DIY Strengthening Hair Gel

I love having curly hair…it’s fun, versatile, and can look very pretty. 

On the other hand, curly hair is a beast that has a mind of its own.  Consequently, it can be a HUGE pain to take care of and actually make look pretty on a consistent basis. (Each day, I wake up and think to myself, “Oh boy, what are we doing today…”)  And don’t even get me started on high humidity days! Or on how unfair it is when it ends up looking perfect…right before it’s time to go to bed.

But curly hair gets much easier to handle when you find the right products.  

Contrary to what you would expect, I’ve had way more success with homemade products than the special store-bought formulated ones. (And I still have a box of barely used hair products under my sink to testify to that.)

I think this is because there is so much control that you can have over DIY hair care products.  For example, I’ve tailored this DIY hair gel to have the perfect amount of hold for my fine hair (I use the 1/3 teaspoon amount). But I’ve also had a lot of luck with it because it is protein based, thanks to the gelatin, which is incredibly helpful for my delicate curls…that’s the part of this recipe that makes it “strengthening” and I’ve had much less breakage as a result. 

Sidebar: if your hair reacts strangely to either protein or moisture rich products, diagnosing an imbalance in one or the other can be incredibly helpful. If protein is an issue, this other gel might be a bit better to use. But most people have normal hair so if you’ve never noticed anything, you most likely don’t need to worry about this! 

If you like this post and video, make sure to follow my DIY Hair Care board on Pinterest! And if you would be so kind, please share this post by using the social media buttons below.


  • 1/3-1/2 teaspoon gelatin (using more will give you a gel with stronger hold…I love my grass fed gelatinEdit for everything)
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • optional and for scent: 8 drops essential oil of choice (I use lavender most of the time)
  • optional and for preservation: 8 drops of grapefruit seed extract


1.   Place your gelatin in a small glass jar. 

2. Add in your hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. (If the gelatin isn’t dissolving, try again using warm water instead of hot.)

3. Once the gelatin is dissolved, add in your cold water and stir again.

4. If using, add in the grapefruit seed extract for preservation and essential oil for scent. Stir well.

5. Place in fridge for a couple hours to overnight for the mixture to actually gel. (If using 1/3 teaspoon, it’ll only slightly be gel-ly.)

Preservation and Storage: If using the grapefruit seed extract, you can leave it out at room temperature for up to a few weeks and I’ve never had anything happen to it. But otherwise, I’d keep it in the fridge for preservation since there’s nothing there to inhibit growth.

To use: this gel can be used exactly like store-bought gels…nothing special to do here! I scrunch it into really wet hair and then try to mess with it as little as possible until the curls are totally dry. 

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4 replies

  1. Hello again! Was just wondering… I’ve tried gelatin as a protein mask, but that gets washed off in half an hour or so.. if used as a gel, does it give a crunchy feeling/ protein overload since it’s left in for so long? I think my hairtype is similar to yours- fine and wavy-curly. My hair could definitely use the plumping up from the protein!
    BTW, I found your blog through the LHC, though I wasn’t active on there for ages.

    • I was worried about that as well but no, I haven’t noticed protein overload at all! I think it’s because I use such small amounts. If anything, I think my hair needed the protein because it’s been breaking off a lot less! But perhaps it might be a problem with someone already struggling with protein issues. I’m with you: my hair can’t seem to get enough!

      I love LHC! I stopped as well because I got busy at work…but the ladies are so kind and knowledgable there! 🙂

      • Thank you! I will try it out and let you know how it goes. I think my hair has actually reached the ‘over-moisturised’ zone. it’s limp, doesn’t clump and just compresses into nothing 😦

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