Gel can help you stay frizz free and define and hold your curls’ natural shape.

curly hair lady smiling

If you’re a curly girl, one crucial part of your hair arsenal has to be hair gel. Why? “Because gel can help you stay frizz free and define and hold your curls’ natural shape,” says Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook."

That said, not any old gel will do and neither will any old application process. As a newly natural girl, here are a few tips that you should take with you as you peruse the drugstore aisles and apply gel in your bathroom.

  • Curly hair is naturally drier than other hair types, which is one reason why it needs moisture to stay frizz free and healthy. Since alcohol tends to leave hair parched and crispy like ramen noodles, look for an alcohol-free hair gel. Also, avoid silicone, an ingredient that can prevent hair from soaking up much-needed moisture by repelling it.
  • Apply gel to hair that is freshly cleansed and wet while standing bent over at the waist with your head tilted forward. Squirt some gel in the palms of your hands and evenly deposit it throughout your hair. Then, gently scrunch sections of hair upward. Lift your head upright, shake hair gently into place and lightly graze a little extra gel downward over the top canopy layer of hair.
  • Do not disturb your hair again until it dries. This is key! During the drying process the gel may harden and crystalize, but don’t worry. “This is a good thing,” explains Massey. “It’s called a ‘gel cast’ and helps hold the natural curl formation until hair dries, protecting it from outside elements like wind and humidity.
  • When hair is completely dry, simply break this gel cast by lightly scrunching hair upward and shuffling hair at the scalp. This movement and the warmth of your hands will help dissolve it. In addition, using a light leave-in or oils to help break up the curls will help to create softer tresses and eliminate the crunchy look.

Happy styling, curlies, and welcome to #teamnatural!