Tuesday, 21 June 2011

What's the deal with Hair Gel? (plus reviews) Part 1

Who remembers the days (I'm hoping they're long gone), when everyone used to gel down their fringes to the side of their face, one eye peeping out from behind, and inevitably acne erupting from the goop slathered on...? I can't lie and say i never attempted to do it, but my poofy hair just wouldn't lie down flat no matter how much JAM I used. So what's the deal with natural hair and gel? Should you use it? How often? What type?

Generally the main ingredients in hair gel are (according to wikipedia) cationic polymers, that bind to the neagtive anions of hair keratin (bit of science for ya..), so that the hair can be moulded into shape. Hair gel often has non-curly friendly ingredients such as drying alcohols, mineral oil or petrolatum, polythene glycol etc.
So should you use hair gel? Well, it's up to you.

  • It can make edges look neater/ more presentable.
  • It can provide better hold for styles such as twist outs, braid out, two strand twists etc.
  • It can give greater styling options and variety.
  • Depending on what type you use, it can dry out your hair.
  • Gels often don't mix well with other products, leaving a white goop, or flakes.
  • Regular use of hair gel around your edges can lead to spots, and clogged pores.

Shop Bought Gels

I've used a couple of these.You can buy them in any normal black hair shop and don't have to go online or go to a health shop to get them...

1) Let's JAM Shining and Conditioning Gel
So this hasn't got airplay in years, mainly because it has mineral oil high up on the ingredient list, and secondly because as I recall, it didn't work too well on my hair, and my hair was a looser texture then than it is now (due to blowdrying etc).


  • It is a lot less prone to flaking etc than other hair gels,but can be a little greasy. 
  • It doesn't seem to leave hair very hard.
  • I quite like the smell..like sweets. Some people might find it a bit sickly sweet.
  • Isn't water based. I know my cousin used this because water based gels would just make her hair frizz. 
  • Cheap
  • Bad ingredients. Mineral oil, basically nothing natural.
  • Will melt in fervent heat. Lol. Be prepared for a nice oily halo.
  • Doesn't have great hold.
  • Isn't water based. I personally like water based gels.

2)Elasta QP  Feels Like Silk Design Gel

 I used this once for a wash and go when my hair was shorter. I remember my curls being defined, but kinda crunchy and hard.

  • Good ingredient list - no alcohols, no silicones, no petrolatum. Thumbs up.
  • Good hold
  • Non - greasy
  • Cheap
  • Made my hair a bit crunchy
  • Not moisturising
  • Has parabens (if you avoid parabens - I'm try to, but I'm not too stringent about it)
3) Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel

This is a gel to use when twisting, plaiting or locking the hair. I really love this stuff. It's cheap as well and you can get it from any black hair shop.


  • Mostly natural ingredients.
  • Reaaaaly moisturising
  • I like the coconutty smell. (I have a thing for coconut)
  • Black owned company (from what I last heard....yup, it's good to support black business, folks)
  • Will leave shiny twists.
  • Good with extensions as well.
  • Cheap
  • Holding power isn't as great as other gels.
  • Could get a bit greasy if overused.
In part 2 I'll review some of the more pricey gels I've used (only 2 or 3 to be fair) and weigh up whether it's worth the extra cost....

Peace, Love and Hair Grease folks! x


    1. ah you've never used eco styler gel? i quite like that one - it's earned it's place as a staple (which is very rare for me! i usually chop and change shop bought stuff)


    2. Hey dude..no I haven't you know! Mainly because my hair generally hates proteins, and I think it has proteins in it.How do you use it?