DIY Natural Gelatin Hair Gel – Frugal and Easy!

This DIY natural gelatin hair gel recipe is super easy, frugal, and really works! It only uses two ingredients, with an optional third one. It's also non-toxic and natural!

DIY Natural Hair Gel with only 3 ingredients (and 1 is optional!)

I have written a lot about my hair on the blog. Going no-poo in 2010 was the catalyst to leading a natural lifestyle for me and why I started this blog! (I no longer use baking soda and ACV to wash and condition my hair, though. Now I use the Curly Girl Method.)

Until now, I have YET to find a hair gel that works with my thick, coarse, dry curls. I've been using Tigi Catwalk's Curlz Rock hair cream (NOT curly girl friendly – it contains a lot of silicones) and have always loved it, but lately, I started noticing how whenever I used it on my hair, my hands would break out in eczema and start to itch. It gets a toxicity rating of 5 out of 10 on the EWG's Skin Deep database, with the worst ingredient being the fragrance. Not a terrible rating, but it's the pièce de resistance in my beauty regime as I've switched over to all-natural things in everything else!

DIY Natural Gelatin Hair Gel - See the Consistency
The more gelatin you add, the stronger the hold. I like to use about 1/2 tsp. per cup.

Yet I've tried so many different natural concoctions like flax seed hair gel (it gunked up on my hair after a week or so and was as hard to get out as glue!), shea butter, coconut oil, a combo of those two, aloe vera, glycerine… you name it, I've probably tried it! I've pretty much given up on finding one that would work. Until I saw on DIY Natural that they use hair gel made with just gelatin and water. Awesome. Just two simple little ingredients. I've been drinking grass-fed gelatin in my detox tea on a daily basis and have watched my nails grow and get strong, so I love gelatin.

DIY Natural Gelatin Hair Gel

What I Love This Natural Hair Gel

  • It's super duper cheap. Literally, pennies per batch. There are 96 teaspoons in this bottle of gelatin, and we're only using 1/2 tsp. per batch. That's 10 cents per batch! You can make it even cheaper by using gelatin packets from the grocery store.
  • It smells wonderful! I use essential oils in my recipe (they are optional, though), so I get whiffs of the scent all day long and it's so nice! I use are lavender and peppermint or cedarwood, lavender and rosemary.
  • It's easy to make.
  • It's totally safe and natural.

Fun fact – my mom says synchronized swimmers back in the fifties used gelatin in their hair to keep the style!

You can Create Different Gel Holds!

Normally my hair needs a lot of styling cream as it is so dry and crazy (it's super thick, coarse, and very curly). I was surprised as the light hold actually worked for me! I found the medium hold is best, though, for my hair, as it lasted for several days. The stronghold is really strong and a bit crunchy for my taste. I found that it is crunchy when drying, but soft once it's totally dry.

Make your own natural hair gel with gelatin! Great for curly hair and safe for the curly girl method.

DIY Natural Gelatin Hair Gel – Frugal and Easy!

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5 from 4 reviews

Here is a frugal and easy natural gelatin hair gel recipe you can make in just minutes at home! No toxins in sight.

  • Author: Sara McFall




Pour the hot water into an 8 ounce container (but not plastic just yet since it's so hot!) and pour in the gelatin. Stir to combine then refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set. Drop the essential oils in once cooled and stir.

Store in the fridge and it lasts for 1-2 weeks. I find it's easiest to use with a squirt bottle or else it gets messy. It's jello for your hair, who would've thought?!


 I like to use my grassfed gelatin for this recipe because I can also use in my homemade gummies and jello recipes and it's very nutritionally dense. To make this even cheaper, you can use the gelatin packets from the grocery store, they just won't have as much nutritional value.

If you enjoyed this natural gelatin hair gel recipe, I think you'll like these posts, too!SaveSave


  1. Hie Sarah

    Can I add coconut and olive oil. If yes how much should I add?
    Does the gel leave any white residue on hair when it dries?

    1. Hi Cindy! I haven’t added any oils to it, so I’m not sure if that would change the texture. I have found that coconut oil really weighs my hair down and ends up building up on my hair – making it really tangly, matted and awful. Just FYI. I would do olive oil instead.

  2. No, no, no! This is a recipe for disaster. You’re hair will suffer from protein overload in no time!

    1. I disagree! I’ve used it many, many times with no protein overload problems. It depends on each individual person, but our hair is made of protein and we ALL need protein. 🙂 Some people need more protein than others, so it’s important to follow the lead of your own hair.

  3. Hello Sarah, I am wondering how different it is from the DIY Protein Treatment since you are using gelatin with regards the risk of protein overload. I read somewhere that protein treatment should not be done more than once a month. Is this the case with gelatin as gel? Do you use this gel every washday?

    1. Hi Nina! Yes that is a great point – it could cause protein overload. It might be better to use this gel more occasionally or when you notice your hair needs protein. Great point!

  4. I’m so happy I ran into this post! I used to do this in high school when I was poor and had crazy thick coarse hair. I always see recipes for flaxseed gel and I was surprised that no one hardly posts about making it with gelatin. I used to add hair oils and conditioners into different batches.

    I just started wearing my hair curly again and am an avid traveler so I’ve been wondering wondering how I’m going to travel with all my liquid products. Then I began thinking about carrying gelatin powder and found your post. I’m going to give this a whirl again!

    1. I wound up trying it and it went well! However there is some flaking, do you have some flaking as well? Any tips to get around that? TIA!

    2. Hi Kam! Yes, flax seed gels are very popular and effective, too. So, how’d this recipe work out for you? And while you’re at it, I do have a ton of articles here on the blog about the curly girl method, now that you’re wearing your hair curly again. Check them out here!

  5. Too many people have no clue that fast hair growth shampoos (obviously with no sulfates, no parabens or DEA) are even a thing. People now may enjoy longer hair and enjoy more options. Surely worth looking into it. Whether you’re going over hair loss, damaged hair, preventing skin disorders, fast hair growth, hair care in general, almost the same thoughts actualize. In most cases, you have to stay away from hair treatments and products that include chemicals such as parabens, DEA and sulfates. What’s beneficial for your hair is good for your skin as well. Obviously your content on this page is spot on for so many reasons. It steers away from the usual mistakes and errors so many fall into: buying defective alternatives. Keep it up!

  6. Hi Sara, Thank You for this post.

    Is it ok to use gelatin gel to styling hair every wash day?
    I wash my hair once a week.

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Hi Sara,

    Thank You for this post.

    Is it ok to use gelatin gel to styling hair every wash day?
    I wash my hair once a week.

    Thank you

  8. Hello,
    I am so excited about this recipe. I have three boys that are gel junkies. I want to reduce plastics in my household so this could be something to try. I think it would go over better if I did not have to store it in the refrigerator. Is there any secret to keeping it stable outside of the fridge?

  9. Hello Sarah, I’ve really been enjoying all the wonderful information on your blog and on YouTube! I was wondering, did your hair every lose some of it’s curl after having any of your babies? My hair was straight as a little girl then went curly around 12-13, but after having three children my hair has lost so much of it’s curl. It’s always been looser curls than yours. Do you have any curly hair cair tips to help bring my curls back? Your hair is beautiful, by the way! Our littlest girl is a red head and is getting curls so it makes me smile watching your videos.

  10. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. My hair would get so much flaking and when I tried to use water to get rid of the flaking it did nothing to help. Also, I would never keep its gel consistency always hardening and I have to always reheat and wait for it to form. Quite annoying and bothersome. I don’t know if I messed up or what it is but I rather just go pick up some gel in-store than make this to have all these trashy results.
    Especially don’t use it if you are a black girl, worst thing my curls have ever been through.

  11. I love this gel! I have fine and thin hair. I made the light gel formula. It works out perfectly for my hair situation.

    I tint my hair with a simple instant coffee formula. I was wondering if the instant coffee could be added to the gel. This would make for easier application as the coffee tint.

    Looking forward to your reply.

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