Q: What is a gel cast?
A: The gel cast is the hardened coating on your hair that can be created once your hair gel has completely dried. The level of stiffness depends on the product you are using, as all gels are not created equal.
Q: Does using hair gel always create crunchy hair?
No! If you’ve every steered away from hair gel because of the crunchy gel cast, there is hope! Gel is an amazing hair product to hold curls and protect them from all the weather and activities they are exposed to everyday. Still, you can maintain some benefits of the holding power and still have touchable hair. Creating the gel cast will set your curly styling. Then, you can then soften the gel cast if you prefer. See more details below…
Q: Is a gel cast a good or bad thing?
A: It’s a styling preference rather than a good or bad situation. Depending on your hair type and the look you would like to achieve, you have options. For strong definition that last for days, you can leave the gel cast on. For a softer look, you can choose to soften the gel cast on wash day.
The Curl Story – Scenarios
High Density, Tight Curls – On my daughter’s hair for example, we never break her gel cast. She has high density hair, tight curls, and loves the definition a gel cast gives her curls. The cast protects her hair by sealing in the moisture from wash day, and creates a protective barrier from the weather and daily activities. Her curls are stiff on wash day, and softened, though still defined, by the next day.
Medium Density, Loose Curls – Conversely, I have medium density hair and loose, wavy curls. Therefore, the gel cast leaves my hair looking too condensed and too thin to the point that my scalp shows through. So, I like to soften the gel cast to maintain much of the curl definition, but still allow for more volume and movement in my hair. I may need to do a 5 minute refresh on the following days to get some definition back, but I love the voluminous finish.
How long will the gel cast last?
The gel cast will soften over time depending on the gel, the environment and your daily activities. High humidity can break the cast, sleeping on your hair, movement or friction from clothing, car seat, etc. Therefore, it can last just a day or several days.
How can I soften the gel cast?
Once your hair is completely dry, you can scrunch out the crunch or SOTC. Do note however, that if your hair is even slightly damp, you will create frizz by scrunching at that time. This technique will soften your hair within minutes! So, it’s quick solution to add this extra step to your wash day routine.
Pro Tip: Use a silky scarf to place over your hands and slowly scrunch your hair. The scarf prevents any heat or moisture from your hands interfering with your hair product.
Does a gel cast cause buildup on my hair?
Not necessarily. What causes buildup are certain ingredients in the hair products. Those buildup causing agents can be in your shampoos/cleansers, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, oils and styling products. Therefore, if you are using clean beauty products, with only water soluble ingredients (more on this in a later post), your curls will be happier.
– My Favorite Gels –
Innersense I Create Volume – a medium hold product, that scrunches out to beautifully soft curls
Innersense I Create Hold – a strong hold gel to hold even the thickest of hair types with ease
Uncle Funky’s Daughter, Curly Magic – a fabulous base layer that draws moisture to your hair
Bioterra, Alcohol-Free Styling Gel – a budget friendly gel with medium hold and amazing shine
Giovanni Eco Chic, L.A. Hold Styling Gel – A strong hold gel that is my go-to on humid days. It may be difficult to find this one online, but it might be available at your local natural foods grocers.
Can I sleep in a gel cast?
Yes! I absolutely LOVE doing this. This is one of my favorite curly styling secrets. I like to wash my hair on a weekend afternoon, and leave the gel cast in until the next morning. It protects my hair overnight and allows me to have fresh looking curls the next day!
Have more questions? Leave them below and I will add to this post!
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