15 Best Gels For Curly Hair And Bouncy Locks

by Sneha Manandhar
This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Our product selection process.

If there’s anything comparable to curls, it’s babies. We love them, and they bring so much happiness into our lives. But they decide what they want to do, and they have a mind of their own that generally functions in opposition to what we want. You might go to bed feeling proud of your perfect-looking curls and praying for them to stay the same. But, they betray you, and you end up spending hours and hours trying to make them behave.

If you’re a curly head and relate to every word that has been spoken, we understand your struggle, and we’re here to help! Here’s our list of the 15 best gels for curly hair that can help you tame your curls without dulling or weighing them down.

TOP 10 PRODUCTS
CHECK PRICE
Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel
Check Price
DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel
Check Price
Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel
Check Price
MopTop Curly Hair Custard Citrus Kumquat
Check Price
Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel
Check Price
The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Glistening Gold Twisting Gel
Check Price
Giovanni L.A Hold Styling Gel
Check Price
Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Crème
Check Price
Innersense I Create Hold Styling Gel
Check Price
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel
Check Price

15 Best Gels For Curly Hair That Work Like Magic

1. Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel

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 one of the best hair gels for curly hair because it beautifies hair while keeping it nourished.

Pros

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

Cons

  • It may not be suitable for type 3C and above hair.

Buy Now From Amazon

2. DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel

If you desire natural-looking, well-defined curls, you can count on this hair gel formulated for wavy to curly hair. The hydrating formula gives way to crunch and frizz-free hair while enhancing the shape of the curls. Ingredients like wheat and soy proteins help nourish your hair while locking in moisture for shinier curls. This styling gel for curly hair boasts a clean list of ingredients sans parabens, silicones, and sulfates. It has a pleasant scent that’s a blend of starfruit and mango to give you a back-to-summer kind of feels.

Pros

  • Non-drying
  • Lightweight
  • Sulfate, paraben, and silicone-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • The fragrance might be too strong for some

Buy Now From Amazon

3. 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • It is scented.

Buy Now From Amazon

4. 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

Buy Now From Amazon

5. 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains alcohol

Buy Now From Amazon

6. The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Glistening Gold Twisting Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find it sticky.

Buy Now From Amazon

7. Giovanni L.A Hold Styling Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find the consistency to be too thick.

Buy Now From Amazon

8. Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Crème

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find the fragrance overwhelming.

Buy Now From Amazon

9. Innersense I Create Hold Styling Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May not offer a strong hold

Buy Now From Amazon

10. Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

Buy Now From Amazon

11. Alikay Naturals Aloe Berry Styling Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May not lock 4C hair in place

Buy Now From Amazon

12. Mielle Organics Styling Gel

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • It may have a strong fragrance.

Buy Now From Amazon

13. Taliah Waajid Hold Me Down! Gelle

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains sodium hydroxide

Buy Now From Amazon

14. 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!

 

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Scented

Buy Now From Amazon

15. 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains alcohol

Buy Now From Amazon

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.

One of the everyday struggles that’s quite underrated is how curls can be so unmanageable every morning. But if you’ve followed through our list of the best gels for curly hair and how to use gels for optimum results, you have nothing to worry about. Hair gels are made to be the villain they’re not because of the crunch. We also hope that our information on crunch or casts and how they help your hair encourages you to buy a good gel and deal with the crunch to reveal bouncy, spiraly, and shiny curls.

Expert’s Answers for Readers 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.

The following two tabs change content below.

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.
scorecardresearch