So you want to start using a gel cast as a way to define your curls, but you’re not sure where to start. Well, look no further!
In this post, we’ll give you a basic overview of what a gel cast is and how to create it, as well as some tips for troubleshooting if things don’t go quite according to plan.
Keep reading for all the info you need to get started with this curl-defining technique!
What Is A Gel cast?
A gel cast is when your hair dries crunchy from the gel applied while it was wet. This crunchy feeling is actually a cast the gel creates around the hair to hold it in place and protect it while it dries.
A gel cast is good for wavy and curly hair, but you can easily remove it once your hair is dry if you don’t like the wet, crunchy look.
Benefits Of A Gel Cast For Curly Hair
Much like a cast is used to protect what’s inside, a gel cast protects the hair and helps it dry with minimal frizz and in the ideal shape.
A gel cast shields the hair from elements such as wind, sun, and humidity while also maintaining its shape.
A gel cast can help:
- reduce frizz
- lock in moisture
- enhance definition
- the style last longer
- protect against weather elements
- get a tighter curl pattern
The main benefit is the reduction of frizz. Since it holds individual curl clumps in place while they dry, this results in your hair drying just the way it looks when wet, with the curl clumps staying mostly intact.
And once you break the gel cast, it will be soft and shiny, but still without the frizz.
How To Get A Gel Cast
Getting a gel cast is pretty simple. All you need to do is style your curly hair with a gel when it is still wet.
After you have rinsed out your conditioner, squeeze out the excess water. Apply leave-in conditioner or cream if you’re using these, then apply your gel. You want to distribute it evenly and scrunch up to encourage curl formation.
You can plop with a hair towel if you want to remove some of the water weight and speed up drying. Some people find they need to scrunch in a tiny bit of gel again after this since the hair towel removes some of the styling product.
Then you just need to let it dry. You can air dry or diffuse. But the most important thing to do is NOT TOUCH YOUR HAIR until it’s completely dry.
A little moving around is ok, but no styling, over manipulation, or too much touching your hair until it is dry. As it dries, you’ll notice it start to harden. This is the gel cast forming.
Once your hair is fully dry, then you can break the cast to release soft shiny curls. But it’s important to wait until your hair is 100% dry to do this or you will cause frizz.
You can also leave it in the cast which works well if you’ll be in a very hot and humid place.
Troubleshooting Your Curl Cast
If you’re having trouble getting or removing a gel cast, try these tips.
If you can’t create a cast:
It usually means you need less moisture.
Try styling with less water, less moisture, and a harder hold gel.
This means damp styling instead of wet, using less or skipping leave in and cream, and using a stronger gel.
You could also have buildup that’s preventing a cast from forming. Use a good clarifying shampoo and try again.
Other possibilities are that you might be plopping for too long or not using enough gel.
Also, you won’t get a cast if your hair is dry or nearly dry when you apply the gel. Your hair has to be damp to wet.
Despite all this, there are some people who cannot create a cast no matter what.
I struggle to get a cast and it’s very rare that I get one. And even when I do, it’s so light that it breaks before it’s fully dry. If that’s you, don’t worry about it. You don’t need a cast.
Popular Gels That Create A Cast
Below are a few popular gels that are known for creating a strong cast.
- BioSilk Rock Hard Gelee
- Curl Keeper Gel
- Ouidad Advanced Climate Control – both the red & white bottles
- Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel
- Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi Jelly
- TWIST Weather Up Gel
- Aussie Instant Freeze
- Ecoslay Jello Shot
If you can’t break your cast:
It usually means you need more moisture.
Try styling on wetter hair, layer leave-in and cream underneath, and use a gel or other styling product with a weaker hold. Look for something with ‘flexible’ hold instead of ‘strong’ or ‘hard’.
FAQ’s About Gel Cast
Does everyone with wavy and curly hair need a cast?
No. Some hair types do fine without getting a cast when styling. Try it out and see if it’s for you.
Can I create a cast with products other than gel?
Yes. Most styling products with some level of hold will create a cast. Remember though, that moisture can reduce the effects so styling creams and such likely won’t create much of a cast if any.
How do I break the cast and get soft curls?
So, if you’re looking to achieve a sleek and frizz-free style, give a gel cast a try. It’s an easy way to help your hair dry the right way and without all the fuss. Follow these tips to create a gel cast for your next wash day.
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