Recipes and Projects

This page will be updated from time to time with new recipes. Also, visit the "Allergen-free Recipes" page for even more recipes for alternative cleansers and scrubs. 

Use these recipes for yourself, they're not meant to be reproduced and sold. If you share these recipes, please state (and link to) your source - this blog.
  Recipes on this page: 
  1. Gelatin Protein Treatment for Hair
  2. Flaxseed/Aloe hair gel with protein
  3. Link To: Flaxseed Curl Cream (This is the version with strong-hold hair gel in it)
  4. Link to "Super Smooth Flax Curl Cream"   (This is a light-to-medium hold curl cream for smoothing & defining hair)
  5. Link to Basic Flax Gel Recipe
  6. Link to Flax-Free Hair Gel
  7. Link to Homemade hair cleansers and scalp/body scrub
  8. Link to Humectant Wave/Curl Boosting Jelly
  9. Link to Easy Humectant Curl Defining Jelly-Cream  (New, February 2015)
  10. Projects: How to Line a Winter Hat
  11. Link to Oil Blend Recipe - Multi-purpose, for coarse or porous (even just a little porous) or dry hair 
  12. Thick Gelatin Protein Treatment - better distribution = better result and no drips.


Gelatin Protein Treatment for Hair - recipe created late summer 2010 A.k.a "IAGirl's protein treatment" - that is/was my username on NaturallyCurly.com
New (April 2014), thick gelatin protein treatment.
Gelatine PT frequently asked questions (link)

* Note, some people with fine or shorter hair use half the gelatin - if you find this recipe too strong, try halving the gelatin content
1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin powder (0.25 ounces, 7.2 grams, 2 1/2 teaspoons) If you cannot get Knox, look for gelatin(e) flakes or sheets or powder and use this weight - or crumble it well and use about as much as fills the cupped part of your cupped palm. It seems that 3-4 sheets of gelatine equal one packet of Knox gelatine. Use half the gelatin for a milder treatment or for shorter than shoulder-length hair

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup boiling water (60 to 75 ml)
  • 1-3 drops of oil
    • [Optional] 3-5 drops vinegar -or- a tiny pinch of citric acid (about enough to fill the letter "o" as typed here). Test the pH, it should be 5 and no lower. A pH around 5 helps the protein bond to your hair. Add acid to cool water and test pH of cool or cooled liquid - not hot!
    • An easy way to make sure the pH is "just right" is to use distilled water.
- Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, stirring constantly (you may want to soften the gelatin in a small amount of water first - this eliminates lumps!
- Add any add-ins, mixing thoroughly (you can put it in a blender if you like)

Here is my (June 2012), quick, microwave preparation method:
Mix gelatin and about 3/4 of the cold water you plan to use in a microwave-safe cup. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then microwave for 20-40 seconds. Long enough to dissolve the gelatin so there are no tiny gelatin grains visible. Add the remainder of the water to help cool down the mixture before adding other ingredients and applying.

Optional add-ins:
1 teaspoon honey
yogurt (unsweetened, lowfat or full fat)
Full-fat mayonnaise
2 to 3 teaspoons of conditioner
coconut milk
use herbal tea instead of plain water
More oil - up to 2 tablespoons of oil - olive, coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, apricot kernel, sweet almond...
1 tablespoon aloe vera juice or gel 
1/4 pureed banana (in a blender). Banana baby food works well.
1/16 or 1/8 teaspoon magnesium sulfate

How to apply: Cool the mixture until it's cool enough to put your finger in (about 100 degrees F).
Apply to clean, damp hair (squeeze the excess water out). Pour some of the gelatin on the top, sides, and back of your hair. Work it in towards the scalp and from roots to ends. I'm suggesting time to leave it on, you can leave it on as long as you like. Your hair will bond with as much protein as it can and no more after that, no matter how long you leave it on.
How long to leave on:
  • Option #1: (No fuss) Leave on hair for at least 2-3 minutes, then rinse and use conditioner if your hair feels tangly or rough.
  • Option #2: (with heat, in the shower) Wrap your hair in a plastic bag or plastic wrap (or a shower cap, but it will get coated with gelatin) and keep your head under the shower (this is loud, try to keep your ears outside of the plastic) for several minutes, rinse well and condition if needed. Some people like to leave this treatment on for much longer periods of time, but don't start with a long treatment if you have not used it before!
  • Option #3: (Blow-dry method - extra potent!) Do this outside of the shower. After saturating clean, damp hair with the gelatin mixture, blow-dry the hair without agitating it. Hair will become very stiff. Rinse very well afterwards and apply conditioner if needed. This uses a lot of heat, which may be drying to hair and skin, but works better for some people. If you like the PT, but don't feel it is giving you quite what you want, try this method.
After protein (important!): After you use this treatment, you might find your hair a bit rough or tangly feeling. 
1) Always: Make sure you rinse very, very well - leftover treatment in your hair can feel awful. 
2) If your hair feels rough and/or tangly while wet: Follow up the treatment with an extra generous application of conditioner. Or follow up with a "deep conditioner" or intense conditioner and leave it on with or without heat for 5 to 30 minutes - conditioner's softness and lubrication helps balance out the support and stiffness of protein.
3) If your hair feels rough or tangly or stiff (or overly soft and limp) when dry: If you did #1 and #2, then this might be too concentrated a treatment for your hair (cut the gelatin in half or fourth, or choose a different product). If there are proteins in other products you use, this treatment might have pushed your hair "over the edge" protein-wise. It may have been too soon since you last used protein, or gelatin may not be well suited to your hair.

Why gelatin and why protein? Hydrolyzed proteins bond especially well to the damaged parts of hair, but bonds to the cuticle of hair in general. For fine, porous, bleached or damaged hair, protein adds strength, shine, and body. For wavy and curly hair, protein can perk up limp waves and curls and protein does wonderful things for gray and white hair - dyed or not. Protein tends to make hair feel "stiffer" whereas oils and moisturizers in conditioners make hair feel softer.
  • Gelatin is one of the few hydrolyzed proteins you can buy at nearly any grocery store, so it is accessible and inexpensive. Unmodified proteins like egg, yogurt, and mayonnaise have limited ability to add protein to the hair's structure and can carry harmful bacteria (raw eggs, for example).
  • This protein treatment is always made fresh (don't store it in your fridge for more than a few days if you make extra) so there is no need for preservatives which might cause skin sensitivity. It is also a strong protein treatment. Used alone, it can make the rinsed hair feel a little stiff. Conditioner will usually resolve this feeling. You can always use half the amount of gelatin if it is too strong.
  • This treatment is not vegetarian. Gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen which is a byproduct of meat manufacturing. You can find a veg-friendly "recipe" here. Or look for products with hydrolyzed wheat, oat, quinoa, soy, rice or jojoba proteins.
  • What if I'm not sure this will work for me? Then for goodness sake, don't apply it to your entire head if you have any worries. Make up the treatment and apply it to a small section of your hair and see how you like it. If it works, use the rest on all your hair the next day.


Flaxseed Gel Recipe (#1)
Flaxseed/Aloe gel with protein: Good for fine hair, enhances curls for spring and definition - use alone for medium hold or under a harder-hold gel. Using honey or agave will give you more hold, but be sure to use enough oil in the recipe to control the "crunch."
(Please wipe down the bowl you'll strain into with rubbing alcohol and all your utensils as well)
Boil 2 to 3 tablespoons whole flax seed in 1 1/2 cup distilled water (almost 300 ml) for about 5-6 minutes (stir so they don't stick). If you lift a few seeds out, a thin string of gel should fall from whatever you are stirring with. If it's very thick and goopy now, you've probably boiled too long and it will be difficult to strain.
Strain through metal mesh strainer (or the foot of pantyhose for the very patient) right away.
The Magic Long Soak: If you soak your flaxseeds in the water for 4-6 hours or overnight, your gel will be thicker.
Thickeners:
Add thickener to 1 tablaspoon of cool water and mix well, then pour this into hot, strained gel: 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum and stir/whisk in in a pan or double boiler over low to medium heat.
As gel cools add:
1 tablespoon aloe gera gel (the edible kind - mash out the lumps first if there are any)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon protein (Colorful Neutral Protein Filler, or another hydrolyzed protein) or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon gelatin - which needs to be re-heated in the strained gel to dissolve.
1/16 to 1/4 teaspoon oil (or more if you have dry hair) - I like grapeseed oil or apricot kernel oil for fine, silky hair and coconut oil for kinky or dry hair
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or honey (optional, adds hold but can be crunchy, not good for humid weather)
Mix very well and refrigerate immediately.
Other thickeners: 
Arrowroot starch or Cornstarch: After straining hot flaxseed gel, mix 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot starch (flour) in a couple teaspoons water. Pour the gel and the arrowroot mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil, stirring for about 2 minutes.
Pectin: You need a pectin which will gel without sugar (they usually indicate this on the box). Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons powdered pectin to strained flax gel in a pan, being to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool.
Other proteins: Unflavored gelatin(e) - put strained flax gel back into the pan, sprinkle 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (powder or crumbled flakes) over the gel and whisk madly while bringing to a boil. Heat until all the gelatin is dissolved.


Flaxseed Curl Cream:

Combine: 
1 tablespoon thick, rich conditioner (use less for fine hair) - add a few drops of canola oil or whatever oil you like if the conditioner has no oil in it
2 tablespoons flaxseed gel (with protein added if your hair likes it - I used the recipe above)
1 tablespoon strong hold hair gel
Optional: 4 drops honey or agave nectar ( or 1/8 teaspoon or more - this is meant to add more "hold") Not good for humid weather.

Apply fairly liberally, style as you usually do.
This gives great curl definition and "clumps," controls frizz, enhances curls and feels soft in the hair. For the hair gel, use whatever feels like "strong hold" to you - whatever you have on hand. You can always use more honey or agave if you need more hold.

Cut the batch! (Trial size) Use 1 teaspoon of conditioner, 2 teaspoons of flaxseed gel, 1 teaspoon of strong hold hair gel, and 1-2 drops honey or agave.