evelyn applying gel to hair

As curly girls we have learned, through trial and plenty of error, that perfecting your styling techniques is just as important as finding a Holy Grail product.  Many curly girls consider gel to be the ultimate curl definer, but if you have yet to master the technique of properly applying gel to your hair, you may not see what the fuss is about.

Here are our tips for the best way to apply gel to curly hair.

Step 1: Start with wet hair

If you're working with dry hair, spritz your hair with water from a spray bottle. If your hair dries quickly you may want to do this in sections so that your hair doesn't dry before you get to that section.

Step 2: Test your leave-in first

Before you apply various moisturizing and styling products on your hair, it's important to test that these products will "play well" together first. How can you tell? In the palm of your hand, mix the leave-in conditioner with the gel you plan to use. If they blend evenly and smoothly, these products play well. If the consistency becomes clumpy, separated or small white balls form, then it's time to try a different product combination.

Step 3: Distribute evenly

It's important that all of your hair has an even coating of your styling product so that you do not end up with some curls that feel crunchy with gel and others that are frizzy and lacking definition. There are a few easy techniques you can use to apply your gel, depending on your curl pattern.

If you have Type 4 coils, we recommend the praying hands method. Simply coat your hands with gel and then press them together with your hair in between your hands, then slide your hands down the length of your hair.

If you have Type 3 curls, use the rake and shake method. Rub the gel between your fingers, then take 3 fingers and rake them through your hair from the roots to the ends, but stop just before you get to the ends. Then, shake your fingers back and forth, encouraging your stretched out curls to clump and form curls again.

If you have Type 2 waves, scrunching is your best friend. Rub a small amount of gel between your fingers, then scrunch from your ends up towards your roots. This will encourage your curls to form and help make sure that you don't end up with too much product on your hair, which can weigh your waves down.

Not sure what your curl pattern is? Check out this guide. 

Step 4: Scrunch out the crunch

If you were a bit heavy-handed with your gel application, you may find that you are left with a hard cast once your hair dries. To soften this up, simply take a small amount of oil, we used a light Vitamin E oil, on your fingers and gently "scrunch out the crunch."

This video is sponsored by Ampro Pro Styl.