Curious about using gel in your natural hair regimen? Curlies have A LOT of products and brands to choose from. This huge selection can be VERY overwhelming, and it might weigh heavy on your wallet if you need to try out a bunch of different products.
Gels come in all flavors. They can be good or bad, depending on the ingredients. But your hair type and the way in which you use the gel can also play a big role.
In this post, we’ll look at different gel types and uses so you can decide whether to purchase gel for your natural hair. Thinking about using gel in your natural hair regimen? Read on!
The first thing is to ask yourself is, do you really need gel? Or will a styling cream or a simple leave-in conditioner work?
The answer is… it depends on the task.
There are three major uses for gel on natural hair:
Use #1: Applying Gel for Curl Definition on Wash 'n Go or Wash 'n Dry. You can use gel to define your curls, for a wash and go, or for a wash 'n dry.
Gel usually has more hold than twisting or styling cream, so your hairstyle will probably look more defined for a longer time.
However, using conventional gel on these hairstyles has its flaws.
The downsides are that your hair can turn too crisp or stiff, and that means you could lose moisture and softness.
That's why I created our Mango Moringa Moisture Max Gel. This water-based, botanical gel gives you all the hold, but without loss of moisture.
Remember, the wash 'n go hairstyle requires you to coat your strands, and this means ingredients from conventional brands will usually cause build-up.
So, make sure you choose the healthier water-based gel (like the Mango Moringa Moisture Max Gel) for your mane so you can provide long-lasting moisture.
Use #2: Applying Gel to Slick Back Natural Hair. One of the most common uses for gel is for laying down all hair (not just edges) and pulling it into a bun. Use caution with this hairstyle.
If you’re pulling your hair back into a sleek bun or ponytail every day, and then applying edge gel, you could develop alopecia.
Smothering the scalp and follicles with any product will hinder hair growth.
It probably won’t do much damage if you’re doing it once a week but slathering gel on your scalp every day could spell danger.
Remember, hair growth slows once you reach a certain age.
If you’re in your twenties or thirties, it may seem like your follicles are invincible, but hair loss can easily show in your forties if your follicles were abused in your younger years.
Use #3: Applying Gel to Lay Edges. You need a gel if you want to lay down your edges. Laying edges can give your hairstyle a sleek “finished” look.
But, truth be told, laid edges isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for a more natural look, you won’t need gel for edges. However, if you want to lay your baby hairs down flat, edge gel can help.
The best gels to lay edges are called “edge gels”. They come in small containers and they give far more hold than a regular gel. But be careful not to choose an edge gel that contains overly drying ingredients.
Otherwise, you could cause thinning at the hairline and you may have trouble growing your edges in the future.
Easy Flax Gel Recipe for Natural Hair
Another idea is to make a DIY gel at home. You’ll like how cost-effective it is to make gel from flaxseed. A $3 bag will last you for months.
Plus, flaxseed gel contains a ton of good fatty acids and it is a water-based gel, so there won’t be any issues with losing moisture.
Here’s an easy recipe you can use to make your own flaxseed gel at home.
Keep in mind that you may need to double the recipe if you’re using it for a wash and go, and depending on how frequently you want to use your gel.
Flaxseed gel doesn’t last very long in the fridge, but it will probably remain fresh for 5-7 days if you keep it well-sealed and cold.
If making gel from scratch every week is not your cup of tea, you'll want to buy a gel that doesn't harm curly hair.
Confused about what to buy?
Steer clear of certain alcohols and other drying chemicals in gels.
Knowing which alcohols to avoid in gels is confusing, because some help hair, and others hurt.
Cetyl, stearyl, behenyl, cetearyl, lauryl and myristyl alcohols are good for hair because they soften and condition.
Avoid denatured alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl, SD alcohol 40, propanol, and propyl alcohols. These “bad” alcohols will be too drying for your natural hair regimen.
Look for botanical gels, or products that contain very few chemicals.
Our Mango Moringa Moisture Max Gel is water-based and adds moisture to natural hair instead of drying it out.
It doesn't give an extreme hold, but this also means it won't damage the curls you're working hard to grow.
This high-moisture gel is also low in toxins, so your hair and body will thank you in the long run.
If you're looking to use gel in your natural hair regimen, be sure to choose gels that won't harm your follicles or hair so you can maintain healthy curls for years to come.