Picture this: You’re back in middle school getting ready for another day of long lectures and heavy textbooks. Still half asleep, you drag your feet into the bathroom and begin to style your ash blonde or dark brown hair. The first thing you reach for? Your favorite hair gel that you apply all over your mane to give you perfect, long-lasting styles.
We can’t deny that our throwback crunchy curls bring back fond memories of hanging with our besties after lunch and having little responsibility. However, we will admit that sometimes it left our hair a little too hard and stiff. Luckily, hair gel has come a long way since middle school. These days you can find any hair gel to satisfy all of your styling needs sans the crunchy-feel.
If you’re ready for a serious gel upgrade, keep reading for 15 of the best hair gels for women you can use to create any look for every occasion.
Matrix Style Link Super Fixer Strong Hold Gel
Nothing says “rain on my parade” more than a hairstyle that’s covered in white flaky residue left from your hair gel. Matrix Style Link Super Fixer Strong Hold Gel is here to prove that stronghold gel and residue don’t need to go hand in hand. This sculpting gel allows for more structure and shine without any flaking. You can use it on damp hair for a slicked hairstyle or dry hair to ensure an extreme hold.
Matrix Style Link Super Fixer Strong Hold Gel, available in salon
L'Oréal Professionnel Extreme Splash Gel
If your go-to look is a sleek wet hairstyle, then L'Oréal Professionnel Extreme Splash Gel is made just for you. Formulated to give you optimal shine with no visible residue, you’ll be able to create ponytails and buns without the fear of having loose strands.
L'Oréal Professionnel Extreme Splash Gel, available in salon
Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino Quinoa Frizz Control Gel
The best part about updated and innovative hair gels is the addition of ingredients we can actually pronounce like rice amino acids, quinoa, and tomato ferment. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino Quinoa Frizz Control Gel utilizes plant-based ingredients to create a light hold with frizz-fighting benefits. Use this product to help shape and define your curls without sticky or crunchy after effects.
Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino Quinoa Frizz Control Gel, MSRP $20.00
Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel
If you have thick, curly hair, you have may have experience with products not moisturizing your entire mane. If that’s the case, the Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel is what you’ve been looking for. The formula—made with meadowfoam seed oil, fatty acids, and arnica flower—helps to inject weightless moisture into dehydrated hair strands so that they can assume and hold frizz-free definition.
Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel, MSRP $26.00
Redken Stay High 18 High Hold Gel To Mousse
When hair care meets convenience we can’t help but fall head over heels in love. What can we say, we’re busy ladies. Redken’s Stay High 18 High Hold Gel To Mousse does double duty as a maximum control gel and volumizing mousse. It will save you time while getting ready and also give you hair that is va-va-voluminous all night long.
Redken Stay High 18 High Hold Gel To Mousse, MSRP $24.00
Biolage Styling Gelée
Whether you’re going to a wedding or on a date with someone special, Biolage Styling Gelée is likely to create a hairstyle that’ll make you feel gorgeous wherever you are. The all-purpose formula offers a firm hold and adds body, shine, and control for all hair types.
Biolage Styling Gelée, MSRP $17.00
Amika Curl Corps Enhancing Gel
This spring, make room for Amika Curl Corps Enhancing Gel on your vanity. Besides the charming and colorful packaging that will make your bathroom pop, this gel will give your curls the buoyancy needed after a long and cold winter.
Amika Curl Corps Enhancing Gel, $25.00
Kérastase Materialiste Thickening Spray Gel
For ladies with thin hair who are looking for an extra boost, try Kérastase Materialiste Thickening Spray Gel. The spray contains thickening properties and keep your style in place with its flexible hold. A few spritzes of this spray gel will make your hair appear thicker than ever before.
Kérastase Materialiste Thickening Spray Gel, MSRP $28.00
IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel
If effortless, lived-in hair is your aesthetic then IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel is your next Holy Grail hair care product. Its coconut-infused formula creates the perfect foundation for hydrated, un-done hair.
IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel, MSRP $29.00
Bumble And Bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil
What good is hair gel if humid temperatures still manage to turn your perfectly tight coils into undefined waves? From ringlets to corkscrews, Bumble and Bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil is made to combat humidity while offering glossy and elongated curls.
Bumble and Bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, MSRP $30.00
SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Styling Gel
If reminiscing about the sweet smell of the tropics has you begging for summer vacation, then we have the next best thing. SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Styling Gel will give you those subtle whiffs of coconut you’re missing and a medium hold beachside hairstyle. The formula keeps your style in place with soft, smooth strands—no hard crunchiness allowed.
SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Styling Gel, MSRP $11.49
L'Oréal Professionnel Liss And Pump-Up Dual Styler Gel
Another cult-favorite to add to your gel repertoire is the L'Oréal Professionnel Liss and Pump-Up Dual Styler Gel. The cream and gel duo give your strands dramatic volume and a velvety smooth blow-dry finish. Voluminous hair that’s smooth and lasts? We’ll take two bottles, please.
L'Oréal Professionnel Liss and Pump-Up Dual Styler Gel, available in salon
Aquage Straightening Ultragel
Aquage Straightening Gel is changing the game with their exclusive blend of ultra-light silicones and sea fennel oil to create the perfect straight hairstyle. Apply this product evenly throughout your wet hair and blow dry for a smooth, silky straight style with vibrant shine.
Aquage Straightening Ultragel, MSRP $24.00
If you're looking for more expert tips, use our salon locator to book an appointment near you.