I love my pin curls, but they just don’t hold that well. The combination of long, thick hair and no hairspray-type aids means my hair is barely wavy come lunchtime. I’m not planning on re-introducing ‘cone-filled crap into my hair, so I need an alternative.

My first experiment was three simple ingredients; aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada), and xantham gum. I already had the aloe vera juice and the vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada), and the xantham gum was a bit of an impulse buy at the local soap making shop. From what the shopkeeper told me, I guessed that it behaves more like gelatin than cornstarch.

I heated the aloe vera juice until it was warm, and slowly whisked in the xantham gum, one teensy little bit at a time. Xantham gum is really neat stuff. Very, very strong. It thickens amazingly well, turning into something with the consistency of water into a gel in no time at all.

And the review? I definitely think it helps. It has an interesting, slimy-type texture (very similar to conventional hair gel). It’s not quite as sticky, but there’s definitely something there. I still had loose curls by the end of day one, and I even managed to nab a day of beachy-type waves for day two. Worth a go, but I’ll keep trying!

Hair Gel: Version 1

100mL aloe vera juice (not gel)
5g vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
5/8 tsp xantham gum

Heat the aloe vera juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until it’s warm. Remove from the heat, whisk in the glycerin, and then start slowly adding the xantham gum. Whisking constantly, tap in a teensy bit of the xantham gum, a little at a time, and keep whisking. The xantham gum works quickly once it gets wet and will clump easily if the liquid is not constantly agitated. If this happens, you can often fix it by gently reheating it while whisking.

Let cool. Store in an airtight container.