First of all, what is hair gel?

My definition of hair gel would be a styling product that provides hold to your hair strands.

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When asked if all gels are created equal, Original Moxie owner Rachel Bleinstein says, "No!" Here's why.

"Ingredients make a huge difference both in how the product performs and the health of your hair. Some gels, like Flax Seed, meld more easily with the hair, producing a low-residue, flexible finish. Others, which rely on synthetic polymers or thickeners, can provide an extremely long-wearing finish, but may build up more quickly on the hair. High quality gels moisturize, prevent dryness, accentuate curl, and strengthen the hair. Chances are, if you are purchasing a very inexpensive gel, you will get a strong hold -- but not much else."

What styling product does my hair need?

The answer? It's up to you.

I promise that is not a cop out answer -- in my opinion, it really depends on the look you are going for. Some naturals like firm, in place curls, waves and zigzags (also known as type 4c). As long as your gel has the ingredients your hair needs, I am on board with your decision. Rachel chimed in on choosing the right product for your hair type,

"Most hair types can benefit from a gel to preserve and protect the curl for longer retention and less frizz. However, a few should use it very sparingly or avoid it altogether. The hair types that most benefit from a traditional gel are medium to high density, high to somewhat low porosity with a definite curl (not a wave). Wavies and those with thin density hair do better with a lighter, less cast-forming definer like a mousse or a serum."

I will say that my personal professional opinion is that some hair types benefit moisture wise if you use a mousse, cream, butter. Thick nonporous type 4 hair is likely to respond better to heavier creams and butters like My Honey Child Type 4 Hair Cream. Type 2b/3a hair may need a lighter gel/custard (oil enriched) such as Obia Curl Enhancing Custard and a thick mousse. When talking to clients I rate styling products in the following manner.

Remember this scale:

  • 1-little moisture, thin liquid gel
  • 2-3-thick gel
  • 4-5-mousse
  • 6-custard
  • 7-8-cream

  • 9-10-heavy moisture, butter

The bottom line: if you use gel, use it right!

Rachel gave us tips on using gel to keep your curls looking photo-ready.

  1. In any curly routine, [the point is] is to activate and express the curl with the right moisturizer. For some, this can take the form of a moisturizing gel, while others need a separate moisturizer, followed by a gel.
  2. If you are using a gel and a moisturizer, always apply the gel second so that it can lock in the shape created by your moisturizer. The amount of gel will depend on the concentration of the product. Strong hold gels, should be used more sparingly than a softer hold gel.
  3. The general rule of thumb is to use a 2:1 moisturizer-to-gel ratio.

When in doubt, just ask.

I cannot say it enough, please check your label before applying anything to your hair. If the ticket price is $.99, I recommend you put the gel down and don't look back. Consider the ingredients over the price. Your curls will thank you.

Let us know...

I want to hear what you love about your hair gel, and if you have questions about the ingredients, leave your comments below.

Follow Stacy and her salon on social media @DyeVerCity and book your appointment today!