This summer, a new method for controlling high-humidity frizz and keeping curls clumped started making the Instagram rounds. Curlies and wavies everywhere were using this approach to moisturize their hair and lock that moisture in by layering gels over watered-down cream styler. The result is bouncy, frizz-free curls that are well-defined without being weighed down.

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Image: @honestlizhere

Intrigued, I caught up with the 123 Gel Method’s creator, Elizabeth Alex, of Honest Liz, to share her hair secrets. Even though the summer has almost past, rainy fall days are ahead. High dew points, as you know, can lead to fuzzy hair that lacks definition and shine. For Liz’s perspective on the method, head on over to 123 Gel Method: A Curly Hair Hack for Humidity. There, she goes over the process in detail. In a nutshell, here are the steps she uses to get her glossy, gorgeous curls.

  1. Liz starts with applying moisture-enhancing styling cream to her wet hair. She, like most of us, needs lots of hydration, so she likes to mix the cream with some water using the bowl method.
  2. Next, she layers one pump each of three of her favorite gels, preferring to use moisturizing gels. Here, you can use gels with progressing levels of hold so long as they provide hydration to the hair. 
  3. Next, she plops her hair. She then diffuses her hair on the cool setting for 5 minutes.
  4. Finally, she clips her roots for volume, and then she air dries the rest of the way.

Below, you can see her curls with no gel, 1 gel, 2 gels, and with the 123 Gel Method.

Image: @honestlizhere

Here are the products that she absolutely loves for the 123 Gel Method:

Liz’s tips for success are:

  • Make sure to clarify regularly to avoid product buildup. She likes to clarify once or twice a month. You can do this with bentonite clay or your favorite clarifying treatment.
  • While she likes to scrunch in gel because it gives her lots of volume along with the definition, she encourages you to do what works best for you.

If you are wondering how well your hair will hold up post-wash day, as you can see this method can really lock those curls in for days.

Image: @honestlizhere

I tried this with my products at home, and can tell you that it left my hair looking bouncy and well defined for days! For my hair, I used a leave-in conditioner, Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner instead of a cream. I raked it through my hair, and then I spritzed some water on it from my fine-mist sprayer. I then used the following three gels, scrunching in one pump of each.

  1. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel hydrates curls to leave them softly defined. It has a thin texture that applies easily.
  2. SheaMoisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oil High Porosity Moisture-Seal Styling Gel moisturizes while also providing your hair with some protein to help reinforce the structure of curls that tend to easily lose their definition. 
  3. tgin Curl Bomb Moisturizing Styling Gel gives a great hold without flaking. It provides your curls with lots of hydration, too.

Have you used the 123 Gel Method? Share your results in the comments. Click here to learn how to clip your roots.