With so many different products on the market, how do you know which is the best gel for natural hair? The answer to that question will depend on the results you’re looking for and your hair’s needs.
From curl definition to perfect edges, the right hair gel can make a good hairstyle into a great one. By understanding the differences between the different kinds of gels on the market, you can be confident that whichever hairstyle you choose, it will look its best.
Smoothing Gel for your edges
You can spend hours styling your hair to perfection and get your edges in place. However, if you don’t use the right hair gel for your natural edges, your hair can lose that freshly styled look by midday.
Humidity and activity can cause your edges to shrink or puff and before you know it, your hairstyle will look tired. This is why using the best holding gel for your edges is so important.
If your hairstyle is soft and natural, a soft holding gel might be just what you’re looking for. They leave your edges touchable and soft, yet still in place.
Soft holding gels are ideal for loose ponytails and wash and go styles. If your style is sleek, a smoothing gel with a firm hold will keep your edges in place all day.
Firm-hold gels give that smooth and shiny look to your favorite style whether at the office or out on the town. Regardless of the kind of gel you choose, it’s important to choose a non-drying and non-flaking product that will keep your hair healthy and your hairstyle on point.
Click on the pic below for a quick tutorial on laying those perfect edges.
Gel for buns
When your hair is finally long enough to put in a bun, you want it to look just right. The wrong styling gel can turn your morning sleek and chic bun into a frizzy mess, not to mention all the flyaways throughout the rest of your hair.
If you’ve ever had to touch up your hair and add more gel to it during the day, it’s because the wrong gel was used. Adding styling products on top of each other can cause unnecessary build up and flakes on your hair.
When that happens, your hair can appear, dull and lifeless. It can even become damaged.
Using the right gel for your hair prevents the need to keep touching up your hairstyle, and your hair will look great longer. For example, if your hair is particularly kinky, it may be necessary to use an edge taming gel with a firm hold to keep your bun smooth and frizz free all day.
On the other hand, if your hair has a looser curl and you choose to wear a loose bun, a simple oil-based gel might give you the curl-defining softness you’re looking for. A soft-hold gel would help keep your bun in its place while giving your curls definition.
The result will be a softer and more natural look.
Gel for twists outs
Perfect twist outs are shiny, frizz-free, and soft. For these kinds of styles, a defining gel or curling gel are ideal.
Gels for twist outs leave your hair with springy and defined curls that move. Kinky Curly custard is one product that’s infused with botanicals like horsetail, chamomile, nettle, aloe vera, agave, and marshmallow to leave your curls soft and shiny.
- Natural curl or wave pattern you never knew you...
- Define your curls, remove frizz, provide long...
- shine without ever being greasy, crunchy or drying...
Defining gels and curling gels are formulated to clump your curls together, giving you control as to how large or small you want individual curls to be. For a chunky look, apply the curling gel or defining gel to your hair as you set your twists.
When you take the twists out, try not to manipulate the curls too much. For a slightly softer look, carefully separate the curls until the desired texture is achieved.
With the right gel, your bouncy curls should last a few days to a week. Some gels you need to be careful with the amount of product you add to your hair as it will leave the hair feeling crunchy.
This is due to the cast it creates around the hair. These casts can be broken by gently scrunching the hair with a soft t-shirt.
If your current gel does this, you can add a touch of your favorite oil to prevent the crunchies and still keep that hold.
Is Gel Bad for Your Hair?
Many curly ladies have asked, “Is gel bad for your hair?” The answer is that gels can damage the hair if they contain damaging ingredients.
Sure, the wrong ingredients might make your hair look good, but ingredients like bad alcohol, will dry out your hair. Type 4 hair tends to be drier than other hair textures; this can be a concern.
Some Queens have protein sensitive hair. If this is the case for you, be sure to select a protein-free gel.
When you take the time to read the ingredient label and choose the best gel specifically for your hair, you can have gorgeous hairstyles that will last all day without it sustaining any damage. Some hair gels are even formulated to moisturize your hair.
This is an added benefit if you have dry hair or are going to be out in dry weather. When choosing your hair gel, be sure to select a glycerin free, non-drying and alcohol-free gel.
Products like Gorilla Snot contain harmful alcohols that can dry out your hair. There are also some who claim that Gorilla Snot is not very useful in humid weather.
- Pack of 2 bottles, Each bottle is 11.9 ounce
- This is the ultimate gel to make your hair spiked...
- Delivers maximum hold that will make your style...
- Leaves no residues
- It has a hold Factor of 10 of 10
However, if it works for you, that’s great! Another traditional gel is Eco Styler Gel.
- Designed to Keep Your Hair Beautiful
- Extraordinary Blend of Ingredients You'Ll Love!
- Made in Australia
Eco Styler gels come in a variety of formulas and holding strengths that suit nearly any styling need. Their Argan oil and olive oil formulas help to retain moisture, while their sports formula keeps you looking great when you’re active.
If your hair is color treated, you might love their formula just for color treated hair. They also have a coconut formula that smells incredible as it gives your hair touchable hold.
While Eco Styler gel is very inexpensive and very effective, it does contain glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant commonly found in hair products like activator gels and styling gels.
Glycerin can be a little tricky when it comes to using them on your hair. In some climates, it can make your curls beautifully defined.
However, if the climate is too humid or dry, glycerin can damage your hair. Because glycerin is water soluble and draws water from the air and into your hair, you might get better results if you apply it to wet hair.
It’s a good idea to try it out on a section of your hair first to see if your hair loves or hates it. If your hair is protein sensitive, be sure to select a protein-free gel.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all-day style. There are recipes for homemade styling gel that will keep your curls in place all day.
Flaxseed gel can easily be made at home and is very effective. To make flaxseed gel at home take ¼ cup of whole flax seeds and 2 cups of water.
You can add various essential oils to add even more hair-loving benefits. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often enough to keep the flaxseeds from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens and develops a bit of foam on top. It will resemble egg whites.
Strain the mixture through a few layers of cheesecloth or even knee-high pantyhose. One of the benefits of making flaxseed gel is that you can choose the level of hold simply by how long you boil the flaxseed.
If your hairstyle just needs a little control, use more water and boil for a shorter time. If you require more control, use less water and boil the flaxseed longer.
Here’s a quick and easy tutorial for making your flaxseed styling gel. If you love the benefits of flaxseed gel but just don’t want to make it yourself, EcoStyler Gel has a flaxseed formula you just might love.
Another homemade hair gel recipe uses aloe vera pulp. Aloe vera is an excellent scalp and hair conditioner.
It also brings shine and reduces itching and dandruff. You can easily tailor the gel to your hair’s needs by adding your favorite oil or essential oil.
To make your aloe vera gel click here for a simple tutorial. By making your aloe vera styling gel, you can not only style your hair, but your hair and scalp will be moisturized and healthy.
Alternatives to Gel cream gel, gelatin gel, mousse or gel
If you prefer, there are alternatives to gels that can keep your hairstyle looking fresh all day. There are mousses, soufflés, butters, creams, and taffys.
All of them have been designed to keep even the stubbornest hair under control. Curl Passion Fruit and Blueberry Bliss Control Paste are not only great at keeping your edges and curls in place, but they smell amazing.
- Formulated with organic blueberry extract, argan...
- Use this super sculpting pomade to enhance, define...
- No sulfates, sillicones, parabens, artificial oils...
- Curl's Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste 4 Fl oz
- Effortless, frizz free curls for multi-ethnic...
With such appealing names, you may not know whether to eat them or put them in your hair! Don’t eat them. Really.
Regardless of the kind of styling product you prefer, stay away from harmful ingredients that will dry your hair or damage your scalp. Some oil based gels can serve a few purposes.
They can protect your hair from the elements, seal in moisture as well as keep your hair slayed. This can not only save you money from needing to buy multiple products, but they can save you styling time.
Olive oil gel is excellent for hair types that need a thicker product. Baby oil gel is basically mineral oil with fragrance.
The subject of adding baby oil to the hair is a matter of preference, but some claim that it works best for smooth styles. Mineral oil has been known to clog hair follicles so if you choose to use it on your hair, be sure to avoid putting it on the scalp.
By taking a little time to check ingredient labels, you can find the best hair gel for natural hair that will keep you looking great all day.
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.