Has anybody made DIY hair products for hold?

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Johnez

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Well, I'm running out of store bought hair product and heck why not make some right? My needs are simple-keep hair out of my face. I keep my hair slicked back and it's about 6" long right now, and it's a bit fine.

I've conducted a search on home made hair products, and went on a little journey of sorts with what I wanted, since I didn't really know what the heck each product was for. I'm the guy who is 35 and still using hair gel LOL. I've come to find out hair gel is bad...uh oh.

So I check out pomades, these are neat. Slick wet look, good hold, doesn't need preservatives, emulsifiers and easy to make...but if oil based difficult to rinse out and will remove hair's natural oils once it is washed out. Oil based pomade-eliminated. Next-water based pomade. Also an interesting product-has the hold benefits of oil based, and rinseable. Sweet! Recipes online seem scant though, what's out there is usually incomplete (with regards to ingredients and their explanation). Water based products require preservatives and emulsifier. Unfortunately there is not a huge hair product community, nor ingredient calculators, nor any hard guidelines. We have HLB theory that pops out a "number" to match up an emulsifier(s) to oils/surfactant, however the question is how much? 2-7% apparently. The people who do make water based pomades seem to guard their recipes, which is understandable.

At this point I am getting weary. I did a half hearted search for other products, paste, clay, etc. I don't trust anything I come across, especially anything proclaiming "all natural." If there's one thing this forum is good for it's busting one's preconceived notions of what "natural" means and if it's actually any good.

So I read into the ultra easy, the oft duplicated, breathlessly proclaimed "natural"....with the word that everyone says is bad-flaxseed gel. There must be 50 sites giving the same simple recipe. It boils down to 2 ingredients: water, flaxseed. That's it! Process is simple, straightforward, and super healthy for hair. Problem is I don't think it's for me. Every video I've come across shows people (mostly women) with either long hair or curly hair or for black people. I'm none of these! It appears this product is more for keeping hair looking nice and not so much for "hold."

I'm leaning back into water based pomades, as I have a decent idea of what it takes (water, oil, emulsifier, preservative), however I don't have a handle on ratios or what goes with what. Has anyone experimented with homemade water based pomades?
 

Tara_H

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(why is hair gel bad?)

I've done a small amount of experimenting based on recipes from aroma zone - the simplest iirc is aloe vera gel with a holding agent added. They sell one called natur'lift which works pretty well, I've also used it for making styling mousse (from a foamer bottle).

I'm afraid I don't even know what a pomade really is, but you might check these recipes out if you're interested in just something to hold your hair. (Fair warning, it's in French)
 

Kcryss

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Flax does work well. Just be careful with the amount and how long you cook it. It gets really slimy. :)
 

kirsten.

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I've been experimenting with flax gel and I'm finding it effective as a hair gel. Combined with aloe gel it holds my curls well, if a little "crunchy feeling." I use flax gel, coconut oil, btms and cetyl alcohol with a preservative and silk protein for a flexible, conditioning product. I also add cetrimonium chloride as a detangler, but I have long hair. I'm still working on the right formula, but I can assure you that a preservative is essential unless you plan to make a new batch every week.
 

Johnez

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I've been experimenting with flax gel and I'm finding it effective as a hair gel. Combined with aloe gel it holds my curls well, if a little "crunchy feeling." I use flax gel, coconut oil, btms and cetyl alcohol with a preservative and silk protein for a flexible, conditioning product. I also add cetrimonium chloride as a detangler, but I have long hair. I'm still working on the right formula, but I can assure you that a preservative is essential unless you plan to make a new batch every week.
Interesting, sounds like you've done some experimenting. Is there some sort of resource to figure out exactly how much preservative and what ratios to work with? Or is it a matter of trying things till they work? I'd say both are valid, but I'd like to have an idea of where to start.
 

Johnez

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(why is hair gel bad?)

I've done a small amount of experimenting based on recipes from aroma zone - the simplest iirc is aloe vera gel with a holding agent added. They sell one called natur'lift which works pretty well, I've also used it for making styling mousse (from a foamer bottle).

I'm afraid I don't even know what a pomade really is, but you might check these recipes out if you're interested in just something to hold your hair. (Fair warning, it's in French)
Pomade is basically a hold product that uses fats to give hair it's hold. Petroleum jelly is common (I think) and lends a "greaser" or wet look, which is either sought after or avoided. Some water based pomades go for a more natural look, which I'd prefer, but in the interest of finding something that works (for hold) I'll try anything.

With regards to hair gel, it seems many people look down on the product as juvenile and unsophisticated. There are also concerns about the health of the hair with the ingredients used (mainly alcohol based) drying out the hair and eventually damaging it. I like hair gel as it's easy and all I do is slick it back anyway. Seems a lot of hair products are geared to high maintenance hair styles (pompadour, etc). I just want good hold and healthy hair.

Anyway, thanks for the link. Thank goodness for Google translate!
 
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Johnez

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To narrow down my all over the place original post, how does one know how much emulsifier to use? How does one figure out the ratio of water and fat? I've come across some recipes but they never seem to explain these things. Is it pure guesswork until something works? How does one know if the formula works? Dealing with preservatives seems a bit easier as there seem to be guidelines with regards to percentages and pH.

Some recipes seem kind of hacky and neglect to inform about the need for either preservatives or refrigeration. This one for example:

DIY water pomade
If water-based pomade is what you desire, that’s ok too! This is what you will need.

flaxseeds ¼ cup whole flaxseeds
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of Vitamin E oil
2 drops of essential oil
Storage container
Strainer
Cooking pot

I suppose they rely on vitamin e to "preserve" but I've read enough on this forum to know that it's more for preventing rancidity rather than preventing mold or bacteria from taking over.

-edit: I see this is a common formula as I've found it from an earlier source that does mention the need for refrigeration. Not really keen on using honey or storing hair products in the fridge though. :-/
 
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kirsten.

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I started with this recipe from Holistic enchilada.
And recently I've been using THIS ONE from Things we'll make well, but subbing in flax gel for the water.
I use germall plus as my preservative at a rate of 0.5%, the higher end of manufacture's recommended rate. Here's some info on that
I found Humblebeeandme a good source of information. I've made this conditioner and I like it.
HTH
 

Mobjack Bay

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I’m interested, so I followed one of the links to this ready-made product to see what’s in it:

Flax Gel:
Ingredients: water, linum usicatissimum (flaxseed) seed extract, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, polyquaternium-10, panthenol, sclerotium gum, lavandula anguscifolia mill (lavender) flower oil, tocopherols (vitamin E), phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

I also looked up the ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. The high shear mixing of the gum *might* be the trickiest part of making this.

Polyquaternium-10: Polyquaternium 10 is used in all kinds of hair conditioning products including hair shampoos, hair rinses, hair gels for imparting good conditioning benefits like wet comb- ability, lubricity, conditioning, as well as thickening properties. Excellent for maintaining curls too.

Polyquatermium 10 is easy to use since it is compatible with a wide range of Amphoteric and Anionic Surfactants.

Polyquaternium-10 is a specialty quaternized cellulose polymer produced by reacting a cationic etherifying agent and hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Good Rheological modifier, builds viscosity - an excellent thickener.

Quat conditioner of the polymeric quaternary ammonium salt of hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Use: Add as is to water phase of formula, use between 0.2 and 2%, common concentration in a shampoo is 0.5%.

Panthenol: Provitamin B5 or D Panthenol is well known as an ingredient in many popular hair care products.
It functions as a humectant, i.e. it helps tissues to retain moisture, this helps hair to stay soft and elastic. As the name suggests, Provitamin B5 is rapidly converted in to vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) once it has been absorbed into the skin. Thereby ensuring that the skin also benefits from it's moisturising and softening properties.

Usage: 0.5 - 2.0%
pH Compatibility: N/A
Temp Compatibility: N/A
Solubility: Water Soluble

Sclerotium gum: Sclerotium Gum is a natural gum that produces an instant gel base when combined with water. It is a polysaccharide produced through a fermentation process of Sclerotium rolfsii on a glucose-based medium. Sclerotium Gum has natural skin smoothing as well as soothing properties. It is an excellent base for everyday topical applications when a gel is preferred to a lotion, cream or oil. Sclerotium Gum is also suitable to use in hair care products as a conditioning agent.

Usage: 0.2 - 2%
pH: 2 - 11
Charge: Non Ionic
Method: Slurry in a humectant such as glycerine, proplyene glycol or propanediol before adding to water phase or use high shear.

Phenoxyethanol: Phenoxyethanol is a versatile preservative effective against both Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria as well as yeasts. It is not sufficient as a stand alone preservative due the fact that it is not effective against funghi and so must be used in combination with an anti-fungal agent. Potassium sorbate or Sodium benzoate can be useful in this regard but only in formulations with a low pH.

Phenoxyethanol is regarded as safe when used at 1% or less in a formulation though it can be a mild irritant to the eyes and so should be handled with caution. Interestingly, it also acts as a fixative for fragrances and so helps to protect the smell of your product as well.
It is soluble in both water and oil and is inactivated by ethoxylated surfactants.

Usage: 0.25 - 1%
 

Johnez

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I started with this recipe from Holistic enchilada.
And recently I've been using THIS ONE from Things we'll make well, but subbing in flax gel for the water.
I use germall plus as my preservative at a rate of 0.5%, the higher end of manufacture's recommended rate. Here's some info on that
I found Humblebeeandme a good source of information. I've made this conditioner and I like it.
HTH
Just finished the holistic enchilada post, what an amazing writeup. Exactly what I'm looking for.
 

justjacqui

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Here are some professional hair styling formulations if you want to try and replicate your current hair gel product.


Not sure why you think hair gel is "bad". It is by no means "natural" but other than that I am unsure why they would be considered bad.

Traditional hair gels are not too difficult to manufacture and they don't have all the issues with preservation that more natural formulations have.
 

Johnez

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I’m interested, so I followed one of the links to this ready-made product to see what’s in it:

Flax Gel:
Ingredients: water, linum usicatissimum (flaxseed) seed extract, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, polyquaternium-10, panthenol, sclerotium gum, lavandula anguscifolia mill (lavender) flower oil, tocopherols (vitamin E), phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

I also looked up the ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. The high shear mixing of the gum *might* be the trickiest part of making this.

Polyquaternium-10: Polyquaternium 10 is used in all kinds of hair conditioning products including hair shampoos, hair rinses, hair gels for imparting good conditioning benefits like wet comb- ability, lubricity, conditioning, as well as thickening properties. Excellent for maintaining curls too.

Polyquatermium 10 is easy to use since it is compatible with a wide range of Amphoteric and Anionic Surfactants.

Polyquaternium-10 is a specialty quaternized cellulose polymer produced by reacting a cationic etherifying agent and hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Good Rheological modifier, builds viscosity - an excellent thickener.

Quat conditioner of the polymeric quaternary ammonium salt of hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Use: Add as is to water phase of formula, use between 0.2 and 2%, common concentration in a shampoo is 0.5%.

Panthenol: Provitamin B5 or D Panthenol is well known as an ingredient in many popular hair care products.
It functions as a humectant, i.e. it helps tissues to retain moisture, this helps hair to stay soft and elastic. As the name suggests, Provitamin B5 is rapidly converted in to vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) once it has been absorbed into the skin. Thereby ensuring that the skin also benefits from it's moisturising and softening properties.

Usage: 0.5 - 2.0%
pH Compatibility: N/A
Temp Compatibility: N/A
Solubility: Water Soluble

Sclerotium gum: Sclerotium Gum is a natural gum that produces an instant gel base when combined with water. It is a polysaccharide produced through a fermentation process of Sclerotium rolfsii on a glucose-based medium. Sclerotium Gum has natural skin smoothing as well as soothing properties. It is an excellent base for everyday topical applications when a gel is preferred to a lotion, cream or oil. Sclerotium Gum is also suitable to use in hair care products as a conditioning agent.

Usage: 0.2 - 2%
pH: 2 - 11
Charge: Non Ionic
Method: Slurry in a humectant such as glycerine, proplyene glycol or propanediol before adding to water phase or use high shear.

Phenoxyethanol: Phenoxyethanol is a versatile preservative effective against both Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria as well as yeasts. It is not sufficient as a stand alone preservative due the fact that it is not effective against funghi and so must be used in combination with an anti-fungal agent. Potassium sorbate or Sodium benzoate can be useful in this regard but only in formulations with a low pH.

Phenoxyethanol is regarded as safe when used at 1% or less in a formulation though it can be a mild irritant to the eyes and so should be handled with caution. Interestingly, it also acts as a fixative for fragrances and so helps to protect the smell of your product as well.
It is soluble in both water and oil and is inactivated by ethoxylated surfactants.

Usage: 0.25 - 1%
I have yet to digest a lot of this, but dang what a TON of information. It seems there are several principles to get down, preservatives, "hold agents" (my term), nutritional factors, emulsifiers, pH balancers, consistency ingredients, and that's not even considering what works with what. I'd like to say I'm undaunted, however I just bought a new hold product to give me some time to figure this out lol. This is for sure not in the realm of replacing Shea with Cocoa butter.

Here are some professional hair styling formulations if you want to try and replicate your current hair gel product.


Not sure why you think hair gel is "bad". It is by no means "natural" but other than that I am unsure why they would be considered bad.

Traditional hair gels are not too difficult to manufacture and they don't have all the issues with preservation that more natural formulations have.
It's not a matter of what *I* personally think, I've used $0.99 hair gel for decades lol, and didn't really care until recently when reading about other hair products (pomade, clay, paste, mousse, etc ). Many articles I've come across mention hair gel ingredients being responsible for hair loss, or bad hair health in general. Perhaps it's all a charade, I can't really tell unfortunately. Regarding your last statement, your speaking my language-i don't really care all that much about "natural," however do care about obtainable. Perhaps I'll take a page out of Mobjack's book and find what works and investigate the ingredients. Suitable replacements don't seem simple considering things like ions, pH, and other factors tho. Maybe I'm making this all more complicated than it needs to be. :-/
 

Tara_H

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Maybe I'm making this all more complicated than it needs to be. :-/
If you've been using the cheap stuff so far then it seems your sensible first step would be to go for the hold and possibly pH aspects. There's no point in trying to get all the way to formulating an amazing nourishing, conditioning, etc product in a single leap, especially if the baseline you're comparing from doesn't have those.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I need to make more batches of my two hair products. Was toying with the idea of adding a video to my YouTube channel to cover it, actually.

I think the one which would suit you best from what I read here is more like a bead oil - it doesn't have a wet look, which I know you wanted to avoid, but gives some hold. Not rock solid hold, though. I'll dig out the recipe if you'd like?
 

Johnez

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I need to make more batches of my two hair products. Was toying with the idea of adding a video to my YouTube channel to cover it, actually.

I think the one which would suit you best from what I read here is more like a bead oil - it doesn't have a wet look, which I know you wanted to avoid, but gives some hold. Not rock solid hold, though. I'll dig out the recipe if you'd like?
That would be rad, I would appreciate it. I'll start small with flax gel, see where that gets me. I should have got some dang preservative, I just placed an order at lotioncrafter and had the chance. D'oh!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Okay, so I think I've found the right recipe in all my notes (the jar used as a container seems to match up)


40% avocado oil
35% Shea butter
14% wax (I used beeswax)
10% jojoba oil
1% scent

These oils were used mainly for the effect on a beard and the skin underneath, but I think as a purely hair styling product you could swap things out quite easiz, such as your beloved RBO (😋) for the other soft oils to make it cheaper, but it's not my everyday product so I don't find it an issue. Plus a replacement oil could make it greasier, of course.

You might also increase the wax and shea to give it more hold, but go easy or it might make it too much to wash out well.

As I mentioned, I'll likely post a video of making this to my channel (the first b&b video, oddly enough) soon, as I need to make a batch
 

Johnez

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Okay, so I think I've found the right recipe in all my notes (the jar used as a container seems to match up)


40% avocado oil
35% Shea butter
14% wax (I used beeswax)
10% jojoba oil
1% scent

These oils were used mainly for the effect on a beard and the skin underneath, but I think as a purely hair styling product you could swap things out quite easiz, such as your beloved RBO (😋) for the other soft oils to make it cheaper, but it's not my everyday product so I don't find it an issue. Plus a replacement oil could make it greasier, of course.

You might also increase the wax and shea to give it more hold, but go easy or it might make it too much to wash out well.

As I mentioned, I'll likely post a video of making this to my channel (the first b&b video, oddly enough) soon, as I need to make a batch
Nice EFG, I've got every ingredient but the wax, and that's easy to find locally. I'll make a weeks worth of flax gel (just got the seeds) and then give this a shot. Thanks for digging this up, looks interesting and doable.

you could swap things out quite easiz, such as your beloved RBO (😋)
You must be in my kitchen right now, just got done playing with the beloved hehe.:swinging:
 
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