Best Hair Gel

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While hair gel is mainly used to hold a hairstyle in place, it can also provide other useful benefits like providing humidity resistance, boosting hair volume, and controlling unruly curls. Although lower quality hair gels are known to make hair sticky, greasy, and stiff, higher quality hair gels will improve the appearance and health of your hair. Refer to our buyer’s guide below to help you determine which hair gel is best suited for your hair type and styling preferences.

Best Drugstore Hair Gel:

If you don't want to spend a lot on salon hair gel, consider a high-quality drugstore hair gel. They can provide the same performance as brand-name hair gels, yet cost a fraction of the price. Drugstore hair gels are also designed for different hair needs, such as adding volume and reducing frizz. Opt for a drugstore hair gel that suits your personal hair type, as well, to ensure optimum results. The following drugstore hair gels were selected because they are the most reliable, provide the best value, and rate the highest with users.

Frizz Ease Clearly Defined Style Holding Gel by John Frieda

This holding gel by John Frieda controls, defines, and holds your curls and waves using encapsulated silicone beads. It doesn't contain alcohol, so this gel is gentler on your scalp and better for your hair. If you experience frizz, you'll love how this gel smooths and tames. Read Full Review

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    Frizz Ease Clearly Defined Style Holding Gel by John Frieda

    Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel

    Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel is one of the strongest gels you'll find. It holds hair extremely well, but doesn't leave it sticky or flaky. This styling gel is best suited for short, vertical hairstyles. Read Full Review

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      Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel

      Aussie Aussome Volume Spray Gel

      Aussie Aussome Volume Styling Gel adds volume with a super-strong hold that lasts. It won't make your hair crunchy or stiff, but instead flexible and natural-looking. This gel also resists humidity, reducing frizz. Read Full Review

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        Aussie Aussome Volume Spray Gel

        L'Oreal EverStyle Alcohol-Free Curl Activating Mousse

        L'Oreal EverStyle Alcohol-Free Curl Defining Gel is a non-drying styling product that reduces frizz and defines curls for 24 hours. It's 100 percent vegan and doesn't contain alcohol or parabens that irritate and damage your scalp. Your hair will appear softer and shinier while remaining controlled. Read Full Review

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          L'Oreal EverStyle Alcohol-Free Curl Activating Mousse

          Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel

          This curl-enhancing spray hair gel by Pantene guards hair from humidity to help define and control curls throughout the day. It's very lightweight, so your curls won't become weighed down with residue. Instead, your waves or curls will be smooth and shine. Read Full Review

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            Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel

            Best Firm Hold Hair Gel:

            Sometimes thick or coarse hair requires hair gel that provides a firm hold. However, just because a hair gel is stronger doesn't mean it should feel heavy or sticky in your hair. Firm hold styling gels are supposed deliver a powerful hold that keeps your hair in place without making it feel crunchy, stiff, or unnatural. They also shouldn't leave white residue or flakes in your hair. The hair gels featured below were selected because they provide maximum styling hold, are reliable, and have earned the highest user ratings.

            American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

            American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel is an alcohol-free product that provides the ultimate holding power. It contains natural extracts that supply a thickening and lustrous effect on your hair. This firm hold gel is simply the best of its kind. Read Full Review

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              American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

              DevaCare Arc AnGell Extra Hold Conditioning Gel

              This defining gel provides a firm hold on curly hairstyles. It rapidly dissolves into wet hair, leaving hair defined and controlled once dry. Your curls won't be sticky, stiff, or frizzy, either. Read Full Review

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                DevaCare Arc AnGell Extra Hold Conditioning Gel

                Matrix Biolage Firm Hold Sculpting Jelly

                Matrix Biolage Firm Hold Sculpting Jelly is a nature-inspired product that provides maximum hold, volume, shine, and humidity resistance. It leaves hair looking wet, but not greasy. If you have issues with frizzy hair, this product will help. Read Full Review

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                  Matrix Biolage Firm Hold Sculpting Jelly

                  It's A 10 Miracle Firm Hold Gel

                  It's A 10 Miracle Firm Hold Gel helps preserve hair's flexibility while still supplying a firm, all-day hold. There are many nourishing natural ingredients in this gel, and it works on both wet and dry hair. You'll notice the quality of your hair improving with use of this gel. Read Full Review

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                    It's A 10 Miracle Firm Hold Gel

                    Joico JoiGel Firm Styling Gel

                    This firm hold styling gel by Joico provides all-day support and control while protecting your hair against environmental hazards. Your hair will also become shinier and more attractive with this gel. You'll never have to worry about clumps and flaking. Read Full Review

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                      Joico JoiGel Firm Styling Gel

                      Best Light to Medium Hold Hair Gel:

                      When strong hold hair gels are too heavy and stiff, light to medium hold hair gels may suit your hair needs better. These hair gels won't weigh down your hair, but instead leave it flexible enough to feel like a natural hold. Light to medium hold hair gels should keep your hairstyle in place without leaving flaky or sticky residue in your hair. The hair gels listed below were selected because they feature the highest user ratings and provide the best moderate holds for all hairstyles.

                      Johnny B Mode Styling Gel Medium Hold

                      This medium hold styling gel is powerful, yet gentle on hair. It won't leave flakes or residue and it's easy to wash out of your hair. Just one bottle of Johnny B. Mode Styling Gel Medium Hold can last for several months, making it a great value. Read Full Review

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                        Johnny B Mode Styling Gel Medium Hold

                        Joico JoiGel Medium Styling Gel

                        Joico JoiGel Medium Styling Gel contains Panthenol, which increases your hair's luster and hydration. It works on both wet and dry hair, giving you complete control and moderate hold. Plus, it's lightweight and never sticky or flaky. Read Full Review

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                          Joico JoiGel Medium Styling Gel

                          American Crew Light Hold Styling Gel

                          American Crew Light Hold Styling Gel helps your hair is many ways. Not only does it provide a light hold that feels and looks natural, but this gel contains natural extract that give hair a fuller and shinier appearance. It won't make hair feel sticky or stiff, either. Read Full Review

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                            American Crew Light Hold Styling Gel

                            Deva Curl Angel Light Hold Defining Gel

                            DevaCurl Angel Light Hold Defining Gel is worth checking out if you have curly or wavy hair. It'll help define your curls, reduce frizz, and add a gorgeous shine to your hair. This gel provides a light hold, which never feels stiff, sticky, or heavy. Read Full Review

                            Deva Curl Angel Light Hold Defining Gel

                            Baxter of California Soft Water Pomade

                            This water-based gel provides light to medium hold with added shine and texture. It goes on very clean and rinses out with ease. Although very lightweight, it does a great job of holding hair. Read Full Review

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                              Baxter of California Soft Water Pomade

                              Best Volumizing Hair Gel:

                              If you want to give your hair a lift, volumizing hair gel may be useful. Volumizing hair gels are easy to apply and can instantly make limp or fine hair appear fuller. However, some hair gels can leave hair greasy, gummy, or stiff. It's best to opt for a volumizing hair gel that provide natural-looking volume without making hair look clumpy or dirty. The volumizing hair gels listed below were selected because they deliver amazing volume, are long-lasting, and suit all hair types.

                              Aussie Aussome Volume Spray Gel

                              Aussie Aussome Volume Spray Gel is an easy-to-use spray gel that suits all hair types. It tames flyaways and frizz while increasing volume. As a result, hair becomes softer, smoother, and overall enhanced. Read Full Review

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                                Aussie Aussome Volume Spray Gel

                                Abba Pure Volume Gel

                                Abba Pure Volume Gel is an all-around fantastic volumizing gel because it adds dimension, volume, flexibility, and sheen to fine hair. It doesn't flake, leave residue, or contain alcohol. This gel is a great value because it's very long-lasting. Read Full Review

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                                  Abba Pure Volume Gel

                                  L'ANZA Volume Zero Weight Gel

                                  L'ANZA Volume Zero Weight Gel is lightweight, yet provides a very strong hold. It makes your hair fuller, shinier, and easier to control. You'll love the smell of this gel, as well. Read Full Review

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                                    L'ANZA Volume Zero Weight Gel

                                    Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel

                                    This volumizing gel strengthens hair and increases volume using aloe vera, whole wheat protein, and chamomile extract. The effect is fuller, fresher hair for up to several days. You can achieve virtually any style you desire using Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel. Read Full Review

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                                      Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel

                                      Nioxin Volumizing Reflectives Thickening Gel

                                      This thicken gel gives hair dimension, volume, and strength while adding shine. It's an alcohol-free formula won't damage your scalp and cause irritate. However, it will provide a lasting hold without gunky residue. Read Full Review

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                                        Nioxin Volumizing Reflectives Thickening Gel

                                        Best Curling Hair Gel:

                                        When curls become frizzy or unruly, curling hair gel can help save the day. Curling hair gels provide hold while enhancing spirals, curls, and waves. Some curling gels also deliver moisture, shine, softening, and smoothing effects. If stiff, greasy curls are the last thing you want, opt for the highest-rated curling hair gels. The following curling hair gels below were chosen because they preserve hair's flexibility, provide fantastic hold, and enhance all hair types.

                                        Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel

                                        This spray gel enhances all kinds of curls and waves, leaving hair light and soft. It defines curls without making them stiff with sticky residue. Forget about frizz because Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel totally controls unruly hair. Read Full Review

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                                          Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel

                                          DevaCare Arc AnGell Extra Hold Conditioning Gel

                                          This defining gel by DevaCare provides superior hold and definition for all curls. It dissolves into wet hair, so curls look natural when dry. Vitamin C is the main ingredient in this product, so curls will receive maximum hydration and shine. Read Full Review

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                                            DevaCare Arc AnGell Extra Hold Conditioning Gel

                                            Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel

                                            Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel resists humidity to eliminate frizz and improve your curls' appearance. It hydrates, smooths, and adds shine to curls using European wheat resins, plant extracts, and vitamins. As a result, hair becomes softer and protected from styling heat. Read Full Review

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                                              Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel

                                              Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel

                                              This curl defining gel works wonders on all kinds of waves and curls. It's biodegradable and doesn't contain parabens or synthetic fragrances that cause scalp irritation. This all-natural gel delivers shiny, long-lasting curls that you'll love. Read Full Review

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                                                Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel

                                                Curly Sexy Hair Liquid Curling Gel

                                                This liquid curling gel by Curly Sexy Hair adds shine, definition, and volume to your curls. They'll become less tangled and easier to style, providing you with more control. This gel is very lightweight and won't leave residue in your hair. Read Full Review

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                                                  Curly Sexy Hair Liquid Curling Gel
                                                   

                                                  Hair Gel Buyer’s Guide

                                                  The main purpose of hair gel is to keep a hairstyle secure with a variety of holds ranging from light to firm. These products are best applied to clean, wet or damp hair in order to stiffen the particular style. Although most commonly used on shorter hairstyles, hair gel is also available for curly hair as well as for boosting volume. To avoid ending up with greasy or sticky hair, consider your hair type, style, and needs before choosing a hair gel.

                                                  Natural Feeling
                                                  Hair gel is a styling product which can either leave hair smooth and textured, or transform it into a stiff, greasy mess. A high-quality hair gel will be lightweight and feel natural when styled into hair, allowing strands to remain flexible without any flaky residues. Additionally, hair gels which are formulated without alcohol are healthier to use and more likely to feel natural in hair.

                                                  Reliable Hold
                                                  An important feature of any hair gel is to hold a hairstyle in place. Whether a hair gel provides a light hold or firm hold, it should be reliable enough to last throughout the day as well as resisting the negative effects of humidity. Some hair gels are designed to hold curls, while other gels are best for keeping short, textured hairstyles secure.

                                                  Nourishing
                                                  Like all hair styling products, hair gel should provide some type of nourishment to your hair. Hair gels containing nourishing ingredients such as sunflower seed extract, peptides, and wheat protein that can help increase volume and improve the overall health of hair. The best hair gels will also infuse hair with nutrients unlike lower quality hair gels which are more likely to cause scalp irritation. 

                                                  Hair Gel Types

                                                  Drugstore Hair Gel
                                                  If you can’t afford a salon hair gel, a quality drugstore hair gel can provide the same styling performance at a fraction of the price. Drugstore hair gels are available in various holds and suited for various styling purposes such as creating volume or defining curls. Some types will feature spray applicators, while others come in squeeze tubes.

                                                  Firm Hold Hair Gel
                                                  Coarse, thick, or long hair in need of maximum hold may require a firm hold hair gel. However, firm hold should not mean settling for a heavy gel that weighs down your hair. The best firm-hold hair gels provide the ultimate in holding power while allowing hair to maintain a soft, flexible texture.

                                                  Light-to-Medium Hold Hair Gel
                                                  For a light or moderate hold to provide some control over your hairstyle, a light-to-medium hold hair gel can keep strands right where you want them. These hair gels are best for keeping loose strands in place, adding shine, and controlling frizz. The best light-to-medium hold hair gels give your moderate control over hair without any stiffness or heaviness.

                                                  Volumizing Hair Gel
                                                  Volumizing hair gels are ideal for fine or limp hair needing a boost. These hair gels should make hair appear fuller and healthier without weighing it down. The best volumizing hair gels provide a lightweight, yet reliable hold while increasing hair’s body.

                                                  Curling Hair Gel
                                                  Curly hair is often prone to frizz, especially in humid conditions and thus curling hair gels can help define curls and make them easier to manage. The best curling hair gels are lightweight to prevent them from weighing down curls while providing a secure hold that’s resistant to frizz and tangling. These hair gels should also leave curls soft and lustrous.

                                                   

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