Photo by AJ_Watt -- Getty Images
We curly girls are a funny bunch as we talk in code amongst ourselves easily. Whether you are discussing TWA, WNG, carve and slice or gel cast, many have no clue what we are talking about nor that we are even discussing hair. Other curlies are often left in the dark as they may have heard of a particular term but may not exactly know what it means. Our reader Curlygirl__  asked about one such term we hear about all the time in Curly Q&A

Question

What does a gel cast mean? I have heard many people talk about it.

Answer

During the drying process after gel is applied to wet hair, the gel will harden around the curls, creating a gel cast. They are actually a good thing but if one is unaware of what it is and what to do with the hair after you receive one, it can be mistaken for hard hair, and you may feel you have a bad product. That could not be more wrong as a gel cast is a good thing.

Why you want the gel cast

A gel cast actually helps to hold the curls in their natural formation until the hair dries while simultaneously protecting the hair from outside elements like wind, sun, and humidity. This is why we discourage touching your hair after you have styled it. The more you touch your hair, the more likely you are to disturb the curl and create frizz and lose definition. This works the best for me on wash day after I have cleaned my hair, deep conditioned, and applied my gel throughout my hair.

Make sure your gel does not have any drying alcohols so that your hair is not losing moisture. Another tip is if you have frizzier sections pay more attention to applying the gel to every strands in those areas to fully fight the frizz.

Scrunch out the crunch

Now it is time to remove the crunch of the gel cast to release the hair from the protective barrier. Simply break the cast by lightly scrunching upward. I usually have to take my finger into my hair to reach my scalp. This helps to release the gel while lifting from the scalp to give my hair height. You can add a few drops of your favorite light oil on your hands to keep your hands from causing friction in your hair and disturbing the curls.

You not only end up with softer curls but fully moisturized, frizz-free curls that can give you second, third, or even fourth day hair. I cover hair with a Loc Soc (you can pineapple) spritz with some water in the morning, fluff, and go.

Here’s a simple video on how easily it is to scrunch out the crunch for soft, touchable curls.