The Best Hair Gels

Hair gel is a great way to achieve lots of different hair styles. Once applied, hair gel will dry on your hair to help hold your style in place. It’s also available in a range of different hold strengths, depending on how much movement you want in your hair. From an ornate braid, to a pompadour style, gel can help keep your hair where it’s meant to be!

Finding the right hair gel for your hair type, texture, and style can be a challenge though. That’s where we come in. You’ll want to make sure you select the correct hold, so you don’t end up with stiff hair when you actually wanted a softer hold. Some hair gels are designed to help add definition and shine to natural curls, while still allowing free movement, Others can help you achieve the slickest finish for a style which is going to stay in place all day long.

We reviewed dozens of hair gels to identify the best of the best. We considered features including if the gel gave a non-sticky and flake-free finish, how much product was needed, and if it had a pleasant scent. We also looked at how easy the gel was to remove, and whether or not it contained alcohol as an ingredient.

Best Hair Gel Overall
Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel
With 24 hour hold, and a fresh non-sticky feel, this gel is a clear winner.

As our top pick, we selected the Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel. With over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, this stood out as a clear winner thanks to its unbeatable hold, non-sticky feel, and flake-free finish.

The 5 Top-Rated Hair Gels

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Hair Gel OverallGot2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel
4.7
Best Hair Gel for MenGentlemen Republic Refined Hair Gel
4.7
Best Budget Hair GelGarnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Gel4.3
Best Hair Gel for Curly HairAs I Am Curling Jelly4.6
Best Moisturizing Bath BombFresh Monster Natural Hair Gel for Kids & Babies4.0

*Ratings are from Amazon at time of publication and can change

Best Hair Gel Overall: Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel

As the best hair gel overall, we selected the Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel. This non-sticky, no-flake gel gives a strong hold which is perfect for style which need to be held in place! This hold is thanks to the high-tech styling agent used in the formula, known as Alpha XTR. You’ll only need a small amount to achieve any style you desire.

To remove, simply rinse out with shampoo. Reviewers commented on how effective this gel is, as well as the fact that it’s suitable for a range of hair types and styles. Thanks to its multipurpose versatility, and due to its sheer effectiveness, it was a stand out winner.

Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel Key Features:

  • Pack of 3 tubes, each 6 ounces
  • Use on damp or dry hair
  • Strong hold

Best Hair Gel for Men: Gentlemen Republic Refined Hair Gel

Best Hair Gel for Men
Gentlemen Republic Refined Hair Gel
This professional grade formula provides 24 hour shine and hold.

As the best hair gel for men, we suggest the Gentlemen Republic Refined Hair Gel. The alcohol free formula provides 24 hour hold and shine, as well as being resistant to the effects of humidity. A little of this gel also goes a long way, so it can be slowly built up to achieve the level of hold and shine you want.

Reviewers comment that this has a great scent, as well as having a strong, flake-free hold for all-day style. They love the alcohol-free formula, as it won’t dry out your scalp. It works just as well on wet hair as it does on damp too.

Gentlemen Republic Refined Hair Gel Key Features:

  • Available in 4 sizes
  • Made in the USA
  • Alcohol free formula

Best Budget Hair Gel: Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Gel

Best Budget Hair Gel
Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Gel
This wallet-friendly gel is made from 98% natural ingredients.

The Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Gel takes our spot for the best budget hair gel. Formulated from 98% natural ingredients, this is free from both parabens and silicone. Instead, a base of natural acacia gum is used to provide a natural, strong hold all day long. The budget friendly price comes in at under $5 offering great value for money.

Reviewers love the fact that this gel contains no dye, doesn’t leave any flakes of product, and has a fresh yet not overpowering scent. You don’t need much product to achieve a strong hold, so a little also goes a long way.

Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Gel Key Features:

  • 6.8 ounce bottle
  • Fresh scent
  • 98% natural ingredients

Best Hair Gel for Curly Hair: As I Am Curling Jelly

Best Hair Gel for Curly Hair
As I Am Curling Jelly
This hair gel is designed to help your natural curls look defined, and frizz-free.

Our suggestion for the best hair gel for curly hair goes to the As I Am Curling Jelly. This coil and curl definer helps to add shine, reduce frizz, and define your hair’s natural curly beauty.

It can be applied to soaking wet hair, and will lock in moisture while enhancing your curl’s length. Reviewers love how this gel makes their curls pop, and the fact that it gives a soft and flexible hold.

As I Am Curling Jelly Key Features:

  • Contains aloe, vitamin E, and pectin
  • 16 ounce pot
  • Apply to wet hair

Best Hair Gel for Kids: Fresh Monster Natural Hair Gel for Kids & Babies

Best Hair Gel for Kids
Fresh Monster Natural Hair Gel for Kids & Babies
This alcohol and toxin free hair egl is perfect for little heads.

If you’re looking for the best hair gel for kids, then Fresh Monster Natural Hair Ge for Kids & Babies is an excellent choice. Free from toxins, sulfates, parabens and other nasties, this gel provides a natural way to tame your kid’s unruly hair.

This can be used on both damp and dry hair, and is great for smoothing flyaway hairs, creating spikes, or simply adding a little texture. The clean ingredients mean you can use it with confidence on your kid’s hair, which is an essential feature in our book.

Fresh Monster Natural Hair Gel for Kids & Babies Key Features:

  • Vegan & cruelty free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Made in the USA

Who Should Buy Hair Gel

Hair gel is an excellent tool to have in your bathroom cabinet, no matter your hair style! Whether you want to smooth down a few stubborn flyaway strands, or sculpt an impressive slicked back style which will stay n place all day long, hair gel is your friend.

As hair gels come in a range of hold strengths, you can select one to suit the hairstyle you’re going for. And if you love to switch it up on the regular, then having a few different types in your cabinet is a must. While we can now choose between gel, wax, pomade, mousse, and more, gel is a classic hair styling tool which will never go out of fashion.

Best Hair Gel Overall
Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel
With 24 hour hold, and a fresh non-sticky feel, this gel is a clear winner.

Important Features to Consider

Hair gel should do a few things really well if it’s going to be a staple in your hair care routine. Here’s what to consider when selecting the best hair gel for your needs:

  • Hold strength. Hair gels are available in a range of hold strengths, ranging from soft to extra-strong. Most manufacturers rate these from 1 – 5 with 5 being the strongest. If you want your hair to have a bit of movement, select a hair gel with a lower hold strength. At the other end of the scale, hair gel with a level 5 will stay in place all day long without letting your hair move.
  • Alcohol-free. Many hair gels contain alcohol, which is designed to evaporate once you style your hair, leaving the gel residue to provide the hold for your style. Alcohol can dry out sensitive scalps, and can also dry out your hair, so bear that in mind. Constant use of a hair gel with alcohol can make your hair dull and dry. More alcohol-free hair gels are now on the market, with many of these being designed for children.
  • Hair type. Some hair gels are specifically designed for particular types of hair. Some hair gels can help enhance and define curls, others add the illusion of thickness, control frizz, or add shine. It’s worth thinking about what you want your hair gel to achieve and then selecting a product to match your needs.
  • Application method. Hair gels usually come in a tube, tub, or spray bottle. Spray bottles are great for reaching all of your hair evenly, while it’s easy to dispense the exact amount you want from a tube. Hair gel in a tub makes it easy to apply using both hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does hair gel do?

Hair gel is designed to help hold your hair style in place. Most gels do this through the use of plastic particles which are contained within the gel, which literally stick strands of your hair together. When the water or alcohol in the gel evaporates, your style will still be held in place.

Can gel ruin your hair?

Hair gel isn’t bad for your hair, but if you don’t wash it out properly then it can cause irritation, or dry your scalp out. Using gel for more than a few days without washing your hair can cause it to look greasy. Neither of these issues are going to ruin your hair in the long term though, so don’t worry about that. The best way to solve them is to wash your hair regularly, with a good-quality shampoo. You can check out recommendations for The Best Shampoos.

Is hair gel better than wax?

This all depends on the style you’re going for. Gel is stronger than wax, so your style will stay in place for longer. Hair styled with wax can be remodeled easily throughout the day to a certain degree, because the wax is more flexible. To do this with a gel-style, you’ll need to add a small amount of water.

Gel doesn’t look as natural as wax, but it does provide a sleek finish which suits some hair styles.  So if you’re stuck on the fence between the two products, it’s best to try both and see which finish you prefer.

How do you apply hair gel?

There’s many different types of gel to choose from, so make sure you read the application instructions for your particular brand. Most gels are designed to be applied to damp hair.

Using too much gel can also cause flakes of product on your hair where the excess gel has dried out – so start using the minimum amount possible and slowly build up until you get the style you’re after.

Other Hair Gels We Reviewed

Best Hair Gel Overall
Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Hair Gel
With 24 hour hold, and a fresh non-sticky feel, this gel is a clear winner.

We looked at 20 other hair gels. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best hair gels list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Hair Gels for Men

American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel

This firm hold gel helps to make your hair look thicker while also adding shine. The low pH formula stops your scalp and hair from drying out.

Key Features:

  • Firm hold
  • 2 x 8.4 ounce tubes
  • Alcohol-free

Cost: $17

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel

Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel

This thickening gel contains ginger and birch juice to help soothe your scalp and help strengthen your hair. Added vitamin B5 helps to stimulate natural growth for even thicker hair.

Key Features:

  • High shine finish
  • 4 ounce tube
  • Strong hold

Cost: $19

Old Spice Hair Gel for Men

Old Spice Hair Gel for Men

If you’re looking for a combination of a strong hold hair gel with a matte finish, then this is a great choice. This hair gel is specifically designed to make spiked up hair styles look their best.

Key Features:

  • 2 x 6.7 ounce tubes
  • Matte finish
  • Strong hold

Cost: $16

Tea Tree Firm Hold Hair Gel

Tea Tree Firm Hold Hair Gel

This clean and flake-free gel has a great fresh scent of tea tree, mint, and citrus. As well as locking your style in place, this gel helps to make your hair look and feel thicker.

Key Features:

  • 6.6 ounce tube
  • Firm hold
  • High shine finish

Cost: $14

TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel

TIGI Bed Head for Men Power Play Gel

This classic gel makes it easy to style your hair, but it’s also packed full of high-powered ingredients including omega 3, vitamin A, and sacha inchi seed oil.

Key Features:

  • 6.8 ounce tube
  • Strong hold
  • Protects against humidity

Cost: $10

Hair Gels for Curly Hair

Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Curling Gel

Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Curling Gel

This sulfate, paraben, and petrolatum free gel is rich in natural flaxseed oil to help nourish your hair. At the same time, it helps elongate curls while adding bounce and stretch.

Key Features:

  • 15 ounce tub
  • Supports scalp health
  • For natural curls, coils, and waves

Cost: $6

Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Gel

Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Gel

This firm hold gel contains jojoba oil, sea kelp, and Australian aloe to help give definition to your style while conditioning your hair.

Key Features:

  • 3 x 7 ounce tubes
  • Firm hold
  • Cruelty free

Cost: $11

Cantu Shea Butter Twist & Lock Gel

Cantu Shea Butter Twist & Lock Gel

This gel helps to control frizz, for a silky smooth finish. It’s also free from mineral oil, parabens, sulfates, and silicone.

Key Features:

  • 13 ounce tub
  • Alcohol-free
  • Soft hold

Cost: $5

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel

This gel is specifically designed to help define your curls, while keeping them under control all day long. Use on very wet hair for the best finish.

Key Features:

  • Strong hold
  • 32 ounce pump bottle
  • Hydrating formula

Cost: $31

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Scrunch Gel

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Scrunch Gel

This non-drying gel creates defined and controlled curls. The shea butter and curl-binding agents act together to lock in both the shape and shine of your curls.

Key Features:

  • 6.8 ounce tube
  • Strong hold
  • Apply to damp or dry hair

Cost: $4

Hair Gels for Kids

Hip Peas Natural Hair Styling Gel

Hip Peas Natural Hair Styling Gel

If your kid has unruly hair, this natural, safe, and gentle gel is a great solution. It’s been clinically tested as safe for children of all ages.

Key Features: 

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Made in the USA
  • Organic ingredients

Cost: $

Manzanilla Ricitos de Oro Hair Gel

Manzanilla Ricitos de Oro Hair Gel

This gentle hair gel has a chamomile enriched formula to help nourish and protect your child’s hair.

Key Features:

  • Alcohol-free
  • 4 ounce tub
  • Non-sticky

Cost: $5

Original Sprout Natural Hair Gel

Original Sprout Natural Hair Gel

This natural hair gel is suitable for babies upwards, and only contains 100% vegan ingredients.

Key Features:

  • Medium hold
  • 4 ounce tube
  • Hydrating formula

Cost: $11

Snip-its Funky Spiker Super Hold Hair Gel

Snip-its Funky Spiker Super Hold Hair Gel

This salon quality kids hair gel gives all-day hold but still shampoos out easily. The no-flake formula still leaves their hair feeling soft.

Key Features:

  • Made in USA
  • Strong hold
  • Cruelty free

Cost: $15

Suave Kids Star Wars Styling Gel

Suave Kids Star Wars Styling Gel

This Star Wars Stormtrooper themed hair gel helps to make hair styling more fun!

Key Features:

  • Alcohol-free
  • 7 ounce tube
  • Tropical scent

Cost: $7

Spray Hair Gels

Aussie Head Strong Volume Spray Hair Gel

Aussie Head Strong Volume Spray Hair Gel

This volumising spray hair gel contains kakadu plum and bamboo to keep your hair looking shiny and bouncy all day long.

Key Features:

  • 5.7 ounce spray bottle
  • Strong hold
  • Spray onto damp hair

Cost: $9

Fairy Tales Curly-Q Styling Spray Gel

Fairy Tales Curly-Q Styling Spray Gel

This gentle spray gel is designed to help unruly curls stay glossy and under control all day long. Suitable for kids and adults alike.

Key Features:

  • 8 ounce spray bottle
  • Lightweight hold
  • Natural ingredients

Cost: $12

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel

This spray gel contains shea butter to help define and shine curls without any stickiness or heaviness.

Key Features:

  • 3 x 8.5 ounce bottle
  • Strong hold
  • Use on damp or dry hair

Cost: $11

Herbal Essences Set Me Up Spray Gel

Herbal Essences Set Me Up Spray Gel

This spray offers a strong hold without stickiness, while being totally free of parabens, mineral oils, and colorants.

Key Features:

  • 3 x 5.7 ounce bottle
  • Strong hold
  • Lily scent of the Valley

Cost: $9

Pantene Pro-V Curl Spray Gel

Pantene Pro-V Curl Spray Gel

This nutrient infused spray gel helps to hold and define your hair style while also resisting humidity.

Key Features:

  • 3 x 5.7 ounce spray bottles
  • Non-sticky formula
  • Helps guard against frizz

Cost: $12

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