Flyaways, static-y strands, and frizz are just a few hair problems I deal with on a daily basis. If you can relate, you've come to the right place. For the longest time, I was fully against hair gels because every single one I used made my hair crunchy, sticky, and dry by the end of the day. Fast forward a few years and I can now say that gels come a long way. Many brands have now mastered the art of creating a lightweight gel-cream hybrid texture that provides a good amount of hold without weighing your hair down. I now have a few gels in my rotation that I can't live without.
If you like using gel for sleek styling, defining curls, or just for some light everyday hold, keep scrolling. I asked celebrity hairstylists to share the best hair gels in their kit for each hair type. I've also included a few of my own favorites.
Best Overall: Crown Affair The Flexible Hold Finishing Hair Gel
If you prefer a hair gel that doesn't feel like a hair gel, then you'll love this flexible hold styling product from Crown Affair. It's infused with hydrating ingredients like tsubaki seed oil and jojoba milk but it also contains a film-form polymer to hold the hair in place without creating any stiffness. It's a great lightweight hold option for all hair types.
Best Drugstore: Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel
This drugstore gel is celebrity stylist Glenn Ellis's top pick.
"Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel is my go to for thicker, resistant hair or styles that I need to make last a long time. This gel really locks everything into place and keeps it there. It’s a staple in my kit." —Ellis
Best for Straight Hair
If you have straight, fine hair, Nioxin's gel might be a winner for you. You can even try it on finer curly or wavy hair.
"For fine, dehydrated, or damaged hair, I recommend a light holding gel that has little to no alcohol to avoid breakage and stripping off essential oils. Nioxin is a company that specializes in scalp health and protecting fine hair so I highly recommend." —Michelle Cleveland, celebrity hairstylist
Another great option that Ellis loves for fine or straight hair types is the Shu Uemura Sculpting Hair Paste.
"It's one of my favorites for finer hair. It is really buildable and dries matte. It doesn’t weigh the hair down like other gels. A lighter application also can act as a texturizer to make the style piecey-er." —Ellis
Ouai's classic Matte Pomade contains a smart technology complex that targets damaged areas of the hair to help repair the cuticle, replenish moisture, and provides protection from environmental stress. Beeswax also helps build a soft thickness and body to the hair while kaolin clay gives that extra long-lasting hold.
Best for Curly & Coily Hair
Best for Wavy Hair
This cream is perfect for creating lived-in beach waves. Although it's not really a gel, it's a great option for wavy hair types because it isn't too heavy and won't make your waves look flat. It just nourishes strands with ingredients like sunflower oil and banana extract.