Best Hair Gel

Best Hair Gel of 2020: Complete Reviews with Comparisons

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A dash of style is in all of us, and we’d be lying to ourselves if we said that we didn’t enjoy a good hair gel. If you’re just getting into styling your hair or have been for years on end, you may have come across a few of your favorite products. But with how fast the hair and makeup industry is producing new products, it gets hard to know if you’ve got the best hair gel for your style.

To help you choose, we’ve done some research and decided to comprise a list of the best hair gel of 2019. We’ll walk you through the pros, cons, what we like, and what we don’t. Either way, you’ll be sure to find your new hair gel obsession in no time.

Best Hair Gel
Comparison Chart

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel, 32oz

Johnny B Mode Styling Gel (32 oz)

Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel, 6 Ounce (Pack of 3)

SEXYHAIR Style Hard Up Hard Holding Gel, 16.9 Fl Oz

Tresemme Gel Mega Hold Sculpting #5 9oz (2 Pack)

Best Hair Gel Reviews

1. DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel

DevaCurl has a fantastic line of hair care products that can help tame and manage curly or wavy hair. This formula is designed to provide hair with ample hydration while also sculpting it to your signature style. If you’re looking for a product that can de-frizz, enhance definition, and improve texture, then you’ll likely enjoy this gel.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel:

  • Strong and Flexible Hold

The formula is perfect for those who want a more moldable blend as you’ll be able to shape your curls without any sticky feeling. Each curl can be brushed and enhanced to create a non-frizzy look that’s perfect for adding shape and definition.

  • Nourishing

To help nourish your hair, DevaCurl has added ingredients derived from wheat and soy proteins. These ingredients don’t just feed your hair but also help lock in moisture. Besides that, the rich proteins will also help create a better texture and nicer shine.

  • Unique Scent

Each brand has their own scent for products, and you’ll definitely be thankful for the more natural tropical smell. Luckily, DevaCurl creates a delightful scent that’s defined by Starfruit and Mangoes.

  • Cruelty-Free

Another vital component of the brand is that they do their best to create hair care products that aren’t tested on animals. Most of their products are cruelty-free and vegan.

  • No Harsh Chemicals

The formula strays away from using sulfates, parabens, and silicone materials. If you have specific allergies, they also do their best to limit their use of chemicals.

What We Like

It’s rare to find hair gels that don’t contain any animal products and focus on providing more natural ingredients. DevaCurl works to make cruelty-free products, which is helpful for supporting vegan or non-cruelty free lifestyles.

What We Don’t Like

With the limitation of natural products, the formula isn’t as potent for holding shape in humid areas. If you’re looking to sculpt your hair during the day, you may find that you’ll need to reapply a bit on hot days.

PROS

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    Cruelty-free
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    Stronghold
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    Tropical scent
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    Promotes healthy hair
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    Avoids damaging chemicals

CONS

  • Not good for humid areas

2. Johnny B Mode Styling Gel

If you’re looking for a powerful gel that provides you with more control and a firm hold on stubborn hair, then you’re in the right place. This styling gel is comprised of a non-alcoholic base that is perfect for medium hairstyles.

The gel can work on both thin and thick hair, plus it’s not that hard to remove if you mess up. Johnny B ensures that your hairstyle will last throughout the day without the need of a touchup.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of Johnny B Mode Styling Gel:

  • Flexible Styling

Thinking of creating a new look? Or do you already have your signature look? No matter what you choose, this formula is designed to help you craft and mold your hair to your ideal hairstyle. The formula bends, folds, and enables you to comb through it without any extra residue.

  • Thick Formula

Unlike others, this hair gel features a thick formula that’s designed to tame and lock in a specific style. While the gel may be a bit thick, it doesn’t have a heavy feel to it, and you will hardly notice it throughout the day.

  • Alcohol-Free

Alcohol is known to dehydrate your body and your hair. The formula skips any alcohol because it can damage your hair and prevent it from growing and thriving. If you want healthier hair, consider upping your game to Johnny B’s Gel.

  • Tames Wild Hair

Thick, thin, straight, curly, it doesn’t matter. This is designed to tame even the most stubborn of hair. Got frizz? Well, with Johnny B’s formula you won’t have to worry about your hair springing back to its natural state.

What We Like

The gel can easily be used on any hair type and is suitable for crafting various hairstyles. While other gel brands tend to do this too, you’re getting a higher quality product along with a thicker formula for extra control.

What We Don’t Like

The smell of the gel is the biggest disappointment as it’s very potent. While it’s not unpleasant, it's just not a smell that we’d want lingering throughout the day.

PROS

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    Works on multiple hair types
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    Can tame thick hair
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    No harmful chemicals or alcohol

CONS

  • Strong smell

3. Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel

Got2b has been around for a long time, which means they’ve had time to perfect their formulas. This specific gel is the strongest they have to offer and is much improved from the others you’d see on the shelves.

It features a non-sticky texture which prevents flaking, residue buildup, and powder. Besides that, you’ll only need a small squeeze for you to be able to style your whole head.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel:

  • No Flakes

There’s no flaking or any type of residue with this formula. It’s made from a thicker gel that dries quickly and looks a bit more natural than other hardcore gels. However, it does make the hair shiny.

  • Strong Hold

If you're going to take the time and effort to do your hair, the gel better help hold it in place. The Got2b brand is known for creating gels, waxes, and sprays that help keep the shape including spiky hair.

  • Easy to Remove

A long day with hair gel sounds like a dreadful time in the shower scrubbing away at the product. With Got2b’s new formula, the product comes off with the use of a bit of shampoo. No more scrubbing until your scalp feels like it’s on fire.

  • Can be Used on All Hairstyles

No matter if your hair is thick, thin, or anywhere in between, this hair gel is designed to be used on all hair types. Craft as many new hairstyles as you can and take the time to find your own style.

What We Like

The fact that the hair gel is so strong that you can essentially create a vertical hair look with longer hair is impressive. This proves that it can be used for multiple wacky fashion statements or for long-term daily use.

What We Don’t Like

Sadly, the gel does tend to flake and doesn’t dry completely clear. This is a slight bummer because other gels that have come out recently have eliminated this problem.

PROS

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    Doesn’t flake
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    Holds throughout the day
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    Easy to wash out
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    Works on all hair types

CONS

  • Isn’t completely clear

4. StyleSexyHair Hard Up Gel

Not all hair gels are designed to look natural, and that includes the Hard Up Gel. The formula is specially mixed to give you both maximum hold and shiny texture that will last throughout the day. Use it to style messy or casual looks and provide real texture to your hair.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the StyleSexyHair Hard Up Gel:

  • No Flaking

While the gel does have a slight whitish tint to it, it does end up drying and prevents flaking from occurring. No longer will you have to sit around and watch as specks of hair gel go flying down your shoulders and shirt.

  • Works on Multiple Hair Types

One of the biggest drawbacks with hair gels is that many of them are limited to either short or medium length hair. However, the Hard Up Gel features a limitless formula that can be used on all hair lengths and types.

  • Create Different Styles

Sculpting your hair can be challenging if you don’t have a gel that’s powerful enough to hold your style. Use the Hard Up Gel to sculpt, spike, comb, or tousle your hair into a hairstyle that suits your tastes.

  • Maximum Hold and Resistance

The promise with the Hard Up Gel is that it can last throughout the day without re-applying. It’s essential to have a gel that will hold up, or else by the end of the day, your hair will look withered down and messy.

What We Like

The fact that this gel can be used on any hair length or type is the winning feature. It’s hard to find gels that have the strength and power to hold up longer hairstyles, so it’s perfect for those who are looking to get exotic and experimental with medium to long hairstyles.

What We Don’t Like

The product is killer, but the packaging could use an upgrade. It comes in a bottle with a pump, but the pump gets clogged because the product dries. This results in you having to unscrew the cap to get a decent amount of product out or to rinse the pump every so often.

PROS

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    Use on all hair types
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    Smells good
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    Stronghold
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    Lasts throughout the day
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    No flaking

CONS

  • Pump clogs

5. Tresemme Mega Sculpting Hair Gel

The Tresemme brand has a full line of hair care products ranging from gels to sprays and clays. For the sculpting hair gel, it’s designed to provide you with protection against humidity and give you full control of your hair. Using a potent formula, the gel locks your style in while preventing flakes, stickiness, or wetness.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Tresemme Mega Sculpting Hair Gel:

  • Better Shine

The advanced formula helps lock in moisture and gives you a shiny coating on your hair. While this may not be the ideal look for all, it does provide a distinguished healthy glow. Using other ingredients and additives such as wheat starch, the formula also helps absorb sweat, grease, and oil.

  • Alcohol-Free Formula

Alcohol is dehydrating, and while it does help control hair, it does more bad than good. To prevent further damage, alcohol has been discontinued in its use in hair products. This gives your hair a chance to recover from any previous damage and prevents split ends.

  • Designed for Curly Hair

Curly hair can be a nightmare to manage, so it’s best to use products that work with curls and prevent them from becoming a tangled mess. Tresemme Sculpting Gel is a salon quality hair care product that sculpts your curls to any style whether you’re using it on dry, wet, or tangled hair.

  • Tames Frizziness

Fly away hairs, and stubborn curls are hard to tame, but with Tresemme, you’re getting a gel that can accomplish smoothing out your hair with just a quarter sized drop. On top of that, the formula is safe to use on color treated or damaged hair.

What We Like

The shine from the gel isn’t unnatural which can be a huge problem with other brands. If you’re looking for a hair care product that enables you to sculpt your hair to a specific style without actually looking like you’re wearing gel, then the Tresemme gel is a must-have.

What We Don’t Like

The downside is that the hair tends to get a bit stiff if you’re using a lot of product. To avoid this, sparingly apply the gel until you get your desired look.

PROS

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    No sticky residue
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    Provides firm control
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    Useable on all hair types
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    Alcohol free formula
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    Dries clear

CONS

  • Crunchy feeling if too much applied

Buyers Guide

There are so many different choices when it comes to hair gels, making it hard to choose out of the endless brands. What’s the trick to selecting the right one? There are a few critical components to each hair gel that can help you choose one that works for your style, lifestyle, and hair type.

1. Type of Gel

Gel-based formulas are liquid based and often are thicker than other hair care products. The main difference comes from their unique water or oil based ingredients.

For hair, there’s wax, pomade, clay, paste, cream, and serums. Each of these types of hair products is designed for different hair types and uses.

  • Wax: Thick formula with medium hold and medium shine.
  • Pomade: Medium hold with better shine and best for natural looks
  • Clay: Thick formula with better hold and lower shine; great for spiking hair
    Paste: Medium hold and shine but often times leave a residue
  • Cream: Low hold and medium shine; good for almost all hair types
  • Serum: Almost no hold but high shine that promotes hair growth and health

2. Fragrance and Smell

Many hair gels tend to have a chemical smell and aren’t that great smelling. However, brands have recently become aware and either decided to craft their own signature scent or add natural fruity or floral scents such as rose, mangoes, or apples.

You’ll find a wide range of scents, but this shouldn't be a deciding factor when purchasing, as you’ll want to find one with a decent hold and that works for your hair type.

3. Hold Strength

There are three different levels of holding strength namely maximum, medium, and low. As you can imagine, maximum is best for all-day wear and works on most hair types.

Medium is suitable for day-to-day use and is best for short to medium hair lengths. Lastly, the low hold is good for a quick touch up or for taming frizz, but not so much for styling.

4. Ingredients

Each hair gel will use a different set of ingredients which helps keep your hair manageable. Some of the most popular ingredients are water, xanthan gum, pectin, and starch.

These ingredients mostly have drying properties that produce a firm hold. Other common ingredients are oils, extracts, and added vitamins to help nourish hair and promote healthy hair.

5. Hair Type

Gels are geared towards different hair types. Some gels work with curly hair while others are best used for straight or wavy hair. It depends on the brand and version of hair gel. Often, brands release multiple versions of gels.

FAQs

1. What Is Hair Gel?

Hair gel is a type of hair product that is used to sculpt and craft different hairstyles. Each gel is different but features ingredients that harden the hair and lock each follicle into place. If you’re looking for a strong to medium hold that doesn’t look unnaturally shiny, then hair gels are the best.

2. How to Use Hair Gel

Most brands let you use the gel on slightly damp hair since the product will dry while your hair dries. You’re free to use as much product as you like, but most times, you’ll want to stick to a dime or quarter size.

Rub the hair gel in your hands and fingertips, making sure to coat them evenly. After this, apply the gel to your hair.

It’s best to press gently, as this will evenly distribute the product. Hair gel can be used to give definition, lift, and tame wild hair.

3. What Is Hair Gel Made of?

Hair gels are crafted using styling polymers, and the main ingredients are Polyvinyl Pyrrolidone or Vinyl Pyrrolidone. These ingredients are thick in consistency and dry or harden without a sticky or wet residue.

While each gel is different, many of them contain thickening agents, adjustments agents, and stabilizers. These help dry hair and create a stiff texture that’s bound to hold hair throughout the day. Other ingredients include fragrances, preservatives, and neutralizers.

4. What Hair Gel Should I Use?

While we can recommend all of the hair gel on our list, we do suggest that you explore hair gel options on your own. Each gel is made for different styles, hair types, and lengths.

It’s best to select one based on those factors rather than getting a recommendation. While one person may love one hair gel, it may not work on another's hair type.

5. How to Style Hair with Gel

Applying hair gel takes some practice, but learning how to do so can help you achieve different looks. Remember, it’s best not to get too concerned with specific methods, as it’s good to be creative and make your own look.

Here's a simple guide for styling your hair with gel:

  1. Choose a gel that works for your hair type and hair length
  2. Select a version of hair gel dependent on hold, fragrance, and additives.
  3. Wash and prep your hair by slightly towel drying or blow drying.
  4. Take a dime-sized amount of gel and rub it onto your fingertips evenly.
  5. Run your fingertips through parts of your hair you want to be coated before using a comb or brush.
  6. Adjust your hair into the desired look before the gel dries. It’s best to work quickly, as most gels tend to dry within a few minutes of application.
  7. Allow the gel to sit before adding any more for touch-ups. Just remember, the more gel you apply, the shinier and more stiff your hair will be.

Conclusion

It may be difficult if you’re just starting to select a hair gel out of one of the many products developed. But luckily for you, there’s plenty of advanced hair gels that are easy to use and help create your desired look. Just be sure to check if the gel will work with your hair type and length.

Out of all the ones on our list, we tend to lean towards the Tresemme Mega Sculpting Hair Gel as the best hair gel of 2019. The main reason being that it can be used with various hair types and lengths, as well as provides a super strong hold. The formula is alcohol-free and creates a natural shine while taming frizziness.

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