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Gels to Help Define Curls for Low Porosity Hair Full Guide of 2023

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is hair gel bad for low porosity hairYou’re desperate for hydrated, defined curls yet frustrated by gels that leave your low porosity hair crunchy and dry. Read on as we juxtapose the challenges of styling this hair type with simple solutions for maximizing moisture and achieving your ideal style.

Armed with knowledge on choosing gels for low porosity hair and moisturizing techniques to avoid ingredients that inhibit absorption, you’ll gain the power to transform unruly locks into sleek, glossy spirals.

Forget fighting frizz and embrace nourishing, non-drying gels we recommend to help your curls pop.

Follow our authoritative advice on caring for your hair in a way that suits its needs, and you’ll be liberated to define curls and achieve mastery over styling low porosity hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Seek lightweight gels with gentle fixatives for low porosity hair.
  • Apply gel to mid-lengths and ends to define curls and scrunch gently.
  • Layer a leave-in or curl cream beneath gel for extra moisture.
  • Avoid gels with strong alcohols and harsh preservatives to prevent dryness and buildup.

How Does Hair Gel Affect Low Porosity Hair?

How Does Hair Gel Affect Low Porosity Hair
Using ingredients specifically designed for low porosity hair, such as lightweight fixatives and moisturizers, can help you get the style you want while protecting your strands from damage.

With its tight cuticle scales and low capacity for absorbing moisture, low porosity hair can be prone to dryness when using styling products. Thick, heavy gels can further weigh down the hair and leave buildup on the strands.

This is why it’s important to choose gels with lightweight polymers that provide hold without heaviness. Look for fixing agents like PVP and acrylates copolymer, which form an even film over the hair without flaking.

Stay away from stiff gels high in alcohol, which can cause dryness. Instead, opt for gels containing hydrating humectants like glycerin and emulsifiers like cetyl alcohol to counteract the drying effects of the polymers.

Shea butter, coconut oil, and other emollient ingredients will also help lubricate the hair and seal in moisture without greasiness.

Using gels with lower concentrations of fixative agents can allow some movement while still giving your curls definition. Finally, always shampoo thoroughly after use to remove any residue without stripping natural oils.

With the right gel ingredients, you can style low porosity hair without damage or dryness.

Applying Gel to Low Porosity Hair

Applying Gel to Low Porosity Hair
With the right gel, you can style low-porosity hair without damage or dryness. When applying gel, opt for lightweight, hydrating products to avoid weighing hair down. Look for gels labeled curl defining or frizz control as these tend to have gentle, moisturizing formulas.

Start with a small amount, about a quarter-sized dollop, and smooth through wet hair. Focus on mid-lengths to ends, avoiding roots which are more prone to buildup in low-porosity hair. Let the gel set for a few minutes before gently scrunching curls to encourage bounce and definition.

For extra moisture, consider layering a leave-in conditioner or curl cream beneath the gel. This provides hydration while the gel sets the style. If hair feels stiff or crunchy after drying, scrunch out the crunch by gently massaging curls.

Avoid heavy gels with lots of alcohol, which can dry hair out. Mild hold gels with ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, and natural oils are ideal.

Finally, shampoo once a week at most to remove residue without over-stripping oils. With the right techniques and products, gel can define low-porosity curls without compromising moisture or elasticity.

Choosing Between Gel and Pomade for Low Porosity Hair

Choosing Between Gel and Pomade for Low Porosity Hair
Decide between gel and pomade by weighing your styling goals against your hair’s moisture needs.

  • Gel provides a stronger hold and longevity, while pomade nurtures with more moisture.
  • Gels accentuate curls and coils, while pomades allow for more versatility in styling.
  • Water-based gels avoid dryness better, but oil-based pomades lock in hydration.
  • Lighter gels define curls, while heavier pomades smooth and control frizz.

Gel creates that crunchy cast essential for setting spirals, while pomade’s waxes grant a silkier finish. Gel’s polymers offer a firm grip even in humidity compared to pomade’s pliable control. But gels can be drying, hence the hard cast that must be crunched out. Pomade’s natural oils – like olive oil or argan oil – deeply moisturize as they shape.

With low porosity hair, products that hydrate as they style prevent brittle strands. Lean towards gel for definition, opting for lighter formulas with glycerin or aloe. Or try pomade for increased softness and flexibility at the cost of some hold. Keep hair nourished to maintain elasticity and bounce.

The right product strikes the ideal balance between moisture and management based on your hair’s needs.

Moisturizing Techniques for Low Porosity Hair

Moisturizing Techniques for Low Porosity Hair
You’ll moisturize low porosity hair by sealing in hydration with leave-in conditioners after washing. For example, applying a creamy leave-in like Kinky Curly Knot Today after shampooing helps prevent moisture loss.

Look for leave-ins with hydrating active ingredients like glycerin, coconut oil, and shea butter.

Lightweight natural oils like grapeseed oil also provide nourishment without greasiness.

Refresh low porosity hair between washes by misting with hydrating sprays. Homemade rose water spritzes infuse hair with botanical moisture. Or use a spray like Ouidad Moisture Lock for instant hydration. Focus the mist on dry mid-lengths and ends instead of roots.

Scrunch in the moisture to encourage absorption. Then seal with a creamy leave-in or curl cream like Cantu Coconut Curling Cream.

For an intensive moisture boost, turn to deep conditioning masks. Allow the mask to penetrate under a shower cap or hooded dryer for 30 minutes. Look for masks with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, honey, and olive oil.

Rinse thoroughly and finish with a leave-in conditioner. Consistent moisturizing preserves elasticity and spring for low porosity hair.

Ingredients to Avoid in Gel for Low Porosity Hair

Ingredients to Avoid in Gel for Low Porosity Hair
Avoid gels with harsh ingredients to preserve the integrity of your tresses. Steer clear of formulas containing strong alcohols like ethanol that strip moisture, leading to frizz and breakage. Your locks need all the hydration they can get. Opt for gels with gentler ingredients like aloe vera juice instead.

Avoid heavy waxes and mineral oils as well. These further seal the cuticle, blocking hydration and weighing hair down. Greasy ingredients like petrolatum feel gross and limp. Look for lighter oils like argan, coconut, and sunflower oils.

Similarly, say no to harsh silicones like dimethicone. While they may provide some slip initially, they build up over time. This causes product residue that robs your hair of shine. Check labels for gentler conditioning silicones like dimethiconol instead.

Steer clear of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives too. Ingredients like quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin are irritating and drying. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is another one to avoid. Opt for milder preservatives like potassium sorbate.

Ultimately, read ingredient lists closely before buying any new styling product. Avoid anything that seems harsh or drying for your delicate strands. Nourishing botanical ingredients like aloe and coconut oil are ideal. With the right gel, you’ll maximize definition and moisture retention.

Recommended Hair Gels for Low Porosity Hair
Look over botanical-based gels with gentle polymers for maximizing curl definition without drying your locks. Opt for lightweight styling polymers like VP/VA copolymers to gently coat each strand, providing hold without crunchiness or flakes.

Pair these with botanical thickening agents like acacia gum or marshmallow root extract. These natural ingredients thicken gels for enhanced curl definition, minus the drying or weighing down effects of synthetic gums.

Nourishing emollients like olive oil, shea butter, and aloe vera juice are ideal too. These plant-based conditioners soften hair and lock in hydration to combat dryness. Just steer clear of heavier mineral oils and greasy ingredients. The goal is lightweight moisture that won’t flatten your spirals.

Look for gels free of drying alcohols and harsh preservatives as well. Brands like Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La and Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker use gentle formulas safe for your delicate strands. Read reviews to find the right gel for your porosity and curl type. With the proper botanical-based styler, you’ll achieve touchable curls full of definition, minus dryness or greasiness.

What to Consider When Selecting Gel for Natural Hair

What to Consider When Selecting Gel for Natural Hair
Listen within, questioning expectations helps shed limiting beliefs.

  • Consider your hair’s density, texture, and curl pattern when selecting a gel. Those with finer strands need lightweight gels to avoid greasiness.
  • Pay attention to humidity levels. Hair needs more sealing and hold on humid days.
  • Note your style goals. Maximum definition requires a stronger hold gel. For loose, touchable curls, use a flexible hold product.
  • Watch for product buildup. Those prone to buildup should avoid gels with heavier oils or butters.

Selecting the right gel involves getting to know your unique hair needs. Let your hair’s qualities and climate guide your choices, not expectations. Experiment with gels for your density and curl type. Adjust hold levels based on the weather and your style goals.

Remaining mindful prevents excessive buildup. Approach gel selection as a journey of discovery, not a search for perfection. Hair is ever-changing. Meeting it where it is today brings freedom and confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I apply gel to my low porosity hair?

You can apply gel to your low porosity hair every 1-2 days after washing. Using gel too frequently weighs hair down, while skipping applications between washes causes frizz and flyaways.

Should I apply gel on soaking wet or damp hair for best results?

Start by applying the gel to damp, not soaking hair. This allows the gel to coat each strand evenly and provide hold without making hair overly stiff or crunchy. Focus the gel on mid-lengths and ends to tame frizz and define curls. Avoid roots to prevent greasiness.

Does using gel lead to more split ends and breakage over time?

You ask if gels cause more split ends over time. Think of your hair as a flower. With care and nourishment, it will bloom beautifully. But harsh conditions make it wilt. Gels themselves don’t damage hair, but overuse may contribute to dryness.

Is it okay to layer a leave-in conditioner with gel for extra moisture?

Layering leave-in conditioner with gel is fine for extra moisture. Just apply the leave-in first, then apply gel on top. Balance hydration and hold by adjusting the amounts of leave-in and gel. Start with less and add more as needed.

How do I get maximum hold from my gel without causing flakes or crunchiness?

Use a light mist of water or leave-in to dampen the hair first. Then apply a small amount of gel and rake through in sections. Finger curl individual strands, scrunching upwards to encourage the natural curl pattern and definition.


Say you have low porosity curls that need definition without weighing your hair down. Finding the right gel for your hair type can make all the difference. Selecting a lightweight, moisturizing formula with plenty of slip allows you to achieve definition and shine without greasiness.

Remember to incorporate techniques like misting hair before applying hair gel. The proper gel keeps your curls hydrated, helps maintain curl pattern, and prevents frizz so you can rock your beautiful natural texture.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.