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Guar Gum

4 min read

INCI: Guar Gum or Cyamopsis tetragonoloba

Guar gum! It is outstanding to have around because of the superslip it gives to almost whatever water based concoction you put it in.

{snippet adszooright} Guar gum is a thickener, co-emulsifier, stabilizer, and viscosity builder without requiring heat. However, using heat may help to dissolve it into your liquid quicker and it may create a thicker mix in the end.

Technically, Guar gum is a fiber made from the seeds of the guar plant. It requires very little of the actual product to start to do what it does. It is said to have about 8 times the thickening power of corn starch.

FNWL says Guar can form a gel when combined with borax and water, but who wants to use borax!? Some say using a type of calcium ingredient instead of borax will have the same gel effect. I haven’t tried that though.

In addition, if you use over 1% of it in your concoctions, it becomes highly susceptible to thinning out when you mix it with a high shear blender (like a hand mixer or stick blender).

TIP: If you’re looking for something with self gelling properties, check out locust bean gum (wikipedia)

Anyway, guar gum can be used to form a super, super, super slippery version of thick flaxseed gel if you use a certain amount of it. Even if you add 1/8 of a teaspoon into 8 oz of water, it will give it some kind of slip. Although, if the pH is too low (like 2 or 3), you will most probably lose some of the thickness.

Using Guar gum is how I make my Hibiscus based detangler. Literally, just make a hibiscus tea, add guar, then add bit of oil. That’s it. Everything else is extra (honey, agave, etc). BTW, Hibiscus is a low-pH-creating herb.

TIP: If you’re making a type of gel, using too much guar gum can cause flakes in the hair when used by itself in water. Add an oil to your mix and don’t be heavy-handed during application to stop or to help combat flaking in hair.

Guar gum, a polysaccharide, is used in ice cream to keep ice crystals from forming and to help keep it from getting hard. This is because Guar gum is an “all-natural” thickener, unlike some of its competitors (like cellulose gum, modified food starch, etc). You may also find it in tablets (pills) as a binding agent.

Guar gum, when taken internally, is thought to help lower blood glucose and insulin levels too, putting it on the radar of diabetes researchers.

I have found that Guar gum is less expensive than its lab-cousin, Xanthan gum by the way.

I will keep saying this until more people catch on to it: guar gum is an incredible, natural ingredient to add slip to your products. It provides more immediate slip than boiling marshmallow root herb and a little more slip than flaxseed gel. Its also quicker to use than both.

Just plain guar gum and water can be an awesome detangler so don’t be afraid to use it (just don’t use too much, girl!)

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