Why your gel isn’t casting properly

You coat your hair with gel, it hardens into a crunchy cast when your hair dries, and viola—you have a gel cast! But what happens if you never seem to get the gel cast right? We have a list of reasons why your gel isn’t casting and what you can do about it.

1. Your gel doesn’t have the right ingredients

Your gel needs to have ingredients that form a film over your curls. Make sure the gel you use has humectants and polymers to form a cast around your strands.

Polymers deposit onto the surface of hair and cause the hair to be attracted through capillary force, hence providing ‘hold’. Common polymers to look out for include PVP, PVA, PVP/VA copolymer and polyacrylate acid. Humectants are the ones that form a film around the hair. Common film-forming humectants to look out for are hydroxyethylcellulose, flax seed gel, aloe vera gel, xanthum gum, pectin, amino acids, peptides and hydrolyzed proteins.

2. You’ve used too much product

Gel is usually the last product you apply before you dry your curls so you’re probably adding gel over other products. If you’ve used too much of a product or used an oil-based product underneath, your gel may not be able to form a good cast. Gels work best on clean hair.

3. You’re not using enough gel

The amount of product you apply depends on your curl type, so you’ll need to experiment to find out what amount of gel works best for you. While applying very little gel won’t give you a good cast, applying too much would make your hair crunchy and limp. Try different things and you’ll find your fit!

4. You’re styling on soaking wet hair

While applying products to soaking wet hair is great for frizz control, it might not give you the best gel cast. Try squeezing out a bit of the water with a towel or t-shirt before applying gel.

5. Your hair moves as it dries

Try not to let your hair move too much or touch other objects and surfaces as it dries. This includes pillows and fabrics. Using a diffuser will make the process easier and quicker.

Can you think of other reasons why your curls may not be forming a gel cast? Leave your questions in the comments below and we'll be sure to answer! 

1 comment

This is great info! Thanks. I realised number 4 is my problem. I’ve been styling on soaking wet hair and barely getting a cast (esp in winter). Ever since I changed that I’ve been seeing a gel cast!

Maria Mirza November 25, 2020

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