DIY Lemon Hair Gel

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

This lemon hair gel is great to have around for extra hold, or just a little frizz control. I tried making a flaxseed gel and it worked really well, but it’s pretty messy and only keeps for a week or two in the fridge. So…, that’s where gelatin comes in. I need something around for those ‘we have an emergency’ frizz days. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge, and about a week at room temperature.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

I made two versions of lemon hair gel this time. After I melted the gelatin and added the lemon juice, I poured half of it into a container. With the other half, I added 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1 Tablespoon of aloe vera juice for a moisturizing gel. This moisturizing gel is my attempt to wean myself off of my favorite ‘leave in’ conditioner.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

The creamy white gel in the front is the moisturizing one. The clear-ish one is my regular hair gel. I’m hoping the moisturizing one will be the end of the leave in conditioner. I was using flaxseed gel for a while, but convenience won out every time I got too busy to make another batch. Convenience comes in a bottle with a host of nasty chemicals. I feel a little guilty every time that I use that stuff, but seriously, it’s like magic. It tames my hair like nothing else, but my bottle is almost out and I don’t want to replace it. So, hair gel is back in production, and I’m in search of something natural to be my leave in conditioner.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

Warm the gelatin and water in a saucepan until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. From here, you can leave it plain or follow the variation.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

I put my two different gels into squeeze bottles for ease of use. You want to keep your hands out of it or it will spoil more quickly.

Tip: 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.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

This brand is produced in Vancouver, B.C. and is the best natural hair product I’ve ever bought. There isn’t anything in it that I can’t pronounce, and it is completely natural. However, I can’t buy it now that we’re living in Montana. So, that’s where Lemon Hair Gel comes in. 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.

DIY Lemon Hair Gel | GI 365

I’d like to experiment a little more with the flaxseed version before posting it. I think it has great potential for everyday use. Until then, this gel is keeping my curls in check.

What’s your experience with natural hair care? Do you have any favorite products?

5.0 from 4 reviews
DIY Lemon Hair Gel
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1-1½ cups
  • 1 packet of gelatin (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • For Conditioner Version Add:
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 4 Tablespoons of aloe vera
  1. Over medium heat, mix together the water and gelatin in a saucepan until gelatin dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let cool until gelled.
  3. For the conditioner version, I added the coconut oil and aloe vera after the gelatin had set.
  4. 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.

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41 Comments on “DIY Lemon Hair Gel”

  1. Cheryl

    Been looking for kosher gelatin at health food stores around here, but nobody carries it. I like it better because it is all vegan and it’s more stable than Knox. (lasts longer without watering out) Do you know anyone who carries it? Does anyone out there know where to get it? Azure used to carry it but the last time I checked they don’t.

  2. Elizabeth Kegans

    Vitamin Cottage sells the Great Lakes Kosher (and also pork) gelatin. The 2 lb container, I believe. If you don’t have a Vitamin Cottage close by, then Amazon would probably be the next best choice.

    1. Kari

      I think that humidity has more to do with it than heat. It doesn’t really get above 95 here and the gel has held up really well for me, but it’s not humid here like it can be in Texas. If the hold isn’t strong enough, you can increase the amount of gelatin (try one teaspoon at a time) to make a stronger hold. When I’m anywhere with humidity, I always use the moisturizing version of the gel because it works better for my curly hair.

    2. Rett

      I live in Oklahoma City, the humidity is not as high as Texas, but I have found the gel to be amazing for my hair. My hair is not frizzy, nor do my curls become tight and loose my style. Thank you Kari. The gel is awesome! I have afro kinky type 4 hair and it’s the only gel I’ve used that hold my style.

    1. Kari

      Gelatin is supposed to be good for your skin, hair, and nails – internally and topically. I use my hair gel 3-4 times a week and my hair is much healthier than when I used store bought products.

  3. Lisa

    Does the aloe vera have to be from the plant? If so, how can I extract the gel in an efficient manner? Thanks!

    1. Kari

      You can find aloe vera in a bottle at any health food store. Always look for a brand that has to be refrigerated because it’s more natural. If you’re using aloe vera from the plant, slice the leaves in half and scrape out the gel.

    1. Kari

      It’s not likely because there is such a small amount in the recipe. I definitely haven’t noticed any lightening or highlights in my hair, and I’ve been using this recipe for years!

  4. Shelley

    Hi Kari!
    I made this hair gel today, I used a cup and a half of water (didn’t want a real stiff gel) and Real-Lemon (didn’t have fresh lemons). I added 2 tsp coconut oil and 2 tbls fresh aloe gel. I used it on my hair, applied liberally in sections to washed hair blotted with a t-shirt. I combed it through, then shook out and scrunched my curls. I air dried and WOW is all I have to say! I did have to re-scrunch out a few slightly crunchy places, but now I have bouncy, shiny, soft and moisturized curls and feel good that I know exactly what is on my hair!

    Thanks so much for this great recipe!

    1. Kari

      It’s great to hear from you, especially since you have curls too. This gel seems to be working on most hair types, but it’s particularly effective for curls. I’ve tried all types of products for curls, but it makes me cringe wondering what I’m rubbing on my hands and what’s going into my hair.

  5. Kev

    I made the lemon hair gel today. I’m a guy and have real short hair. I just comb everything forward and the front part above my forehead straight up. This gel seems to hold well, which is what I need but what I didn’t like about it is it leave clumps of solid gelatin that I have to pick out of my hair. Is there a way to get it to where it will still hold strong but easier to apply? Like with regular hair gels it’s more creamy and you can rub it together and then apply.

    1. Kari

      If you’re getting solid clumps of gelatin in your hair, you need to use less at a time. Place a little bit in your hand and rub it around until it’s totally liquified, then rub it through your hair. If you need more, just repeat the process. I have really long hair, and that’s how I apply it because otherwise I get lumps too. Also, you could try the moisturizing version of this gel because it’s softer. Hope this helps, let me know if you have anymore questions.

  6. David

    I made my own version of this gel by using Vegetable gelatine and adding Orange oil and rapeseed oil. It works better than the Gelatine derived from Pork which made my hair stinky like a farm. However, my rendition of this recipe doesn’t seem to have a strong hold as with the conventional Gelatine. Plus, it has small clumps which shows in my hair I have to comb it out using my fingers.

    1. Kari

      Glad you shared your experience. I’ve also noticed that the gelatin derived from animals tends to go bad sooner than vegetable gelatin, that’s why I always keep mine in the fridge. :)

  7. Komal

    My 8year old son has been wanting to put HAIR GEL so that he can make his hair stand in spikes like the various footballers:) I was resisting it as these hair gels have god knows what not Rubbish in them that I didn’t want his baby hair being exposed to them.i started my search and ended up at your blog and I am so glad I did.i made the gel right away as I had all the ingredients at hand. my son was ecstatic to have gel placed in his hair and r could make various hairstyles:) just a query.the gel seems to be sticking to his hair in pieces,I have to comb it out,is that how the texture is?? Thank you so much for this recipe and I am loving your blog and would be trying other things from it too soon..
    Take care

    1. Kari

      When I apply the gel to my hair, I always let it liquify in my palms before applying it. I also apply it to wet hair which helps for an even distribution. Hope this helps and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!

    1. Kari

      You can swap them (not in equal proportions of course) but I don’t know if the essential oil will act as a preservative or not like the lemon juice. You could also substitute some alcohol (like vodka) for the lemon juice if you still need a preservative and want to use essential oils. Hair gel made without the lemon juice also seems to be thicker and harder to use (I’ve tried it a few times) so I would recommend trying it as is for best results! :)

      1. Bubbly576

        Can you swap other fruit juices then since essential oils aren’t the best option? I personally am not fond of the smell of lemon, so I was just curious.

        1. Kari

          I think that lime juice or grapefruit juice would work equally as well as lemon juice. Orange juice should work but since it’s not quite as acidic I’m not entirely sure. I personally would start by trying grapefruit juice, or you could try using vodka instead (it helps to preserve and to soften the gel). Let me know which route you end up going! :)

    1. Kari

      Perfect! I have a couple of grapefruits in the refrigerator, so I’m going to try it too – just to change things up a bit!

    1. Kari

      I know they substitute well in food recipes, but I’ve never tried it out in DIY projects. Let me know if you decide to try it out! :)

  8. Andrea

    Hi! It’s been almost half our since since cooking and my “gel” doesn’t seem to be hardening even a little bit. It is still totally liquid. Is it going to turn into gel eventualy or did I do something wrong?
    I was a little confused because my packet of gelatin is way more than one tablespoon (so I did not put the whole packet into the mixture just the one tablespoon)

    Hope I am making sense :)


    1. Kari

      Hi Andrea, I don’t think you did anything wrong! It takes hours for the hair gel to solidify, you can speed it up by pouring it into your containers and placing it into the fridge. The next time I make this I’ll time it, and add the information to the recipe. Thanks so much for writing with your question because I’m really working on being as specific as possible in my instructions, (lots of room for improvement)! :)

  9. Andrea

    Thank you for the answer and the recipe! My gel is still liquid after hours and hours but nevermind because it works wonders in a liquid state too! :) It nevertheless gave me amazing hold and definition! So thanks a bunch for this I had a real struggle finding a gel that doesn’t dry out my hair.
    I just hope my hair will not get sensitive to protein in time by using this gel.

    Best wishes to you and your great blog :)

    1. Kari

      Next time, try refrigerating it right away and it should gel up in a couple of hours. It always helps to mix it up when it comes to different products! I use a leave in conditioner and this hair gel, but sometimes I’ll use just the leave in conditioner. It also really helps to do an apple cider vinegar rinse on your hair 1-2 times per week to get rid of any product build up – use a ratio of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water, pour the mixture over your hair and rinse thoroughly with cold water. This keeps your hair shiny and helps to avoid your hair ‘getting used to’ a product.

  10. Olya


    Thanks for the recipe! I just made it now. I am planning to keep part of it in my bathroom and the other part in a refrigerator. How long can I keep the gel without refrigerating? How long do I keep it in the fridge?

    1. Kari

      Depending on the temperature of your house, it will usually keep 4-5 days at room temperature, and 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. We live in a cooler area so my hair gel keeps for a full week at room temperature – I just portion it into small containers, and then take out 1 per week from the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. You will definitely know when it goes bad because it will start to stink – sometimes I have to throw out some if I haven’t used it all but it costs pennies to make so I don’t mind too much! :)

  11. Danielle

    Great recipe! I’ve tried flaxseed gel but it didn’t give me the hold I needed. This recipe gave me the hold and moisture I needed to keep my locks looking neat and shiny.


    1. Kari

      Thanks for letting me know how it worked for you! I’ve been very curious to see how it works for different hair types, so far everyone from straight to curly hair has had good success! :)

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