Work Smarter, Not Harder for Happy Curly Hair: Gel!
The Single Most Important Product for Curly Hair Styling: Gel.
Yes, I said Gel.
Your curls might need a little extra love, but so do all the best things worth having in life! Cute, curly hairstyles are beautiful, unique, and 100% worth the special attention they require to maintain. But special attention does not mean more time! Work smarter, not harder! As with so many things in life, spend a little time in research, and then focus on what works most efficiently. Gel can help you achieve fabulous looks in a lot less time.
This blog is about figuring out the right amount of gel to deliver curls you can love.
A little Research:
- Gel!!! Buy some gel. Make sure it has a medium to strong hold. Wash your hair, condition your hair, and use a wide tooth comb or your hands to “comb” a good amount of gel into your wet hair. You should shoot for more gel than you have ever used before. (remember this is research!)
- Air Dry or Diffuse your hair to dry. You can gently scrunch your curls as you diffuse to encourage curl. When your hair is dry, it may look wet because of the gel- but you will be able to feel that it has dried.
What does it look like? As we said, it will look wet. It will not have frizz. It may look stringy.
What does it feel like? It should feel “crunchy” and even hard. This crunchy coating is known as the Cast.
- Now, you need to SOTC! SOTC is Scrunching Out The Cast! Gently squeeze sections of your hair over and over to break up the cast. You can use your bare hands. You can use a cloth in your hands- t-shirt, or silk, or satin scarf. Don’t use a regular bathroom towel. Scrunch and scrunch and scrunch and you will start to feel that cast breaking up.
- Results: Look at your hair now. Are you surprised? Many people are amazed at how well their hair responds to plenty of gel. I spent decades avoiding gels that “make my hair crunchy”. I was so worried about too much gel! Oh, I wish I had known better! Gel is going to be one of your best friends.
Okay, now you have observed your hair and it’s response to gel. You have embraced Cast and learned how to SOTC so you will never fear Cast again.
Observations you may have:
- If your hair is dry and frizzy in some areas, or near the ends, you may need more gel in those areas
- If your hair stays very hard at the roots and is hard to SOTC, you may need to use a little less gel close to the scalp
- What other observations do you have?
What are some great gels? Here is a lineup of my top 6 tried and true curly hair gels:
Best Curly Hair Gels
#6 Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls
This is my go-to when having crazy active play days- like, beach vacation, swimming, paddle boarding, beach, repeat! I throw this on after swimming, so my hair is curly and shiny and a little wild when I cruise along on the paddle board, or bike, or on the beach. Then, after playing all day it is great after a quick shower when I need to throw a sun dress on and head out to the patio for catch of the day on the grill.
#5 AG Hair Care Spray Gel
I am Loving AGHair products! These are new to me but have become quick favorites. The spray gel is wonderful AND acts as a thermal protectant. It has silk and keratin protein. You can use a little or a lot. Try it out- it is always worth it to experiment different amounts. You can do a different amount on each side to get a quick side by side result! (Their trigger spray is GREAT for refreshing your curls- but that is another blog article!)
#4 Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel
This was my first Gel love. It is thin- more like a liquid than a gel- but Oh! It coats so nicely, and smells amazing, and it is Aveda, so all kinds of good ingredients. It offers lovely cast! Great curl definition, long lasting hold, especially effective in lower humidity settings. It is wonderful in the winter.
#3 Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Gel
If you have a special date and live in a humid climate, you should buy this immediately! This really does make a difference in higher humidity. Don’t be afraid of the harder Cast- that means it is working! And bring a little container of it in your purse in case you need to spot style while you are out!
#2 Tresemme Mega Firm Control Gel
This makes the list at #2 because no matter how much money you have, no matter where you are, you can get this gel. It delivers, and it is in every walgreens, cvs and Walmart across America. When you realize you left your favorite styling products at home but you don’t have $100+ to go to Ulta and re-purchase them all, just do a quick stop at any local drug store and grab this. I can tell you this will cover even having to work with hotel shampoo and conditioner. I wouldn’t do it forever, but in a pinch- absolutely! Also, I like using this if I need a little extra hold in a spot or two.
#1 Curlsmith Fragrance Free Shine Gel #9 Strong Hold
FINALLY I tried Curlsmith- and what was I waiting for?!! The Shine Line is amazing, and this #9 strong hold gel is fabulous. Now, I have not tried it in high humidity yet, because it is only March here in Florida and I am north of Orlando- but humidity is coming, and I will be testing it. The definition and shine is wonderful.
That’s it for now- let me know how you do!
More to come!