This recipe uses flax seeds–which are placed in boiling water to remove the mucilaginous properties (the basis for the gel)… The flax seeds can be reused for another batch as well, so this is also very economical…
~ large saucepan – you need room for the seeds to move around in the water
~ wire or nylon mesh strainer – as fine as you can find, but mine is pretty loose, so I passed the strained gel through a smaller one I have – the small wire mesh type you’d use for OJ pulp
~ large bowl – deep enough so that the gel can get through without the strainer touching the surface
~ small wire whisk – not the springy kind you jam up and down like a plunger, but the classic teardrop shaped kind
~ 4-5 oz bottle – for storing your finished gel
I poured 1 cup of water (not warm or hot – just cool from the tap) into my saucepan, then 1/4 cup of flax seeds (linseeds in the UK), and then turned the heat on high. Stir every so often to keep the seeds moving and keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (I think this also helps the gelatinous stuff slough off of the seeds as you stir, as it seemed to help my consistency in the finished product). Once your water comes to a boil, stir gently, but almost constantly. When you start getting a thin, foamy jelly, turn the heat down a little, but keep stirring, watching for the point when you let the seeds settle for a second and they suspend in the clear jelly instead of sinking to the bottom.
Once you hit that point, shut off the heat, give one last stir, and immediately pour the liquid and seeds into the strainer over your bowl. I let the gel strain out of the seeds while I rinse my pan (don’t let the gel dry in there or you’ll have a mess to clean up later!), and then I lift the strainer and check for stray seeds in my gel. If there are any, I pour the gel back into the pan for a second while I swap strainers for my finer mesh, then pour the gel through again. If you want to add any Aloe vera gel, Essential Oils, or Fragrance Oils, this is the time to do it (never add Essential Oils, or Fragrance Oils to your water before boiling, because boiling breaks them down and destroys their scent and other properties). Then, I take my whisk and give the gel a good, quick beating (10 seconds or so), just to break up any really gelatinous strands there might be, or to mix in whatever I might have added in, and pour it into the bottle.
Sounds complicated, but the whole process takes me only about 6-8 minutes, and I have Flax Seed Gel the consistency of egg whites, which is perfect for me. If you want it thicker, you could always return it to the pan for a few minutes after it’s been strained, but I think you would lose the Flax Seed Gel’s ability to really get into your wet hair and give you great slip and clumping, because it would get too gloppy. Plus, the color of the finished product isn’t green or yellow – it doesn’t look like boogers at all. *lol* It’s almost clear, but with just a touch of milkiness to it, and a little bit of a golden hue. Nothing obtrusive or offensive at all. In fact, if you didn’t know what it was, you could easily mistake it for egg whites – color and consistency are almost identical.
Also, you can save the seeds and make at least one more batch of Flax Seed Gel from it – sometimes more, depending on the quality of your seeds. By watching your gel and knowing what point to strain, timing doesn’t matter – I tried ten minutes once, and my gel was so gross, it was completely unusable. It was like jell-o that had been all broken up, but couldn’t be liquefied, you know? Or, now that I think about it, it was almost EXACTLY like the drippings from a chicken or a turkey that had been left to cool, and got all jelly like. Color and all. *shivers* I was scared to try again, but I’m really glad I did.
Anyway, you can keep using the same seeds to make batch after batch of gel just by watching your consistency as it boils, until it finally just won’t give you that jelly-ish consistency anymore. I put my used seeds in a Ziploc bag in the fridge, and I’ll use them again next week or the week after.