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If you have highly textured hair, you might appreciate your hair’s feel, symbolism, versatility, and beauty.
However, if you find it frustrating to manage, comb, sculpt, and style those curls, coils, and kinks, styling gel can help out immensely.
Styling gel helps people achieve their desired hairstyle while also providing essential nutrients, moisture, and shine.
Below is a list of the 11 best styling gels for black women’s hair.
1. Dr. Miracle’s Strong + Healthy Nourishing & Styling Gel – Best Overall
Dr. Miracle’s Strong + Healthy Gel is appropriately named as it keeps your hair well-nourished throughout and beyond the styling process.
Styling hair has inherent risks, especially for 4c and 4b hair types. This product can provide incredible hold while still allowing your hair to retain its natural moisture.
This is important because 4c hair is already prone to dryness, and moisture retention helps prevent breakage and damage.
The benefit of preventing breakage and damage is supporting length and hair growth, so if you’re looking to grow your hair, these factors are crucial considerations.
Further, Dr. Miracle’s styling gel includes aloe vera, biotin, and olive oil that promotes hair growth, increases its softness and reduces irritation of the scalp.
You can use this styling gel whether you have your natural hair completely out or it’s in a protective style. Women can use this versatile and natural gel throughout their hair, scalp, and edges.
Ultimately, you can achieve the perfect amount of both holds and shine from this product. Plus, this gel is mid-range in terms of competitor pricing, so it’s relatively affordable for continued use.
- Nourishes hair throughout and after the styling process
- Great for 4c hair to reduce dryness and breakage
- Includes hair-healthy ingredients like aloe vera, biotin, and olive oil
- It can use on both loose hair and with protective styles
- Some users don’t like the scent
- Some users felt the hold is too strong for certain styles
2. Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel – Premium Option
If you’re hoping to grow out your hair or achieve longer hair, Mielle Organics’ Honey & Ginger Styling Gel is an excellent option for you.
This gel contains ginger extract and honey to strengthen hair follicles and strands while also promoting hair growth.
The babassu oil and ale extract included in this gel also aid in nourishing the hair without causing unnecessary build-up from heavier gels.
All hair types can use this gel, but it was created as a styling gel for black hair, types 3a to 4c specifically.
So if you’re experiencing hair loss or damage and want to achieve healthier hair, this product is definitely worth trying out.
It’s also worth trying out if you want to have more defined curls, less frizz, and smoother edges after styling your hair each day.
However, this gel is on the pricier end, so this might not be the best fit for you if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
- Includes hair-healthy ingredients – ginger extract, honey, babassu oil, and aloe extract
- Great for hair growth
- Restores damaged hair
- Explicitly made with black hair in mind
- Nourishes hair without build-up
- More expensive than other gels
- Some users didn’t like the scent
3. ECOCO Eco Style Gold – Bust Budget Option
ECOCO’s Eco Style Gold Gel is an excellent budget-friendly hair gel, especially if you use hair gel frequently.
This hair gel provides a fantastic hold for all hair types but is specifically the best gel for 4c hair. It can be used on natural hair, relaxed hair, and hair extensions.
This hair gel is made with olive oil, shade butter, black castor oil, and flaxseed oil to help keep your hair moisturized and healthy.
It also has a clean, fresh scent that isn’t too overpowering. This hair gel can be used to achieve a variety of hairstyles, including sleek and slicked-back hair, defined curls, or waves.
As it is a lower-priced item, you might not get as much shine and moisture as some of its competitors. But if you’re mainly looking for a relatively healthy gel that will hold and tame those stubborn strands, then this ECOCO gel is not a bad option.
- Great for 4c hair to keep it moisturized
- It works well for slicked-back styles
- It can be used on all hair types
- Some users feel the product doesn’t hold strong enough
- Some users feel it’s too greasy
- Not as much shine as competitors
4. Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Smoother – Best for Moisturized Edges
Carol’s Daughter is a reputable brand for black hair, and this black vanilla edge control smoother proves that the company understands black hair can be tamed without losing its moisture.
Often edges can be difficult to control because baby hairs want to poke out and do their own thing. So if you’re looking for a gel that can smooth out those edges for a sleeker look, look no further.
Carol’s Daughter’s edge control not only smooths edges but also replenishes moisture and adds shine and softness to dry and brittle hair.
Plus, the natural ingredients of black vanilla, shea butter, aloe, and sweet almond oil work wonders on your hair and smell great while they’re at it!
This product works best for curly hair but might not hold as strong or as long for natural 4c hair.
- Great for edges
- Made with natural hair in mind
- Smells great
- Adds moisture and shine
- Includes quality healthy ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, sweet almond oil
- It might not work as well or as long for 4c hair
- Some users felt it was too greasy
5. Lottabody Control Me Edge Gel – Best for Sleek Edges
Lottabody’s Control Me Edge Gel is one of the best gels on the market for sleek edges.
It’s a lightweight gel that doesn’t leave hair feeling crunchy but rather smooth and soft.
It can be used on all hair types but works best on natural hair that’s been styled with heat, like flat ironing and blow-drying.
This gel is perfect for creating sleek and slicked back hairstyles or defined curls.
Additionally, some edge controls have the issue of turning white or leaving white flakes on the hair after a while. But Lottabody Control edge gel does not have that issue, which many users highly appreciate.
It has a light hold, so if you’re looking for a gel with a stronger hold, this might not be the best option for you.
- Works well for all hair types
- Works well with heated styles
- It doesn’t leave hair feeling crunchy or flaky
- Great for sleek and slicked back hairstyles
- Light hold
- Some users felt it didn’t work for 4c hair
6. Rolda Black Styling Hair Gel – Best for Extra Strong Hold
Rolda’s Black Styling Hair Gel is one of the best styling gels for natural hair on the market for extra strong hold.
This hair gel can be used on all hair types but works best on 4c hair to help achieve defined and sleek styles. And since it is alcohol-free, you can safely use it on your natural hair.
This hair gel for black hair can hold for up to 24 hours without getting sticky, greasy, or unnaturally stiff.
If you’ve had enough of the “feminine” smells – floral, vanilla, citrus, etc. – and would prefer a more “masculine” scent for a change, you will appreciate this styling gel for that reason as well.
Another factor to consider is that it uses activated charcoal, which helps nourish and moisturize your hair and also gives hair a natural tint. The tint can help fill in lighter or white hairs, adding more uniformity to the overall look.
This is why only people with black or very dark brown hair should use this product.
Overall, this gel works wonders for taming even the most unruly hair.
- Extra firm hold
- Great for defined and sleek styles
- Activated charcoal for moisture
- Activated charcoal for natural tint and uniformity
- Some users might prefer the masculine smell
- Some users might not like the masculine smell
- It may irritate sensitive scalps
- Only suitable for people with black or dark brown hair
7. SoftSheen-Carson Let’s Jam! Hair Gel – Best for Versatility
If you want a hair gel that does it all at a very reasonable price, then look no further than the SoftSheen-Carson’s Let’s Jam! Gel.
This gel aids in styling, conditioning, smoothing edges, twisting, and braiding, and anyone of any color and hair type can enjoy this product. It can also be used on both wet and dry hair and leaves your hair feeling soft and looking shiny.
This gel is also easy to apply and doesn’t leave your hair feeling crunchy or stiff. It is also silicone-free and alcohol-free so that it won’t leave unnecessary residue, flakes, or wax in your hair.
It has a powerful hold, so if you’re looking for a gel with a lighter hold, this might not be the best option for you.
Additionally, some users felt that this gel left their hair looking slightly greasy, but that might be due to their specific hair type or porosity.
- Versatile – Aids in styling, conditioning, smoothing edges, twisting, and braiding
- It can be used on both wet and dry hair
- Long-lasting hold
- It May leave hair greasy for some users
- Strong hold may be too much for some styles
8. Shea Moisture Styling Lotion – Best Restorative Styling Agent
If your hair doesn’t need maximum hold and taming and styling gels are feeling like a bit of overkill, you may want to opt for a styling lotion instead.
This Shea Moisture styling lotion does have many of the same benefits and results as the aforementioned gels, such as adding moisture, adding shine, reducing frizz, reducing breakage, and making it easier to style your curls.
However, the additional natural ingredients included, like shea butter, Jamaican black castor oil, and peppermint, help restore hair from the root up. This makes the styling gel ideal for women with damaged hair.
Plus, this styling agent has no phthalates, parabens, sulfates, silicones, petroleum, or mineral oil, so you can feel rest assured that your hair and scalp won’t feel greasy, heavy, flaky, or weighed down.
However, some users feel like it does dry out their hair more than some of its competitors.
- Adds moisture
- Adds shine
- Reduces frizz
- Reduces breakage
- It helps with curl definition
- No phthalates, parabens, sulfates, silicones, petroleum, or mineral oil
- Not as heavy as typical styling gels
- May dry out hair more than other products
- Hair may feel stiffer
9. African Pride Black Castor Miracle Gel – Best for Braids, Twists, and Locs
This African Pride Black Castor Miracle Gel is a no-flake, no-fail formula that can help you achieve sleek and moisturized styles with ease.
It is perfect for braids, twists, and locs, as it provides a long-lasting hold without making your hair feel crunchy or stiff.
Additionally, this gel is infused with black castor oil and coconut oil to help promote healthy hair growth and reduce breakage.
It holds up well and is perfect for summertime because it will keep your style looking fresh – even when you start to sweat!
This gel also has a light and refreshing scent, which is always a bonus. Plus, it does not include parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, & petrolatum.
However, some users have noted that this gel can be a bit difficult to wash out, so you may decide to use a clarifying shampoo if you want to use this product.
- No-flake, no-fail formula
- Long-lasting hold
- Infused with black castor oil and shea butter
- Light and refreshing scent
- No parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, & petrolatum
- It can be challenging to wash out
- Some users find it too sticky and thick
10. Kinky-Curly Styling Gel – Best for Curly to Wavy Hair
Kinky-Curly has a styling gel that is perfect for curlier and wavier hair types instead of coils.
It’s not as firm and long-lasting of a hold as some of the competitors on this list, but this custard styling gel will be all you need for defined curls and sleeker, shinier locks.
This gel is also quite moisturizing, as it is made with a water-based formula that includes flaxseed oil and agave nectar.
These natural ingredients will help to add shine and definition to your curls without weighing them down or making them crunchy.
Plus, it is also free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens.
However, some users have found that this gel does not provide enough hold for their hair, especially if they have coarser hair. Others have found that it is a bit too sticky for their liking.
- Water-based formula
- Adds shine and definition
- Free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens
- Weak hold
- It does not work well for coarser hair types
- It May feel too sticky
11. Mielle Organics White Peony leave-in Conditioner and Styling Gel – Best for Finer Hair
This Mielle Organics White Peony leave-in Conditioner and Styling Gel is a 2-in-1 product that can help you achieve sleek, hydrated, and frizz-free hair.
It is ideal for fine hair types, as it will not weigh your hair down or make it feel crunchy.
Additionally, this gel is made with White Peony extract, an ingredient known for its ability to add shine and softness to the hair.
Plus, it also includes glycerin and panthenol to help lock in moisture and keep your hair hydrated all day long.
This product does have a strong fragrance, so if you are sensitive to smells, you may want to steer clear of this one.
Additionally, this is not an ideal stand-alone styling gel for coarse or thick hair, as it will not hold nearly as well as its competitors.
Finally, some users have found that this gel can be a little bit drying for their hair.
- 2-in-1 product
- Ideal for fine hair types
- Adds shine and softness
- Locks in moisture
- Strong fragrance
- May dry out hair
- Not suitable as a stand-alone styling product for coarse hair
What To Look for in a Styling Gel for Black Women’s Hair
When looking for the best styling gel for black women’s hair, you should keep a few things in mind.
Price is always a factor to consider when buying any product, but you also want to make sure that the gel can provide the hold and results you’re looking for.
The lowest-priced styling gels for black women tend to be around $2-$3 on Amazon. Higher-priced but still budget-friendly gels are about $5, and more expensive products are over $10.
It’s also crucial to consider not just the overall price but also the price per ounce.
A smaller package might be cheaper overall, but you could run out of it a lot sooner. So when you’re comparing items, think about the price per ounce over the total cost.
Strength of the Hold
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the gel can provide a stronger hold without making your hair feel stiff, inflexible, or crunchy.
Typically, the thicker and kinkier your hair is, the stronger you need the hold to be. Fortunately, gel products will mention their hold strength right on the label, so there’s not a lot of guessing involved.
However, some products that claim to have a long-lasting hold do not, which is why it’s important to read reviews and product comparisons (like this article)!
You also want to make sure that the gel is easy to apply and doesn’t leave your hair feeling greasy or heavy.
Additionally, it’s important to find a gel that is free of harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and petroleum.
Ultimately, the ingredients have a lot to do with how the gel will feel on your hair upon application and throughout the day.
The ingredients will also determine what type of benefits the gel will provide beyond simply holding, taming, or laying your hair.
Natural oils like castor oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and others will aid in moisturizing, nourishing, and restoring your hair.
Butter, like shea butter, is also a good idea for black hair, as they help lock in moisture and prevent frizz.
That way, as you’re styling your hair each day, you can simultaneously reduce frizz reduce itchiness, reduce breakage, and increase healthy growth.
Hair Type and Porosity
Finally, you want to find a gel that suits your specific hair type and porosity.
If you have high porosity hair, you might want to opt for a gel with more protein to help strengthen your hair.
If you have low porosity hair, you might want to look for a light and moisture-rich gel to help hydrate your strands.
If you have medium porosity hair, you have more wiggle room and can opt for almost any gel type.
Additionally, 4c hair will likely need a product with a stronger hold than 3a hair.
Residue and Flakes
Finding a hair gel that does not turn white, leave residue, or flake is essential.
Gels that do any of these things can be extremely frustrating, as they can undo all of your hard work in styling and leave you feeling frustrated by the end result.
Thus, look for descriptions that include “residue-free” and “flake-free,” and scan the reviews to see what people think.
An additional tip is to buy the smallest amount possible first so that you can test out the styling gel for yourself before committing to a larger size or a subscription.
Which styling gel you choose may also depend on the type of styles you wish to use the gel for.
If you’re using gel for everyday styling, you will want one that is lighter, as well as more bang for your buck, as you will likely run out of it more often.
Additionally, there are specific gels that are appropriate for slicked-back looks, cornrows, or ponytail styles. Getting a good edge control gel is important for finishing off any of these looks and ensuring that your hairline looks neat and polished.
A lot of people also use gels for protective styles, like braids, twists, or Bantu knots.
For these styles, you will want a gel that provides a good hold without being too heavy, as you don’t want the gel weighing your hair down or making your scalp itch.
Best Styling Gel Brands for Black Women’s Hair
Now that we’ve gone over the best styling gels and what to look for when shopping for your perfect hair gel let’s take a look at some of the best brands.
Dr. Miracle is a brand that is specifically marketed to black women and has a wide variety of products to choose from, including gels, creams, oils, leave-in conditioners, and more.
Their Strong + Healthy gel is one of their most popular products and provides a firm hold without being too stiff or crunchy.
What we love about this hair brand is that its products are free of harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and petroleum.
Additionally, their products are designed to help with a variety of hair concerns, including frizz, breakage, dryness, and more.
In addition to the Strong + Healthy Gel, they have many other products within that line, including but not limited to shampoos, masques, balms, scalp oils, and spot serum.
It’s difficult to find a hair care product that Dr. Miracle doesn’t make!
Mielle Organics is another great brand for black hair care. They offer a variety of products, including a pomade, custard, hair milk, leave-in conditioner, and more.
Their products are also free of harmful chemicals and are designed to help with common black hair concerns like dryness, breakage, and frizz.
We love this brand because their products are made with ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, and avocado oil to help lock in moisture and nourish your strands.
We also love that this is a women-owned brand. Monique Rodriguez is the proud founder and CEO of the renowned company.
Additionally, their products are affordably priced and can be found at most drugstores or online.
Finally, it’s important to note that Mielle is not just a haircare brand but a skincare brand as well. Their skincare products include face scrubs, cleansers, masks, serums, and lotions.
Kinky-Curly is another great brand for looser, wavier black, and mixed hair.
They offer a variety of products, including a leave-in conditioner, curl-defining cream, custard, and more.
We appreciate this brand because its products are phthalate-free.
Many of their products do contain some unnatural preservatives in order to prevent mold, but all of the ingredients are safe and gentle for hair care.
Ultimately, Kinky-Curly offers well-priced options for people with hair that’s “in-between” with kinky, wavy, or various curl patterns, which tend to be challenging to manage.
Carol’s Daughter is one of the best styling gel brands and black hair brands overall.
This high remark is because Carol’s Daughter was one of the first companies to focus on natural ingredients specifically for black hair.
Lisa Price, the founder, started formulating products in her kitchen and selling them at local flea markets.
Now, the company has grown to be sold in major retailers like Target, Sephora, and Ulta.
Carol’s Daughter offers a variety of products, including hair milk, leave-in conditioners, edge control, hair serums, and more. Although they are primarily a hair care company, they also have body and skincare products as well.
We love this company because they use natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil to help hydrate and nourish your strands.
They also have a wide variety of scented products, which is great if you’re looking for a product with a specific fragrance.
Finally, their products are free of harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
Shea Moisture is another excellent choice for black hair care products.
They offer a variety of products, including a coconut and hibiscus curling gel souffle, edge control, hair milk, a leave-in conditioner, and more.
We love that their products are made with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and hibiscus to help hydrate and nourish your strands.
Additionally, their products are typically free of harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
And while many haircare brands cater specifically to women, Shea Moisture has products specifically for men and babies as well.
Shea Moisture is also a great choice if you’re looking for products that are affordably priced and can be found at most drugstores.
Lastly, African Pride is another excellent choice for natural black hair care products. They offer a variety of products, including an olive miracle leave-in conditioner, cream, edge control, and more.
We love that their products are made with ingredients like shea butter, olive oil, and African herbs to help hydrate and nourish your strands.
Additionally, like most of the other best black hair brands, African Pride uses all-natural ingredients with no parabens, sulfates, or harmful ingredients.
Top Styling Gels for Black Women’s Hair, Final Thoughts
When it comes to styling gels for black women’s hair, there are a lot of great options available.
Some of the most important factors to consider include the type of hair you have, your budget, and whether you’re looking for a product with natural ingredients.
Ultimately, the best styling gel for black women’s hair is the one that best suits your individual needs.