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Natural hair mavens would all agree that finding the right hair gel was once no easy feat. With so many formulas on the market that leave you with dry, parched, and crunchy strands, utilizing hair gel in your styling routine could easily feel like a suicide mission. However, thanks to the evolving world of Black haircare and styling, those worries can officially be left behind.

African Pride has mastered the art of formulating nourishing hair gels that cater to natural hair types seamlessly. The brand has just released new alcohol-free additions to its Moisture Miracle line: Olive Oil & Tea Tree Oil Max Hold Styling Gel, Aloe & Coconut Water Curl Defining Gel ($4.99, Walgreens.com); and the Black Castor Oil and Jojoba Oil Max Hold Styling Gel. Each offering is made with hair-loving ingredients that leave your strands moisturized and your curls sporting a defined, shiny appearance. In other words, the hair gel faux pas from your past will stay there.

Having the right hair gel can go a long way in achieving your desired style, but pairing it with the proper hairstyling tips is the only way to do your mane justice. There are a plenty of self-proclaimed natural hair experts on social media, but it’s always smart to get your information from a licensed stylist. And this is where African Pride stylist and celebrity braid artist Xia Charles comes in.

African Pride Moisture Miracle Black Castor & Jojoba Oil Max Hold Styling Gel

Source: African Pride / African Pride

Xia breaks down super-easy tips of how to prep your hair before applying hair gels to your mane, using leave-in products, and tips to prevent flaking for a flawless look. Before you layer a huge dollop of hair gel on your tresses, grab a pen, pad or simply bookmark this article to elevate your natural hairstyling game. Check out five tips from Xia that will make your hairstyling sessions easier.

1. Apply a leave-in product to your mane before layering on hair gel.

One of the worst things you can do is to layer gel on your mane without a leave-in product in place. Leave-in’s work wonders to provide your hair with an extra layer of moisture, hence giving your style the extra oomph it needs. “Gels should lay on a liquid leave-in for maximum performance,” Xia shares. “Cream leave-ins need a thin layer if used. Flaking may happen according to the porosity.”

Keep in mind, if you’re hair doesn’t retain moisture easily (low porosity) it’s best to opt for a lighter gel. For hair that easily absorbs moisture (high porosity) strong hold gels should be your best friend.

2. Damp hair is ideal for hair gel.

A quick scroll through social media will show some naturals over saturating their hair with water before applying gel, but it’s not always necessary. “Gels can be used on damp hair that is product free,” Xia explains. “Gels need a clean surface. A clean surface gives a smoother finish.”

African Pride Moisture Miracle Aloe & Coconut Water Curl Defining Gel

Source: African Pride / African Pride

3. Thin layers of gel are key to avoid flaking.

It’s easy to get product heavy with hair gel — especially with thicker textures — but it can make flaking a factor. “Avoid flaking by using gels in thin layers with little to no product under it,” Xia shares. “Flaking is a negative reaction when using multiple products. Choose hair gels that hydrate and have little to no flaking.”

4. Pay attention to what your hair texture needs.

Just because one natural can use an oil and gel concoction in their routine doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Different hair textures require different maintenance. “Mixing gel with water and oil is according to the texture, type and condition,” Xia says. “For softer holds add water, for more definition with softness add oil. Custom mixes provide different holding power.”

5. A strict wash day routine is needed with frequent hair gel use.

Applying gel over and over to your hair without cleansing can wreak havoc on your mane. After all, product build-up can easily cake your hair look flat and greasy. “Always deep cleanse and condition the hair at least every 5-7 days if reapplying gel frequently,” Xia says.

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African Pride Stylist Xia Charles Shares 5 Ways To Use Gel In Your Natural Hair Routine  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

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