Whether you’re new to the Curly Girl Method or have been following for a while, you’ll know that getting a crunchy cast is one of the most satisfying feelings! Finding the right Curly Girl approved gel is like finding the holy grail and luckily for us, there’s plenty of products to choose from in the UK.
So what is a Curly Girl approved gel?
A Curly Girl approved gel is essentially a gel which doesn’t contain harming ingredients such as silicones, sulphates and drying alcohols. Most gels are actually fine to use on the Curly Girl Method and this article will help you find a gel in the UK that is approved.
The Curly Girl Method and the importance of gel
A gel product is an essential part of the Curly Girl Method. Whether it be mousse, custard or indeed gel, the main framework of the CGM is to encourage curls to form by locking in moisture in each curl and then sealing them with a gel type product.
Once the gel hardens, the curl remains intact and the cast can be broken to reveal soft bouncy curls. Some Curly Girls prefer a custard or a creamier gel product and these can be particularly beneficial for 3A/B/C curls who are looking to elongate their curls.
If you are a 2A/B/C Curly Girly, you’ll need a stronger hold to maintain your curls or waves. There’s really nothing that can substitute a regular gel if you want a super hard cast.
How to use gel on the curly girl method
It couldn’t be easier using gel to get beautifully soft and bouncy curls if you’re following the Curly Girl Method.
After co-washing and conditioning with a Curly Girl approved conditioner, apply gel to soaking wet hair and then scrunch your curls upside down. As the curls form, try and squeeze out a bit of water.
After stepping out of the shower, use an old t-shirt or better yet, a microfibre towel to wrap your hair. You can leave your hair like this while you get dressed and apply makeup, or you can simply scrunch a bit of the water out of your hair. Apply more gel and you should end up with moisturised curly locks.
This is how I look after applying gel:
As your hair dries, either by diffusing or air drying, your hair will seem flat but your curls should be intact. The drying process is much speedier if you use a diffuser and I got my favourite one, the Horizon diffuser from Amazon. It’s cheap, sturdy and does the job!
You should wait until your hair is completely dry before scrunching out the crunch of your curls. This is also known as SOTC and is one of many Curly Girl terms you should familiarise yourself with.
Use a t-shirt or even just your hands, and begin scrunching your hard cast upside down. Tussle your roots and flip your hair back.
Style with a bit of gel or mousse and you should have amazing bouncy curls.
This is my result after scrunching out the crunch:
As you can see, when your hair is in a cast, it doesn’t look very curly. But this doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try to get as big juicy curls as possible when applying gel so that you eliminate frizz and flyaway hairs once your cast has dried.
Choosing the right gel
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a gel.
Transition period. If you are just starting your Curly Girl journey, you’re undoubtedly going through the dreaded transition phase. You should try and take the necessary steps to make the transition phase as easy on yourself as possible and choosing a light gel with a strong hold will be your best bet.
Curl type. If you have fine wavy hair, try going for a more watery clear gel. You’ll need a strong cast to ensure your curls hold up. If you have type 2B/C – 3A/B/C hair, you could go for any kind of gel, but the softer the gel, the softer the hold. If you have coily or kinky hair, a custard or creamier gel would suit you. Cantu has some great curling custards and gels which work great for curly hair. You’ll want to elongate and moisturise your curls rather than trying to go for a strong cast.
Budget. You’d be surprised, but some gels are quite pricey! I tend to go for midrange gels but every now and then I splash out on the Umberto Giannini Scrunchy Jelly. It’s a real favourite and I use it alongside mousse when I refresh my curls.
To cast or not to cast. Some Curly Girls are not too fussed about getting a cast. I’ll admit that I am one of them. In the beginning, I loved the feeling of scrunching out the scrunch from my cast to reveal amazing curls.
But I found that my hair never got as soft as many other Curlies and I couldn’t really work out why. I’ve since discovered that mousse combined with gel is the perfect combination for me. I use less gel but still get a soft cast. This enables me to have bouncy, lively curls which is all I want!
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the best Curly Girl approved gels which are currently available to buy in the UK.
Best UK Curly Girl Approved Gel Products in 2020
1. Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly
The Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly is a UK favourite Curly Girl approved gel. It is vegan formulated and has a medium to strong hold.
It’s really great for beginners as it is easy to use and the texture is light and can be used on all hair types.
For a stronger hold, try diffusing with your side parting flipped towards the other side for maximum volume. You can also airdry for a softer hold. The best bit? Scrunching out the crunch at the end!
2. Twisted Sista Gel
The Twisted Sista Gel has a great hold that lasts up to 48 hours. It smells amazing and gives a great cast and smoothes out frizz.
This gel is recommended for thin, or wavy curl textures. It has a thin consistency which is great for layering with mousse or other styling products. Curly Girls love this product and say that it even holds up in bad weather!
3. Eco Olive Oil Gel
The Eco Olive Oil Gel contains olive oil for added moisture. It has a thicker consistency which hydrates your curls while eliminating frizz.
It’s perfect for adding definition to your curls but it’s also great for controlling those flyaways!
4. Boucleme Super Hold Gel
if you’re looking for extra hold, try the Boucleme Super Hold Gel. It is another approved gel which is popular with UK Curly Girls. It promises ultimate firm hold which will keep your curls in check on even the busiest of days. The gel contains plant extracts such as Chia seed, Blue Agave, Algae Sugars, Kahai Oil and Linseed.
Eliminates frizz and is ideal for curl definition and maintaining loose curls, waves and coils.
5. Aunt Jackies Don’t Shrink Elongating Flaxseed Curling Gel
If you have dry and brittle curls, the Aunt Jackies Don’t Shrink Elongating Flaxseed Curling Gel is for you.
It has a special blend of Flaxseed, Shea Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil which helps with scalp health and leaves hair soft without that crunchy sticky feeling.
Flaxseed gel is incredibly popular with Curly Girl enthusiasts and always produces amazing frizz-free results.
Budget-friendly UK Curly Girl Approved Gel Products
If you don’t feel like splashing some cash on high-end brands, you can always start your Curly Girl journey with supermarket and drugstore brands. They can be equally as good, have a strong hold but may not have any particular scent to them. This isn’t really an issue so don’t feel shy about trying a 99p gel!
- Boots Essentials Extra Firm Hold Gel. This gel offers a medium hold and is lightweight. If you’re just starting out on CGM, give this one a go. 99p in Boots.
- Wilko Extra Hold Hair Gel. You can get this strong hold gel from Wilko for 80p and what’s even better, you get 500g! A favourite with Curly Girls and easy to use.
- Tesco’s Essentials Gel. Easily recognisable by its blue colour, the Tesco gel gets five-star reviews and is a bargain at £1.50 for 300ml.
- Homemade flaxseed gel. If you’re brave and got a bit of spare time on your hands, I would thoroughly recommend making your own flaxseed gel. It gives a super strong hold and many Curly Girls claim that their homemade flaxseed gel gives them better hold than any storebought gel.
So there you have it. My favourite Curly Girl approved gels which you can buy in the UK. Give them a go and let me know what you think! Do you have a favourite gel? Do you prefer to use mousse? Leave a comment below!