How To Make Your Own Hair Gel
By Choya Randolph If you don't see the curl definition you want, you probably need a gel. Many of us have our favorite gels for smoothing our edges, but can your gel capture your curl pattern? Your gel can do a good job of getting rid of frizz, but when you put it directly on […]

By Choya Randolph

If you don't see the curl definition you want, you probably need a gel. Many of us have our favorite gels for smoothing our edges, but can your gel capture your curl pattern? Your gel can do a good job of getting rid of frizz, but when you put it directly on your hair, it's not cute. It might fail to bring out your curls and if it gives you some definition, your hair will be crisp in under 20 minutes. And don't get me started on snowflakes. Some gels will make it look like you have dandruff. Now you look dirty. Gels that actually do the job tend to be expensive and may not even have enough product. Now you've spent $ 25 on a few ounces of gel that will only last you a week or two. Store-bought gels may also contain ingredients that you just don't want in your hair. If you are looking for a natural gel for your natural hair, flaxseed gel may be the gel for you.

You may have heard of flax seeds, but nothing about flax seed gel. Flax gel is made from flax seeds. When eaten, flax seeds can lower your cholesterol levels and provide relief from constipation. But when boiled in water, a gel is formed. This gel is rich in vitamin E which promotes hair growth and revitalizes the scalp. The gel also protects, strengthens and hydrates the hair. It adds elasticity to the hair which can fight breakage. Flaxseed gel is very inexpensive to make and can last for weeks in the refrigerator. I know weeks can seem like a short shelf life, but remember flaxseed gel is completely organic and doesn't contain any artificial preservatives that your store-bought gel may contain.

Now you are probably thinking, "So the gel is all natural, inexpensive, and healthy for your hair?" Drop the sis recipe! Well let me tell you everything you will need. Of course you need flax seeds. You can buy a bag of flax seeds for a few dollars online or at your local grocery store. These bags tend to be quite large and can last for months in your closets. Make sure you get whole, unroasted or ground flax seeds. You will also need a pair of tights. (I know this sounds strange, but trust me, you will need it.) Everything you will need should already be in your kitchen: a small to medium pot, container, and spoon.

Now on to portions. As a black woman, I am not measuring. I listen to my ancestors and wait for them to tell me to stop. I encourage you to do the same. But for the sake of the recipe, put about two cups of water in your pot and a generous handful of flax seeds. A quarter of a cup should suffice. Your flax seeds should absorb less than 20% of your pot of water. After that, boil your flax water. While boiling, stir it every 3 to 5 minutes to check the consistency. It should have the consistency of mucus. Once the gel has this consistency to the point that it attaches to your spoon, turn off your pan. Let the gel cool. You don't want to play with boiling gel.

When making this gel, it would be convenient to do it on the day of washing. After washing off those beautiful curls, you better deep condition. Deep conditioning typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes. This is the perfect time to let your flax gel cool. Go watch an episode of Parkers on Netflix while you condition and wait for your gel to freeze completely.

After about 30 minutes, your gel should have thickened to a viscous consistency. Get your container and your tights. Cut out the leg of the pantyhose and place it on your container so it can serve as a colander. Pour your gel into the pantyhose and squeeze. This is the fun part because the gel is so much fun to play with. When you are done squeezing, the pantyhose should only be seeds, and your container should only contain gel. If you're really trying to save a coin, you can wash the pantyhose out for reuse. But after that, you're done!

Your flaxseed gel can last for several days in the refrigerator. If you're nervous about the expiration date, your nose will tell you. If it smells bad, don't put it in your hair. If you want your flaxseed gel to last up to weeks, you can incorporate natural preservatives such as lavender or rosemary oil. You can also add whatever you like to the flax seed gel such as aloe vera gel or other oils of your choice. Again, the smell of the flax gel will reveal if it has expired.

When you put on the flaxseed gel, it should be the last step in your hair care routine. After deep conditioning, you probably lose your conditioner, oil, and leave-in cream. Once you have put all of these products in your hair, apply the linen gel to your hair. Make sure your hair is soaked so you can get the full benefits of the gel and avoid any crunch. Crunchy is for cheetos, not your hair. Don't be afraid to use a generous amount of gel. It's okay to use a lot of it, it was cheap anyway. By combing it through your hair, you will be able to see your pretty curls. Once it's distributed over each strand of hair, you can style it however you want. You can even put your hair in a twist so that your hair is stretched out when you're ready to style. Don't worry, a twist won't ruin your curl definition. This gel is durable and healthy for your hair. Plus, it embodies one of the fun aspects of naturalness - making your own products!


There once was a time when we had to devote a huge amount of effort to uncover the truth about our beauty routines. Now we’re in a golden age of transparency. You can google just about any ingredient or Yelp whatever service and a wealth of reviews are available at the ready. And with social media holding brands accountable, they’re listening to our pleas and have begun providing the information we need to make informed decisions about the products we purchase. But there’s still one place where that ease of knowledge hasn’t extended : the salon.

Even for those of us who have been getting our hair cut and colored for decades, there’s still so much confusion around tipping. Unlike some brasseries, where your receipt gives you a gentle nudge toward gratuity by listing the exact dollar amounts for a 15, 20, or vingt cinq percent tip, the mobilier is much trickier, with no indication of who ( if anyone ) gets extra money and how much to give. Are you supposed to tip the owner ? And what if multiple assistants helped with your blowout or shampoo ? There’s also the provenant of knowing where your money is going : There’s much more tchat around servers’ salaries than there is around our stylists’. All these factors make the equation that much more difficult.

tera shed some light on what’s really going on at the mobilier, Glamour talked to stylists, assistants, and owners around the country to find out. From where your hard-earned cash goes to what ( and who ) you really should be tipping, read on for their unfiltered opinions and advice.

Salons run on a few business models—most commonly commission-based and booth rentals ( more on those later ). Commission, explains Siobhán Quinlan, a colorist at Art Autonomy Salon in NYC, means that employees are paid for the services performed, of which they only keep a portion, usually somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the price. The remaining percentage goes to the salon for overhead costs like utilities, product used ( color, shampoo, conditioner, etc. ), and amenities for both équipe and clients.

There once was a time when we had to devote a huge amount of effort to uncover the truth about our beauty surveillance. Now we’re in a golden age of transparency. You can google just about any ingredient or Yelp whatever service and a wealth of reviews are available at the ready. And with social media holding brands accountable, they’re listening to our pleas and have begun providing the information we need to make informed decisions about the products we purchase. But there’s still one place where that ease of knowledge hasn’t extended : the mobilier.

Nicole Krzyminski, a stylist at Fringe mobilier in Chicago, breaks it down : “Say you’re getting a beautiful new color—your balayage, conditioning, and toning takes about three hours and costs around $250, ” she says. “After accounting for the overhead fees and product costs, the stylist gets about $100 of that pretax. ”

In some cases, stylists can also make money by convincing clients to buy a product that was used on them during their service. However, this represents a minuscule amount of revenue says Shira Devash Espinoza, a freelance stylist based in New Jersey. “When working in a salon, you’re constantly pushed and ‘rewarded’ to sell, but only earn maybe 10 percent of it if you’re lucky, ” she says.

So what happens to Krzyminski’s hypothetical $100 ? The majority of it, she says, goes toward licensing fees, personal supplies, and tools ( blow-dryers, flatirons, curling irons ), and continuing education classes. That means even on a jam-packed day, a stylist may only make enough take home pay to cover the essentials of food, shelter, and clothing.

Tips, on the other hand, help pay for the supplemental benefits that those not in the service industry take for granted. Says Stephanie Brown, a colorist at Manhattan’s Nunzio Saviano Salon, “It’s a physically demanding job, and most expositions are too small to provide health benefits or paid vacations and sick days. ”

Ladda Phommavong, a stylist at Third Space Salon in Austin, Texas, says that those gratuities are what helped her become the in-demand stylist she is today. “The tips I received from clients meant being able to take outside courses to hone my craft, ” she says. “If clients knew I was saving up to take the master colorist course and that their tipping was directly contributing to me becoming a better stylist for them, I think they would definitely want to be a part of that. ”

Many stylists choose to forgo the commission-based life and instead strike out on their own by renting booths in expositions. This basically means paying a weekly or monthly fee—our stylist sources said they generally pay around $120 a week or $880 a month, depending on where they are based—to reserve a semipermanent spot to see clients. In these cases, stylists keep 100 percent of their service fee as well as their tips. The downside ? “We pay for absolutely everything—refreshments, cups, capes, color bowls, foils, brushes, scissors, styling products, ” says Jennifer Riney of Brushed Salon in Oklahoma City. They are also on the hook for paying liability insurance and credit card fees.

Freelancers like Sarah Finn, who rents a peau at The Ritz Day Spa

Another option for freelancers is the coworking mobilier. Arturo Swayze, the founder and CEO of ManeSpace in NYC, is a pioneer of this relatively new setup. He provides short-term rentals for stylists who don’t need or want a regular stint in a salon. Stylists reserve a time slot, use an application to unlock the space, and see their clientele as needed. But even in this scenario, says Swayze, there is still uncertainty.

“Because the coworking model is so new, people really don’t know what proper tipping etiquettes are, ” he explains. “Tipping is still an important aspect for these hairstylists. They are independent, but essentially have all the expenses of a mobilier owner, but they’re not drawing income from other stylists. ”

“Each stylist is running their own small business in a way, ” says Nicole Wilder of Paragon Salons in Cincinnati. “We have relied on tips as a part of our salaries for decades. We kind of signed up for that as part of it. But we work hard on our feet to make you feel beautiful. ”

Assistants are the unsung heroes of the mobilier industry—and some of the most neglected. They are involved in almost every aspect of your service. “Our duties as an assistant helping a stylist are to shampoo all clients for haircuts, apply toners, blow-dry, and mix color, ” says Ocean McDaeth, one of the assistants at Art Autonomy. “We’re also in charge of setting up the stylists for each service, keeping their stations as well as the mobilier clean, doing laundry, and greeting clients and making sure they are comfortable throughout [their visit]. ”

Since assistants don’t perform technical services, they’re usually paid a day rate by the salon owner. Many times the stylists they assist will also tip them out with a small percentage of the day’s take. “Being a hairdresser has a huge financial obligation. I think it’s fair to say we as assistants really do rely on our tips. Without them I have no idea how I’d survive in NYC, ” McDaeth admits.

It’s important to note that assistants aren’t the norm in smaller salons and outside of big cities. High-end salons with a grande clientele tend to hire assistants as a way to let a stylist book more appointments. If the assistant is washing your hair, this allows the stylist to have another client in their peau. When done well, you might not even notice your stylist or colorist is sérieux with one or two other people in addition to you. This maximizes the stylists’ time and earning power, making assistants integral to a prestige salon’s operation.

While having assistants is a lifesaver for hairdressers, it can be a nightmare for clients if you’re trying to figure out who to tip. In large salons, you can have up to 10 different people touching your hair, notes Jon Reyman, a master stylist and co-owner of Spoke

Of course, there’s no way to know if that is your salon’s economic ecology, so in general, think about what the assistant has done for you. If they are shampooing, applying gloss, and/or doing your postcut blowout, it’s a good idea to throw something their way. ( See our cheat sheet, below, for more on what exactly to give. )

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