5 Top Curly Girl Hair Gels In 2024 + Tips To Apply Them

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If you have curly hair, chances are, shampoos and conditioners are just not enough.

When you started your curly girl method journey, you may have found that your waves are prone to dryness and flaking and that you’ll need all-out support to keep your hair healthy. 

short curly haired woman applying hair product on her hair in a white bathroom

Enter curly girl hair gels. They’re actually an essential step in the curly girl method, and for good reason. They help you achieve the bouncy, shiny curls associated with having a healthy scalp.

They’re basically your lifesavers to help your hair out of its misery, reviving the gorgeous ringlets it’s supposed to have.

If you need to refresh your memory on the CG method, you can check our complete CGM guide here.

Curlsmith - Curl Defining Styling Soufflé
Editor’s Choice
  • Moisturizes hair
  • Defines curls
  • Lightweight
Aussie Instant Freeze Hair Gel
Budget Pick
  • Gives hair 20-hour maximum hold
  • Non-flaking
  • Protect and restore hair from the sun and sea
Bumble and Bumble BB Curl AntiHumidity Gel-Oil
Premium Pick
  • Combines the hold of a gel with the hydration of an oil
  • Makes hair shiny
  • Anti-frizz

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Curl Gel

Choosing the right product can get overwhelming, so here are the factors that you should consider when looking for the top curly girl hair gel.

Hair Type

Do you have 3a-3c curls? Then choose a formula that clumps your hair together for more well-defined locks. 

If you have loose waves, you can play around with any type of gel.

If you have dry hair, choose a gel that has hydrating qualities to help with your issue. 

If you have colored hair, make sure to choose one that is color safe.

As long as you know your curl pattern and hair type, you’ll know exactly what to start looking for in a product.


Although there are a lot of great products out there, an expensive gel for the curly girl method does not guarantee a great formula. In fact, a lot of good products have mid-range pricing.


Protein-packed gels, glycerin, coconut, silicones, sulfates, drying alcohol, parabens, mineral oils, and waxes…

It may be surprising but if you have protein overload, you should avoid proteins such as soy, silk protein, amino acids, biotin, keratin, etc. in your hair products because they will be the cause of weaker strands that are prone to breakage.

This also applies to coconut, which technically is not a protein, but would also have the same effect on your protein-overloaded hair.

5 Top Curly Girl Hair Gels

With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to find the right one for you.

Don’t worry! We got you. Here are our top 5 favorite gels for your curly hair:

Curlsmith - Curl Defining Styling Soufflé

We’ve heard only the best things about this product, and we must say, it’s absolutely worth the try. 

Primary Benefits: Moisturizes hair, defines curls; lightweight


  • Semi-solid jelly
  • 100% cruelty-free
  • Sulfate-, mineral oil-, phthalate-, and silicone-free

Get the definition you need with zero of the grease you feel from using heavy gels.

The Curlsmith Soufflé is both a moisturizer and a medium-hold styling gel.

The semi-solid jelly texture creates a slight gel cast on each strand to trap moisture and give a gravity-defying definition to your curls. 

If a super uncomfortable cast is formed, you can squeeze out the crunchiness to reveal soft locks.

Being an effective lightweight gel for wavy hair and curly hair, it won’t weigh your hair down plus it’s suitable for all curl types. This product also makes your waves and curls humidity-proof.

If you’re looking for a gel for the curly girl method, try this overachiever!

Bumble and Bumble BB Curl AntiHumidity Gel-Oil

Okay, the price may be a little steep, but hear us out. This is heaven for your curly hair.

Primary Benefits: Combines the hold of a gel with the hydration of oil, makes hair shiny


  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of parabens, formaldehydes, mineral oils, and phthalates
  • Safe for chemically treated hair

Your stringy, frizzy hair days are over once you’ve tried Bumble and Bumble BB Curl AntiHumidity Gel-Oil!

This popular gel-and-oil hybrid can hold your curls for days while moisturizing your hair.

It’s best for people whose major problems are dryness, dullness, and frizziness. 

It’s perfect for dyed curly hair as well. If you’re interested in learning more about dyeing curly hair, check out our guide here.

This product has the perfect blend of humectants, cupuacu butter, babassu oil, and pracaxi oil, which all help with hydration.

In addition, a little goes a long way, so one tube will last you for a long time. All in all, a great product to add to your routine!

Aussie Instant Freeze Hair Gel

This might be the best hair gel for the curly girl method at the best price. We swear you wouldn’t expect something this affordable to be this effective.

Primary Benefits: Gives hair 20-hour maximum hold; non-flaking; protect and restore hair from the sun and sea


  • With sea kelp and Australian jojoba oil
  • Citrusy and aquatic scent
  • Affordable

If you’re looking for a good introduction to curl gels, this is the way to go.

Caution: You might fall in love with this gel.

We’re sure that you’ll have a long-term relationship with this product! You’ll only need a small amount for every application. It’s a strong-hold gel, so it can stay on for a day, or even more!

Without any toxic ingredients like silicones, parabens, or sulfates, you won’t get any of that gross flaking.

What more can you ask for?

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel

Do your hair a favor and get this gel ASAP! It doesn’t lie when it says you’re going to have frizz-free days when you use it. 

Primary Benefits: Defines curls; not crunchy or sticky; locks out humidity


  • Sulfate- and paraben-free
  • Anti-frizz nanotechnology with sericin silk protein
  • With nourishing botanical extracts and natural oils

This product is a dream to apply, so don’t hesitate to try it!

Ouidad has nailed its formula when it comes to locking in curls without getting crunchy or sticky, both of which are major issues that most curly girl method-approved gels don’t address.

It locks in moisture without weighing your mane down, and even though it’s a bit pricey, it lasts a long time because you don’t need a lot of the product with every application.

This product works on thick, curly hair even in high humidity!

Kinky Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel

The Kinky Curly Gel will never disappoint. It works wonders for your hair and features an all-natural formula. Guaranteed that you won’t get exposed to toxic ingredients!

Primary Benefits: Defines curls, removes frizz, provides long-lasting hold


  • All-natural formula
  • Glycerin-free
  • Vanilla-scented

Get your new fave gel on Amazon!

If you have coily hair, this is a must-have.

Nothing beats Kinky Curly’s gel when it comes to curling definition, plus they didn’t joke around when they said this product makes your hair shine.

As one of the top firm-hold gels for curly hair, the Kinky Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel won’t make your hair feel crunchy despite its strength. 

We dare say this might be the top curly girl gel on the market. Holy grail material!

African American gorgeous woman with curly hair

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Use a CGM-Approved Gel

  1. After your usual shower routine (shampooing and conditioning), apply your favorite leave-in conditioner while your hair is wet. Here are our top hair conditioning tips for curly hair.
  1. Flip your head and squeeze out the excess water with a cotton towel.
  1. Put some gel into your hand. Gently apply your gel on a small section of your damp hair. 

If you have wavy hair, rake through your curls to fully apply the product. Squish the products upwards to form curls. 

Meanwhile, if you have kinky or coily hair, don’t rake at all and just squish. If you’ve added a little too much product, you can gently squeeze out the excess gel and you’re good to go.

  1. Continue adding the gel, one section of hair at a time.
  1. Once you’re done coating every section of your hair, combine all the sections together on one side and squish your hair from the ends up to the scalp.
  1. Next, you can air-dry your curls or use a diffuser on a low setting.

And you’re done! 

Which is better to use? Gel or mousse?

It depends on your curl pattern, but mousses generally do not compare to gels when it comes to curling definition and added hydration for your hair. Gels are also more effective in high-humidity areas and are top for frizz-prone hair.

Do I need to reapply the gel between wash days?

You don’t have to do that since gels are designed to last you for a few days. You just need to spray your hair with water to reactivate the product. Squeeze from the tips up to your scalp while you air-dry. 

Top Curly Girl Hair Gels Conclusion

So there you have it! Everything you need to find the top curly girl hair gel. If you’ve found the right gel through this article, let us know in the comments!

Starting your CGM journey?

Here are some of the articles you can check out: 


  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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