Ugh, hair gel – that awful stuff that was big in the early '00s for slicking back hair, holding up the spikes of members of boy bands and keeping curls crunchy. You may only have negative memories of this infamous hair product, but it's not null and void just yet.
There are a number of ways hair gel can actually still be super useful (and even beneficial) to your hair care regimen, whether your hair is straight, curly, long or short. You might still have a bottle of Dep kicking around, but we might convince you go out and get something new!
Slicking it back
Of course you know that gel is good for slicking back a ponytail or bun, a la Jennifer Lopez in 2001. However, the style you associated with gel is usually achieved with wet hair. Using gel in dry, straight hair can have a very chic effect that is truly 2012. After blow-drying your hair straight, smooth gel from roots to ends before brushing it up into a ponytail. This will create a truly luminous look to your locks while keeping frizz at bay. Add shine serum to boost the luster even more.
Making frizz-control cocktails
Sometimes my out-of-control frizz does make me need a drink, but that's not the cocktail I'm talking about here. Gel is a perfect ingredient for a curly or wavy hair styling cocktail, because it contributes just enough control without weighing the hair down like a straight up frizz cream can do. Mix some frizz-blocking gel with an anti-frizz cream and apply to your hair when it's damp, not wet. If your hair is curly, mix a dime-sized amount of gel and a nickel-sized blob of cream, and reverse if your hair is straight or wavy.
The best straightening agent
You may associate gel with crunchy curls, but it can actually be a fantastic straightening agent, too, as long as your hair is thick. Apply a dime-sized amount of flexible-hold gel to your hair, then blow dry it straight and use your heat styling tools if necessary. You might be surprised at the sleek results!
The basic rule of thumb with gels is to choose one that meets your hair's needs and never use too much. If you have fine hair and use globs of super-hold gel, yes, you will look like a wet dog (or Joey Fatone circa 2000). Use the right type and in moderation, and you might just love the results!