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30 Best Styling Gels For Box Braids, Slick Ponytails, Buns and Wash and Go

(Last Updated On: November 22, 2021)

Gel is one of the best staples to have in every natural household. It provides great hold and eliminates frizz. It even enhances our curls more and makes them pop. The best gels don’t leave a white film on your hair, or flakes on your scalp. It also doesn’t dry out your hair and leave it worse than it was before. A good gel is simply an important tool for curly hair. 

What is styling gel used for?

Styling gel is used to keep our hair slicked back, shiny and curly. Its purpose is to enhance our curl pattern and make it more defined. It also needs to control frizz and provide a strong hold to keep our hair down and avoid flyaways. 

Some gel can tend to dry your hair out more or create flakes so it’s best not to use it every day. You should instead use it a few times a week, if that, to avoid flakes and product build-up. You may feel tempted to touch up your style with gel every day, but lay your hair down when you go to bed for better results. 

Which gel is best for styling hair?

No two hair types are the same, so the best gel for you depends on what your hair likes. Some gels have almost all positive reviews but that doesn’t mean they work for everybody. There are plenty of options listed here to choose from when trying to find a gel that’s best for you. 

When should you apply styling gel?

The best time to apply styling gel is to wet hair. When your hair is wet, the gel creates more definition and it’s easier to comb through the strands. Gel can be applied to dry hair, but it works so much better with wet hair. 

SheaMoisture Frizz Control Styling Gel for Curly Hair Papaya and Neroli 

Product Promise: SheaMoisture Papaya and neroli frizz control styling gel is a natural hair gel, styling gel, and hair gel for curly hair. This curl gel adds a dose of moisture and shine, with complete frizz control. 

Customer Review: “Love Love this product, I have natural curly hair. Being of mixed backgrounds Afro_Puertorican it’s hard to find gel that holds the curl and doesn’t strip my texture as well . I love it and the scent is fantastic and it truly works great.”

African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc, Twist Gel

Product Promise: PROVEN HAIR CARE – African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc, & Twist Gel smooths frizz & flyaways while boosting shine for longer-lasting styles. This professional product leaves braids, locs & twists neat & controlled.

Customer Review: “I’ve had dreads for 2 years now and I’m so upset that I’m just now discovering this product. The hold is ridiculously good. It doesn’t sweat out like most products and you can forget to wrap your head at night and it still be nice and tight in the morning.”

All Day Locks Braid Gel

Product Promise: Excellent for Braiding as well as smoothing edges, our premium gel helps lock styles in place and keeps styles long-lasting and flake-free. 

Customer Review: “I loved this product. I braid with extensions and natural hair. This product held longer than with any other braiding product I have tried. I have already ordered more and will continue to do so.”

Nicole & Alyssa ] Braid Styling Gel 

Product Promise: Formulated for Braids, Twists, and Locs, use as an excellent edge gel, and Camellia japonica seed oil helps to balance moisture. 

Customer Review: “If you’re a beginner or pro braider, and looking for a nice product to get nice and neat braids. THIS WILL DO! I was very skeptical about this product thinking it’ll leave my parts dry. But this works out perfectly. I’m very satisfied with my purchase. I will be ordering again!”

AmPro Shine ‘n Jam Gel Regular Hold

Product Promise: The gel you have been waiting for: free of alcohol, parabens, wax, petrolatum, and silicones. This moisturizing, non-flaking gel has a firm, non-greasy hold. Enhanced with Echinacea to help promote hair growth. Great for soft waves, braids, locks, twists, or any style your heart desires

Customer Review: “This smells so freaking good. I love it and it is good on my hair as well. Not too thick and not too thin. Perfect and I will definitely purchase more!”

Shine N Jam Conditioning Extra Hold With Honey

Product Promise: Free of alcohol, parabens, wax, petrolatum, and silicones. This moisturizing, non-flaking gel has a firm, non-greasy hold.

Customer Review: “This lays our type 4 hair much better than any other jam or pomade. If you have stubborn 4c edges use this then gently add a little eco styler (I use the brown one to avoid flakes) on top. It’ll hold up nicely even in the heat.

Shea Moisture Jojoba Oil & Ucuuba Butter Braid Condition Gel

Product Promise: It is super-hydrating jojoba oil, soothing ucuuba butter and carrot seed oil blend in this non-greasy formula that softens, improves workability, and adds suppleness so hair resists breakage caused by tugging and tightness. This rich gel supplies incredible body, volume, and support while leaving hair touchable and shiny.

Customer Review: “This is my third tub of this product. I use it exclusively when I have my hair braided up in a protective style and it is perfect!!”

Mielle Organics Moisture Rx Hawaiian Ginger Moisturizing Styling Gel

Product Promise: This moisturizing styling gel offers great hold and deep hydration to give your hair the love it needs; Perfect for twist-outs, braid-outs, ponytails, and even curl definition; Apply to dry hair then style.

Customer Review: “I wear an afro, so my hair usually dries-out DAILY! But not since using this product, which keeps it moist two-three day (even when I forget to use a satin scarf or pillowcase)!!! This is my third bottle! I LOVE the smell and the springy texture it gives my hair too. TRY IT!!!”

Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel

Product Promise: Encourages healthier, stronger hair with ingredients like honey, ginger, aloe extract and babassu oil; Nourishes hair without product build-up and damaging chemicals

Customer Review: “I’ve tried the deep conditioner from this line and my hair loved it so, I decided to give this a chance and i’m glad I did! I usually don’t use too many gels but this honestly feels like a cream and gel mixed together. I love the smell and it makes my hair super soft. The only thing is you have to be careful with what creams you mix it with.”

Eco Style Professional Styling Gel Krystal

Product Promise: Adds support and fullness, supports permed hair, non-flaking. 

Customer Review: “ECO is a brilliant hair product. Lightweight plus scent and residue free.
My short wavy/curly hair has a mind of its own; Eco helps keep it on a sane path without too much restraint.
And when ECO gets rumpled and loses control, a little water rubbed in and PRESTO! product revived.”

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Shaping Cream Gel

Product Promise: Carol’s daughter Coco creme curl shaping cream gel for curly hair shapes and defines curls with soft, natural hold for the perfect wash n’ Go that’s fast and lasts all day without drying out curls.

Customer Review: “This stuff is great! I’ve been using the black vanilla shampoo as well and I love it all. My curls don’t really curl anymore, just wave, but I needed something to give it great hold and shine. This stuff does just that. Smells amazing, slight crunch to it which I like, gives shine, and great hold”

Aunt Jackie’s Grapeseed Style and Shine Recipes Slicked Flexible Hair Styling Glue

Product Promise: Superior hold, moisturizing molding and sculpting formula for hair and edges, adds moisture, shine, and help protect hair and hairline from breakage, enriched with grapeseed oil and infused with marshmallow root and honey. Great for all hair types and textures.

Customer Review: “This smells great. It does exactly what it says it will do. The downside is that this gel becomes very flaky and it produces a lot of buildup after two days. I recommend washing this out after one day, or there is potential for many flakes. This left my hair moisturized and not dry at all, but the flakes are intense.”

Dr. Miracle’s Strong & Healthy Nourishing & Styling Gel

Product Promise: Nourishing & Styling Gel, infused with Biotin, Aloe Vera & Olive Oil, provides curl definition and hold while moisturizing to protect against breakage for length retention.

Customer Review: “I’ve been using this gel for weeks now and it is really good. It lays down my hair flawlessly and doesn’t leave my hair dry. It also bring out my waves very well. If you looking for a good gel that keeps ur hair healthy, this is the one.”


African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc, Twist Gel 

Product Promise: African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc, & Twist Gel smooths frizz & flyaways while boosting shine for longer-lasting styles. This professional product leaves braids, locs & twists neat & controlled.

Customer Review: “Good stuff. It doesn’t pile up in your hair. Smells great, holds very well, adds shine to the hair, and promotes growth. Always good on my locs. Great on edges!!”

Curlsmith – Curl Defining Styling Soufflé – Vegan Medium Hold Styling Gel 

Product Promise: The Soufflé is a moisturizer AND a medium hold styling gel all in one! It is a styling gel with a unique texture, a semi-solid jelly that provides moisture, bouncy hold, and definition to any curl type.

Customer Review: “Product smell is crazy important to me and this smells like sunshine! Plus it works great. Curls are very well defined. I love that the product is clear, I think that is an important feature. Wish I had bought the bigger size is my only regret.”

tgin Curl Bomb Moisturizing Styling Gel 

Product Promise: Our Curl Bomb Curl Definer Moisturizing Gel creates soft, touchable curls without the crunch. This unique formula aids in moisture retention, while providing long-lasting curl definition. We intentionally use nettle leaf and olive oil for this reason.

Customer Review: “I bought this product on Amazon because it was much more inexpensive than at my local stores. I absolutely love this product. Whenever I use it it leaves my curls defined and shiny. I am happy with this purchase.”

THE MANE CHOICE – Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel, 

Product Promise: The Mane Choice Crystal Orchid Gel specializes in keeping your hair healthy while delivering an amazing hold at the same time. Its unique formulation defines curls and smooth edges while taming frizz.

Customer Review: “I started using this product when my hair was falling out from stress and was in really bad condition, along with taking vitamins, there has been a huge difference in my hair. It’s fuller and shinier. I like that the product isn’t sticky, doesn’t contain alcohol. I no longer have to blow dry my hair and have beautiful, beachy waves.”

THE MANE CHOICE Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Gold Twisting Gel

Product Promise: The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian 24 Karat Gold Twisting Gel is a unique, innovative twisting gel that functions by keeping your hair soft while delivering fantastic definition. Its unique formula nourishes and moisturizes your hair, providing an incredible definition for twist-outs and braid-outs!

Customer Review: “Type 4b/c MUST HAVE! I get the best wash and goes, shine, bounce, and definition with this product. It is LIFE!”

Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel

Product Promise: A silky soft buttery gel with nourishing fruit botanicals, crafted to provide moisture and light styling hold.

Customer Review: “My daughter and I both use this product, it works wonderfully. I have short tight curls and my daughter has extra long loose curls. A little goes a long way. Many might not like the sent. We don’t mind it, it’s smells like cake frosting to me.”

Camille Rose Curl Maker

Product Promise: A sweet defining hair jelly for curls enriched with smoothing marshmallow and agave extracts. Marshmallow Root intensely smooths and defines curls, while also helping to detangle strands. Aloe Juices penetrate the hair shaft for intense moisture. promotes healthy hair growth through its richness in essential fatty acids. Nettle Root stimulates hair growth and encourages length retention

Customer Review: The best gel. I won’t use anything else. Replaced my previous staple, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, which took forever to dry. This gives me comparable results and reasonable drying time. My curls are bouncy and shiny, well clumped, and most importantly, not crunchy at all. Seriously, I won’t do without this and always have at least two back ups.”

Tailored Beauty Perfect Coils Curling Jelly – Styling Hair Gel 

Product Promise: Our Perfect Coils Curling Jelly is perfect for defining Wash-N-Gos, Twist-outs, braid outs, Bantu Knots, Perm rod sets, and other Textured hairstyles. Provides a long-lasting hold & shine without the crunch. It also locks in moisture for long-lasting curls

Customer Review: “I have been purchasing Tailored Beauty for about 4 years now. I love their hair products. The perfect coil name speaks for itself!! My wash and go just curls pop and my hair love this stuff. Their products are very good. They sometimes run out fast on the website om which tells me, I am not the only one who loves this product.”

Ecostyler Professional Styling Gel With Olive Oil

Product Promise: Our hair gel is an essential styling product that gives you all-day soft, bouncy, shiny hair without leaving heavy build-up so you can braid, coil, and loc hair with confidence.

Customer Review: “I think most of us know by now this is the best of the best for natural hair. I use it when I do my high puff and it lays my edges way better than edge control.”

Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel (8 Oz.)

Product Promise: A silky soft buttery gel with nourishing fruit botanicals, crafted to provide moisture and light styling hold.

Customer Review: “Works nicely the first day after use but doesn’t wear well day after day maybe it’s not meant too. Anyway, I do like this product I get a decent twist out, which has been hard for me. Oh yes and my 4C hair actually has sheen after using this product.”

As I Am Smoothing Gel

Product Promise: Provides a secure hold, rinses easily from the hair when it’s time to cleanse, won’t dry out, harden or roughen hair.

Customer Review: “I did some research on healthy gel for natural hair and this came up in a few list so I gave it a try. Great hold does not flake and smells nice.”

Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel

Product Promise: Paraben-free, support for hair growth, anti-thinning, and overall scalp health, for natural curls, coils, and waves.

Customer Review: “I absolutely love this stuff! It makes my curls really bouncy, shiny, and healthy. It’s perfect for those who like the wash and go style. My hair still has some shrinkage, but not a whole lot (the photos show my hair when wet and dry). It’s really light and washes out easily. So glad I found it.”

CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

Product Promise: Define, Defrizz, & Hold: Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly is your new go-to styler for long lasting, shiny curls! Use this hardworking styling jelly to enhance, define, and keep your curls in place.

Customer Review: “The best product I have EVER used on my fine, curly hair! It defines all the curls without weighing them down and smells AMAZING. It also lasts for a few days, which is always a plus for curly hair.”

Curl Keeper Gel – Ultimate Hold with Frizz Control 

Product Promise: Curl Keeper Gel with panthenol gives ultimate holding power without flakiness or crispiness. This Gel lasts all day with no product build-up.

Customer Review: “My FAVORITE curl gel ever! My hair is always amazing when I use this stuff. It doesn’t weigh it down, nor does it get crunchy. It maintains my frizz and leaves my hair soft and shiny.”

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle

Product Promise: With Agave Nectar And Flax Seed Oil, For Thick, Curly Hair, Moisture And Shine, Anti-Frizz

Customer Review: “My daughters hair is thick and curly. This is the only line of product she uses. She swears by it. Love this product.”

Curlsmith – Curl Defining Styling Soufflé – Vegan Medium Hold Styling Gel 

Product Promise: After it is applied, the Soufflé creates a slight “cast” on the curls, which traps moisture inside and gives definition. This will feel slightly hard to the touch while the curls are drying, but once they are completely dry you just need to gently “scrunch” your hair upwards to break the cast and reveal soft, defined curls.

Customer Review: “Got a free sample and liked it so much, we bought the full size! Smells great, gives good results on thick, wavy hair. Got good curl definition with minimal product. Not sticky.”

Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel

Product Promise: Provides all-day hold and frizz control for all hair types

Customer Review: “Absolutely love this gel. I have low porosity, loose waves/curls, and this gel is perfect because it doesn’t weigh them down at all. It’s great over a leave-in moisturizer or on its own. A little goes a long way!”

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