Now Reading
Curly Hair Gels: Guide to Bouncy and Defined Curls

Curly Hair Gels: Guide to Bouncy and Defined Curls

curly hair gels

What are curly hair gels?

Curly hair gels are specialized styling products designed to cater to the unique needs of wavy, curly, and coily hair. These gels enhance and define the natural curl pattern while addressing common concerns like frizz, dryness, and scalp issues like dandruff.

For those with wavy hair, selecting a suitable gel involves finding one that provides a flexible hold to maintain the natural movement of waves. Individuals dealing with frizzy hair often turn to curly hair gels, which are formulated to control and tame frizz, resulting in well-defined curls.

Dry hair is a common challenge for many with curly hair, and the right gel can help address this issue by containing moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, and natural oils. Incorporating hydrating products into the hair care routine is important to maintain optimal moisture levels.

curly hair gels

For those seeking dandruff treatment and help styling, some curly hair gels are formulated to provide both benefits. These gels often contain ingredients that soothe the scalp and address dandruff concerns while offering curls the desired hold and definition.

To prevent product buildup and maintain healthy curls, occasional use of a clarifying shampoo is recommended. This helps remove residue left by styling products, ensuring that the hair remains vibrant and manageable.

Natural hair enthusiasts often prefer curly hair products free from harsh chemicals and sulfates. Natural curls thrive with products that embrace the hair’s natural texture and provide the necessary moisture for optimal health and appearance.

When using curly hair gels, individuals may experience a temporary stiffness or “cast” as the product sets.

This is how you create a curl cast by Curly Susie:

Breaking the cast is a common practice to achieve a softer, more touchable finish. This can be done by gently scrunching the hair or using a small amount of oil to soften the curls.

curly hair gels

Is curly hair gel the same as regular hair gel?

Curly hair gel and regular hair gel are sometimes different. While both products serve the general purpose of styling and holding hair in place, they differ in their formulations to cater to the specific needs of different hair types.

Curly hair gels are designed for individuals with wavy, curly, or coily hair. They often contain ingredients that address common concerns associated with curly hair, such as frizz control, moisture retention, and curl definition. These gels may have a lighter texture and include hydrating components like aloe vera, flaxseed, and natural oils to keep curls moisturized and well-defined.

You can check out the best drugstore gels here.

curly hair gels
aloe vera slices

On the other hand, regular hair gels may have a generic formulation without the specific considerations for curly hair. Some regular gels can contain higher levels of drying alcohol or other drying ingredients, which may not be ideal for curly hair types, as they can contribute to dryness and frizz.

Individuals with curly hair need to choose a gel specifically labeled for curly or wavy hair or one formulated with ingredients suitable for their hair type. This ensures that the gel addresses the unique characteristics of curly hair, providing the desired hold and definition without compromising moisture or causing excessive stiffness.

Should I use a curl cream or a curl gel?

The choice between a curl cream and a curl gel depends on your hair type, texture, and the specific results you’re aiming for. Both products enhance and define curls but have different formulations and provide varying levels of hold.

Curl Cream:

● Best For: Curl creams are often preferred by individuals with drier or coarser hair types. They tend to be more moisturizing and can provide a softer, more natural finish.

● Benefits: Curl creams effectively reduce frizz, add moisture to the hair, and enhance the overall curl pattern. They are versatile and can be used for various styling techniques, such as twist-outs or braid-outs.

● How to Use: Apply curl cream to damp hair, ensuring even distribution, and style as desired. It’s generally suitable for a more flexible and touchable hold.

Curl Gel:

● Best For: Curl gels are often favored by those with wavy to curly hair who desire a stronger hold to define and set their curls in place.

● Benefits: Curl gels provide a firmer hold, helping to maintain curl structure and reduce frizz. They are excellent for creating well-defined, polished curls and are often used for wash-and-go styles.

● How to Use: Apply curl gel to damp hair, ensuring even distribution. Style using techniques like scrunching or raking, and allow the hair to air-dry or use a diffuser for a more defined look.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your hair’s unique needs and styling preferences. Many people use a combination of both—a curl cream for added moisture and a curl gel for hold and definition. Experimenting with different products will help you determine which one works best for your hair type and the style you want to achieve.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to 100+ Gels for curly hair HERE.

curly hair gels

How do I find the best gel for my curl type?

Finding the best gel for your curl type involves considering your specific curl pattern, hair needs, and personal preferences. Here are some steps to help you find the right gel for your curls:

1. Know Your Curl Type:

● Understand your curl pattern (wavy, curly, coily) and specific hair characteristics like thickness, porosity, and moisture needs. Take our Hair Quiz if you need help figuring out your hair characteristics.

2. Identify Your Hair Needs:

● Consider your primary concerns with your hair, such as frizz control, moisture retention, or defining curls. Knowing your specific needs will guide you in choosing a gel that addresses those concerns.

3. Read Product Labels:

● Pay attention to the ingredients listed on gel products. Look for gels that contain hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, sea moss, natural oils, and other moisturizing agents. Avoid gels containing drying alcohols, as this can contribute to dryness. Also avoid glycerin, as this can cause massive frizz in humid or dry climates.

4. Research Product Reviews:

● Read reviews from individuals with similar hair types. Platforms like online retailers, beauty forums, or social media can provide insights into how well a particular gel works for people with curls similar to yours.

5. Try Sample Sizes:

● Many brands offer sample or travel-sized versions of their products. Trying these smaller sizes allows you to experiment with the gel without committing to a full-sized product.

6. Consider Hold Strength:

● Determine the level of hold you need based on your curl type. Wavy hair may require a lighter hold, while tighter curls may benefit from a stronger hold to maintain shape and definition.

7. Experiment:

● Hair care is often a process of trial and error. Experiment with different gels to see how your hair responds. You may need to try a few products before finding the one that works best for you.

8. Ask for Recommendations:

● Seek recommendations from friends, family, or online communities with individuals who have similar curl types. They may suggest products that have worked well for them.

9. Consult with a Stylist:

If possible, consult with a hairstylist experienced in working with curly hair. They may provide personalized recommendations based on their knowledge of your hair type.

10. Consider Your Styling Preferences:

● Think about your preferred styling routine and the type of looks you want to achieve. Some gels are better suited for wash-and-go styles, while others may work well for twist-outs or braid-outs.

Remember that what works for one person may not work for another, as everyone’s hair is unique. Be patient and experiment with different gels until you find the one that helps you achieve the desired results for your curl type.

curly hair gels

How do I use curly hair gel?

Using curly hair gel involves a specific application process to enhance and define your natural curl pattern. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use curly hair gel:

Start with Clean, Damp Hair:

● Begin by washing and conditioning your hair using products suitable for your curl type. Starting with clean, damp hair is essential to allow the gel to distribute evenly. Add your leave-in conditioner, cream, or foam at this point. Gently brush through to distribute evenly.

Section Your Hair:

● Divide your hair into sections. This helps ensure the gel is applied evenly throughout your hair, making the styling process more manageable.

Apply the Gel:

● Add a small amount of curly hair gel to one section of your hair, starting from the roots and working it through to the tips. If the gel is thick, emulsify it with a little bit of water or apply to soaking wet hair. Ensure that the gel is evenly distributed. For example, you can rake through or use the praying hands method. Repeat this process for each section of your hair.

Watch this video by Mel for different ways to apply gel to curly hair:

Use Styling Techniques:

● Depending on your preferred styling technique, use methods like scrunching, raking, or shingling to encourage your natural curl pattern and define your curls. Experiment with different approaches to see which works best for your hair.

Air-Dry and/or Use a Diffuser:

● After applying the gel and styling your hair, you can air-dry and/or use a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer, or a hooded dryer. Air-drying is a gentler method than a diffuser, though this can speed up drying and help set your curls. A combination of techniques is often best so that the hair doesn’t remain wet for hours on end (which is also bad for hair).

Avoid Touching Your Hair While Drying:

● Once you’ve applied the gel and styled your hair, try to avoid touching your hair while it’s drying. Touching your hair can disrupt the curl pattern and lead to frizz.

Break the Cast:

● After thoroughly drying your hair, use your hands, a silk scarf, or a small amount of oil to gently scrunch your hair, breaking the cast and leaving you with softer, smoother curls.

Refresh as Needed:

● If your curls need a refresh between washes, you can reactivate the gel by misting your hair lightly with water and scrunching, or using a little bit of emulsified gel or a mousse.

Remember that the amount of gel you use may vary based on your hair’s length and thickness. It’s generally better to start with a small amount to avoid product buildup and add more if needed.

Why does gel make my hair stiff and crunchy?

Here’s why gel can make your hair hard and crunchy:

Polymer Formation:

● Many gels contain polymers, which are substances that form a thin, solid film on the hair as they dry. This film helps hold the hair in place and defines the curls.

Setting the Curl Pattern:

● The hard and crunchy feeling indicates that the gel is setting your hair’s curl pattern. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with curly or wavy hair, as it helps maintain the shape and definition of the curls as they dry.

Breaking the Cast:

● While the initial stiffness might be undesirable, it’s intended to be temporary. Once your hair is completely dry, you can “break the cast” by gently scrunching your hair with your hands. This helps to soften the curls and eliminate the crunchy feeling, leaving you with well-defined yet touchable curls.

Product Amount and Formulation:

● Using too much gel or choosing a gel with an overly strong hold can contribute to a more noticeable cast. Experimenting with the amount of product and trying different formulations can help you achieve the desired balance between hold and softness.

If the crunchiness persists or if you find it uncomfortable, consider adjusting the amount of gel you use or trying a different product with a lighter hold. Finding a balance that provides the desired hold and definition is crucial without making your hair excessively hard or crunchy.

What are other tips for using natural curly hair gel?

Natural curly hair gel can be key in achieving well-defined, frizz-free curls. Here are some additional tips to make the most of your natural curly hair gel:

Apply to Soaking Wet Hair:

● For optimal product distribution and curl definition, apply the gel to hair that is dripping wet. This helps the product spread more evenly and encourages curls to clump together.

Use the Praying Hands Method:

● After applying the gel, use the praying hands method by smoothing the product over your hair with your palms. This helps coat each strand and encourages curl formation.

Apply Product with Fingers, a Brush, or a Wide-Tooth Comb:

● Use your fingers, a brush, or a wide-tooth comb to distribute the gel through your hair to ensure even coverage. This helps detangle and ensures that every strand is coated with the product.

Layer Products for Added Moisture:

● If your hair tends to be drier, consider layering a leave-in conditioner and/or a hydrating cream under the gel. This can add an extra boost of moisture to your curls.

Experiment with Product Cocktailing:

● Product cocktailing involves mixing different styling products to customize your hair care routine. Experiment with combining your gel with other products like creams or oils to find the perfect combination for your curls.

Scrunch While Drying:

● As your hair dries, and if you want it be more curly (especially if it is wavy), gently scrunch it periodically to encourage curl formation and prevent a stiff cast from forming. This helps maintain the natural bounce and flexibility of your curls.

woman wearing satin bonnet

Invest in Silk or Satin:

● Consider using a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent frizz and preserve your curls overnight. Use a satin or silk scarf, bonnet, or pineapple your hair to protect it while you sleep. This helps prevent friction, frizz, and maintain your curls’ shape. These materials are gentle on the hair and help maintain moisture and preserve your curls. Sleeping on cotton is guaranteed to cause frizz and may dry our your curls.

Refresh Curls with Water and Gel:

● On days when your curls need a little pick-me-up, mix water and a small amount of gel in a spray bottle. Lightly mist your hair and scrunch to revive the curl pattern.

Consider the Humidity:

● Adjust the amount of gel or the products you use based on the humidity in your environment. Higher humidity levels may require less product, while lower humidity levels may call for additional moisture. Avoid glycerin in high amounts in your stylers if you want your curls to last.

curly hair gels

What is the purpose of applying gel to curly hair?

Applying gel to curly hair serves several purposes, contributing to the curls’ overall health, appearance, and manageability. Here are the primary purposes of applying gel to curly hair:

Curl Definition:

● One of the primary purposes of using gel is to define and enhance the natural curl pattern. The polymers and ingredients in the gel help clump curls together, providing a more uniform and well-defined look.

Frizz Control:

● Gel helps control frizz by providing a protective layer around the hair shaft. This layer helps seal in moisture and prevent external factors, such as humidity, from causing the hair cuticle to lift, which can lead to frizz.

Hold and Structure:

● Gel offers hold to the curls, helping them maintain their shape throughout the day. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with wavy, curly, or coily hair who want to keep their curls in place and prevent them from becoming limp or unruly.

Preventing Flyaways:

● Gel helps tame flyaways and baby hairs, providing a smoother and more polished finish to the hairstyle.

Reducing Shrinkage:

● For those with tightly coiled curls, gel can help reduce shrinkage by providing weight and structure to the hair. This allows the curls to maintain more of their length.

Creating a Curl Cast:

● Many gels create a temporary “cast” as they dry, resulting in a slightly stiff or crunchy feeling. This cast helps set the curls in place and can be easily broken once the hair is completely dry, leaving the curls soft and touchable.

Moisture Retention:

● Some gels contain moisturizing ingredients that help retain hydration in the hair. This is crucial for preventing dryness, especially in curly hair prone to moisture loss.

Enhancing Shine:

● Gel can add a healthy shine to the hair, making curls appear more vibrant and well-maintained.

Styling Versatility:

● Gel provides a versatile styling option, allowing individuals to achieve various looks, from defined curls to sleek ponytails or updos.

Setting Styles:

● Gel effectively sets various styles, such as twist-outs, braid-outs, and wash-and-go looks. It helps the hair hold the desired shape as it dries.

What are things people get wrong about using curly hair gels?

Using gel for hair styling can be highly effective when done correctly, but there are common misconceptions or mistakes that people might make. Here are five things that people often get wrong about using gel:

1. Not Applying on Wet Hair:

● Gel is most effective when applied to wet hair. Applying gel on dry hair may result in uneven distribution, reduced curl definition, and a less desirable finish. For optimal results, ensure your hair is sufficiently wet before applying gel.

2. Ignoring Ingredients:

● Not all gels are created equal, and some may contain ingredients unsuitable for certain hair types. Some gels may include drying alcohols or silicones that can lead to dryness or buildup. Always check the ingredient list and choose a gel that meets your hair’s needs..

3. Skipping Moisturizing Steps:

● While gel provides hold and definition, it is not a substitute for moisture. Skipping moisturizing steps, such as using a leave-in conditioner or hydrating creams, can result in dry, stiff curls. Ensure your hair is adequately moisturized before applying gel.

4. Expecting Instant Results:

● Gel often needs time to set, especially if it creates a cast as it dries. Some people may expect immediate softness, and when they feel initial stiffness, they assume something is wrong. Understanding that the cast can be broken once the hair is dry helps manage expectations and achieve the desired results.

Using a gel is a personal process, and what works for one person may not work for another. Finding the right amount, technique, and product for your specific hair type and styling preferences may take some experimentation. Additionally, understanding the purpose of the gel and its role in your styling routine can contribute to more effective and satisfying results.

absolutely everything curly logo
Absolutely Everything Curly

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Scroll To Top