Natural Hair Gels Vs Creams

NDo you prefer to use gels or creams on your natural hair?

When I started my natural hair journey, everybody was talking about Eco Styler gel. I went and bought a huge container convinced that all my styling woes were over. I used it the first time and got a slap across my face. I tried it a second, third and fourth time and finally accepted that it might not be for me. I gave it away and jumped on the newer train in town – Marini Curling Butter.

Like me, many new and not-so-new naturals tend to find themselves stuck in a dilemma: when do I buy or use gel and when will a cream work better? Hopefully, you will have a better understanding by the end of this post.

Hair Gel Vs Styling Cream

Should you choose hair gel or styling cream?

Hair gel is usually clear or appears translucent. On the other hand, styling cream is often whitish and has a creamy consistency. This is less about the definition and more about the appearance of the two types of natural hair products.

As mentioned earlier, a good example of hair gel is Eco Styler Gel which you can get from a shop or flaxseed gel that you can make at home. As for styling creams, there are many examples including Marini Naturals, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream and Auntie Jackie’s Curl La La Curling Custard.

What is The Difference?

Apart from appearance, hair gel and cream have other significant differences. Some of these include:

  1. Moisture: Hair cream is moisturizing but hair gel isn’t. Furthermore, hair cream can be used in the LOC method to lock in moisture while hair gel cannot.
  2. Hold: Hair gel gives better and longer-lasting hold for curly hair as opposed to hair cream. Your curly hairstyle will probably last longer with gel than with a cream.
  3. Frizz: Hair gel generally promotes frizz less than hair cream does, mostly because of the difference in hold.
  4. Feel: Hair cream promotes bouncier and flexible curls while hair gel gives stiffer results.

Myths about Hair Gel vs Hair Cream

Eco Styler Gel and Auntie Jackie’s Curl La La Custard

Before we can move onto when you should use or avoid using any of these products, let’s delve into some of the myths about hair gel and cream:

1. Curl Definition:

Some people think that gel gives better definition than a hair cream does. This isn’t entirely true. The amount of definition depends on a variety of other factors. these include but aren’t limited to – your curl pattern, how tight you install your preferred curly hairstyle and whether or not you start on dry or wet hair.

Definition depends on more than just the product you use.

2. Flaking:

Gel flakes but hair cream doesn’t. Again, this is not entirely true. Some gels flake easily especially when you use them on wet hair or with a lot of oil. The same is true of some hair creams. Therefore, this phenomenon isn’t specific to gels.

So What Should I pick: Hair Gel Vs Hair Cream

Now that you know a bit about these products and their differences, which should you pick for your styling needs? The simple but unpopular answer would be to let your hair decide.

What do I mean?

Using my personal example, my hair (Bella) doesn’t like gels. It crunches up, becomes stiff and has no movement. To add insult to injury, it always leaves my hair flaky and feeling dry no matter how I try to lock in moisture before applying the gel. That’s why I prefer to use styling creams as opposed to gel.

In the same way, you can figure out how your hair reacts to these products then choose one or even both! However, your preference also holds weight. For example:

  • Do you like to keep your curly hairstyles for longer thus preferring the better hold that gel gives?
  • Do you prefer the moisturizing properties of a cream?
  • Which style are you going for – a sleek bun, twist out or a wash and go?

These will also factor in when choosing a product. You might end up using gel for a sleek bun or a wash and go but a cream for a twist out. You might also prefer to use hair gel when it’s humid to prevent frizz.


Marini Naturals Curling Gel and Cantu Coconut Curling Cream

The cream vs gel for hair debate is a never-ending one because it is mostly subjective. I’ve always been team styling cream until the other day when I tried a wash and go and it backfired royally! That got me thinking about how I might still have to use gel if I’m looking for a defined wash and go with a lifespan that’s longer than two to three days.

In short, choose whatever will work best for whatever you’re trying to achieve. It might take a few tries to get it right but it will be worth it in the end.


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