What I found I needed:
~ large saucepan - you need room for the seeds to move around in the water
~ wire or nylon mesh strainer – fine enough that the flaxseeds won’t pass through
~ large bowl - deep enough so that the gel can get through without the strainer touching the surface
~ small wire whisk
~ 4-5 oz bottle - for storing your finished gel
I pour 1 cup of water (not warm or hot - just cool from the tap) into my saucepan, then 1/4 cup of flax
seeds, and then turned the heat on high. (This is a good amount if you’re trying it for the first time. I
usually make more, but keep these ratios. It freezes very well) Stir every so often to keep the seeds
moving and keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (I think this also helps the gel slough off of
the seeds as you stir, as it seems to help my consistency in the finished product). Once your water
comes to a boil, stir gently, but almost constantly. When you start getting a thin, foamy jelly (this only
takes a few seconds in Calgary, but I’ve heard it takes a bit longer at lower altitudes), turn the heat down
a little, but keep stirring, watching for the point when you let the seeds settle for a second and they
suspend in the clear jelly instead of sinking to the bottom. You will also see that the gel starts to ‘string’
a little instead of dripping from the spoon.
Once you hit that point, shut off the heat, give one last stir, and immediately pour the liquid and seeds
into the strainer over your bowl. I let the gel strain out of the seeds while I rinse my pan (don't let the
gel dry in there or you'll have a mess to clean up later!) If you want to add anything, this is the time to
do it. Then, I take my whisk and give the gel a good, quick beating (10 seconds or so), just to break up
any really gelatinous strands there might be, or to mix in whatever I might have added in, and pour it
into the bottle.
Sounds complicated, but the whole process takes me only about 6-8 minutes, and I have gel the
consistency of egg whites, which is perfect for me. If you want it thicker, you could always return it to
the pan for a few minutes after it's been strained, but I think you would lose the gel's ability to really get
into your wet hair and give you great slip and clumping, because it would get too gloppy. The gel is
almost clear, but with just a touch of milkiness to it, and a little bit of a golden hue. In fact, if you didn't
know what it was, you could easily mistake it for egg whites - color and consistency are almost identical.
Things I like to add:
Essential oils for fragrance – 4-10 drops, depending on the oils used – orange, peppermint and lime are
some of my favourites. You can also use fragrance oils, or leave it plain.
Honey or agave nectar – about ¼ tsp, both provide hold and definition, they are humectants so good
when the humidity is average to slightly high, but if it’s really humid or really dry be careful, they’ll cause
Oil – I always add oil. It’s so dry in Calgary that my hair needs all the help it can get to hang onto
moisture. I usually use a lighter oil in summer, like jojoba or coconut, and a heavier oil like avocado in
winter. I add 4-6 drops, but you’ll have to play with this to see what your hair likes.
Grapefruit seed extract – for preservative. I also add rosemary essential oil. I’ve heard of others using
vitamin e – this works for me though, so I haven’t played with it much. I add about 6 drops of the
grapefruit seed extract and about 4 drops of rosemary oil.
Aloe vera gel - provides extra hold and definition, as well as moisture. I add ½ to 1 tsp
Epsom Salts – increase curl but be careful, it can be very drying for some people. I wouldn’t use more
than ¼ tsp, start small, like a pinch, and build up if you’re not sure
All of these additives are flexible, use more or less, depending on your hair type and preference.