Updated February 6th 2023: Whether you are newly natural or a veteran “naturalista” in the game, trying to choose the right hair gel can be a difficult task. There is often so much excitement around trying the best styling gel for natural hair on the market, that will not only define our curls but eliminate unruly frizz, all while locking in moisture.
Let’s also not forget to mention the hold factor! Here’s a reminder, all styling gels for natural hair are not created equal! With that being said, the look that you are going for may also influence which natural hair gel you decide to use for that particular hair style.
For example, if you were looking for more volume in your wash and go, you would probably reach for something light that will define the hair but keep it fluffy!
To all the naturals that love a good sleek down look or “the wet look”, you would most likely reach for something that has a ton of hold and keeps the hair in place no matter how many days have gone by!
As stated before, not all gels are created equal and unfortunately a lot of the process in finding the best styling gel for natural hair is rooted in trial and error!
Which Styling Gel Is Best For Afro Hair?
When trying to decide on the best styling gel for natural hair, pay attention to the ingredients list and the season you’re using it in. The last thing we want to discover is a head full of snow flakes, hair that is hard as a brick or mushy like a sponge!
Natural hair gels that contain a lot of humectants such as honey and glycerin at the very top of the ingredients list, will definitely have your hair soft, but in the warmer months can absorb moisture in the air. Too much moisture in the air may leave your hair feeling sticky and mushy!
If you are using a gel made for natural hair and it contains an ingredient called PVP, know that it is a styling polymer that is known to give significant hold in a hair gel.
And lastly, if you are too heavy handed with layering your products or you cocktail a curl cream from one line with a hair gel from another line, understand that you might run the risk of seeing some flaking.
You will have to play around with the proportions, but once you master how to style your hair with the right gel according to the hairstyle you would like to achieve, you can really be confident in styling your hair and it lasting more than just a day or two.
How Do You Define 4C Hair With Gel?
When deciding to use a gel for natural hair, it is best that you to focus on product application. Try your best to be sure that your hair is thoroughly detangled before you start, as detangled hair will give you the best results.
Focus on applying a moisturizing leave in conditioner as your base to prime your curls and use a styling brush for curly hair if you want your curls to clump and POP! Try using the 5 Row Denman Styling Brush to help define your curls before going in with the hair gel after applying your leave in conditioner.
When trying to achieve a wash and go, the next step in defining 4c hair with gel is to work row by row, section by section using a racking method or the prayer hands method. For a bomb and super defined twist out or braid out, apply the same steps as if doing a wash and go by first applying your leave in conditioner, smoothing the product in with a curl detangling brush, layer with gel and then twist/braid as desired.
Allow the curls/twists or braids to set under a hooded hair dryer for the best results. This helps to maintain hold, definition and longevity of your wash and go, twist out or braid out.
Let’s get into some of the best styling gels for natural hair!
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This post is all about the best styling gels for natural hair.
1. Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker
This botanical gel is jam packed with all type of moisturizing ingredients and it is the perfect coil definer! It has been a staple in the natural hair community for years and it never disappoints. The curl maker gel has a bakery scent you will surely fall in love with.
2. Curls & Potions Defining and Styling Gel
It is a flaxseed based botanical gel that is one to remember! Get this, it is humidity resistant, leaves little to no crunch but defines like nobody’s business! I absolutely adore the smell and the best part is that it’s a flaxseed based gel, so no need to DIY when you can get it already made to perfection!
3. Alikay Naturals Lemon Grass Styling Gel
You know Alikay comes with it in the moisture and definition department. This product is more like a custard but it provides a ton of definition, shine and volume! The smell is a refreshing fruit scent and will give you lasting hold for days!
4. Kinky Curly Curly Custard
You just can’t mention hair gels without mentioning the OG! Kinky Curly Custard is the epitome of a curl defining custard that packs a punch! Your hair is the shiniest after using this product! It has so many wonderful botanical extracts and an insane amountt of slip. Your hair will really show out with this product, but you must pair it with its counterpart leave in conditioner for the absolute best results.
5. Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic
What isn’t good about this gel? It’s literally magic in a bottle! The consistency of this gel is a little slimy, but it has a ton of slip! This is another product that always has the hair shining in High Definition! The smell is refreshing, its packed with botanical ingredients that support healthy hair. Gives medium to strong hold depending on how much you apply!
These glazes work as moisturizing butter gels and they deliver in the definition, elongation and longevity department. With so many to choose from in the brand, this one never disappoints. Soft to medium hold.
7. As I Am Smoothing Gel
A crowd favorite in the natural hair community, this smoothing gel will leave your curls defined and smelling so fresh. It’s a light hold and can feel a little tacky if you use too much, but just know that a little of this gel goes a very long way.
8. Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel
Probably rated the best hair gel that is uniquely whipped into a butter, this gel helps to provide a flexible hold when it comes to using on hair styles like braid outs and twist outs. We love using this on fleshly blown out hair for a more elongated style that will last all week long. Soft hold.
9. Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard
If you want to see your curls go from drab to FAB, this is the custard to do it! The shine that this product gives alone will have your mouth watering when you see how juicy your curls look when doing a wash and go! Medium hold.
10. Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity
A little more on the pricier side, but this is a hair gel that works great in climates that turn your hair into a giant poof ball. This product claims to have an anti-frizz nano technology, in which it contains protein derived from silk which keeps the cuticles of the hair smoothed and flattened, while keeping moisture in! Medium hold.
11. Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel
If you’re looking for a boost in antioxidants while you achieve beautiful curls that are held in place for days at a time, try this gel right here! Formulated with Honey & Ginger to help promote the health of your hair, this styling gel works wonders at achieving a long lasting, yet juicy wash & go. Medium to strong hold.
12. Obia Naturals Curl Enhancing Custard
This curl enhancing custard has all the naturalistas talking! Just a simple formulation that is PH balanced specifically for coily hair, this custard will leave your curls defined and SHINEY! You will be so surprised at how great this product is once you try it! Medium hold.
13. Eco Slay Orange Marmalade Curl Definer
This curl definer never disappoints with its light weight formula, but firm hold. It also contains flaxseed that helps to eliminate frizz. If you are looking for a curl definer that holds your curls through the humid weather, this is the one you need to try now!
14. Eco Slay Jello Shot
Try this product if you are looking for a firm hold with impeccable shine! This “jello shot” hair gel does not leave a single curl unaccounted for!
15. Eco Styling Gel Argan Oil
Use this hair gel lightly and you’ll get a ton of volume in your wash & go! Use it a little heavier and you will achieve more of the “wet look” with this styling gel. Great for slicking hair back into ponytails! Medium to strong hold.
16. Curl Mix Flaxseed Gel with Argan Oil
Get long lasting curl definition with this flaxseed gel that contains argan oil as its highlight ingredient, without the firm cast and greasy gummy feel on the hair! This hair gel also contains Vitamin E which is an antioxidant that helps promote hair growth. Light hold.
17. Curl Mix Flaxseed Gel with Castor Oil
Another great flaxseed gel in the Curl Mix brand, but this one features castor oil as its highlighted ingredient. This gel will provide you with a little more elongation, but the curls will still feel light and bouncy! The perfect addition to your collection! Light hold.
18. Pattern Beauty Curl Gel
With a mouthwatering coconut smell, this gel for natural hair provides voluminous curls with a medium hold. Great for those that don’t want their hair weighed down and/or have fine strands.
19. Jane Carter Curls To Go
The smell of this is to die for! With its floral scent, you’ll be feeling like summer time! This gel provides a light to medium hold and does a great job at defining the hair effortlessly for voluminous curls.
20. Taliah Waajid Green Apple & Aloe Gelle
More like a cross between a gel and a custard, this gelle does the trick when it comes to serving up definition! It provides a light to medium hold and is great in the summer months when combating the humidity.
21. TGIN Curl Bomb Moisturizing Styling Gel
If you’re someone that complains about how dry your hair feels after using a hair gel, you have got to try this. It has a soft hold and the hair feels super moisturized but stays defined after it dries.
I hope this helps you navigate your wash and go and provides some encouragement, so that you can execute this hairstyle no matter how coiled your kinks are! Have fun with it and remember that results vary for everyone so don’t be too focused on how it should look, but instead rather, focus on how your hair feels and responds to the products you’ve chosen to pair together. Once you get that part of the equation solved, the fine tuning and execution aspect of the wash and go becomes easier!
Comment below your favorite styling gel for natural hair!
This post was all about the best styling gels for natural hair.
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