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Best gels for curly hair

Best gels for curly hair
Gigi Gordon
Beauty Writer1 month ago
View Gigi Gordon's profile

Are your curls lacking in definition, or looking frizzier than you'd like? Your routine is probably missing a curl gel. Featuring at the very end of your routine, curl gels help to lock in moisture and add definition to your style. Curl gels are very different from the sorts of gels you might use to create a mo-hawk. With a more viscous, lightweight consistency, the best gels for curly hair are water-based.

When searching for the best gels for curly hair, there are a few things to look out for.

1. Consistency

Any gel that's used on curly hair needs to have a lightweight consistency. That's how you know the gel is moisturising your hair as well as offering hold. Look for runny honey textures, rather than solidified honey.

2. Ingredients

If you have curly hair, then you've probably heard of the Curly Girl Method. If you haven't, click the link to check out our full guide. Although the full method may not work for your hair type, it's still best to choose gels that are formulated without alcohol. Alcohol is a drying ingredient, which can create frizz - having the opposite effect to what you want from a defining gel.

3. Flake free

What's more annoying than gel leaving white flakes in your hair? Don't worry, our hot list of the best gels for curly hair only features crunch-free formulas.

The best gels for curly hair:

  • 1.Flora & Curl Sweet Hibiscus Curl Defining Gel 300ml

    Flora & Curl Sweet Hibiscus Curl Defining Gel 300ml
    4 Stars 4 Reviews
    £16.00
    The Flora & Curl Sweet Hibiscus Curl Defining Gel is my favourite formula on the market - there's a reason it always sells out. The scent is so refreshing and it coats my hair with a delicate floral hue, which I often get compliments on. With a slightly sticky texture, the gel is surprisingly lightweight, effortlessly absorbed by my hair. Thanks to the clear consistency, it doesn't leave any white flakes, while the weightless formula means your hair never feels crunchy. Thanks to the pump top packaging, this product is really easy to use in your curl routine - no fiddling with lids necessary!  
  • 2.Bouclème Curl Defining Gel 300ml

    Bouclème Curl Defining Gel 300ml
    4.52 Stars 42 Reviews
    £8.00
    One of the highest-rated curl gels on the whole of LOOKFANTASTIC, the Bouclème Curl Defining Gel is a fan-favourite. Black-owned and female founded, the brand only uses vegan and all-natural ingredients to care for your hair as nature intended. Loved for its refreshing, natural fragrance, this gel works well for waves, curls and coils alike. Just use a little more product if your curls need more definition, and always make sure you scrunch it into the hair, rather than raking it through. Expect defined, shiny and healthy-looking curls.
  • 3.Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly 200ml

    Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly 200ml
    5 Stars 6 Reviews
    £7.25
    The perfect purchase for a conscious, curly shopper, Umberto Giannini has recently been registered as a B Corp. Cruelty-free and vegan, the female-founded brand was honoured with B Corp status on account of its ethical and sustainable business choices. Offering medium hold, the Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly was made using 100% renewable energy, as are all of Umberto Giannini's products. Water-based, the gel offers hydration and hold, absorbed by the curls in an instant. I couldn't recommend it enough!
  • 4.Kerastase Curl Manifesto Gelée Curl Contour Gel-Cream 150ml

    Kerastase Curl Manifesto Gelée Curl Contour Gel-Cream 150ml
    5 Stars 3 Reviews
    £19.80
    Hot off the beauty press, Kérastase's Curl Manifesto collection has JUST launched. Exclusive to LOOKFANTASTIC's shores, the brand's premium line of science-driven haircare has been reformulated to target curly concerns. The hybrid texture of the Gelée Curl Contour Gel-Cream combines the hydration of a cream with the hold of a gel. Uniting these two consistencies, the product moisturises and defines curls, revealing beautifully big and bouncy hair. Scrunch it into hair at the end of your routine for unrivalled definition.
  • 5.Living Proof Curl Defining Gel 150ml

    Living Proof Curl Defining Gel 150ml
    £27.00
    Living Proof's Curl Defining Gel is a favourite of Love Island star, Amber Gill. Ideal for those with looser waves, such as types 2 or 3, this gel provides flexible hold, defining curls without feeling crunchy. Famous for its amazing fragrance, Living Proof's line was created through years of research, with curly hair in mind. Silicone-free and cruelty-free, this formula is approved by the Curly Girl Method, meaning it's formulated without the use of any nasties.
  • 6.Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé 326ml

    Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé 326ml
    4.08 Stars 12 Reviews
    £12.99
    With over 100 years of experience in curly hair, Shea Moisture is a firm favourite amongst curly girls and boys. Especially popular with those who have more textured, coily hair, the brand is Curly Girl Approved and free from any sulphates, silicones or parabens. The Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé is water-based, combining the texture of a liquid and a gel. Thanks to its medium hold formulation, your hair will be left defined, but never hard or crunchy. Working tirelessly to smooth frizz and flyaways, this product is one you'll repurchase again and again. Just make sure you go easy with how much you apply, a little goes a long way with this product.
Gigi Gordon
Beauty Writer
View Gigi Gordon's profile
As a haircare obsessive, I’m always on the lookout for new products and methods that will define my crown. I can never stick with a hairstyle for too long, and I love to pair minimal makeup with a bold lip. I specialise in haircare, with a mission to make all hair types and textures look and feel fantastic. If you’re after a new routine or product – I’m your girl, I’ve tried every haircare challenge and all the curl creams I can get my hands on. I couldn’t live without my wash-and-go routine, and I follow the Curly Girl Method religiously. Unable to find my perfect salon, I’ve always cut, braided and dyed my own hair, working as a freelance hairdresser since 2016. Although I’m a long-time fanatic, I’ve been writing about beauty since 2019, working with haircare specialists from Cantu, Boucleme and Mielle Organics to uncover the best tricks and tips. Felicia Leatherwood is my haircare guru, and Scary Spice is my all-time icon.
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