Moisture for Days: DIY Organic Oatmeal Gel
In my quest to achieve an organic Curly Girl Method lifestyle, I realized the curl gel I was using wasn't all that natural, and there was a suspicious ingredient that may or may not be CG (Curly Girl) approved. So, today I decided to embark on a quest to try and make my own gel in an effort to not only save some money, but let's be honest, I really didn't want to go all the way to the store to buy something when I could make it at home. Also, I find that many products on the shelves these days are really meant for people with thicker curly hair, something I definitely do not have. I was blessed with soft 3a curls, but they prove to be a challenge most days since my hair is so fine, and most products weigh them down immensely. I'm going to go ahead and warn you, if you have the same kind of hair, this gel is probably not for you (as you will see further down). But, it was fun to experiment! Without further ado, I introduce to you a super easy, but quite time-costly, organic oatmeal curl gel!
First, what makes oatmeal good for your hair? Well to start off, it is extremely moisturizing. Oatmeal is chock-full of B-vitamins and is a natural humectant, basically meaning it draws in moisture from the air and gives it to your hair. Additionally, B-vitamins in oatmeal are awesome for strengthening and repairing hair. The vitamins are able to easily penetrate to the deepest layers of your hair, allowing for the greatest amount of repairing to be done. Lastly on my reasons to love oatmeal for hair, it also contains a handy polysaccharide called beta glucan that makes hair soft as a pillow and smooth as silk. With all this knowledge in tow, you can probably guess why I was so excited to give this gel a try when store-bought gels are quite frequently filled with cancer causing ingredients and toxic chemicals. Woohoo!
What You'll Need
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 1 tsp of organic olive oil
- 3 tbs organic oatmeal (I use gluten free oats due to an allergy!)
- one jar
- one strainer
- optional: essential oil of your choice (I chose a combo of sweet orange & grapefruit. I love citrus scents for hair!)
For DIY projects, I like to stay on the cheap (but still stay organic), so I used an organic olive oil from my local grocery store. I buy my gluten free, organic oats in bulk to also save some cash as well. This recipe is really for normal oatmeal, but since I have a severe wheat & gluten allergy (yay me) I opted for gluten free oats and assumed it would produce basically the same result. Also, I'm kind of crazy about saving jars (I have tons around the house... You never know when you'll need one!), so I used a leftover jar I had lying around to hold the gel!
Getting Down & Dirty
This recipe was a bit more time consuming than I had imagined, but I think it was mostly from trial and error on my part. I wasn't too sure when exactly the mixture was done thickening, and my strainer proved to be too small, so that took up some time. But, the whole thing was pretty easy overall and relatively straightforward. So here's the lowdown:
- Combine water & oats in a pot. Bring to a boil.
- Stirring occasionally, let the mixture become firmer until it's a gel-like consistency.
- Once this has been achieved, strain the mixture into the jar.
- Add essential oils if you wish.
- Let it cool & it's ready to go!
The total time I spent on this was about an hour.
Apply & Wait
Since I'm following the CG, LOC (leave-in, oil, & cream), and plopping (a way to dry hair) methods now, I did my weekly co-wash, applied extra leave-in conditioner, oils, and finished off with the oatmeal hair gel. I then plopped my hair using an old t-shirt and let it all chill for about twenty minutes before I let it air dry. The gel did leave behind little bits of left over oats that made their way into the gel, but it really didn't bother me much. The gel didn't feel too stiff at first, so I was a little skeptical at how well it would work, but it hardened up as my hair dried.
Initially, my hair looked a little like a greasy mess, as seen below :( so was a little disappointed in the results of this experiment. This could be due to my newly established CG routine, but usually my hair does not look THIS messy. Additionally, the gel did not harden as much as I would have liked. Maybe I should have let the oats simmer longer, maybe it was from my gluten free oats, or maybe it's just not a hard holding gel. On the bright side, my hair is very soft and my curls are defined, even though they are oily. So, at least I got some extra added moisture!
The Next Day
So it's been 24 hours since applying the gel. I woke up to surprisingly less greasy hair and a little more curl than usual. While the gel didn't hold my curls to the extent I'm attempting to achieve (but let's remember, I have fine curly hair so this is going to be a difficult journey), a little spritz of my homemade leave-in conditioner made my curls look decent enough. At this point, I think I would use this more as a conditioning treatment before the days I shampoo than a gel since my hair feels so moisturized after applying it, but is still a little too oily for my liking and daily wear. If you have thicker hair, give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments! I'm really curious to know how it worked for others. Maybe some finagling with the recipe would make it better for thinner hair.
And with that, my adventure continues to find the best DIY curl gel for my hair. Stay tuned for updates on this endeavor!