How to style curly hair with gel

How To Style Curly Hair With Gel 2022 | Easy Curls Guide

Learn more about how to style curly hair with gel and if you can curl natural hair using a hair gel. Also check out if using a gel is bad for curls in the first place!

Many of us curly-haired people prefer using gel as our best styling technique. However, if you’re not familiar with the process or haven’t mastered it yet then there’s no way for me to explain how amazing these gels can be! 

That being said I remember when my first impression of a product was its crispiness. So, my very first interaction with gel was not that appreciative. 

But it turned out that I was not using the gel correctly on my curls that entire time. 

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You see the gel you are using can make your hair crispy, but that’s not where the process ends. 

See, what gels do is form a casing around your hair that helps your hair to get that ring-like shape, and with that comes the crispiness.

And here’s how to style curly hair with gel to keep your curls soft and yet get those defined ringlets. 

How To Style Curly Hair With Gel 

While most curly people, including me, take gel as their ultimate curl-defining product, there are still many of us who are yet to learn all the secrets there is to get that perfect curl. 

How to style curly hair with gel
Source: Instagram@curly.iris

After all, finding the ultimate curling style for oneself is a trial and error process until you get the one that really works.

But before we dig into the topic, let me start by telling you a basic tip that might help you avoid unwanted issues from your gel. 

Test Your Leave-in Conditioner Beforehand

So, what basically you are going to do before applying your gel to your curls is test if it is going along with your other hair styling and moisturizing products or not. 

How will you find that out? 

best firm hold gel for curly hair

You can take the leave-in conditioner and the choice of your gel in your palm and then start blending them with one another. If both these products blend in smoothly and evenly, it will mean that these products go well together. 

However, if the consistency of that mixture turns out clumpy, or in the form of small white balls, and separated, they are not blending in together.

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So, that will be a sign for you to look for a different combination of products. 

Keeping the consistency test in mind, let’s dig into the process now!

Layer Your Curls in Gel Evenly Starting With Wet Hair 

So, the first step is obviously layering your curls in gel, and that too evenly. 

Typically gel is the final styling product that you should apply to your hair, which means while they are wet. But if you are working with dry hair, you can spray it down with water using a spray bottle. 

Also, as I have type 4 coily hair, so, for me, I like to use a curl cream first that helps in defining my curls along with shaping them. So, what I do is use it right after I am out of the shower, on my soaking wet hair. 

how to curl natural hair with gel
Source: Instagram@all_aboutcurls

Following that, I grab a cotton t-shirt to scrunch my hair and get rid of any excess water that is left. Also, instead of a cotton t-shirt, you can also use your microfiber towels or wraps.

Afterward, I take the gel and apply it around a glob of it that is somewhere around a quarter size, but again that depends on how much hair you have.

So, what I do is take the gel and rub it in both my palms and then apply it to my ends, squeezing lightly up into my curls. 

Adding to that, using my palms, I smooth the gel down. Don’t use fingers and rake your curls down while applying the gel, and your palms are just fine for even application. 

how to set curly hair with gel

Next, all you need to do is wait for it to dry completely. So, for that, you can either use a diffuser or if you have spare time on your hands, you can let it dry naturally on its own. 

Once it is all done, scrunch that crunch out of your curls. 

Also, on a side note, if you are using the spray and use method, then I would suggest you take your hair in sections, and the water sprayed dries faster as compared to soaking wet hair. 

How To Distribute Evenly in Different Types of Curls

Type 2 Waves 

So, if you have type 2 curly hair (or wavy hair rather), then I would suggest that crunching is your best friend.

All you require to accomplish is to take the gel according to your hair and then spread it across your fingers, and then scrunch your hair starting from the ends, then going for the roots. 

best gel for wavy hair curly girl method
Source: Instagram@curlyhair.go

Doing so will help your waves form in a better way, along with ensuring that you don’t wind up with too much product on your hair, as it will weigh down your waves. 

Type 3 Curls 

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If you have the type 3 curls, your go-to method for distributing the gel evenly so that you get the best out of your product is the rake and rattle.

All you gotta do is to take the gel and apply it to your fingers first, and then comb your curls with them. Also, remember that you have to do that starting from the top, I mean starting from the root and going up to the ends. 

But just stop right before you reach the ends of your curls and then shake your fingers to and fro. Doing as such will help your curls from clumping and encourage them to form better curls as well.  

how to gel curly hair
Source: Instagram@curlygirl.method

Type 4 Coils

Now, if you have type 4 coils, just like me, I would suggest you go for the praying hands’ method, and I can assure you that you are going to get the best out of your coils with it.

What you would require to do is take the gel accordingly in your palms and press your coils between your hands. Following that, slide your hands down your coils. 

Doing such is going to help you distribute the gel evenly throughout your coils, and that way, you can make the best out of the gel for your styling technique.

How To Get Rid of That Crispy Coating From Curls

Now, it’s time to remove that crispy texture from your hair. 

Using your hands, scrunch out the curls; while doing so, you can definitely feel the gel going soft and the gel cast breaking to allow your natural and soft curls to come from underneath. 

Also, you can seek the service of a diffuser for curly hair as well. All you need to do is keep it on a low speed and medium heat to warm your hair up. Doing the same will help you soften your curls and get that crumbly gel out of your curls. 

But if you neither want to use your hands nor a diffuser, there are a few other ways as well. For one, I would suggest you take any of your soft t-shirts and scrunch your curls in to release that gel. 

how to curl natural hair with gel

Or you can choose the method that I usually go for, which is applying oils. I use vitamin E oil mostly to soften up the scrunch. All you would need to do is take a tiny amount of oil of your choice and then apply it with your fingers throughout. 

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It will help in softening up the crisp, and that’s how you get your curls out of it. 

Following that, as my final step, I prefer to flip my hair over and then take my fingers right to the scalp and then shake them a bit. 

If you want, you can skip the shaking with your fingers part you can! 

But I do that because it just helps me release my hair at the roots, along with giving my curls a bit more volume and releasing the gel cast throughout. 

Wrapping Up on How To Style Curly Hair With Gel

The trick to styling curly hair with a gel is to use the styling gel at the very end to help define your curl pattern.

When your curls are wet, you should first apply some leave-in conditioner followed by oil and cream (as per the curly girl method) to add and retain moisture.

Doing so will maintain the hydration in curls as a gel doesn’t moisturize hair only adds hold to your hairstyle.

Also curly hair looks better if you remove the hard casing that some hair gels leave behind as it gives your ringlets a more natural look.

So, that will be all of my best ways to style your curls with gel. I hope these tips and tricks were helpful for you. 

Good luck for styling your gorgeous curls, and if you have tried gels before, I would love to get your perspective on that; comment down below. 

Until then, keep finding the ideal way to make the most out of your ringlets!

Also Read:

Best Styling Gel for Black Women’s Hair

How To Braid Curly Hair