Go easy on this scent, and combine it with others, or you may smell like a candy cane. Great for dry hair and promotes hair growth.
  • Bay: Sweet and uplifting with a touch of spice. Pairs well with black pepper and juniper.
  • Black Pepper: Spicy and sporty. Pairs well with marjoram and sandalwood.
  • Copaiba Balsam: Woody and rustic. Pairs well with cypress and sandalwood.
  • Sandalwood: Sweet, woody and long-lasting. Pairs well with bergamot and black pepper.
  • Velvetier: Deep, earthy and uplifting. Pairs well with cinnamon and sandalwood.

Fragrances for Kids:

If you're making this hair gel for your child, consider using an essential oil blend that contains tea tree oil. Bugs don't like it, so it may be a good way to protect your kids from lice when you send them off to school.

Tips for Making DIY Hair Gel

Klauck V, Pazinato R, Radavelli WM, et al. In vitro repellent effect of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and andiroba (Carapa guianensis) oils on Haemotobia irritans and Chrysomya megacephala flies. Trop Biomed. 2015;32(1): 160-166.

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