What To Use Instead Of Gel For Curly Hair?

What To Use Instead Of Gel For Curly Hair?

Maintaining curly hair can be both a joy and a challenge. While gel is a popular choice for defining curls and reducing frizz, it can sometimes leave hair feeling crunchy or dry. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that can provide the same benefits without the drawbacks. This article explores various products and methods you can use instead of gel for curly hair.

Embrace Your Curls with Natural Alternatives to Gel

Understanding the Drawbacks of Gel

Gel is often the go-to product for curly-haired individuals due to its ability to define curls and control frizz. However, it has some drawbacks:

  • Crunchiness: Gel can make curls feel stiff and crunchy.
  • Dryness: Prolonged use of gel can dry out the hair.
  • Build-Up: Gel can leave residue, leading to build-up on the scalp and hair.

Given these issues, many people are looking for alternatives that can provide similar results without these downsides.

Moisturizing Creams and Lotions

Moisturizing creams and lotions are excellent alternatives to gel for curly hair. These products hydrate the hair while providing hold and definition.


  • Hydration: They infuse moisture into the hair, preventing dryness.
  • Soft Hold: They provide a flexible hold that keeps curls defined but soft.
  • Nourishment: Many creams contain nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.

Popular Choices:

  • SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie: Rich in shea butter and coconut oil, this product hydrates and defines curls.
  • Cantu Coconut Curling Cream: Known for its moisturizing properties, it helps define curls without the crunch.

Mousse for Light and Bouncy Curls

Mousse is another great alternative, offering light hold and volume without weighing down the hair.


  • Volume: Mousse adds volume and lift to the roots.
  • Soft Hold: It provides a natural, touchable hold.
  • Lightweight: Mousse is lighter than gel and doesn’t weigh hair down.

Popular Choices:

  • DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam: This mousse provides volume and frizz control for curly hair.
  • Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse: Infused with argan oil, it tames frizz and defines curls.

Curling Custards and Jellies

Curling custards and jellies are gel-like products but with more moisture and flexibility.


  • Moisture: They hydrate hair while defining curls.
  • Soft Hold: They provide a flexible hold that keeps curls bouncy.
  • Natural Ingredients: Many are made with natural ingredients that nourish the hair.

Popular Choices:

  • Kinky-Curly Curling Custard: Made with natural ingredients, it defines curls and adds shine.
  • Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard: Known for its moisturizing properties and flexible hold.

Oils and Serums for Frizz Control

Oils and serums can also be used to define curls and control frizz, providing a natural and healthy shine.


  • Hydration: Oils and serums keep hair moisturized.
  • Frizz Control: They tame frizz and add shine.
  • Nourishment: Many oils and serums contain vitamins and nutrients that benefit hair health.

Popular Choices:

  • Argan Oil: Known for its hydrating and frizz-controlling properties.
  • Coconut Oil: Moisturizes and adds shine to curls.

Homemade Alternatives

For those who prefer DIY solutions, there are several homemade alternatives to gel that can be just as effective.

Flaxseed Gel

Flaxseed gel is a popular homemade alternative to commercial gels. It’s easy to make and provides excellent hold and definition.


  • Flaxseeds
  • Water
  • Essential oils (optional)


  1. Boil 1/4 cup of flaxseeds in 2 cups of water.
  2. Simmer until the mixture thickens.
  3. Strain the seeds and let the gel cool.
  4. Add a few drops of essential oils for fragrance.


  • Natural Hold: Provides a soft, natural hold.
  • Moisturizing: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it moisturizes the hair.
  • Affordable: A cost-effective alternative to commercial products.


Finding the right product for curly hair can be a journey, but there are plenty of alternatives to gel that can provide the hold and definition you need without the downsides. Whether you prefer moisturizing creams, lightweight mousses, nourishing oils, or homemade solutions, there’s an option out there that will help you embrace your natural curls.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.