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How To Use Hair Gel For Men

Last Updated on March 21, 2022

How To Use Hair Gel For Men

Have you been wondering what the best way to apply hair gel is?

Well, you’d be surprised at the sheer amount of men who aren’t quite sure how to tame their mane with hair gel and other hair products.

Styling your hair is easier said than done and there are a few things you need to consider and know before you dip your fingers into the pot of styling gel.

In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on applying gel so you can achieve your desired style whether that be to create spikes or slick your hair back for a tidier look.

So, let’s begin.


Hold And Shine

Hair gel is the most commonly used hair styling product for men and pretty much every guy has tried it out at some point in their lives. 

Hair gel comes in varying hold strengths from light to strong meaning it’s great for long-lasting hairstyles.

A strong-hold gel provides a stiff hairstyle that won’t budge once it’s set whereas a lighter gel makes your hair more manageable and gives off a more wavy look. 

Gels are also known for their high shine. This means that they make your hair appear shinier than other hair products. This look isn’t favored by all but certain hairstyles will require that wet hair look that gel can provide.

It’s worth noting that not all hair gels are made equal. Those that use natural ingredients are much less likely to flake off during the day.

Choosing The Right Hair Gel

Gels are usually categorized by the thickness of the compound and the power of the hold. Most gels are applied with your fingertips, but there are a few which are spray-on.

Light, foamy gel – This is the best hair gel for a more casual, messier look and you’ll still have some flexibility and life in your hair as opposed to the more rigid look of thicker gels. This is great for those with short hair that doesn’t need a tight hold to stay in place.

Medium-hold gel – Ideal for shiny spikes and getting your hair into more intricate positions that need a tighter hold to be maintained.

Thick gel – This is great for thick hair and medium-length hair so you can achieve that slicked-back look, keeping it in place all day. You won’t be able to run your fingers through, at least not easily, but it’s much stronger than other hair styling products and will holdfast all day especially if you add a little hair spray to really solidify it.

How To Use Hair Gel For Men – A Step By Step Guide

  1. Wash your hair – First thing’s first is you’re going to need clean hair as it makes everything 10x easier. Shampoo and condition your hair as per normal (take a look at our guide on how to properly shampoo men’s hair if you’re unsure).
  2. Dry Hair – Now use a towel to dry your hair but don’t dry it so much so that there’s no moisture left in your hair. You’ll want to dry it until it’s damp but not completely soaked.
  3. Scoop Your Gel – Get a small dab of hair gel onto your fingertips and rub your hands together to coat your hands.
  4. Rub Into Your Hair – Apply the hair gel, in the same manner, you would shampoo.The amount of gel you need will depend on if you have shorter hair or long hair but just ensure yous spread it evenly through your hair.
  5. Start Small – It’s much easier to begin with a small amount and slowly add more until you reach the right amount for your hair. If you immediately apply a large amount you’ll probably just end up washing it out and starting again. Some extra tips for hair length: Use a dime-sized amount for short hair/ Use a quarter-sized amount for medium-length hair/ Use two or more quarter-sized amounts for long, thick, or curly hair.
  6. Style Time – Style your hair according to the look you’re going for, whether that be spiked hair or a pompadour, but you should know what look you want before you apply the hair gel. Generally, you should start with the gel just above your hairline, and work it back towards the crown of your head, using your fingers to apply the gel or a comb if you find it easier.
  7. Let It Settle – Most hair gel contains alcohol which allows them to dry quickly but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to wait a few minutes for it to settle. You can manipulate the gel while it’s wet, but once it dries there’s very little room to maneuver.

Disadvantages Of Using Hair Gel

Dry, Itchy Scalp – Moisture is often stripped from the hair and scalp because of the chemicals used in some hair gels. This can result in dandruff and itchy scalp however, you can avoid this by going for a natural men’s hair gel that does not contain alcohol or harmful chemicals.

Damage To Your Hair – You can cause long-term damage to your hair due to the type of alcohol that’s used to help the gel dry.

Unflexible – It’s hard to change your hair throughout the day when using the gel as the hold is often very strong and cannot be altered unless you wash the hair gel out with shampoo. For some good shampoo recommendations check out our guide to the best shampoo for men.

Flaking – You can get flaking or residue as a result of running your fingers through your gelled hair.

Brittle – If you use hair gel excessively and for a long period of time your hair can become brittle and more prone to breaking over time.

Frizzy – Hair gel can also make your hair frizzy, rough, limp, and virtually unmanageable without hair product.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I style my hair?

If you want some extra tips and advice on how to style your hair then check out our article “how to style men’s hair” for some quality information on hair types, length, and how it affects what products you should be using.

What’s the best hairstyle for men?

Well, this depends on a few things. Your hair type and length play a large factor in what kind of styles you can pull off as well as what products you should be using to get an extreme hold, light hold, etc. on your hair. For more info check out our article on the best men’s hairstyles.

Do I Need to wash my hair before I use hair gel?

It’s important to have damp hair when you apply gel, so don’t blow dry it until there’s no water left as you’ll need to start again. Applying gel to dirty or greasy hair can make the gel less effective. It also promotes split ends and poor hair health like brittle hair and long-term damage so always wet it then towel dry so it’s damp.

Do you apply hair gel to wet or dry hair?

It’s important to have damp hair when you apply the gel. If you’re short on time, dampening your hair in the sink is also a good option. Applying gel to dirty or greasy hair can make the gel less effective and will cause lasting damage to your hair which nobody wants.

Is it OK to sleep with gel in your hair?

Sleeping with gel in your hair is definitely not recommended. The scalp regularly needs to breathe, especially while you sleep so leaving the gel on for long periods of time can clog the pores on your scalp causing irritation and in some cases infection. Washing the gel off at the end of the day is the best way to prevent any adverse effects.

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