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When it comes to styling hair, a wide range of products are available to choose from, including hair gels, hair waxes, and hair sprays. But which one is the best?
This article will explore the differences between hair gels, hair waxes, and hair sprays, helping you understand their characteristics and uses so you can choose the best product for your specific needs.
So, read on and discover the ideal styling product for the hairstyle you desire.
|Aspect||Hair Gels||Hair Waxes||Hair Sprays|
|Hold on hair||Strong hold||Flexible hold||Variable hold|
|Effect on hair texture||Makes her stiff||Provides a natural texture||Sets hair in place|
|Hair type||Suitable for all hair types||Suitable for all hair types, mainly short hair||Suitable for all hair types|
|Frequency of use||Occasional use||Frequent use||Frequent use|
|Application||On wet or dry hair||On dry or damp hair||On finished hairstyle|
Each product offers unique benefits and is suited for different hair types and styles. Consider the following factors when determining which one is for you.
Knowing how these products keep your hairstyle intact will help you choose the best one for your desired look.
Hair gels offer a strong hold, (1) keeping your hair firmly in place throughout the day, while hair waxes provide a more flexible hold, allowing your hair to move naturally while maintaining its shape.
Hair sprays, on the other hand, come in different strengths, giving you options for the level of support you want.
Experts suggest selecting products based on your hair type.
Lastly, hair sprays are versatile and also suitable for all hair types, especially for managing flyaways.
If you style your hair daily or use styling products regularly, hair waxes and sprays are the way to go. These products tend to cause less buildup and residue compared to hair gels, making them a better choice for frequent use.
On the other hand, if you only style your hair occasionally or for special occasions, hair gels can provide a strong and long-lasting hold.
According to hairstylists, different products provide different finishes to your hairdo. Hair gels deliver a glossy finish, while hair waxes deliver a matte finish. Hair sprays provide a neutral finish.
Choose accordingly based on the look you want to achieve.
Hair Gels: Uses and Benefits
Hair gels are handy products for styling hair. They contain a special ingredient called fixative polymers, which help hold your hair in place. Think of them as adhesives that hold your strands together.
When applied, a hair gel forms a bond with your hair fibers, making them stick together. This creates a stronger and stiffer structure, making it effortless to style your hair in any manner you desire. The gel acts like a support system, helping your hairdo stay the same throughout the day. (1)
Note: The effectiveness of the gel depends on how well it sticks to your hair. Factors such as the thickness of the gel, the way it interacts with the air, and other ingredients it contains can affect its performance. (1)
Uses of hair gels
The main uses of hair gels include: (2)
- Prevent hair flyaways
- Keep hairstyle intact
- Provide stiffness to strands
- Add shine to hair
The other benefits of hair gels depend on the ingredients they contain. The incorporation of ingredients known for their beneficial effects on the hair into hair gels may offer a dual benefit of styling and nurturing the hair.
Benefits of hair gels
Hair gels offer several advantages.
Hair gels, commonly used for styling purposes, may also have the potential to support hair growth with the right ingredients.
A study found that gel formulations containing extracts of false daisy (Eclipta alba) and frogfruit (Lippia nodiflora) promoted hair growth initiation and completion. (3)
Another study concluded that the formulation of hair gel with guar gum and jatamansi extracts holds promise for promoting hair growth and maintaining hair health. (4)
Hair gels can be useful tools in combating dandruff. They help in providing nourishing and moisturizing effects to the scalp, reducing dryness and flakiness.
Additionally, certain hair gels may contain ingredients with antifungal properties that can help to eliminate the fungi responsible for dandruff.
However, it’s important to choose a hair gel specifically formulated for dandruff treatment to maximize its effectiveness. (5)
A study showed that an herbal gel with aloe vera and flaxseed extracts was effective in combating dandruff problems. (6)
Hair gels can be beneficial in addressing scalp infections and promoting healthy hair.
In one study, black pepper and hibiscus leaves are the key ingredients in a hair gel formulation aimed at stimulating the hair follicles and conditioning the hair, while the inclusion of Ziziphus jujuba leaf extract with antibacterial properties helped combat scalp infections. (7)
You can use hair gels on wet and dry hair. If you want a shiny finish, apply the gel to wet hair. For a more natural look, apply it to dry hair.
- Take a small amount of gel, such as the size of a coin, and rub it between your hands.
- Comb your fingers through your hair, making certain the gel is evenly spread.
- Style your hair the way you want it.
- They contain alcohol and corrosive chemicals that can drive out moisture from your hair and scalp, causing dryness and dehydration.
- Excessive use can contribute to hair loss and dandruff issues.
- Extended use of hair gels can cause hair discoloration and damage.
Note: It’s important to use hair gels in moderation and ensure proper hair and scalp care to minimize these drawbacks.
Hair Waxes: Uses and Benefits
Hair waxes are thick hairstyling products made of wax that help hold hair in place. Unlike hair gels, which often contain alcohol and can dry out the hair, hair waxes provide a flexible hold and don’t dry out the hair as easily.
Hair waxes go by various names such as pomade, putty, glue, whip, molding gum, or styling paste, and each product has a different purpose depending on the brand. Traditional pomades also add shine to the hair. (8)(9)
Note: Hair waxes have been used for many years. They were created by the ancient Gauls as a styling agent and later used for cleaning purposes as well. (8)
Uses of hair waxes
The general uses of hair waxes include:
Benefits of hair waxes
In one study, a hair wax formulated with propolis (resin) and Eruca sativa (arugula) seed oil has been shown to promote hair growth. The study found that it significantly increased hair length and weight. The study suggested that using a hair wax with the right ingredients may contribute to hair growth. (10)
Here’s a simple guide on how to use a hair wax:
- Take a little quantity of wax on your fingers.
- Massage it between your hands to warm it up.
- Disseminate it through dry or slightly damp hair.
- Style your hair as you wish.
Precautions and disadvantages of hair waxes
Hair waxes do have some downsides, which may include causing buildup and making the hair oily (9), heavy, or greasy if overused. Also, wax residue can be challenging to completely wash out of the hair.
Hair Sprays: Uses and Benefits
Hair sprays are fast-drying liquid products that you spray onto your hair to keep it in place. They contain special ingredients that stick to your hair, ensuring your hairstyle stays exactly how you want it. (11)(9)
Note: These sprays are carefully formulated with safe ingredients and undergo tests to ensure they don’t cause any irritation to your scalp or eyes when sprayed.
Uses of hair sprays
The uses of hair sprays are pretty straightforward. They include: (9)
- Provide a strong hold for hairstyles
- Add volume and lift to hair
- Easy and convenient to apply
- Help hairstyles stay in place for long periods
Here’s a concise guide on how to use a hair spray for styling your hair:
- Style your hair as you desire using heating devices or other styling products.
- Position the hair spray roughly 12 inches away from your scalp.
- Mist the hair spray evenly over your hair.
- Start with less and add more as required to avoid too much stiffness or heaviness.
- Skin reactions and itching may occur, so wash off any hair spray on the skin promptly.
- Hair sprays can catch fire near flames or heat sources, so use it elsewhere.
- Contact with eyes can cause redness and discomfort.
- Breathing in fumes can lead to coughing or difficulty breathing.
Can hair gels make the hair look greasy?
It depends on the product and amount used. Some gels may leave a greasy appearance if overapplied.
Do hair waxes make the hair look shiny?
Hair waxes can provide a natural-looking shine to the hair.
Do hair sprays make the hair stiff?
Hair sprays can provide a firm hold, but the stiffness can vary depending on the product.
Do hair sprays offer heat protection?
Some hair sprays may offer heat protection, but not all.
Do hair waxes leave residue in the hair?
Hair waxes can leave remnants if used unduly or not adequately washed.
Can hair gels be used for slicked-back hairstyles?
Hair gels are often used for achieving sleek, slicked-back styles.
The choice between hair gels, hair waxes, and hair sprays depends on your desired hairstyle and preferences.
Hair gels offer strong hold and control, hair waxes provide a more flexible hold with texture, while hair sprays help set and maintain a hairstyle.
Consider the look you want to achieve and the level of hold and versatility you need to make the best choice for your hairstyling routine.