Now, gel’s major gig is to supply maintain, which is why many conventional choices do embrace alcohols to assist the method dry down shortly—however that’s how gel earned its popularity for being stiff. “Definitely avoid [alcohols], because that’s what dries the hair,” celeb hairstylist Camille Friend, founding father of Hair Scholars, tells mbg, particularly in case your strands are already vulnerable to brittleness and breakage.
Michelle Sultan, celeb hairstylist and Imbue ambassador, seconds the recommendation: “Most hair gels have alcohol within them to set the hair in place, but now there are new and improved formulas that have little-to-no alcohol but provide the same setting power,” she says. “And as any curly person worth their salt will tell you, try to avoid products that contain wax-based silicones, parabens, and petroleum, as prolonged use on the hair can cause damage.”
Rather, she recommends in search of out elevated gamers like aloe and flaxseed, which have that viscous, jelly texture and a number of antioxidants and hydrating advantages. Sea moss, too, thickens formulation and coats strands in moisture; it incorporates excessive quantities of polysaccharides (known as carrageenans) that kind a protecting but non-occlusive movie over the strands.
Another up-and-coming ingredient within the hairstyling world? Okra. If you’ve ever cooked with the nutrient-rich delicacy, you’re seemingly aware of the translucent goo coating every pod—nice for thickening up gumbos and stews, and your hair gel, too. “When you think about okra, you think of that fibrous [texture],” says Friend. “It’s something that wraps around the curls and makes it so that they’re not going to frizz.”
The backside line: Those crispy, sticky gels of your teenage years are lengthy gone. These days, you will discover choices that depend on a number of modern botanicals and compounds to create outlined, bouncy curls with out the crunch. It’s additionally nice information for these a fan of a modern bun or ponytail—your slicked again kinds will really feel clean but malleable (versus a helmet-like shell on high of your cranium).