Hair gels have so many uses in the curly community. They provide hold to styles, allowing them to last longer, they slick down edges for sleek styles and can be used for baby hair art, and they can enhance curl definition, but is there a proper way to use gels to avoid possible damage? I think there is, and I’ve learned so many different ways of using gel to get the most out of the product.

I use gel more often during the warmer months in the fight against humidity and frizz. I feel that they help protect my hair from the humidity and allow me to get a few days out of my style before it’s time to wash it. As a gel advocate, I’m happy to share my tips on the best ways to use hair gels!

Photo Courtesy of @curlsfothegirls

Layer Your Products

I firmly believe that layering products properly before using gel can help with preventing damage. Some gels can be drying to the hair, but layering creates a border between the product and your hair so that the gel does not dry out your strands. When I create a sleek style like a puff, I like to layer my products by misting my edges with water, applying a bit of leave-in conditioner or moisturizer, adding some oil on top, then applying my gel. My edges will lay nicely without feeling dry or crunchy. The next day, my edges are soft, I don’t experience any flaking, and I can proceed with a new style if I choose.

Use Oil

As I mentioned above, I like to layer my products before using a gel. However, you can surely style your hair without the above layering technique and just use an oil! I find that oils are great for using under or over the gel to eliminate the crunchy, dry feeling. If you prefer to use an oil after styling, apply a few drops of oil to your hands and scrunch it into your hair. It will soften the gel and boost shine, while keeping your definition and hold intact! My favorite oils to use include the TGIN Argan Replenishing Hair and Body SerumCURLS Blueberry Bliss Hair Growth Oil, and the Ouidad Mongongo Oil Muilti-Use Curl Treatment.

Try a Moisturizing Gel

There are so many gels on the market that it can be hard to choose one that will work for you. While I am a fan of ECO Styler Gel for my super sleek styles -- puffs, mohawks -- I do prefer to use moisturizing gel for my wash and gos because they keep my hair soft and crunch free, while also providing great hold and definition. My favorite moisturizing gels include the CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control JellyINSPIRE by made beautiful Hydrating GellyTGIN Curl Bomb Moisturizing Styling Gel, and the Bumble and bumble Bb. Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, which has amazing slip and spreadability. I get great hold and definition from these products without the crunch or dryness.

Scrunch It Into the Hair

For some curly girls, applying gel in a layering motion may be too much for their hair, causing it to look greasy and weighed down. Instead, scrunch the gel into the hair to enhance definition and fight frizz! This is one of my favorite methods for gel use because it allows me to target the ends of my hair, which are the most important in the fight against frizz. I’ve also learned that applying gel to your roots can make them flat, which we then pick and fluff to eternity creating unwanted frizz. Less product on the roots creates an easier lift!

Photo Courtesy of @curlsfothegirls

Gels can have positive and negative effects on hair if used improperly and/or too frequently. It’s important that you find a method that works best for your hair type so you know which gel to use and how to use it to not only achieve your desired look, but prevent damaging your glorious strands.