• 9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 1
  • 9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 2
  • 9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 3
  • 9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 4
  • 9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 5

9 Best Natural Hair Gels in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed)

There's nothing more frustrating than taking time to style your hair to perfection only to have the wind blow it out of proportion. A hair gel can come to your rescue! But if you're unsure of the synthetic chemicals lurking in your regular hair gel, pick one made with mostly natural ingredients, or "natural hair gels". 

Many natural hair gels can give your hair shine and hold while not leaving behind any greasiness or excess stiffness. And while they may still contain synthetic ingredients, they also have plenty of nourishing and natural components. Don't know what to look for? Our 9 best natural hair gels and buying guide, reviewed by a licensed cosmetologist, will give you some tips in choosing the right product. 

Featured in this article

Denise Campbell
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-19-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Natural Hair Gel - Buying Guide

When choosing a natural hair gel, make sure to consider factors such as the holding power and main ingredients of the product! This buying guide will give you some tips for choosing a gel that works wonderfully for you.

Note the Holding Power of the Hair Gel

Note the Holding Power of the Hair Gel

It's important to consider a product's holding power to see if it can actually keep your style for as long as you need. If you intend to create a crazy, stiff hairstyle (spiky hair for example) and want it to last all day, then a strong hold gel would be best. However, it might be tough to wash out and might also weigh your hair down. 


On the other hand, if you are looking for a product to tame your frizz or flyaways, define your waves, or just to style your hair lightly, then a light- to medium-strength gel can be of help.


Compared to a strong hold, a light or medium hold won't set your style on lock for a long time, but that also means you have the freedom to restyle it whenever and into whatever you want! It's also easier to rinse out and less likely to leave behind any residue.  

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

If I notice that water is the first ingredient and I'm looking for a gel with a strong hold, I don't get it. If I am looking for a gel with a medium to a bare minimum hold for some reason, and I notice water is the first ingredient, I don't mind. This is only because water doesn't work well with laying my hair down, it does more reverting curly than leaving them alone.

Look for Ingredients That Can Keep Your Hair Healthy

A high-quality hair gel should not only help you keep your style on lock but also nourish and protect your hair from external factors! So keep in mind to look for some nourishing ingredients.

Get Some Moisturizers to Drive Away Dryness

Get Some Moisturizers to Drive Away Dryness

Hair gels often have high water content and some moisturizers to keep your hair hydrated. However, not all hair gels are created the same. Some products might contain a low level of moisturizers, and some might be preserved with alcohol, which can actually draw out moisture from your hair. 


So if you have dry, straw-like hair, live in intensely hot weather, or just want to provide your hair with some more moisture, look for oil- and butter-based ingredients such as argan oil, castor oil, coconut oil, and shea butter. They are not only effective in keeping dryness at bay but can also supply your hair with fatty acids to strengthen it. 


On the other hand, if you have naturally oily hair, you can opt for soothing, hydrating ingredients like cucumber and aloe vera. Those ingredients can help seal in moisture and increase the hydration level of your hair, and they don't leave behind any greasy residue!

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

Just note that depending on the hair type, the hold for the most part won't be there. But of course, with straighter or loosely curled hair, it will give more of a greater hold.

Protein Treatments Can Strengthen Your Hair Strands

Protein Treatments Can Strengthen Your Hair Strands

Although hair gels do not originally intend to strengthen or protect your hair, we all need some support to keep our hair healthy. And you probably don't want your carefully styled hair to be ruined by dirt, dust, and pollution, right? 


Oil and butter-based ingredients like avocado, argan, or coconut oils are loaded with natural proteins that can fortify each hair shaft and prevent breakage. Keratin is another great option to consider! It's a protein that occurs naturally in the hair and can prevent hair breakage effectively.


For those with color-treated or thermal-processed hair, those nourishing ingredients are especially useful since they can neutralize the damaging effects of environmental stressors and leave your hair feeling much softer and stronger! 

Biotin and Essential Oils Can Promote Hair Growth

Biotin and Essential Oils Can Promote Hair Growth

If you're suffering from either hair thinning or hair loss because of reasons like aging or hair product buildup, then you should look for ingredients that can stimulate hair growth like biotin, a coenzyme that can accelerate your hair growth cycle and give you stronger, thicker, and healthier hair. 


Essential oils including rosemary, lavender, or peppermint oil are some other great options! They can penetrate quickly into your scalp, clean up any buildup, and stimulate the hair follicle.  

Pick a Gel That Gives Your Hair the Right Shine

Pick a Gel That Gives Your Hair the Right Shine

Compared to pomade, wax, or clay, hair gel is a sure way to set your stray hairs on lock while helping you nail that glossy slickback! However, consider how much shine you actually want before purchasing a product.


Hair gels with moderate shine are great for a carefree, tousled look, while those with high shine will bring you that formal, red carpet aura. 


The shine of a product really depends on its overall formula. But we suggest you get a gel infused with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as vitamin E and aloe vera to give your hair a natural shine while shielding it from the damaging effects of UV rays or pollution. 

Take Your Hair Type into Consideration

Not all hair gels work for all hair types, so it's important to consider your hair type before buying any product. 

Curly Hair Needs a Gel Effective in Controlling Frizz

Curly Hair Needs a Gel Effective in Controlling Frizz

Curly hair is prone to frizz and flyaways, so try to get a hair gel that's effective in taming your stray hair. Lack of moisture and dryness and some other causes of frizzy hair, so consider choosing a product with moisturizers to keep your hair hydrated all the time! 

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

This is very hard to find depending on the tightness of the curl. When looking for a gel that with tame those curls and that frizz, go for a more heavy, less water-concentrated gel. You want the gel to be thick and heavy enough that it can do what it needs to do.  But, of course, don't get one that makes the head feel heavy, just one that can tame the curls and the frizz at the same time.

Flat, Thinning Hair Benefits from a Formula That Adds Volume

Flat, Thinning Hair Benefits from a Formula That Adds Volume

For flat, thinning hair, the struggle is real. It is flimsy and can barely hold a curl or style for a long time. So try looking for a lightweight gel that won't weigh your hair down even more. Also, a formula with ingredients that promote hair growth such as keratin, coconut oil, and so on will help thicken and add volume to your hair. 

Some Gels Aren't Safe for Color-Treated Hair

Some Gels Aren't Safe for Color-Treated Hair

If your hair is color-treated, you should look for hair gels labeled as "color-safe" since they are often formulated in a way that won't strip off your color while preserving it from the harmful damage of free radicals. Try to avoid products containing sulfates or chlorine as well, since those ingredients might cause your color to fade quickly! 

High Shine and Strong Hold Hair Gels Can Work for Thick Hair

High Shine and Strong Hold Hair Gels Can Work for Thick Hair

Thick hair is strong enough to endure styling techniques, but it can easily get dull, crunchy, and rigid. A hair gel packed with nourishing ingredients can help keep your thick hair healthy and silky-smooth. You might also want to consider a gel that can add a lightweight shine to your hair to make it look even more vibrant. 


Also, if your hair is hard to manage, go for a medium to strong hold gel since a light gel might not be able to give your hair any distinct effects. 

Get Rid of White Flakes With Flexible Polymers

Get Rid of White Flakes With Flexible Polymers

Polymers such as PVP are frequently used to give hair gels their consistency. However, they can cause white flakes once they get in contact with the air.


Those annoying white flakes might also appear if your gel cannot blend well with the product previously used on your hair (shampoo or leave-in conditioner for example). So just make sure you rinse out your previous product thoroughly before applying the gel.


To minimize white flakes as much as possible, you can opt for lighter hold gels or products containing more balanced and flexible polymers such as acrylates copolymer or VP/VA copolymer

Stay Away from Potential Irritants

Natural hair gels are generally safe for your health since they are crafted with fewer synthetic ingredients. But there are still some potential irritants that you should keep in mind and avoid, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

Sulfates and Alcohols Might Dry Out Your Hair

Sulfates and Alcohols Might Dry Out Your Hair

Sulfates are powerful bleaching agents used in cosmetics to prevent microbial growth and to clean oils and dirt. However, they might draw out the essential oils that naturally exist in your hair, eventually drying it out. 


Short-chain alcohols such as ethanol or isopropyl alcohol are common preservatives in cosmetics, but they can strip moisture from your hair strands and roughen your hair cuticles. These alcohols can also weaken your skin's protective barrier and irritate your scalp. Some people with sensitive skin even experience dandruff and itchiness. 


So avoid sulfates and short-chain alcohols to prevent skin irritation or loss of moisture in your hair shafts! 

Natural and Synthetic Fragrances Might Lead to Itchy Scalp

Natural and Synthetic Fragrances Might Lead to Itchy Scalp

We all want our hair to smell great, and that's why hair gels are often formulated with parfum (or fragrance) ingredients. However, whether fragrances are safe for your health or not is a big question, since we don't always know what each fragrance is made of.


Many people are actually sensitive to fragrances (either synthetic or natural), and dermatologists have also warned that fragrances can trigger allergic reactions and even cause dermatitis.


People always assume that everything labeled as "natural" is safe, but it's not always the case. Natural fragrances are sometimes derived from essential oils which are actually irritating to some people. So to avoid your scalp from getting itchiness and redness, opt for a fragrance-free hair gel or do a patch test beforehand. 

9 Best Natural Hair Gels

Here's a list of the 9 best natural hair gels based on important factors, such as the effectiveness of the main ingredients and reviewer satisfaction.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Denise Campbell. For more on our selection process, check out our editorial policy. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on July 12, 2022.

Image
1
ECOCO ECO Style Professional Styling Gel Olive Oil 1

ECOCO

2
Garnier  Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel  1

Garnier

3
Cantu Moisturizing Twist and Lock Gel 1

Cantu

4
Tea Tree Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel 1

Tea Tree

5
African Formula Cosmetics SuperGrow Hair Gel Regular Hold 1

African Formula Cosmetics

6
Joie Naturals MyGel 1

Joie Naturals

7
Giovanni L.A. Hold Styling Gel, 3 pack 1

Giovanni

8
Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Sculpting Gel 1

Max Green Alchemy

9
Jason Flaxseed Hi-Shine Styling Gel 1

Jason

Name

ECO Style Professional Styling Gel Olive Oil

Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel

Moisturizing Twist and Lock Gel

Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel

SuperGrow Hair Gel Regular Hold

MyGel

L.A. Hold Styling Gel, 3 pack

Scalp Rescue Sculpting Gel

Flaxseed Hi-Shine Styling Gel

Features

Maximum Hold Moisturizing Gel With Olive Oil

98% Naturally-Derived Ingredients Give All-Day Hold

Shea Butter to Add Manageability to Your Hair

Salon Formula for Maximum Hold and Shine

Hold Your Style and Promote Hair Growth the Natural Way

Plant Oils and Herbal Extracts Give Your Hair a Thick, Healthy Look

Strong Hold Gel Safe for Color-Treated Hair

Scalp-Soothing Formula for Extreme Hairstyles

Give Your Hair Texture and a Lustrous Shine That Stays

Price$2.96$3.97$4.99$14.03$9.50$9.90$26.85$20.79$6.99
Formulated withWheat protein, olive oilAcacia gum, glycerinShea butterTea tree, plant oils and extractsHoney, plant oils and extractsCastor oil, aloe vera, cucumber, ginseng root extract, chamomile flowerAloe vera, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, lavender, and thyme Aloe vera, licorice root, essential oils Flaxseed, panthenol, plant proteins and extracts
Free fromAlcoholSilicone, parabens, dyesSulfates, silicone, parabens, mineral oilParabensParabens, sulfates, and most synthetic ingredientsParabens, phthalates, sulfatesParabens, phthalates Parabens, silicone, PVPParabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrolatum
Amount16 oz. 6.8 oz. 13 oz. 6.8 oz. 4 oz. 4 oz. 6.8 oz. each5.5 oz. 6 oz.
Link
1

ECOCOECO Style Professional Styling Gel Olive Oil

$2.96

Formulated withWheat protein, olive oil
Free fromAlcohol
Amount16 oz.
2

Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel

$3.97

Formulated withAcacia gum, glycerin
Free fromSilicone, parabens, dyes
Amount6.8 oz.
3
Formulated withShea butter
Free fromSulfates, silicone, parabens, mineral oil
Amount13 oz.
4
Formulated withTea tree, plant oils and extracts
Free fromParabens
Amount6.8 oz.
5

African Formula CosmeticsSuperGrow Hair Gel Regular Hold

$9.50

Formulated withHoney, plant oils and extracts
Free fromParabens, sulfates, and most synthetic ingredients
Amount4 oz.
6

Joie NaturalsMyGel

$9.90

Formulated withCastor oil, aloe vera, cucumber, ginseng root extract, chamomile flower
Free fromParabens, phthalates, sulfates
Amount4 oz.
7

GiovanniL.A. Hold Styling Gel, 3 pack

$26.85

Formulated withAloe vera, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, lavender, and thyme
Free fromParabens, phthalates
Amount6.8 oz. each
8

Max Green AlchemyScalp Rescue Sculpting Gel

$20.79

Formulated withAloe vera, licorice root, essential oils
Free fromParabens, silicone, PVP
Amount5.5 oz.
9
Formulated withFlaxseed, panthenol, plant proteins and extracts
Free fromParabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrolatum
Amount6 oz.

Tips to Apply Hair Gel Appropriately

Tips to Apply Hair Gel Appropriately

Before applying hair gel, make sure your hair is clean, since hair gels won't work effectively on greasy or dirty hair. Also, the condition of your hair might affect the shine effects of the gel. If you want a matte finish, apply the gel on dry hair. For a glossier look, damp hair would be better! 


When applying hair gel, a rule of thumb is less is better. Adding too much gel to your hair can make it look crunchy and flaky, so start off with a dime to nickle-sized amount first. The amount of gel really depends on the length of your hair (dime-sized is usually for short hair), so use accordingly!


Then apply the gel and style your hair as you want! Make sure that everything is evenly distributed. For a messy, spiky, or textured styles, air-dry your hair afterward. If you are trying to get a flat top or slick style, then some blow-drying might help. 

Get Some More Natural Help for Your Hair

If you're looking for natural products to wash, treat, nourish, strengthen, or color your hair, we can help you find just the right thing!

Buying Guide Reviewed by Licensed Cosmetologist Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Thuy Nguyen


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