11 Best Alcohol-Free Hair Gels For Flawless Styling

by Sneha Manandhar
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Having wavy, curly, or unmanageable and frizzy hair would naturally make hair gels an indispensable part of your hair care and grooming. Your hair gel must pack a punch to give you a manageable yet healthy mane. This is why we recommend using an alcohol-free hair gel that offers an impressive hold to tame those stubborn curls and tresses that revolt or that pixie cut you just got for yourself, minus the damage caused by alcohol-based ingredients.

With an endless number of curl-taming products from gels and mousses to creams, it can get a little too overwhelming to find a gel that complements your hair like a soulmate. To make the hunt a lot easier, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 11 of the best alcohol-free hair gels. Read on, weigh your options, and pick the one that pampers your locks and gives you a good hair day, all day, every day.

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

Top 10 ProductsCheck Price
Free & Clear Hair Styling GelCheck Price
DevaCurl Light Defining GelCheck Price
TRESemmé Defining GelCheck Price
Biotera Naturelle Defining GelCheck Price
LA Looks Extreme Sport Hair GelCheck Price
Queen Helene Styling Gel- Level 8Check Price
Rolda Black Styling GelCheck Price
Royal Locks Curl GelCheck Price
La Belle Lots Of Curls Styling GelCheck Price
L’Oréal EverStyle curl Defining GelCheck Price

1. Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel

This alcohol-free hair gel from Free & Clear is a good move if you’re trying to keep away from common chemical irritants. It has a gentle formula, which helps tame frizz and 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 skin.

Pros

  • Free of preservatives
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Gluten-free
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  • May not offer complete frizz control for curly hair

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2. DevaCurl Light Defining Gel

If you love to rock different hairstyles, you need a hair gel like this one from DevaCurl that you can confidently depend on. Curly, kinky, or wavy— squeeze this gel into your hands and apply it to sopping wet hair to witness a crunch that scrunches off to give way to curls that are too good to be true. The wheat and soy proteins help lock in moisture, and you get smooth and soft curls with its light-hold formula. One of the best gels for curly hair, it offers an impressive hold and defines curls. It nourishes your hair with ingredients like castor oil, hops extract, matricaria extract, rosemary extract, among other natural components.

Pros

  • Non-drying formula
  • Provides a good hold
  • Paraben, sulfate, and silicone-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May create an excessive crunch

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3. TRESemmé 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 hold, it does so without weighing down your curls— thanks to its lightweight formula. The result when you use this affordable yet professional-grade hair gel is bouncy ringlets that move with you.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May not protect from heat

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4. Biotera Naturelle Defining Gel

You can never say no to this paraben-free hair gel if you crave highly-defined curls while restoring any damage done to your hair. It is infused with shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond fruit extract, soybean oil, nettle extract, and many more ingredients known to nourish, hydrate, and protect the hair from environmental aggressors. With this alcohol-free gel for curly hair, you get a lift and hold worth dying for, while the gel also retains the natural texture and movement of your curls. To add more to the amazingness, it packs a punch of radiance and is suitable for all hair types.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Non-sticky formula
  • Flake-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Contains tetrasodium EDTA
  • Contains parfum

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5. 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 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find it to be drying

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6. Queen Helene Styling Gel- Level 8

The Queen Helene hair gel without alcohol is what you need if you’re trying out a dramatic hairstyle that stays in place. It offers level 8 hold that helps ensure that your hairstyle stays in place for hours. It provides a great deal of control on even 4C curls while adding body to the hair. If you’re aiming for a wet and glazed look, let your hair dry naturally after applying this gel to towel-dried hair. This alcohol-free styling gel is also leaping-bunny certified to give you complete assurance if you’re committed to using cruelty-free products.

Pros

  • Non-sticky formula
  • Delivers firm hold
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some may find the scent too strong

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7. 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 make your hair feel sticky. It is light in weight, so you can expect it to give a natural bounce without curl-clumping, stiffening, or weighing down your curls.

Pros

  • Non-sticky
  • Residue-free
  • Climate pledge-friendly
  • Provides firm hold for 4C curls

Cons

  • May have a strong scent

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8. Royal Locks Curl Gel

Say hello to healthy styling with this alcohol-free hair gel that’s infused with plant-based ingredients. It brings you the goodness of marula oil and botanical extracts to give you a natural yet awe-inspiring hold properties. Marula oil works to soften your tresses and adds shine from within upon extended application. You get voluminous curls and great control over frizz. Since it is color-safe, you can use it if you have color-treated hair as well. It is also free of parabens, sulfates, and is suitable for all hair types from 2a waves to 4c curls for both men and women.

Pros

  • Volumizes curls
  • Reduces frizz
  • Imparts shine
  • Sulfate-free hair gel
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not be suitable for extremely dry hair

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9. La Belle Lots Of Curls Styling Gel

Get the best out of your kinky curls with the La Belle styling gel that tames the spirals without distressing them. Crafted exclusively for different types of curls, it takes styling to another level by mastering even the most stubborn coils that refuse to compromise. The strong hold formula with a blend of avocado oil sculpts and defines curls while retaining the natural moisture to fight flyaways. It applies evenly and gives you a long-lasting finish with flexible and touchable styling. It creates no build-up, and we all know that no flake means no problem.

Pros

  • Works on permed hair
  • Adds bounce
  • Doesn’t leave a build-up
  • Color-safe

Cons

  • May not provide long-lasting hold

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10. L’Oréal EverStyle curl Defining Gel

Construct high-definition curls that stay put considerably with this non-crunchy, silky gel. It is free of alcohol and parabens and is enriched with citrus aurantium dulcis oil to give you hair the most natural sheen and shine. It is formulated to resist humidity and control frizz and gives you immense control over the hold. When you’re looking for a drugstore product that gives straight-out-of-the-salon curls, this curl defining gel from L’Oréal is worth pursuing.

Pros

  • Non-crunchy
  • Smoothens hair
  • Controls frizz
  • Free of parabens
  • Vegan

Cons

  • May not be suitable for 4c curls

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11. 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 look, apply it to damp hair, and you want a matte look with added volume, you can apply it on dry hair.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • May not provide a strong hold

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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 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 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 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.

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 pack 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.

Now that you have a list of 11 best alcohol-free hair gels for different types of hair right in front of you, we’re sure that you’d be less confused about the options. Alcohol-free hair gels are the way to go when you decide to steer clear of components that can cause your scalp to dry and create a barrier between the follicles, thus leading to hair damage. We hope you buy the right hair gel for yourself, go through our guide on how to apply it, and get to rock your favorite hairstyles.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ 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.

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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Sneha Manandhar

Sneha Manandhar holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Pune. She has previously worked with media and publication houses in varied capacities as a lifestyle writer, an editor, a copywriter, and a translator. She reviews beauty, skin care, and wellness products from specialized curated lists. She believes that SEO-driven content is the present and the future and keeps herself busy by dabbling in SEO-related tools and honing her editing skills.
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