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?

4.4 from 8 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.

This recipe was first posted by GI 365 | Get Inspired Everyday! All content is Copyright Protected - ©2013 - 2016 GI 365. All Rights Reserved.


62 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! :)

  12. Momof8

    I don’t usually leave bad reviews and I mean no disrespect andm nt tying to be nasty… but this gel was HORRIBLE for my hair! I made the conditioning version yesterday afternoon and tried it out . It dried into a crunchy mess that would not scrunch out. My hair was like straw. When I tried to work my fingers through it to loosen the gel my hair became gummy and felt like it was coated in spray starch. I had these white flakes everywhere and some strands looked completely white!( I have dark brown was very noticeable.) I have fine 2c/3a curly hair which tends to be drier anyway. Maybe I made it wrong..or maybe it would do better with more water, less gelatin and without the lemon juice -which is drying anyway but it was awful. I had to drench my hair in olive oil and let it sit for 2 hours before it would loosen. Then wash my hair in regular shampoo containing sulfates twice, then co-wash with my regular conditioner,use a heavier conditioner to condition and put a leave in . After all of that my hair still feels extremely dry. I only say this as a caution to those who have drier hair-this might not be the gel for you.

    1. Kari

      From what you said in your comment I think you may have used too much hair gel for your type of hair. I also have fine curly hair and I’ve been using this hair gel for over 10 years without any drying problems. If you had white flakes in your hair it would be because there were lumps of gel when you applied it, try rubbing a small amount between you palms to ‘melt’ it before running you fingers through damp or wet hair. I like to use the conditioning version of this hair gel because my hair tends to dry out easily as well, so that might be a good place to start if you want to try this again. The other thing I do to help hold style in my hair is to use a leave in conditioner, this really provides great long lasting moisture for my hair, then I just use a small amount of hair gel (an amount about the size of a pea) and I rub it between my palms before working it through my wet hair. Then I let my hair dry as usual and the conditioner/gel combo really helps my hair stay defined and not get frizzy throughout the day! Also, washing your hair that many times could really dry curly hair out, gelatin based gels come out really easily with just a small amount of shampoo, you can also make a hair rinse from apple cider vinegar diluted with water (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) that really helps with any product buildup you might get from any hair product. Sorry this didn’t work out the greatest for you, best of luck of you decide to try again, and let me know if you have any questions!

  13. Momof8

    I appreciate your response. I am all for going natural if possible. Sometimes natural products work and sometimes they don’t. This one did not work for me. I made the conditioning version of the gel to begin with. Knowing my hair needs the extra moisture. It’s been days and my hair is still super dry. I have deep conditioned it a second time and used a heavier conditioner plus another leave in. It is possible that I used way too much of the gel, but regardless. It really did a number on my hair and I had a horrible time trying to get it out. It stuck like a plastic coating. My hair feels damaged now, like I had it permed without deep treating it after. My hair is fine but I have a lot of it. A pea sized amount would not work for me. I am sorry to be so negative but I am just being honest about how my hair reacted to this gel. I just wanted to add a word of caution that this might not work for every one.

    1. Kari

      Gelatin is a natural hair conditioner (approved by stylists), so if your hair is dry it’s most likely due to washing it several times in a row with shampoo, also gelatin washes out very simply with only warm water because it dissolves in water! When you use any kind of gel (store bought or homemade) it’s always best to use as little as possible for the most natural look.

  14. danyell

    I have to tell you how much I love this gel! I have used it for about a year now. I make the conditioning version and my hair is so much healthier. I have very fine, thin, long hair, that for the most part is straight with just a touch of natural curl. It is fuller and not as frizzy when I use this. I keep my jar in the fridge all the time so as not to deal with it going bad in the bathroom. I blow dry and curl my hair pretty much everyday. Now if I could just tweek my homemade hairspray so it is the way I like I wouldn’t have to buy that anymore as well!
    P.S. I live in Great Falls, so we are practically neighbors, by Montana’s standards anyway!

    1. Kari

      It’s always great to hear from a fellow Montanan (and neighbor)! I keep my gel in the fridge as well because it really doesn’t keep super long which is the biggest downfall of homemade products as far as I can see! I use a version of this recipe as hairspray for when I put my hair up – I make it just a bit looser and put it in a small hairspray bottle (you can find them in the travel sized toiletries section at Walmart). I keep my ‘hairspray’ version in the fridge too, so when I need it I warm it up first be setting the spray bottle in a jar of hot water. It only keeps about 5 days because of the warming up process, but you can make a couple bottles at a time and keep the extras in the fridge which seems to keep for about 2 weeks give or take a little!

  15. Stormy

    I absolutely love this hair gel! I have always struggled with hair products, as I seem to have a reaction to everything. Not this, I am thrilled! Thank you!

    1. Kari

      I’m so glad to hear you like it! This hair gel has been life-changing for my curly hair that tends to get a bit wild by the end of the day!

  16. Tria Robinson

    I’m going to make this gel tonight. I wanted to add a little more aloe and a little less coconut oil. and maybe a little more lemon juice,because I like the smell and I was hoping to lighten a little bit. Do you think that it’ll be alright?

    1. Kari

      That should work just fine, I would just always be careful of trying to lighten your hair because it can be drying to some hair types. If you just wanted to increase the lemon smell, you could add a few drops of lemon essential oil as well. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!

  17. Tria

    I made the gel last night. I added to much gelatin so I had to work with it to get the right consistency. The gel is a little spongy and less is more. But I still like the affect once i blow dry and work it in. Next batch I will use less gelatin .

    1. Kari

      If you ever have too much gelatin again, you can simply add some more hot water to dillute it. If the gel has already set up and it’s thicker than you’d like, you can place the gel over really low heat to just melt it before adding a bit of water to it. You can do this by scraping the gel out of the container and heating it in a saucepan or place your gel container in a hot water bath. I’m glad you were still able to use your first batch, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions! :)

  18. Nupur

    Hi Kari !
    A very simple and great all natural recipe without harmful chemicals. Thanks for sharing it. I made this gel yesterday for my boyfriend. Actually when i made i did add some oils like olive, coconut and castor for deeper conditioning. Also added some orange essentials for a greater citrus combo. Its smelling really nice.. Well now, the problem here i faced was, till the time the gel was in the fridge it was nice and firm like jelly, but i removed it out and it became liquid again. So i put it back into the fridge its become gel again. The weather here isn’t much hot nor humid. Can you please suggest me what should make the gel be of jelly consistency even when out of the fridge.

    1. Kari

      I’ve noticed that this seems to happen with mine too every once in a while, I’m not positive with exactly what’s going on but I do think this can happen if the mixture gets too hot on the stove top. Too much heat seems to damage the gelatin, the good news is that it will still work to style your hair but it won’t have as much hold to it. The other factor I’ve noticed is the quality of gelatin, the regular boxed kind from the store sometimes seems to go liquid like you mentioned. I’ve started using the Great Lakes brand of gelatin and I’ve been really happy with the results. It’s quite a bit more expensive but I noticed that my hair gel keeps for longer before spoiling and it doesn’t turn to liquid like the regular store bought stuff sometimes does. Also, if you added a lot of extra oils it might have made the gel a looser texture at room temperature. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions! :)

      1. Nupur

        Thanks for reply, I’d definitely let you know when I make new one. This one is working but as you said the hold isn’t very strong. I did not add a lot of oil it was a mix of all 3 oils making 1 1/2 tbsp to the same quantities in your recipe.
        I shall try making it on lower temperature n try another brand of gelatin once this one finishes.

  19. jessica

    hi i havent tried this gel yet but am interested i dont have curly or frizzy hair i have thick heavy hair and at the moment i have a pixie cut that is long on top and i try to style it in a faux hawk style and store gels just wont keep my hair up unless its rock solid and feels like you could snap your hair off even then its a struggle i have very healthy hair and an extremely dry scalp (minor psoriasis) how do you think this gel would do for that?

    1. Kari

      I don’t think this gel would be strong enough to keep super thick heavy hair in a style like that, I think you’d need something more along the lines of a sculpting gel.

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