11 Best Alcohol-Free Hair Gels Of 2024, According To A Hairdresser

Style your hair just the way you want without exposing them to the harshness of alcohol.

Reviewed by Alexandro Vasquez, Hairdresser Alexandro Vasquez Alexandro VasquezHairdresser facebook_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
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Hair gels come in handy when you are in a fix and need to sort your hair out. However, most hair styling gels have alcohol that is bad for your tresses. What you need is the best alcohol-free gel to fix your hair and not worry about the damage caused by alcohol. Apart from styling your hair, alcohol-free gels help tame your wild curls and give your hair an element of the definition. Finding the perfect alcohol-free hair gel can become complex with various curl-taming products like gels and hair mousses. To make life a wee bit easier for you, we’ve amassed a list of the 11 best alcohol-free gels that you can pick up and style on. So get ready to look your dashing -gorgeous best with a great alcohol-free gel.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Gentle Formula:Vanicream Hair GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Frizz-Control:DevaCurl Light Defining Gel
Price On Amazon
Best Humidity-Resistant Formula:TRESemmé Defining GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Kid-Friendly:Ricitos de Oro Chamomile Manzanilla Hair GelPrice on Amazon
Best Affordable:LA Looks Extreme Sport Hair GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Hair Elasticity:Gummy Professional GU-GU101B Hairgel Price on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For All Hair Types:Rolda Black Styling GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Bouncy Curls:Leonor Greyl Paris Gel A L'HibiscusPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best For Shine:SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Style GelPrice on AmazonPrice on Walmart
Best Moisturizing:Ecoco Eco Style Hair GelPrice on Amazon

11 Best Alcohol-Free Hair Gels That Make Styling A Cinch

1. Best Gentle Formula:Vanicream Hair Gel

This alcohol-free hair gel from Vanicream is a good move if you’re trying to keep away from common chemical irritants. Its gentle formula ensures a great control over frizz and also helps tame a few flyaways to give you the liberty to style your hair as you please. It offers a firm hold to keep your hair in place without leaving a greasy residue or flakiness. If your skin and scalp decide to act up at the touch of any new product, you can count on this hair gel as it is dermatologist-tested and is suitable for sensitive scalp and skin. The product causes no build-up and as we know it; no flake means no problem, so go ahead and experiment with countless looks without any worries.

Hair Type: Damaged, Dry | Product Dimensions: 3 x 1.75 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 7 Ounces

Pros

  • Free of preservatives
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Gluten-free
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Fights flyaways and frizz

Cons

  • May not offer complete frizz control for curly hair

protip_icon Did You Know?
Water-based hair styling gels are the easiest to wash out and are less likely to cause serious build up.

2. Best Frizz-Control:DevaCurl Light Defining Gel

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4.2
 DevaCurl Light Defining Gel Image: Devacurl

If you love to rock different hairstyles, you need a hair gel like this one from DevaCurl that you can confidently depend on. No matter whether you have curly, kinky, or wavy hair, squeeze this frizz-control hair gel into your hands and apply it to sopping wet hair to witness a crunch that scrunches off to give way to natural curls that are too good to be true. The wheat and soy proteins in the formula help lock in moisture, and you get smooth and soft voluminous curls. It is one of the best gels for curly hair. It offers an impressive hold that sculpts and defines curls and softens coily hair texture. It nourishes your hair with ingredients like castor oil, hops extract, matricaria extract, rosemary extract, among other natural components. The best part is that DevaCurl products are Leaping Bunny certified! Check out the review of this paraben-free hair gel on YouTube to know why it is one of the best out there.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 2.77 x 5.7 inches | Weight: 13.44 Ounces.

Pros

  • Non-drying formula
  • Provides a good hold
  • Softens tresses
  • Seals moisture
  • Adds shine to hair
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Not tested on animals
  • Gluten-free
  • Phthalate-free

Cons

  • May create an excessive crunch

protip_icon Pro Tip
Mix a bit of anti-frizz cream and styling gel to prevent frizz in any season.

3. Best Humidity-Resistant Formula:TRESemmé Defining Gel

TRESemme Defining Gel

This non-alcoholic hair gel gives you a lifted crown with bouncy curls that stay put throughout the day. It also helps transform frizzy, dry hair by locking in moisture with its humidity-resistant formula so that your curls pack a natural shine. While it does offer an amazing lift and hold, it does so without weighing down your curls— thanks to its lightweight formula. The result when you use this affordable yet professional-grade curly hair gel is bouncy ringlets that move with you. Not to mention, its weightless texture allows for flexible and touchable styling without a hassle.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 7 inches | Weight: 10.24 Ounces

Pros

  • Offers frizz control
  • Fights humidity
  • Lifts hair
  • Offers a good hold
  • Affordable

Cons

  • May not protect from heat

protip_icon Pro Tip
After applying the gel, gently twirl your strands around your fingers to give your curls and waves some definition.

Vanicream Hair Gel
DevaCurl Light Defining Gel
TRESemmé Defining Gel
Hair Type Damaged, Dry Curly Curly
Dimensions 3 x 1.75 x 7.5 inches 5.7 x 2.77 x 5.7 inches 2 x 3 x 7 inches
Weight 7 Ounces 13.44 Ounces. 10.24 Ounces
Rating
Reviews5,824-2,674
Price$8.99$32$35.94

4.Best Kid-Friendly: Ricitos de Oro Chamomile Manzanilla Hair Gel

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4.3
Ricitos de Oro Chamomile Manzanilla Hair Gel Image: Ricitos De Oro Usa

The Ricitos de Oro Chamomile Manzanilla Hair Gel is specifically designed to hold your baby’s hair in place without feeling greasy or sticky. It is enriched with chamomile that helps nourish and boost hair health while making it shinier and smoother. It is also free of parabens and alcohol, making it ideal for sensitive baby hair use.

Hair Type: Dry

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Strengthens hair
  • Non-greasy
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Affordable
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • SLS-free
  • No preservatives

Cons

  • Provides a light hold
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 5,767 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

5. Best Affordable:LA Looks Extreme Sport Hair Gel

This alcohol-free styling gel has it all— good hold, affordable price, and a good amount of product that lasts several months. It offers a hold level of 10, and we can tell why this LA Looks Extreme Sport gel has “extreme” in its name. Thanks to its advanced tri-active hold, the gel keeps your hair safe from humidity and helps retain the hold, definition, and shine even when your day is filled with many physical activities. It leaves behind a healthy hair cast that helps define your curls. Once you dry your hair, scrunch away the cast for bouncy and frizz-free curls that are full of life. The product also helps retain the natural texture and movement of your curls. Check out this reviewer’s experience video on YouTube for a detailed review of this product.

Hair Type: Normal | Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 3.4 x 1.8 inches | Weight: 1.3 Pounds

Pros

  • Highly-defined curls
  • Offers an impressive hold
  • Long-lasting effect
  • Soft curls
  • Flake-free formula

Cons

  • Some may find it to be drying
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 1,024 reviews and is a top choice all around the world.

6. Best For Hair Elasticity:
Gummy Professional GU-GU101B Hairgel

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4.2

Set your unique and hard-to-maintain hairstyles with the Gummy Professional maximum strong hold hair gel. The gel contains provitamin B5 which strengthens your hair strands from roots to tips, preventing hair fall. The strong hold formula contains many more ingredients as well that offer moisturization and enhance hair elasticity. Apply it to your damp hair and comb through with the fingers for perfect shaping to grab the crowd’s attention effortlessly.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2 x 6 x 4 inches | Weight: 1 Pounds

Pros

  • Strong hold
  • Anti-hair fall
  • Paraben-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Easy to apply
  • Moisturization

Cons

  • Flaky

7. Best For All Hair Types:Rolda Black Styling Gel

This alcohol-free hair gel packs a classic shine and imparts a firm hold. You can sport both wet and dry looks with this one. It is infused with activated charcoal that gives the gel a nice black tinge while moisturizing and nourishing the hair. Since it is formulated to be water-soluble, it does not leave behind a nasty flake or residue on hair that makes your hair feel sticky. It packs a punch of radiance and promotes naturally-lustrous tresses. It is light in weight, so you can expect it to give a natural bounce without curl-clumping, stiffening, or weighing down your curls. Multiple reviewers have claimed that the product works effectively on all hair types and even has a good control on 4c curls.

Hair Type: Color Treated | Product Dimensions: 10 x 5 x 10 inches | Weight: 2.67 Pounds

Pros

  • Non-sticky
  • Residue-free
  • Climate pledge-friendly
  • Retains natural moisture
  • Provides intense nourishment
  • Provides firm hold for 4C curls

Cons

  • May have a strong scent

8.Best For Bouncy Curls: Leonor Greyl Paris Gel A L’Hibiscus

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4.4
Leonor Greyl Paris Gel A L'Hibiscus Image: Leonor Greyl

A haircare and styling product in one, the Leonor Greyl Paris Gel A L’Hibiscus is a medium-hold hair gel that strengthens the hair while making it look impeccable. The product ensures your hairstyle stays in place and remains flawless throughout the day. The organic sweet almond milk enriched with vitamin E and omega-9 works with rich amino acids to protect, hydrate, and revive stronger hair. Additionally, the hibiscus extract imparts shine and volume for soft and shiny locks. The product helps maintain hair’s elasticity and softness and protect the hair, thereby bestowing you with free-flowing bouncy curls.

Hair Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 1.7 inches | Weight: 3.5 Ounces

Pros

  • Adds shine from within
  • Long lasting hold
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Talc-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • No animal testing

Cons

  • None

9. Best For Shine:SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Style Gel

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3.8
SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Style Gel Image: Sheamoisture

If you struggle with frizzy hair on your wavy or curly locks, the SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All-Day Frizz Control Style Gel is what you need. This alcohol-free styling gel for curly hair infused with shea butter helps define your curly or coily hair while keeping it hydrated. Its blend of nourishing ingredients like papaya, neroli, elderflower, and fair trade shea butter works to tame frizz, add shine, and provide long-lasting hold. In addition, it does not leave your hair feeling crunchy or flakey, and natural-looking instead.

Hair Type: Wavy | Product Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 7.05 inches | Weight: 4.66 Ounces

Pros

  • Controls frizz
  • Lightweight
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Long-lasting finish
  • Non-sticky
  • Affordable
  • Does not test on animals

Cons

  • Not for fine hair

10.Best Moisturizing: Ecoco Eco Style Hair Gel

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4.1

Moisturize your curls and wavy locks with the nourishing Ecoco Eco Style Hair Gel. The natural and lightweight styling gel contains hydrolyzed wheat protein, tea tree oil, and flower extracts, offering premium moisturizing, antioxidants, and calming agents that leave your hair soft. It is easy to apply on your damp hair. It provides sufficient bounce to your natural curls and waves. It holds your hairstyle in one place while giving it a nice and refreshing smell for a prolonged period. It is also leaping-bunny certified, cruelty-free, and flake-free and helps make your hair shiny.

Hair Type: Wavy, Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 2 x 2 inches | Weight: 8.8 Ounces

Pros

  • Intense nourishment
  • Flake-free
  • Lightweight
  • Alcohol-free
  • Not tested on animals
  • Cruelty-free
  • Easy to apply
  • Refreshing smell

Cons

  • Small container

11. Best Volumnizing:FRAGFRE Styling Gel

This oh-so-amazing alcohol-free hair gel has been formulated, keeping in mind people with sensitive skin. It is a sensitive formula that’s hypoallergenic. It works for different types of hair, from oily, colored, treated, dry, to normal, and makes styling hair feel like a breeze. It is free of common irritants like parabens, sulfates, colors, dyes, petrolatum, phthalates, BHT, and many other preservatives. If you want a shiny, wet, and glazed look, then apply it to damp hair and if you want a matte look with added volume, you can apply it on dry hair.

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 3 x 0.75 x 7.75 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Non-irritating
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • May not provide a strong hold
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Are you not sure about the factors you need to consider when buying an alcohol-free hair gel? We’re here to help you out. Read our next segment that sheds light on the aspects you should focus on when buying a hair gel.

How To Choose The Right Alcohol-Free Hair Gel?

  • Type of hold

The type of hold depends on how long you’d want your hairstyle to stay in place and the type of your hair. Hair gels that provide moderate hold are ideal for wavy hair. However, if you have good hair thickness and 3a to 4c curls, you need a hair gel that gives a stronger hold that’s long-lasting.

  • Hair texture

It is recommended to opt for a lightweight formula if you have finer hair because a sticky or a denser hair gel will be overpowering. However, if you have thicker hair or denser spirals, you can settle for a heavy formula.

  • Natural ingredients

Since hair gels may be loaded with many chemicals, 1 or 2 natural ingredients in your hair gel can cancel out the toxicity and damaging properties of these chemicals if at all you have damaged hair. Ingredients like avocado oil, almond and coconut oil help nourish and hydrate the hair so that you can style your hair sleek every day without harming your hair.

  • Other aspects

If you have color-treated hair, make it a point to buy a color-safe hair gel. And if you have sensitive skin, pick one that is dermatologist-tested, clinically proven, and hypoallergenic. You can also take into account the finish of the hair gel, which generally is of 2 types— matte and shiny, depending on what your preference is. Look for hair gels with no-residue formula that does not make your hair greasy or sticky.

The journey with hair gels never stops at laying hands on the most perfect hair gel. It extends to using it the right way to style your hair for the desired results. Here’s a brief guide on how you should use your alcohol-free hair gel for flawless styling.

How To Use An Alcohol-Free Hair Gel?

  • Step 1: Dampen your hair before you start applying a hair gel. For best outcomes, apply it to sopping wet hair. However, some of the hair gels also work great on towel-dried hair. You can check for instructions on the hair gel label that you intend to use.
  • Step 2: If you have long hair, create sections and apply the gel carefully to each section.
  • Step 3: After the application, detangle your hair and then use a blow-dryer to dry your hair. You can also let your hair dry naturally.
  • Step 4: Once completely dry, you’ll most likely witness a crunch or cast. You can start from the bottom and go all the way to the top. Ensure that you scrape off the cast completely. When that’s done, you’re free to work with the hairstyle of your choice.

Infographic: Things To Consider Before Buying Alcohol-Free Hair Gels

Hair gels have become a staple for those who like to try out new hairstyles. However, some of the hair gels can be damaging for your hair. This is where alcohol-free hair gels come to the rescue. But choosing the right one can be difficult. To make your life easy, here is a list of things you should consider when buying an alcohol-free hair gel. Check out the infographic below.

Things To Consider Before Buying Alcohol-Free Hair Gels (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Alcohol is undoubtedly bad for your locks. For the same reason, there are many alcohol-free hair gels available in the market that can help nourish your tresses while making sure that they are not affected by the use of harmful chemicals or alcohol-based products. Here we have some brilliant options like the Vanicream Hair Gel which has a safe formula for those prone to sensitivity and allergies, the SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Style Gel which combines frizz-control with flawless styling for curly, textured hair types, and the Ecoco Eco Style Hair Gel that provides an impressive hold while keeping your tresses nourished with its natural oil-infused formula. These hair gels comprise no added preservatives and some of them are completely suitable for sensitive skin. However, you should steer clear of hair gels that can leave greasy residues, debris, or flakes and make your hair sticky. Alexandro Vasquez, a renowned hairdresser, says, “Alcohol-free products are now very on demand and are really hard nowadays to find Alcohol gel, etc but for products that need a dissolvable component like hair spray, etc they still need it. Definitely recommended for customers to avoid the abusive use of alcohol gels to not damage their hair or make it dry.” People with curly hair should choose alcohol-free hair gels that might offer absolute frizz control and help cater to damaged locks.

Why Trust Stylecraze

Medha Deb is a hair care enthusiast who loves to write detailed articles on the same. She relies on alcohol-free hair gels as they can easily fix your hairstyle without causing any damage to the strands. She has curated the list very carefully after going through multiple online reviews and product specifications. According to her, alcohol-free gels help tame your wild curls and give your hair a gorgeous definition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is alcohol-free gel bad for your hair?

Alcohol can dry the scalp and cause scalp irritation for many who have sensitive skin. Thus, alcohol-free gels can actually be a better option.

Does alcohol-free gel damage hair?

Any hair gel can damage your hair if it is packed with too many chemicals that strip your hair of nutrients. This is why opting for a gel that has natural ingredients is recommended.

Does alcohol in gel cause hair loss?

Since alcohol may dry the scalp, a hair gel with alcohol can lead to increased hair fall when you use it regularly.

Does gel damage natural hair?

Any gel that has too many toxic or questionable ingredients can eventually cause your hair to lose the natural shine, thus making it look dull. This is why you should use a good conditioner and hair masks to keep your hair nourished and protect your hair from daily damage done to your hair.

Does gel make your hair grow?

If your gel packs a good amount of coconut, almond, jojoba, or castor oil, hair growth can be one of the added benefits of using it.

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Alexandro Vasquez

Alexandro VasquezHairdresser

Alexandro Vasquez has been a hairdresser since 1997 and has worked in various countries, including Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Indonesia, Singapore, and UAE. His experience spans salon brands such as Toni&Guy, Aveda, and Leekaja. He specializes in traveling and training hair salon staff around the world. He is adept at adapting to different styles and cultures and speaks 3 languages –...read full bio

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