Okay so you want to know how to use hair gel for curly hair, huh?
Cause you need a better way to do things as you want curls with pop and definition enough to last four or five days?
Or maybe you just want to better understand the whole cast thing?
Like why you can’t seem to get one no matter what you do.
Or the flip side why you can’t easily get rid of one when you do get it.
With curls doesn’t it seem it’s like you’re always just one secret away from a natural, no frizz look?
Problem is the more tutorials you watch or posts like this you read the more overwhelmed you feel. When it comes to how to take care of naturally curly hair it can be like that some days.
Meanwhile the curls keep frizzing. BOING!
It’s no laughing matter for sure.
So let’s see if we can’t take some of the mystery outta gel. Because for some it’s how to stop frizzy hair after washing. Well one way at least. If you do it right.
Because when done right it can be a total game changer. Giving you soft and silky curls that last with almost no frizz.
To get to that desired great hold and definition you may need the cast. Although everyone doesn’t. So let’s see if we can’t help with that.
Quick Section Navigation
- What Is Gel Cast On Hair?
- What Does The Cast Do For Curls?
- Explanation of How To Get Gel Cast
- How Long Does A Gel Cast Take To Dry?
- Problem: I Can’t Get A Gel Cast
- When The Best Time To Break Gel Cast?
- Can’t Get Rid Of The Gel Cast No Matter What
- VIDEO: How To Make A Gel Cast In Curly Hair Step by Step
That video on how make gel cast is definitely a keeper. If you do nothing else jump to that and tap the genius ideas shared.
What Is Gel Cast On Hair?
Gel cast happens when you apply styling gel to soaking wet hair. As it hardens it coats each curl clump in a glaze like layer. This helps with curl definition and allows your hair to soak in the moisture it needs making it less vulnerable to humidity and frizz.
What Does The Cast Do For Curls?
Actually since you can air dry when gel styling it’s mostly that gel just lets you style your curls without heat.
Don’t just gloss over that point. Heatless styling is something you should welcome, no?
The second thing it does is fight frizz in part by encouraging your curls to clump together.
Third is it hydrates your curls by locking in the moisture.
Fourth a cast can leave you with curls that have to be seen to be believed
So while that crunchy feeling may be a bane of some it packs some powerful benefits. Plus it is a surefire sign your gel is doing its job.
Explain Please – How To Get A Gel Cast?
Well for one, when it comes to how to create a gel cast how you apply the product matters. Some use a variation of the praying hands method. Others just scrunch it in.
For most the key is lots of water. That’s why it’s suggested the gel application be done on locks that are absolutely drenched. Which for some means starting in the shower.
This doesn’t work for everyone but it works for most. So starting here gives you a good shot at success.
Another application tip? Use a wide tooth comb or Denman brush to work the product in. Doing so will insure even coverage and total product distribution throughout your strands.
Remember you’re going for thorough product saturation here.
Finally don’t skimp on the gel. As you’ll see in the video below it may take much more than you might expect to make a cast happen.
That said it can still be kinda tricky to get the exact right amount of product into YOUR curls. Because the right amount varies by hair type and texture. And the consistency of the gel you’re using.
So don’t expect to get it exactly right after one go. It may take some playing around a few times to find the perfect amount of your hair.
How Long Does A Gel Cast Take To Dry?
How long does it take your hair to air dry? That’s one approximation. So unfortunately for some that would be just short of forever.
Otherwise there is no one answer here.
Of course you can always speed things up and diffuse. If you’d like some help that maybe our article on pixie diffusing would be worth a quick read.
Just click that link to read it on our site. It’s perfect if you’d like to know more about how to use a diffuser for curly hair.
Problem: Can’t Get A Gel Cast
Can’t create a gel cast to save your life, huh?
It’s a problem that can have you asking your cat “Why am I not getting a gel cast?”
If a gel cast is not forming for you then it may be due to a misstep or two on your part.
For one maybe you’re using a gel that’s designed to NOT leave any crunch behind.
Beyond that thicker gels are usually more cast worthy than their runnier cousins.
Or the gel may be getting too diluted from too much water.
On the other hand things may not be casting due to too little water. Or you may need to re wet your hair if you feel it drying as you go to keep it soaking wet.
Also plopping will absorb some of the gel. Which is why some add more gel when they remove the t-shirt they plopped with.
Of course you can layer on products. Starting like with a leave in, then applying a curl cream before moving on to the gel application.
But in the spirit of experimentation can I make a suggestion?
Just try this with gel alone first. Once you can create cast at will then you can play around to see what adding other products does for your curls.
Now if you’re not satisfied with the results of that here’s another thing to test.
Mix the gel with water in your hands before application. This is done to help spread the product rather than shoveling it straight onto your hair. That’s not a an absolute must do, but certainly something to test to see how your curls react.
Here’s two products from Amazon (although you can pick them up practically anywhere) for the cast challenged to try. One would be Aussie Instant Freeze. And other LA Looks Sports Extreme. Just don’t blame me if your hands get tired breaking the cast that results.
Then too curls wearing a cast throw off a kinda wet look vibe. If that isn’t for you, and some don’t know it doesn’t have to be, then you may be wondering…
When To Break Your Cast?
Then are you one of those girls who uses gel but walks around with a hard cast on your locks?
You don’t have to be THAT girl.
All you need to do break the cast.
That answer to when is simple.
Only when your hair is 100% bone dry. Parched. Arid even.
Hope you’re getting the idea that for best results your curls need to be positively desiccated before you set about to break the cast.
Trust me. This is a never to be broken rule. Unless you want to unleash your inner frizz demons.
That’s because the slightest hint of moisture when breaking the cast usually means you’ll have a frizz fest on your hands. And likely curls that will fall flat. If not immediately then shortly thereafter.
And no one ever thought a pile of frizz was a sexy look.
Tip: Here’s how to test your hair to be sure it’s 100% dry. Simply grab a section near your scalp, i.e. roots, and give it a little squeeze. If it feels the least bit cold, damp or anything that might suggest it’s still “wet” it’s still not yet SOTC time.
Obviously no one can say how long it will take your hair will reach the 100% dry mark. But for sure you want to wait until it is. Got it?
Anyway breaking up with your cast doesn’t have to be hard to do. So here’s more on the how of cast breaking …
Can’t Get Rid Of The Gel Cast No Matter What?
Often the difference between soft, nicely defined curls and wet looking, crunchy feeling ones is no cast.
So getting rid of the cast is important. But what if you can’t?
To back up a step you may have heard of people scrunching curly hair but not really understood what that meant.
Well, that simply means breaking the cast and freeing your soft flowing curls to be their best moisturized selves.
This scrunching however can be a problem for some. And may require some experimentation on your part to figure out what works best.
Some things to try first off might be…
- A different gel
- Apply the gel when your hair is more dampish than dripping wet
- Use more gel – it can take much more than you’d expect actually
- If you’re using a generous amount try using less
- Using a t-shirt or micro fiber towel or just your fingers
One more break-the-cast trick is to add a small drop or two of a lightweight oil like Argan and spread that over your fingertips. Then apply mid length down.
The emphasis here is on just how little oil you need to pull this off.
Rub your hands together to coat your fingers. Then run your palms over the surface of your hair. The idea is to gently coat your hair by gliding your fingers and hands over it.
Then start scrunching out the crunch. Starting from the ends to the roots.
In addition to softening the cast any oil used will be yet another way to seal in the moisture. Which in turn is another way to fend off the frizz.
Need more volume? Here’s an idea to try.
Fluff out the roots by going into your scalp from underneath your hair with your fingers. (Doing it that way to avoid frizz, you know?) Give your roots a good shaking. Some even bend over to amp up the volume further.
Okay so how about if we pull it all together to show you how get frizz free defined curls with gel. That’s right we’re finally to the demonstration video that shows all while keeping things simple.
It lays out the bare bones, step by step what you need to know about styling curly hair with gel.
So if you’re still unsure about styling with gel, don’t know where to start or how to go about it click the play button.
Here’s How To Make A Gel Cast In Curly Hair
Aside from freshly washed curly hair all you’ll need is
- A thick gel like LA Looks Extreme Sport Gel
- Cotton T-Shirt
BTW there’s nothing special about that gel. Usually any strong hold gel will do the trick. Although one person commented if you can’t get a cast with it your hair won’t cast with any gel. Just saying.
But that’s all you need. For real.
Here’s her process in a nutshell:
- Apply the gel to soaking wet hair
- Scrunch it in
- Let it dry completely
- Then scrunch out the crunch
Takeaway #1 Gel Application: Notice that she uses a generous amount of gel. Think big blob. No curls were ever saved with this technique by being stingy with the gel.
She spreads product over hands and bends at the waist so her dripping wet hair is hanging over her head in front of her. The praying hands technique, where you use your open palms rather than your fingers to apply the product, is used to smooth the gel over her hair a side at a time.
Tip: If frizzy ends are more of a problem for you might concentrate the gel there.
In any case we’re talking some serious gelling here.
Takeaway #2 Scrunch the Gel In: While still bent over you next want to scrunch the gel into your hair. This blends the water and gel together while distributing the product throughout her hair. This causes the curls to start to form.
Takeaway #3 Plopping: The next move is t-shirt plopping. So grab a cotton t-shirt and wrap your still dripping hair in it. A microfiber towel should also work. You want to absorb the excess water (plus some of the gel) so leave your locks wrapped up for like 10 minutes or so.
The plopping step is another reason to use a lot of gel. Some gets absorbed by the t-shirt.
Takeaway #4 Air Dry or Diffuse? Once you take down your hair from the plop this is the point you get to decide whether to air dry or diffuse.
Some let their hair air dry even if it takes forever. Others diffuse. Gently. On a low setting. You don’t want to disrupt the curls.
Any diffusing done should be done ins away it’s easy on your curls. Just lay your curls in the diffuser attachment with the air speed on low.
As it dries don’t be alarmed when your hair feels all hard and crunchy. That crunchinesss is your cast. That’s what we’ve been talking about and exactly what you want.
Here’s THE Biggest Takeaway: Your hair needs to dry completely before breaking the cast. If you get nothing from this get that.
As mentioned before that is THE trick. So it’s worth repeating to make sure it sinks in. Hope you don’t mind.
Because getting to dry is THE key to success here.
You have to let your hair get to totally dry before SOTC. Otherwise your risk for frizz rises and your curls won’t come out the same as they would had you waited.
Some let their hair air dry even if it takes forever. Others diffuse.
Otherwise it’s HANDS OFF until dry!
Takeaway #6 Get Rid Of The Cast
The next step is to get rid of that cast. Doing so will be like a big reveal as your gorgeous frizz free curls emerge. You may know this as scrunching out the crunch.
There are several ways you can free your curls.
For one using a t-shirt or micro fiber towel.
Others like to use oil or leave in conditioner on their fingers and palms.
Or just use your hands.
So let’s not over complicate this. You can break the cast using just your fingers and nothing else.
Now it may take more than a few scrunches to get out the cast. Maybe more than you’d expect. But before you know it you’ll notice your curls starting feel a bit softer. Even so just keep at it.
Takeaway #6 Fluff Up The Roots
Finally you may want to fluff up the roots for a more natural look. Or not. Totally optional.
If you do here’s another trick. Or is it more of a rule? Stick your fingers straight into your scalp. Shake. Shake. Shake. Then pull your fingers out the exact same way you put them in.
What you want to do is avoid dragging your fingers through your curls. That’s bad.
The before and after shots at the end of the video shows the OMG-gorgeous potential you can unleash with this method.
So there you have it. And yes, you’re right to conclude it may take some trial and error before you can claim the crown of Queen of the Gel.
But then you’ll love gel. Your curls will love gel. And all your loyal subjects will admire how great your curls look. And won’t that be royal?
For more styling hacks like this that make life with curly hair easier be sure to follow our Curls Gone Wild Pinterest board for curls that are celebrated rather than met with chagrin.