My two favorite gels homemade gel are my DIY Flaxseed Gel and DIY Okra Gel! The okra gel is highly moisturizing and nourishing. The okra gel doesn’t have quite as much hold as the flaxseed gel, so I love to combine the two for the best of both worlds!
Okra Gel Recipe
The base recipe is just two ingredients:
– 6-8 pieces of okra
– 2 Cups water (or 1 cup if you’d like a thicker product)
– Marshmallow leaf or root
– Peppermint essential oil
Boil water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whether you use one or two cups of water will depend on how watery you’d like your final product to be. I used two cups of water for this video, but sometimes I use one or one and a half.
While the water is heating, prep the okra. Wash the okra and cut of the tips and tails (or boil them if you want, but there’s no slime in there so in my mind it’s just something else to strain.) Slice the okra in half lengthwise. Double check the pieces once sliced to make sure there is nothing rotten, no bugs, etc. I like to slice the okra down even further after this because I think it’s easier to get all the mucilage out that way.
If you would like to save the okra to use in other recipes, boil it plain. If you are not partial to saving it, I suggest adding approximately 1 tbsp of marshmallow leaf or marshmallow root. For ease, I cut open a bag of Buddha Teas Marshmallow Leaf Tea and add it in.
Boil for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until there is a film sticking to the spoon. Let the gel cool before straining through stocking. I suggest stockings for this recipe (vs strainer for flaxseed gel) because you want to be able to really work the mucilage out of the okra. I like to add a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (or any other strong scented oil) at this point to help hide the okra smell, but it is completely optional and the okra smell doesn’t linger once your hair is dry. Stir for 10-20 seconds to incorporate the goopy mucilage and the essential oil.
To be honest, I’m not sure how long this lasts in the fridge. I always put it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Same as the flaxseed gel, once it is entirely frozen, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag and zap the portions you need in the microwave.
Same rules as flaxseed gel:
You are welcome to experiment with other ingredients as well- possibilities are endless! If you hair loves humectants, add some glycerin or honey. If you love shea butter, whip some in and make it a cream. Love oils? Put some jojoba in it! If you’re going to add essential oils to make it smell nice, do so after it cools since heat will break down essential oils.
How to Use
- Either leave conditioner in (if using silicone free conditioner) or apply your leave in
- Thoroughly coat your hair with okra gel! I know it feels slimy, but don’t skimp. I often finger twirl, also known as finger coil, my hair with this because of how watery it is.
- Scrunch out any additional water either with just your hands or using an old t-shirt
- I usually do a final scrunch with a little extra gel after scrunching out extra water
- Either air dry or diffuse
- Once 100% dry, scrunch out the crunch and you’re good to go!