The Purely Primal Skincare Blog

{Fix your skin. Naturally!}

This is a guest post from our friend Alyssa, who blogs over at She has decided to share a natural hair gel recipe with us that fits in perfectly with the No ‘Poo routine outlined in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide.

Gelatin-Aloe Hair Gel

I have difficult hair. It’s naturally curly, mousy brown, dullish, thinnish, and just generally hard to manage. If you so much as look at it the wrong way, it will immediately disintegrate from curls into a mass of pouf and frizz.

After I ditched shampoo a few years ago, I realized I needed to come up with a natural alternative to the serums, gels, and mousses that I relied on to make my hair look halfway decent. I wanted it to be something with simple, recognizable ingredients, and chances were, that wasn’t going to happen unless I made it myself. Plus, I’ve always liked the idea of not using anything on my body that I wouldn’t also eat. You know, in case I get hungry in the shower.

First I tried flaxseed gel, but the consistency was uncomfortably snot-like and the gel didn’t hold up in humid weather. Okra gel went bad too quickly – after only a couple days, it started to smell like a vegetable and festoon my hair with brown strands of sliminess. Mmm. Plain aloe gel didn’t have enough hold, and it made me perpetually smell like I had gotten a bad sunburn.

On a burst of inspiration, I tried concocting my own hair gel out of gelatin. (Why hadn’t I thought of that before, anyways? Gel? GELatin?) I dissolved some gelatin in hot water, let it firm up in the fridge until it resembled Jell-O, and attempted to put it in my hair. The key word here is ‘attempted,’ because I couldn’t get it evenly distributed and ended up with gelatin clumps all over the floor. And once it dried, my hair was so stiff I felt like a character in Hairspray.

I was running out of ideas and rapidly descending into a pit of frizz-induced despair, so I did what I always do in times of doubt – I threw everything in my blender and turned it on. I added some aloe for good measure, plus some lavender essential oil I found in my graveyard of personal-care products. And voila! Gelatin-Aloe Hair Gel!

(Note: I may have skipped over some steps in the creation process that portray me in a less-than-ingenious light.)

I love this gel because it’s super easy to make, it’s cheap (less than $1.50 for 8oz), and it has a very agreeable, gel-like texture. And my hair, after a day of Florida-grade humidity that would normally result in an alarming combination of these two hairdos:

PicMonkey Collage123

…ended up looking like this!

My Hairedited

(The picture on the left is edited a bit because the original was really fuzzy and hard to see, but the picture on the right isn’t edited at all. And the reddish color is from henna, by the way.)

Here’s the recipe:

Gelatin-Aloe Hair Gel 

IngredientsFor a light hold, use these ingredients:

  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • ½ cup 100% Aloe Vera Gel
  • a drop of your favorite essential oil (optional)

For a stronger hold, use these ingredients:

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1.5 tsp gelatin
  • ¼ cup 100% Aloe Vera Gel
  • a drop of your favorite essential oil (optional)

1. Measure out your water. Pour just enough into a bowl or glass so that you can sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it gel.

2. Heat up the remaining water to boiling. Once it’s hot, pour it over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

3. Place this ‘water Jell-O’ in the fridge for a couple hours until it’s completely set.

4. Now, scoop all of your gelled water into a blender along with the aloe and essential oil. Blend on the lowest speed until all of the gelatin clumps are fully broken up.

5. Pour into an empty squeeze bottle (I used this one), and slap some on yo head!


  • I use food-grade Lily of the Desert aloe, which I find at Whole Foods for about $5. The consistency is already somewhat gelatinous, but it’s more liquid than the greenish-colored aloe gel that you would normally put on a sunburn. If your aloe is a different consistency, you might have to play around with the ratios to get good results.
  • Your hair will probably be a little crunchy once it dries (similar to a commercial gel), but if you gently scrunch your hair with your hands, the crunch should go away.