Mallow Hair Gel

Pictured above: a long shot.

In all likelihood, this exercise will do nothing more than allow me to cross this one off of my to-do list.

Nonetheless, it must be tried.

Today, we're experimenting with Mallow (INCI: Malva sylvestris). Mallow has lovely properties for both hair and skin. It also has a fabulous, deep purple color – so deep that it colors other things.

Even hair.

Or so some say.

And even though I know this will only work if the gel is combined with a series of additional ingredients (that I would not be happy to put on my hair), maybe – just maybe – it will work anyway.

Because sometimes things don't turn out as expected.

And, if all else fails, this will make a great conditioning hair mask.

The Infusion

First step: a mallow infusion/hair-staining concoction. Here's how I made a concentrated mallow infusion.


  • 45 gr dried mallow
  • 300 gr demineralised water
  • 2 gr carraghenen
  • 1% broad spectrum preservative (I used benzyl alcohol for this batch)
  • xanthan gum


Split up the mallow into tea bags and staple shut. Be sure and leave room for the contents to expand.

Place bags in a clean container. (I used a Bodum teapot)

Boil water and pour over the bags, cover, and let infuse for about 15 minutes.


Transfer the infusion to a bowl and let cool some. I did not do a temp check, but would describe the mixture as lukewarm.

Check out the loss of product. I started with 300 grams and the yield is just barely over 200 grams (I even squeezed the bags to extract as much liquid as possible).

Calculate and add 1% preservative (200 gr gel makes for 2 gr of preservative )

Mix it Up

Add carraghenen.


Add xanthan until your desired gel texture is reached. My ideal: something thick enough to stay in the hair, but not so thick it is hard to distribute.


When you have a desired consistency, bottle the mixture.

Mallow definitely has staining power. Check the teapot. The water is still blueish after several rinses.

And how about that pH strip below.

The color stained so much, it was impossible to read the pH.

Coming Up

Hair experimentation!

Do Tell

Have you ever tried mallow as a dye for anything? How did it work?

More About Mallow

From this blog
On Wikipedia


Bajan Lily said…
I never considered using tea bags as part of the infusion process before- what a clever way of minimising cleanup and keeping sediment out!
LisaLise said…
Hey there Bajan Lily - it's pretty handy this way - it only took me half a lifetime to figure that one out! :)
Unknown said…
could distilled water be used in place of demineralized water?
LisaLise said…
Hi Unknown — distilled water is the same as demineralized. Go for it :D