Now, gel’s principal gig is to offer maintain, which is why many conventional choices do embrace alcohols to assist the formulation dry down shortly—however that’s how gel earned its fame for being stiff. “Undoubtedly keep away from [alcohols], as a result of that is what dries the hair,” superstar hairstylist Camille Buddy, founding father of Hair Students, tells mbg, particularly in case your strands are already susceptible to brittleness and breakage.
Michelle Sultan, superstar hairstylist and Imbue ambassador, seconds the recommendation: “Most hair gels have alcohol inside them to set the hair in place, however now there are new and improved formulation which have little-to-no alcohol however present the identical setting energy,” she says. “And as any curly particular person price their salt will inform you, attempt to keep away from merchandise that include wax-based silicones, parabens, and petroleum, as extended use on the hair could cause injury.”
Quite, she recommends in search of out elevated gamers like aloe and flaxseed, which have that viscous, jelly texture and a number of antioxidants and hydrating advantages. Sea moss, too, thickens formulation and coats strands in moisture; it incorporates excessive quantities of polysaccharides (known as carrageenans) that kind a protecting but non-occlusive movie over the strands.
One other up-and-coming ingredient within the hairstyling world? Okra. In the event you’ve ever cooked with the nutrient-rich delicacy, you’re probably aware of the translucent goo coating every pod—nice for thickening up gumbos and stews, and your hair gel, too. “When you consider okra, you consider that fibrous [texture],” says Buddy. “It is one thing that wraps across the curls and makes it in order that they’re not going to frizz.”
The underside line: These crispy, sticky gels of your teenage years are lengthy gone. Lately, you could find choices that depend on a number of progressive botanicals and compounds to create outlined, bouncy curls with out the crunch. It’s additionally nice information for these a fan of a glossy bun or ponytail—your slicked again kinds will really feel clean but malleable (versus a helmet-like shell on prime of your cranium).