Best Gels for Curly Hair

Give Your Curls the Love They Deserve with the Best Gels for Curly Hair 2018

There are two sides to having curly hair. The great thing is you have tons of great ways to style it. With the right tools like the best blow dryers for curly hair or flat irons, you can transform from one look to another. On the flip side, it can be a bit high maintenance. You definitely need to know the right products to prevent it from becoming a frizzy mess.

The best gel for curly hair is possibly the most underrated but also most useful product that you should have in your wavy locks arsenal. They might sound weird for the uninitiated, but everyone who embraces their waves know that these they can’t live without them.

If this is your initial foray in embracing your curls, then you might be wondering why you should use gel in the first place. They’re often crunchy and stiff, so why would they be a good idea for your tresses? The answer here is, regular gels aren’t for curly locks. The best gels for curly hair, on the other hand, can do the trick.

Using gel on your curls will help you keep their shape. They will also prevent frizz, so your locks will look luscious and not messy. With their help, you’ll have more defined locks that won’t look unruly.

Even those with straight hair will also love the best styling gel for curly hair. As these products are designed to hold a curl, it can help you keep your waves in place after using the best hot rollers or the best automatic hair curlers around. You can enjoy your curly locks that you’ve exerted a good amount of effort in with its help.

But how do you choose the best hair gel for curly hair? Let this quick guide help you.

Our Top Rated Gel for Curly Hair

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    Cruelty-free
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    Soft and shiny finish
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    Great for touch-ups

Best Gels for Curly Hair on the Market

Product
Quantity
Our Rating
1. Kinky Curly Curl Custard Gel



8 oz
5.0
2. Curly Sexy Hair Curling Creme Unisex



5.1 oz
4.5
3. The Roots Naturelle Curly Hair Products Bouncy Curls



16 oz
4.5
4. Royal Locks Curl Cream Gel



300 ml
4.5
5. CurlFriends Control Gel



8 oz
4.0
6. La Bella Lots of Curls Hair Styling Gel



22 oz
4.0
7. Just Nutritive Herbal Gel for Curly Hair



16 oz
4.0

Buying Guide: Top Tips for Finding the Best Hair Gel for Curly Hair

Not all gels are created equal. Some won’t provide ample hold on your locks while other will be very crunchy. There are also varieties that will flake and make you think you now have dandruff.

This makes it crucial to find the best gel for natural curly hair. Avoid all the messiness and stress caused by using a lackluster product and just beeline for the most luscious locks you’ve ever had.

How? Here are a few tips how you can find the best gels for your wavy tresses:

1. Skip the alcohol.

The very reason why cheap gels become crunchy and flaky is that they’re loaded with alcohol. These things will become dry after a while so instead of nicely coating your locks, they’ll just break off at the slightest impact.

As a result, it won’t look nice. Your hair will look stiff, unhealthy, and very unnatural. You’ll also look like you have dandruff even if you don’t.

Aside from leaving your hair looking like a mess before the day ends, the alcohol content of the gel can also dry out your locks. This can exponentially make things worse because most folks with curly hair already struggle with dry tresses.

Curly hair is often drier than straight hair because the natural oils on your scalp don’t get to travel very easily down the hair shaft. This prevents your body from naturally moisturizing your curly locks.

So with lots of alcohol in the formulation, some gels will just make your locks drier than ever. This can lead to more hair damage and issues over time.

2. Look for products with good polymers.

The very thing that holds your locks together when you use hair gels is its polymer content. These substances are deposited on the surface of your hair and then attracts other polymers so they form a clump. This sets and holds your curls into place.

There are a few different kinds of polymers used in hair gels for curly locks. Polyurethane, Polyquaternium-4, and PVP/VA are some of the highly recommended varieties that you should try.

3. Consider the humidity levels where you live to make the best choice.

High humidity is the nemesis of everyone with curly hair. Their locks are just more susceptible to moisture, so if it’s available in the air, their strands will absorb it and follow its natural curl. This causes frizziness which means bigger and more unruly locks.

So if you live somewhere humid, make sure that the gel you’re getting will be resistant to moisture. Hair gels with PVP tend to do this, so you might want to look for something else in certain cases.

4. Look for nourishing ingredients.

Some curly hair gels can strip your locks of its natural oils. They can also contain ingredients that can irritate your scalp or completely dry your tresses. So make sure to be very particular with what’s in your gel. Do some research on what ingredients to avoid and which ones to make sure to get.

5. Choose how much hold you need.

Like other hair gels, curly hair gels also come in various strengths. Some only offer light hold while others can provide maximum hold. They’re not really on par with styling gels that can hold tresses up for spiky dos, however, so you don’t have to worry about having locks that are too stiff.

It’s also important to consider your hair type when it comes to choosing a gel. Some varieties are better suited to certain hair types, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well.

No matter which product you go for, though, it’s crucial to follow the instructions properly. It hardly ever turns out well if you skip steps when styling curly hair. These locks require special TLC, so you have to know how to properly take care of them.

While not all techniques might work for you, the established methods are always great places to start. And you won’t know if they really work if you don’t follow them to a T. So make sure to execute the steps properly to get the results you want.

Product Reviews: Our Top Picks for the Best Gels for Curly Hair

After getting to know what these products are all about, you’re now ready to get to know your different options. To help you with that, here are a few gel for curly hair reviews that can help point your search in the right direction:

As mentioned above, curly locks need a lot more TLC than straight hair. Since they tend to dry out, it’s important to be very particular with your hair gel. This makes the Kinky Curly Curl Custard Gel a solid pick because of its healthy ingredients that also effectively define curls.

Made with horsetail extract, chamomile, aloe vera, vitamin E, and agave nectar extract with pectin to provide the hold, it’s a lot more like a nourishing hair product than a gel. This makes it an excellent pick for those who are keen on keeping their tresses in good shape.

Another plus is its feel. This product is noted to be lightweight so it definitely won’t weigh your locks down. This makes it different from other gels that tend to feel like you’re wearing something.

Because of this, though, it can also be expected that it has a relatively light hold. So if you’re after something that you can wear for a day or two, this might need some touch-ups. It will, however, be great for second or third-day touch-ups, since it won’t weigh your curls down.

Also note that this product has a gelatinous consistency. Some folks aren’t big fans of this feel but as it’s not really sticky, it shouldn’t be a major problem.

Free of harmful ingredients, manufactured responsibly, and offers a soft and shiny finish, this product can really suit a lot of people’s needs and preferences. As it’s also very friendly-priced, there’s not a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t give it a shot.

Things We Liked

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    Easily available
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    All-natural ingredients
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    Well-loved by users, beauty gurus, and editors alike

Things We Didn't Like

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    Comes in a tub so be careful when scooping out the product to prevent messes

Not yet ready to take the plunge with a gel? Then give the Curly Sexy Hair Curling Creme Unisex a try. This product isn’t exactly a gel but it can still provide a nice hold and definition to your curls.

Featuring cacay oil and sea algae, this product promises to work wonders for your locks. Cacay oil is said to have up to 50% more vitamin E so it can be more potent in nourishing your hair strands. Sea algae are also loaded with many different vitamins and minerals that are good for your hair. So if you want a hair product that will tame your curls while nourishing them, this can be a nice pick.

As it’s also very lightweight, this product can also suit most hair types. It can certainly be a good alternative to the best gel for fine curly hair as it provides similar effects. Some people tend to shy away from hair creams because they tend to be heavier than creams. This one won’t really feel any different from your favorite gel so it can be a nice pick to help you switch up your routine.

Things We Liked

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    Convenient tube packaging
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    Combats frizz while moisturizing and defining your curls
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    Doesn't get crunchy since it's not exactly a gel
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    Won't leave residue on your locks

Things We Didn't Like

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    A bit pricey

Like the item listed above, The Roots Naturelle Curly Hair Products Bouncy Curls is also not exactly a hair gel but it does a great job in defining curls so it’s still worth mentioning. It’s honestly a cross between a hair moisturizer and a curl cream. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want a versatile hair product.

Described as an ‘Ultra Rich Hydrating Creme,’ some people only use this product as a moisturizer then layers it with a gel to really define their curls. Others, however, find it effective enough to moisturize their locks and define their curls at the same time. With its olive and grape seed oils, it can definitely help hydrate your strands to make it supple and lustrous. It depends on you how you want to use it, though.

The best thing about this product, however, is its price. It comes in a huge tub at a low price so it can definitely be a great budget pick.

Just note, however, that it’s used differently than the gels on this list. You’re supposed to apply it after you towel dry your hair and not while it’s still dripping wet. Make sure to follow this instruction so you can get the best results.

Things We Liked

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    Hydrating and moisturizing
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    Great for all curly hair types
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    Can be used with other styling products

Things We Didn't Like

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    Contained in a tub and not a tube

For our next gel for curly hair review, we’ll look into the Royal Locks Curl Cream Gel. This product is designed to be the only styling product you need for your curly hair. It aims to provide everything your locks need to look and feel great.

As many would notice, this item has quite an interesting name. It’s a “curl cream gel” because it aims to provide the moisture and hydration your waves need while defining them. This allows it to promise to be everything you need to get a glorious head of hair.

With Moroccan argan oil as its key ingredient, the Royal Locks Curl Cream Gel promises to provide your hair a good dose of moisture while defining its curls. It doesn’t have a greasy feel, though, so it can suit most hair types.

It has a unique cream/gel consistency, so it might feel a bit odd at first use. It’s lightweight, however, so you can easily get used to wearing it.

Things We Liked

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    Convenient pump bottle packaging
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    All-in-one formulation
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    Can last for days
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    Very easy to work with

Things We Didn't Like

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    A bit on the pricey side

Deemed by many as the best hair gel for thick curly hair, the CurlFriends Control Gel is another option you shouldn’t miss. This product has a special formulation that everyone with curly locks will love, so it’s certainly worth looking into.

What is this special formulation? It takes frizz control to the next level. Not only does it tame your locks but it also protects the hair from unwanted moisture. This can then prevent curly hair from going in every direction, turning your tresses into an unruly and tangled mess.

In addition to this, the Control Gel is also for those who want to keep their curls in perfect shape all day long. With its use of wheat protein, it effectively holds your curls in place for long periods without drying it out. It’s soy-free, though, so if you have sensitivities to such substances, there’s no need to worry. This product also contains rosemary so it can also prevent hair loss and dandruff.

Things We Liked

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    Promises to keep out unwanted moisture from your hair to prevent frizziness 
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    Has a soft, smooth, and shiny finish
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    Features wheat protein to enhance curls
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    Contains rosemary which prevents hair loss and dandruff

Things We Didn't Like

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    Some reports of packaging issues

For those who want to define their curls that can rival the results of our best curling wands, the La Bella Lots of Curls Hair Styling Gel is a nice choice. We know its purple coloring and packaging can remind you of those styling gels that come with really stiff finishes, but hear us out first. This product only looks like the cheap styling gels of the old days. This one actually finishes smooth and soft which can be a bit surprising to many.

In fact, this La Bella product is actually one of the many top rated gels for curly hair. Now that it’s reformulated with avocado oil, it even offers better results than what it has offered before. Its new formula can hydrate and moisturize your locks better for a more beautiful finish.

Things We Liked

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    Not flaky or crunchy
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    Soft and smooth finish
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    Has a nice hold
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    Amazing price

Things We Didn't Like

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    Packaging can be improved

Want an all-natural option for your hair care? The Just Nutritive Herbal Gel for Curly Hair is something you should get to know. Deemed as the best natural gel for curly hair, this product offers bouncy, nourished, and defined curls.

Some folks tend to shy away from gels because they can get drying. With its alcohol-free formulation, it can guarantee not to dry your hair or scalp. As it also contains herbal oils like meadowfoam seed, camellia seed, chamomile, lavender, rosemary, and orange, it guarantees to deeply moisturize your tresses. It also has aloe vera, soy protein, and vitamin B5, so you can be sure that it will be beneficial to your crowning glory.

Things We Liked

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    Made in the US
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    Leaves you with smooth, bouncy, and defined curls
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    Suitable for color treated hair
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    Lightweight

Things We Didn't Like

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    Relatively strong scent can be a bit overwhelming to some

About the Author Samantha Brown

Growing up as a kid who played outside, Samantha enjoys an active lifestyle and emphasizes health as a key component to her life. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others so that anybody can live a healthy life. On the weekends, you can find her hiking around Southern California!

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