*Oh, how I learned to make (and love) hair snot.

Since I decided to go back to curly hair and to get away from all the bad stuff that makes my hay-uh like straw-uh, I’ve been spending time on curly message boards looking for pointers. And everybody, but everybody, seems to be raving about “FSG,” or Flax Seed Gel. In addition to not having alchohol or any of the other ingredients that dry hair out, it’s cheap as chips and easy to make. I decided to cook up a batch and see what all the fuss was about.

So off I went to my local health food store and bought 250 g. of brown flax seeds. Once I got home, I also pulled out my argan oil and some essential oils to sex up the basic recipe a bit. And it really is basic:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T brown flax seeds

That’s all it takes. Once the gel itself is made, you can, as I do, add 1/2 t argan oil, a few drops of essential oil (my current fave is a mix of rosewood, lavender, bergamot, and ylang ylang — happy and relaxing smells), and 1/4 t of citric or ascorbic acid to act as a preservative.

You boil the seeds in a saucepan, stirring all the while, until they hang suspended in the gel, or until it looks like mucus when you drip it off the spoon. It takes about five minutes, start to finish. Strain the seeds into a bowl and rinse the pot out well. Do not wait or you’ll never get the gunk out. Give your strainer a good rinse while you’re at it. Note that you can put the used flax seeds into a plastic container and freeze them — you can get two or three batches out of them before you need to bin them.

Allow the gel to cool a bit before adding your extras, if you’re adding them. Store in the fridge, so you don’t have to worry about creeping crud getting into the mix. You’ll probably use this up before it has a chance to go bad, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Let me warn you, though, that no matter how simple the recipe is, it takes a while to get the hang of it. It took me four attempts.

Attempt 1: I overcooked the seeds and couldn’t get the gel to strain. Dumped the whole lot into the garbage, where it wiggled at me, mockingly.

Attempt 2: Perfect! I was so excited I decided to share my batch with the lady in the florist shop, whose cute curly crop inspired me to whack my hair off. I had enough left for yesterday. Time to make more.

Attempt 3: After reading someone’s suggestion online, I decided to add a few hibiscus flowers. (They’re supposed to be good for dry hair.) I ended up with something that looked like slimy Red Zinger. Then it dawned on me that since I’m blonde, it would most likely make my hair pink, so down the sink it went. A pity that Duchesse isn’t close enough for me to pass her the oops — it would be great for her Titian curls!

Attempt 4: Back to basics. Since I didn’t have an empty bottle, I stored it in a measuring cup in the fridge overnight. Today when I was out running errands, I grabbed a bottle and a funnel. Got home, washed them both well, and started to pour the gel into the bottle. It all came out in a single blob, leaped out of the funnel, and oozed all over the counter — like something out of a hair care horror film. At least it had the good grace to ooze its way into the sink on its own.

Final attempt: Made the basic recipe with my extra touches, boiled it just long enough, and decanted the gel into the bottle while it was still warm enough to flow easily. Yay!

You use FSG just like store-bought gel on rather wet hair, though you will need a bit more. And your hair will feel slimy while it’s drying. But once it’s dry, it’s incredible. More curl, plenty of hold, and no crunchiness. Day two, I misted with a 50/50 mix of water and aloe vera gel and the curls perked right up.

If you’re a curly (or even a wavy), give this a shot and let me know what you think.