When you follow the curly girl method, many things improve. Your curls are more defined, you have less frizz and generally feel more confident about your hair. If it wasn’t for the biggest challenge: finding curly girl approved products… Because I’ve been there and because I know how much work it can be to find the right products to use, I’ve made this list of 7 curly girl-approved gels for you!
Related: Your complete guide to the curly girl method
Related: 10 curly girl approved conditioners
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1. Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel*
Aunt Jackie’s “don’t shrink” gel* is my holy grail of curly hair gels! Seriously! I could write a love song about it!
(Which I am going to do now. This list used to be a list of 7, but now that I’ve discovered this gem, it needs to be on here, and in the first spot!)
Not only is this hair gel free of drying alcohols, silicones or any other not curly girl-approved ingredients, it also is the only hair gel I’ve used so far that gives my curls shape and shine WITHOUT feeling like hair gel!
I use it in wet hair, directly after washing. Once everything’s completely dry, I scrunch out any leftover “hardness”. And then I have super soft and shiny hair.
If you are like me and don’t like your hair feeling too stiff or “sticky” after using gel, give this one a try.
You can get Aunt Jackie’s curling gel here*!
2. DevaCurl ultra defining hair gel*
The DevaCurl ultra defining hair gel* deserves the second spot on this list.
DevaCurl, as the name suggests, is a brand dedicated to the best products for curly hair. Naturally, their products are “Curly girl-friendly”.
This specific gel is free of drying ingredients and contains no silicones. However, it does contain proteins.
Proteins are amazing for many people with damaged hair. But for others, this amount of protein could be too much. So if you notice your hair being somehow “stiff” and getting drier after using this gel, you might be suffering from “protein overload” or your hair might be generally protein sensitive.
You can get the hair gel here*!
dippity-do Girls With Curls Gelée*
The dippity-do Girls With Curls Gelée* deserves the first points for having such a cute name. But it doesn’t only shine when it comes to branding.
This gel is absolutely curly girl-approved: No silicones, parabens, mineral oils or drying alcohols.
Like the DevaCurl gel, it contains some proteins. However, this product only lists one protein, so the total amount is probably significantly smaller.
It also contains humectants. Those things are awesome for helping your hair with moisture balance. Unless you are in a hot and dry place, where humectants can actually dry your hair out more!
In conclusion, this is a pretty neat product for any time but your beach vacation.
(For protecting your hair at the beach, check these tips out instead!)
You can buy this Curly girl-approved gel here*!
3. Pure Elements Alcohol-Free Medium Hold Gel*
This medium hold hair gel* is perfect for you if your hair doesn’t like proteins, because it doesn’t contain any.
The fact that it’s also free of any bad chemicals and even gluten-free makes it a very good option for children and people sensitive to typical cosmetic ingredients, too.
Fans of this hair gel gush about the way it leaves your hair perfectly styled without showing too much stickiness.
You can buy the pure elements hair gel here*!
4. Om Botanical Conditioner and Styling Gel*
This hair care product by Om Botanical* functions as both a conditioner and as a styling gel.
Honestly, there are no ingredients here you need to worry about. No humectants, no sulfates, no parabens, no silicones, no alcohol.
Instead, the formula focuses on various Ayurvedic herbs, aloe vera, and various oils. While this is great for your hair health, it will also mean that you’ll get a rather soft styling effect.
Related: 8 ways to use Aloe vera gel for hair
If you are looking for a super-strong hold, this might not be your perfect product. But if you love your curls soft and bouncy, try it! In the worst case, you have still gotten an amazing conditioner!
You can buy the Om Botanical hair gel & conditioner here*!
5. Living Proof Amp Texture Volumizer*
The Living Proof Amp Texture Volumizer gel* does exactly what the name promises: it gives you volume!
As with all strong things, it’s easy to go overboard with it though. So make sure to only use very small amounts.
It does contain a couple of humectants, so don’t use it in hot and dry environments. But other than that, the ingredients are all curly-girl approved and you can use this hair gel without worry!
Get the Living Proof hair gel here*!
6. Loba Mane Styling Cream*
The Loba Mane Styling Cream* is another perfectly Curly girl-approved gel without any of the ingredients you want to avoid for shiny, defined curls.
It contains several moisturizing ingredients together with some waxes and oils, which will give you the styling effect.
One ingredient I don’t like so much to see on the ingredient list is Sodium Benzoate. While it is very common to find it in cosmetic products, it’s become increasingly controversial.
During my research, I’ve found conflicting information on it, so I won’t link you any of the studies here until I have a clearer picture of what’s going on there.
Just keep Sodium Benzoate in mind when checking your ingredients list and in case of doubt, rather avoid it.
You can find the Loba Mane Styling Cream here*!
7. Cosmopolitan Curl Whip from Cheeky Curls*
The Cosmopolitan Curl Whip by Cheeky Lemon* has a pretty short ingredients list, which is always a good sign.
And, of course, it contains no parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, or other not curly girl-approved chemicals.
Like the hair gel above it contains Sodium Benzoate, but in this case, it’s the second to last on the ingredients list.
Fans of this curl custard praise it for its frizz-preventing and curl-enhancing abilities.
You can buy the Cosmopolitan Curl Whip here*!
Make your own DIY hair gel
Of course, you can also simply make your own hair gel at home. All you need are water, linseed, and some patience.
I explain the exact steps for making your own homemade hair gel (without gelatin) here!
Got any more curly girl-approved gels?
To make sure everyone can get these products, I focused on curly girl-approved gels you can easily get online. If you know of any good ones you’ve tested and loved, let me know and I’ll add them to this list!
And as usual, pin this to your hair care Pinterest board!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.