How To Stretch Your Shampoo & Make Your Own Hair Gel

stretch your shampoo

By a raise of hands….who here has added water to their shampoo bottle to make it last longer? *raising hand high*

Back in the day, when our budget was stretched to the max….I would stretch our shampoo too by adding water to it. Every little bit helps ya know?

Here is an idea for stretching your shampoo and at the same time kicking it up a notch by adding protein for stronger, healthier hair.


stretch your shampoo

How To Stretch Your Shampoo:


1/2 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine
1/2 cup warm water


stretch your shampoo


stretch your shampoo


Mix half an envelope of Knox Unflavored Gelatine with 1/2 cup water and add to a regular 8 ounce bottle of shampoo. (My bottle was bigger than 8 ounces but almost 1/2 of it was gone, so it was roughly that amount of shampoo. If your bottle is full you will obviously have to pour some out into another bottle.)

The gelatine will increase the protein content of your shampoo and the shampoo will last much longer.

I made up a batch today and tried it tonight and while I didn’t notice any immediate change in my hair, I’m hoping that regular use will help thicken it up…not to mention save a few dollars. :-)


homemade hair gel

Before I shampooed my hair though…I tried out this quick and easy Homemade Hair Gel that I also made up this afternoon.

Homemade Hair Gel


1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup warm water


homemade hair gel


Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup warm water. Keep refrigerated and use as you would a purchased gel.


homemade hair gel

This is what the gel looked like after several hours in the refrigerator. I decided I would give it a try and pull my hair back into one of those slicked back pony tails I used to have to do on my daughter all the time when she was in dance.


homemade hair gel

While it’s not exactly the most flattering look I’ve ever sported…lol….it worked every bit as good as the dippity do-style stuff we used to use on Britta.

Overall I was very satisfied with both of these homemade solutions! More so than I thought I would be. I realize the savings would be pretty minimal…but in the long run, all these “little things” add up!


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  1. Erin says

    I make hair gel out of flax seed and Shea butter. Pretty cool stuff. Thanks for sharing this!

    • says

      I am trying to change to all natural shampoo & conditioner and I have curly hair. For years I have used tons of product (gels, mousses, creams, oils, etc.) to keep the curls intact and control the frizzes. I have been looking for a good gel recipe and I am about to try this one. I would love to know the recipe you use, the flax seed & shea butter sounds intriguing. :)

  2. mary knight says

    I like the photograph of the shampoo and the gelatin. (As well as this tip, which I will try). I will also try the tbs of baking soda in water as a shampoo.

  3. valerie says

    I have seen gelatin used to make those pore strip things….check pinterest, I’m sure you will see it pop up. They mix it similar to your gel, then apply it as a facial to remove black heads and gunk from your face. It sounds promising!

  4. Valerie says

    I stretch my shampoo by not shampooing every day. I usually only shampoo once a week. I do however, shower every day since I work out and I am a sweater. I just rinse my hair everyday and use conditioner sometimes (I wanna switch to apple cider vinegar but haven’t made that jump yet). I was reading on a natural website about not using shampoo anymore and using baking soda (MUCH MUCH CHEAPER 13.5lbs for $6.99), basically you put 1 tablespoon of soda to 1 cup warm water, dissolve it and pour it over your wet head and rinse. That’s it. Yes my hair is shorter (above my shoulders) but I do put mouse and hairspray in it everyday and my hair is not greasy or anything. I think it did take my hair a week to get used to not being washed every day when I made the intial switch because the more you strip your hair of it’s oil the more it is produced. I just switched to the baking soda last week and it works just like the shampoo does.

    • CarrieN says

      I want to warn you about the baking soda if you have curly hair. Baking soda raises the PH of your hair. At first it’s going to work, but over a pretty short amount of time the raised cuticle of the hair lets out the moisture and your hair gets rough and unmanageable. Trust me on this. It happened to me and i ended up with brillo pad hair. I am going to assume it does this to straight hair as well. I have heard if you do use baking soda you must use ACV as well to bring the PH down again but that didn’t help for me.

      • tracy says

        I tried using baking soda as well on my fine straight hair, and I didn’t like it at all. It was like it stripped it of all it’s natural oils and felt very dry and unmanagable. I use conditioner only on my hair (I scrub my scalp with the conditioner) and my hair has never been more managable. I haven’t used shampoo in over a year… conditioner only. Nobody would ever guess. I style my hair daily and it always looks nice.

      • rachel b. says

        I totally agree. I have thick, curly hair and attempted to go ‘poo free for two months. My hair felt like straw. I kept at it, waiting for my hair/scalp/oil to adjust and it never did. I played with the amounts of vinegar rinse, switched back to using regular conditioner, and finally just used shampoo.

        I have a scalp condition (sebbhoric derm./adult cradle cap) that because of this experiment I’ve found CAN be controlled with baking soda. Baking soda totally changes the ph of my scalp, so I still use the baking soda and then follow with shampoo and conditioner. My hair is still on the dry side b/c of the baking soda BUT now I don’t pay $20.00 a month for prescriptions for my scalp condition:)


    • Krystal says

      I have been using the “no ‘poo” and apple cider rinse routine since November of 2012 and my hair is great. I can go at least 3 days with out having to wash my hair; some people say they have it down to washing once a week.

    • Heather says

      Yep, you don’t even need to bother with the baking soda at all. Just a good scrub with your fingers and water will leave your hair clean.

      • Nicole says

        I’m assuming you don’t have oily hair? I’ve done the baking soda and might do it again here and there but oily scalp and dry ends are pretty tricky to clean and moisturize.

      • says

        Try using either olive oil or coconut oil on your hands – ala VO5, Brillcream or Suave hair creams (do they even MAKE these things anymore?). Basically, you put a small dab in your palms, rub your hands together and then run your hands through your hair, trying to distribute it more or less evenly and then use a comb to comb it through. Let hair dry and then brush your hair (I’ve had hair dressers tell me to never brush wet hair). I can’t tell you an amount as it’s all relative to whether your hair is really short or knee-length like mine and how naturally oily it is. For my long hair, I use about 1 tsp in my palm. For shorter hair, a dime-size blob should do it. (Hence the slogan “A little dab ‘ll do ya.) You may need to experiment with it to get it right for you.

        Also, our grandmothers used to brush their hair 100 times each evening. It was to distribute the natural oils from the scalp to the ends of the hair and if they had long hair, they’d braid it so it didn’t get so tangled. I think most of us go to bed without brushing our hair. Plus, the daily washing/blow drying and products we use also tends to dry out the hair.

      • Jamie says

        If you decide to go no-poo, your hair will go thru a transition period that can take a week up to a month. You can also adjust the amount of the baking soda/water ratio and also the vinegar/water ratio to custom fit the no-poo routine for your type of hair. Usually if you use more baking soda then you use less vinegar and vice versa.

        Some people have no problems problems going no-poo but others either don’t like it at all, don’t give it a chance to work, or don’t have the patience to experiment with the ratios to find the right balance.

        And you can always add “goodies” to the baking soda mix and the vinegar mix. I add jojoba oil and essential oils for my baking soda mix. Sometimes I add honey or aloe. For the vinegar rinse I always add essential oils as well but sometimes I add honey to that too.

        That’s the fun of making your own stuff …the customization.

      • Zoquara says

        I agree completely that the “no-poo” route needs some tweaking for each person. For mine, I use about a palmful of BS to roughly 2 cups of water each time I wash it (1-2 times a week), but I often skip the ACV because it leaves my hair sticky if I don’t have it diluted well enough (For me, more than a few drops in a 1/2 gallon of water is almost too much).

        I have yet to try this on dyed hair, but I’m about to dye my hair and I guess I’ll see how that goes.

  5. Jennifer says

    I have also found that the dispenser hole on the empty travel shampoo bottles you buy for $1 is much smaller than the hole on the larger bottles of suave shampoo that may kids use. So if I put the shampoo into the travel bottle, it’s easier for them to use a smaller amount. On pump dispensers for soap, I’ve heard that putting a rubber band around the bottom of the pump part keeps the top from going down as far so you get less soap per pump.

  6. Natalie says

    7.2 grams, or 1 Tbsp is the amount of gelatin in one packet of Knox. One packet of gelatin will gel 2 cups of water (America) or 500 ml (Europe).

  7. CFrab says

    My biggest shampoo cost saving move was to buy Suave shampoo and put it in an old large pump dispenser bottle. My hair is below my shoulders and less than a full pump provides plenty of suds. I use Suave clarifying shampoo (clear with blue tint) because it requires a smaller amount and it does not turn my gray/white hair yellow.

  8. Murphy says

    Please tell me how much liquid the whole pack is designed for, so I can measure how much your ‘half pack’ gelatin would be in the products I can get in Europe. Thanks!

    • CTY says

      This gelatin comes in powder form there is about 14 grams in one envelope so for 1/2 pack use 7 grams.