15 Best Gels For Curly Hair And Bouncy Locks

Use these hair care essentials to quickly tame the frizz of your coils and define them well.

By Vaishnavi KothuriVaishnavi Kothuri, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process here.

There is something innately beautiful about curly hair; the way it coils up and bounces, its almost dreamy. To turn that dreamy feeling into a reality can be quite the task without the best gels for curly hair. Because let’s face it, your curls will give your nightmares if you don’t fix them and care for them. You will end up spending hours taming your curly hair so that your head doesn’t look like a walking nest! While regular hair gels may come in handy for a quick fix, they cause you more harm than good in the long run. They even end up making your curls more challenging to manage and pile on the misery. To solve this problem, you need specially formulated hair gel for curls that helps control and define your glorious curls. Not sure which is the best get for your curly hair? Not to worry, we’ve got your back. Check out our list of the top 15 gels for curly hair.

Top Picks
Best Anti-Thinning:Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel
Price on Amazon
Best For Hydration:Twist By OUIDAD Weather Up Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Frizz:Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Dye-Free:MopTop Curly Hair Custard Citrus Kumquat
Price on Amazon
Best For Moisturizing:Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Split Ends:The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Glistening Gold Twisting Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Color-Safe:Giovanni L.A Hold Styling Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Cruelty-Free:Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Crème
Price on Amazon
Best Organic Ingredients:Innersense I Create Hold Styling Gel
Price on Amazon
Best UV Protection:Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel
Price on Amazon

15 Best Gels For Curly Hair That Work Like Magic

1. Best Anti-Thinning:Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel

Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel Image: Aunt Jackie's

If you have natural, heavy curls that often shrink, you need a dose of protein to stretch out those curls and bring them back to life. This curly hair gel is enriched with flaxseed oil, shea butter, and omega fatty acids to leave your hair feeling supple. It offers the goodness of elements that have been used as a natural remedy for hair growth and softer, smoother, and well-defined hair. You can use it on both dry and wet hair; however, it works best on wet hair. We consider this gel to be the best hair gel for curly hair because it beautifies hair while keeping it nourished. In this YouTube video, you will find a detailed review of this product.


  • Promotes hair growth
  • Anti-thinning
  • Regulated scalp health
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free


  • It may not be suitable for type 3C and above hair.
Quick Tip
After application, squish and scrunch your wet curls to help penetrate the gel through them.
Price at the time of publication: $9.69

2. Best For Hydration:Twist By OUIDAD Weather Up Gel

The Twist By OUIDAD Weather Up Gel is specially formulated to fight off the worst curls. This gel halts the humidity effect on your curls, keeping them crunch-free, soft, and hydrated all day long. It is infused with wheat protein that strengthens the hair strands from within and makes your hair shine, appear healthier and manageable. The sericin in the gel strengthens your hair and improves hair texture. In addition, the argan oil in the formula improves curls’ elasticity making them less prone to breakage. Check out this video on YouTube for a detailed understanding of the product.


  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Phthalates-free



Quick Tip
Make sure to apply the gel on the surface of your curls with open palms for even distribution of the product.
Price at the time of publication: $10.49

3. Best Anti-Frizz:Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel

The search for the perfect curling gel that works like magic for 4C curls can be exhausting. But if you’ve finally found this curling gel and know how to work with it, you’ll never want to stop using it. Infused with a wealth of botanicals like horsetail, chamomile, and vitamin E, the Kinky-Curly hair custard truly loves your curls. It contains aloe vera that works like a pro and imparts your hair a healthy shine while keeping dryness at bay. For best results, apply this high-performance aloe vera gel for curly hair to freshly-washed, soaking wet hair. If you want to know more about this product, check out this video on YouTube.


  • Enriched with natural ingredients
  • Provides long-lasting hold
  • Moisturizes
  • Removes frizz
  • Non-greasy


  • It is scented.
Pro Tip
Pair this gel with a curling custard for added shine and definition. Apply both the products one after the other in small sections on wet or damp tresses.
Price at the time of publication: $33.55

4. Best Dye-Free:MopTop Curly Hair Custard Citrus Kumquat


MopTop’s curly hair custard is popular for its long-lasting, strong hold on the hair. It works like magic for wavy, curly, and coily hair. Loaded with ingredients like aloe vera, honey, and sea botanicals, you get a fair amount of shine and moisture from this cream-gel for curly hair. A little bit of this product goes a long way as the gel is in its concentrated form for the best value. Use it on wet hair, and styling curly hair is bound to get as easy as pie. Popularly known as the best curl activator, this hair custard works well on frizzy hair as well.


  • Suitable for 2A to 4B hair
  • Easy to use
  • Parabens and sulfate-free
  • Free of dye
  • Phthalate-free


  • Slightly expensive
Quick Tip
Apply the product section by section to cater to frizziness and smooth dry flyaways. Do not scrunch too much. Over-scrunching may lead to hair breakage.
Price at the time of publication: $34.99

5. Best For Moisturizing:Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel

The Jessicurl Spiralicious gel is for everyone who needs a gel that provides a firm hold without being flaky. There are many reasons why this gel has the reputation of being the best curly hair gel among many, and we can mention a few right here. When you apply this gel to your curls, the initial crunch wears off in a matter of minutes, and the outcome is soft curls that retain shape throughout the day. It offers frizz control and helps your hair retain its natural moisture. All you need is a quarter-size squirt of this gel to do the job for you.


  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Offers frizz control
  • All-day hold
  • Contains jojoba seed oil


  • Contains alcohol
Price at the time of publication: $11.99

6. Best Anti-Split Ends:The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Glistening Gold Twisting Gel

The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Glistening Gold Twisting Gel Image: The Mane Choice

Managing curls can be quite challenging, and if you have split-ends and damaged hair that’s prone to breaking, it gets all the more overwhelming. Well, not anymore!  We bring you an elixir for your hair, and that’s The Mane Choice gold twisting gel. It is formulated for damaged hair and is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D to promote hair growth and repair split ends and damage from chemical treatments. The oh-so-good ingredients like mongongo, and baobab oils give your curls the right kind of twist. This gel rightfully earns its place among good hair products for curly hair.


  • Repairs damaged hair
  • Renders anti-breakage properties
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Silicone-free


  • Some may find it sticky.
Price at the time of publication: $14.99

7. Best Color-Safe:Giovanni L.A Hold Styling Gel

Giovanni L.A. HOLD™ STYLING GEL Image: Giovanni

If you have colored locks, you need a color-safe gel or mousse for curly hair like this one. It works great for low porosity hair without weighing the curls down. You’ll find some of the best organic ingredients for healthy hair that deliver visibly shinier, well-defined tresses. Styling curly hair becomes all the more convenient as this gel can be applied to both dry and wet hair. If you opt for products on the grounds of being cruelty-free, Giovanni is leaping bunny certified to give you complete assurance.


  • Suitable for color-treated hair
  • Offers a firm hold
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • No parabens or sulfates


  • Some may find the consistency to be too thick.
Price at the time of publication: $8.99

8. Best Cruelty-Free:Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Crème

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino and Avocado Leave?In Defining Creme Image: Briogeo

If you have moderately curly or wavy hair from 2A to 3C, finding the right gel can be tricky. Briogeo knows this and has come up with a cream to address the problem. This lightweight formula accentuates your curls while caring for it — thanks to ingredients like rice amino acids, avocado, quinoa extract, and tomato fruit ferment. It is formulated to keep frizz-causing bad guys at bay, and the avocado replenishes moisture and makes your hair softer. Apply this curly hair cream to sopping-wet hair, and you’ll witness ultra-light, high-definition curls that move with you.


  • Frizz-free
  • Infused with natural ingredients
  • Retains moisture
  • Paraben, silicone, sulfate-free
  • Cruelty-free


  • Some may find the fragrance overwhelming.
Price at the time of publication: $24.0

9. Best Organic Ingredients:Innersense I Create Hold Styling Gel

Innersense I Create Hold Styling Gel Image: Innersense Organic

If you swear by clean beauty products, why not opt for a gel for curly hair that boasts a list of clean ingredients? The I Create Hold styling gel is the ideal solution for optimal hold with the added benefits of hair-loving components. The organic and antioxidant ingredients care for your hair from the roots to ends and impart smoothness while holding your curly locks in place. Honey, rice, wheat amino acids, aloe, and rooibos tea work in tandem to prevent aging. No crunch, no dryness, glistening curl strands, and healthy hair — if it’s yes to all, you must say yes to this gel.


  • Certified organic ingredients
  • Suitable for aging hair
  • Free of parabens and sulfates
  • Cruelty-free
  • Non-GMO


  • May not offer a strong hold
Price at the time of publication: $26.0

10. Best UV Protection:Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel

OUIDAD Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel Image: Ouidad

Flyaways, humidity, and environmental aggressors are the worst nightmares for a person with curly hair. When you lay your hands on a good gel for curly hair like this one, you can keep these bad guys at bay. The Ouidad gel is an ideal choice when you live in a hot and humid place and try to lock out humidity while preserving your hair’s natural moisture. The gel offers an impressive hold and a beautiful shine in any weather. It also prevents the unwanted volume from frizz, so that curly hair styling doesn’t feel challenging.


  • Anti-frizz nanotechnology
  • Offers UV filter for protection
  • Long-lasting hold
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free


  • Slightly expensive
Price at the time of publication: $26.0

11. Best Alcohol-Free Formula:Alikay Naturals Aloe Berry Styling Gel

Alikay Naturals Aloe Berry Styling Gel Image: Alikay Naturals

Berries are a preferred ingredient in hair care products for wavy, curly hair, and this styling gel is loved by many for its remarkable antioxidant properties. The Aloe Berry styling gel from Alikay Naturals is a remedy worth considering if you have dry, damaged curly or coily hair. This gel consists of numerous essential oils to preserve the natural moisture in your curls while allowing you to experiment with different styles. Aloe vera works as a natural conditioner, and sweet almond oil nourishes your hair from the roots. It offers a medium hold for 2A to 3C coils and doesn’t feel sticky.


  • Moisturizing
  • Doesn’t flake
  • Makes the hair softer
  • Alcohol-free


  • May not lock 4C hair in place
Price at the time of publication: $11.97

12. Best Additives Free:Mielle Organics Styling Gel

Mielle Organics Styling Gel Image: Mielle Organics

This styling gel from Mielle can be used every day to manage unruly curls. It helps create high-definition curls with smooth and shiny edges, and it keeps your hair frizz-free. It packs natural ingredients like ginger, honey, aloe extract, and babassu oil that care for your hair and make it soft and healthy. It doesn’t cast a crunch after-feeling or feel greasy. Apply it all over freshly washed hair for an overall moisturized finish or part your hair into segments to define each curl.


  • Doesn’t contain artificial additives
  • Contains 70% certified organic ingredients
  • Suitable for 4C hair
  • Doesn’t feel sticky
  • Softens hair


  • It may have a strong fragrance.
Price at the time of publication: $11.5

13. Best For pH Balance:Taliah Waajid Hold Me Down! Gelle

Taliah Waajid Hold Me Down! Gelle Image: Taliah Waajid

This easy to use styling gel for curly hair can be applied to both wet and dry hair. It adds an impeccable twist to the curls while holding them in place. It is formulated with green apple and aloe for conditioning and without sulfates and parabens to cut down the exposure to chemicals. Just wait for your hair to be completely dry before you break the cast. The result will be shiny hair that welcomes just about any style with no crunch and no frizz.


  • Balances pH levels
  • Promotes scalp health
  • Strengthens hair
  • Alcohol-free


  • Contains sodium hydroxide
Price at the time of publication: $14.77

14. Best Paraben-Free Formula:Oribe Curl Gelèe For Shine & Definition


Crunch-free gels that kill the frizz are every curly-haired person’s dream. Let your dream come true with the Oribe Curl Gelèe that blesses your hair with rich ingredients like macadamia, murumuru seed butter, and avocado for lustrous, manageable coils. This gel deeply moisturizes the hair and adds a natural shine to the curls while smoothing them up to the very ends for well-defined spirals. You can diffuse or air dry your hair after applying this wonder gel. The result? Healthy curls and a happy you!



  • Suitable for coily hair
  • Color safe
  • Offers UV protection
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Free of parabens, silicones, sulfates, and sodium chloride
  • Helps retain natural moisture


  • Slightly expensive
  • Scented
Price at the time of publication: $44.0

15. Best Non-Greasy Formula:Rene Furterer Vegetal Sculpting Gel

This gel from Rene Furterer is among the best gels for curly hair for its weightlessness despite providing impressive holding power. It contains enriching ingredients like cakile extract that boost the hair’s ability to ward off environmental stressors. Vitamin B5 adds elasticity and suppleness to curls while retaining the moisture. It is ideal for all hair types, which comes as a relief for people with different hair porosities and those who can’t find the right product. For best results, apply it to towel-dried hair, leave it on, and style your hair as you like.


  • Non-greasy formula
  • Ideal for all hair types
  • Paraben, sulfate, and silicone-free
  • Doesn’t contain sodium chloride


  • Contains alcohol
Price at the time of publication: $26.0

Whether 2A curls or 4C coils, we’re sure that you’ll find the perfect gel for your unique tresses in our list of the best gels for curly hair. If you’re overwhelmed with all the options and unsure as to how you can choose the ideal gel for your curls, here’s a buying guide to help you out. 

How To Choose Gel For Curly Hair?

  • Type of curls

From 2A to 4C and from wavy, curly, coily, to kinky types of tresses, it can be truly challenging to understand which product would pamper your kind of curls without weighing them down. You’ll find a range of curl gels that offer different degrees of hold.

While curly, kinky, and coily hair from 3A to 4C type would require a strong hold, products that offer moderate hold for manageable hair are well-suited for wavy hair or 2A to 2C type hair. Most of the brands specify the type of hold they offer or the kind of curls they’re suitable for in the description.

  • Crunch v/s no crunch

The most common perception is to view crunch or a cast as an enemy. However, gels that leave behind a crunch are in fact effective. The crunch protects your hair from frizz and retains moisture. The key to getting rid of the crunch is by scrunching it out after your hair is completely dry.

Most people who complain about the gel leaving behind flakes could be because they try to get rid of the cast on half-dried hair. So, if you know your way with crunches or a cast, you’re good to go.

  • Natural Ingredients

Since gels for curly hair are formulated to provide a strong hold, they might damage your hair over time. Buy a gel for curly hair that contains natural ingredients to neutralize the damaging effects. You can prevent your hair from deteriorating upon regular use of the gel.

Many brands offer gels infused with ingredients with restorative benefits. Make it a point to go through the list of components, research them, and buy the right one.

  • Application

Would you want to use a gel that can be applied only to wet hair or would you prefer one that can be used on dry hair as well? Identify what kind of application you prefer, go through the product description, and ensure you opt for the gel that works for you.

  • Other factors

If you color your hair, it is recommended to choose a gel that is color-safe. If you live in hot and humid weather conditions on most days, it is best to opt for a gel that offers UV protection and locks out frizz from humidity.

Now that you know how to choose the best gel for curly hair, here’s a basic guide for how to apply gel to your hair for the best results.

How To Apply Gel On Curly Hair?

  • Step 1: Most gels work like magic when you apply them to sopping wet hair. You can either start applying the gel as soon as you’re out of the shower with drenched curls or soak your hair in a bucket of water before immediately applying the gel.
  • Step 2: To begin with, take a tiny amount of the gel and work your way through different segments of curls. Make sure that you coat each of the curls so that you have highly defined spirals. Detangle and distribute the gel evenly through all parts.
  • Step 3: Wait for your hair to dry. You can use a diffuser or air dry it. Don’t touch your hair before it is completely dry because the product is setting on your hair.
  • Step 4: Now that your hair is completely dry, you’ll notice a cast or a crunch. Start by scrunching the crunch from the bottom and work your way up. This helps get rid of the cast and gives way to shiny and bouncy curls.

Curly hair, whether natural or parlor-styled, is never easy to style. But the best gels for curly hair can make the task easier for you. The gels mentioned in our list have anti-thinning qualities and are mostly chemical-free. They are enriched with natural ingredients like argan oil, flaxseed oil, aloe vera, and honey that provide a firm hold to the curls and keep the strands nourished. These gels also control frizz and ensure lasting results. However, avoid products that have sticky textures or harsh chemicals like alcohol.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Vaishnavi Kothuri, is a hair care enthusiast whose passion lies in reviewing hair products as they hit the shelves. For this article, she conducted an extensive research on hair gels that are best for curly hair and bouncy locks. She read hundreds of online product reviews to curate this list for her readers. Her recommended formulas promote hair growth, are mostly chemical-free, and non-greasy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a gel good for curly hair?

For curly, frizzy hair, it is generally recommended to use a gel. If you don’t use it, your hair would be more vulnerable to environmental aggressors that cause hair damage. This is why, when you pick the right gel, gels are actually good for taming unmanageable curls.

Is gel or cream better for curly hair?

While not all gels and creams are created equal, gels generally offer a stronger hold as compared to creams. Creams are more popular for their moisturizing properties. If you go through the ingredients list and make an informed decision, both gels and creams can work wonders.

Is Eco Styler gel good for curly hair?

Eco Styler is one of the most popular brands that has been an absolute saviour for 4C curls. However, many natural beauty influencers started spreading the word that the product contains carcinogens because of some questionable ingredients like tetrasodium. The brand spoke in its defense and claimed it only uses safe ingredients in its products. So, with so much confusion, it is mostly left to the buyer whether or not they’d trust the brand.

Which is better: curly hair gel or mousse?

Gels are a better pick for long-lasting curls, although mousse is not less behind in imparting natural curls an extra volume and bounce.

Does gel dry out curly hair?

Yes, some gels can make your hair more crunchy and dry. But you can try the Twist By OUIDAD Weather Up Gel, known for its hydrating features.

Can you put gel on dry curly hair?

No, do not apply gel to wet curly hair for the best results and avoid hair damage.

What order do you put products in for curly hair?

Start your hair care routine with deep cleansing followed by conditioning. Later, apply some mousse or curl cream to get it styled.

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