Finding the perfect product to give you gorgeous hair is a never-ending quest for many naturals. I do not want to say most as I feel most just want healthy, happy hair and that is always going to be gorgeous. But for some naturals, their curls, coils and kinks must always look a certain way for them to be happy. I’m not knocking your preferences…I’m really not. I get it, more than you know. I have my own perceptions of what looks good, and on most days I am winning the fight on frizzy hair with my Wash and Go.
Natural hair has certain quirks that require specific products like a styler whether it be a gel, mousse, lotion, or wax. However you decide to describe it, the outcome is the same and that would be to control the frizz! Now, I get that frizz is a bad thing to many, but oddly enough it can be a welcoming volumizer that some naturals either have no issues with, or take in with open arms.
Then there is the other function of hold. How much hold are you looking for and will that hold be for a straight look or a curly, coily one? Will your styler have the main function of blocking humidity or protecting your tresses from heat? When you factor those questions into the equation, you alter your outcome drastically.
Most naturals know what a gel is but do they know what a styling lotion is or do you know how to use a wax? Are they all going to give you the same thing or do you really need to know the difference so you can better manage your style? Let’s try to get these questions answered:
Wikipedia defines hair gel as “a hairstyling product that is used to stiffen hair into a particular hairstyle”. For naturals that means holding your curls, coils and kinks to your desired texture or frizz-free and in place. The thicker the gel, the better the hold!
Either way, gel is a huge component in our hair care routines. They help to define and sustain curl patterns, minimizing frizz and even add shine. Asking a lot of one product? Maybe, but ask any natural who is in love with her hair gel how she feels, and you will probably get a big broad smile.
Traditionally, gels were usually alcohol-based and were used to achieve styles that require medium to strong holds. Spiked pixie cuts or slicked back ponytails were all the rage a few generations ago but all that gel did a whole lot of damage. To achieve those coiffures required some serious heavy-duty ingredients and that often meant using alcohols.
The look was fierce but those gels that worked so well were using the bad or drying alcohols because the evaporation of the alcohol would causes a stiff finish. You would be left with hard hair, flakes, or even breakage if used to often.