For the Sleekest Strands of Your Life, All You Need Is This $6 Drugstore Staple

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

"For stronger, thicker hair, depending on your styling choice, I would recommend a stronger-holding product such as Sculpt Force by EIMI." —Cleveland

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

Cleveland's pick for curly hair 

My hairstylist always recommends Davines products for curly hair. She recently told me to give this gel a try and I couldn't be happier with the finish it provides. It leaves my curls smooth and defined without making them crunchy or sticky.

"Oribe Curl Gelée is a gel that helps add volume as well as hold. It is super moisturizing but really helps tame frizz and flyaways" —Ellis

This Taliah Waajid gel is another favorite in my rotation. It's great for curls because it's extra conditioning, smoothing, and creates the perfect slicked back bun without getting too crunchy.

Best for Wavy Hair

This strong-hold gel from Ouidad is great for both curly and wavy hair types. It seals strands with advanced humidity control technology, tames frizz, and keeps waves from puffing up or becoming limp.

This is another great gel that offers lightweight hold for waves without being too much on the hair or weighing it down. 

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.