3 great hair gels for natural hair available in South Africa

gel for natural hair robyn ruth thomas

I’m one of those women who doesn’t really like shopping.

I would never go to a store to browse through items if I wasn’t looking for something specific.

I usually walk into a store to collect and pay. Most items would already have been researched, compared on PriceCheck, and tracked for stock in-store via telephone by the time I enter the aisle. It seems dramatic, but it helps me save A LOT  of time and money.

I only REALLY browse through beauty product aisles. LUSH. Oh, my hat. I will never pass a Lush store without walking in to smell the bath bombs and hair products.

They’re amazing.

BUT at Clicks, the amount of heavenly scented hair products placed in one aisle always has me losing track of time. I scan the labels to see if the ingredients are just right; I’ll lift lids – no touching I promise – just stealing a whiff, and usually picking up the products with packaging that looks beautiful – like a lot of thought went into making it.

How do you choose products? I’d love to know. Comment at the end of this page.

One time, I stood in a beauty aisle for so long (with one product in each hand), that a security guard came to ask me if I needed help. “Just having a look, thanks,” I awkwardly replied, putting down the products to avoid looking dodgy.

By this time, I had already read the labels of products on the top shelves and was now squatting to reach the products closest to the ground.

Needless to say the hair gels below have been scanned and compared with a critical eye. There are a few that I’m eager to try and review, especially the retail store aloe vera and flaxseed gels. Let me know if you have any favourites. I’ve also had some seriously bad experiences with gel. Gosh.

Once, I had a photoshoot and I decided to try a new gel the night before to set my wash-and-go. Big mistake. My wash-and-go looked amazing and this was a gel known for not getting crunchy so I was ever confident that the hairstylist would be able to style my hair easily. As soon as the gel had dried and the stylist touched my hair, it began to flake. I was so embarrassed. She was blowing at my scalp, wiping flakes off my shoulders and you know when you over-explain so that you can convince people that you’re telling the truth? I was doing that.

Why use gel for natural hair?

It’s taboo. I know. Naturals with type two to three hair could splash water on their hair and their curls will pop. Mine does that too. But because I have a combination of type three and four hair, my hair tends to shrink quickly and frizz as it dries. I usually rock my frizzed afro but when I’m in the mood for a super defined wash-and-go, gel is really the only product that will hold my hair types.

Here are the three hair gels at the top of my list for when I’m too lazy to cook up a batch of oh-so-good-for-your-hair, homemade flaxseed gel.

Each gel is free from drying alcohols.

Revlon Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150 ml – R 4295

Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150ml
Photo/ clicks.co.za

This is one of the first gels that I used while I was transitioning and doing Bantu knots to disguise my limp chemically treated ends. I needed a Hercules hold and this did the job.

It does have a major crunch and by that I mean, your hair will be hard but If you love low maintenance life, a week could go by and your curls will still be defined with this gel. The only disappointment is the baby packaging  – a lot of hair needs a lot of product so hopefully, Revlon will up-size them.

Dis-Chem Hair Styling Gel Firm Hold 1ltr – R 3895

Photo/ Dis-chem.co.za

Products at Dis-chem are just generally more affordable than other retail stores so this 1-litre pot is no surprise. I’m honestly skeptical of cheap products sometimes because I ask myself, why are the ingredients so cheap?

But get this; Dis-chem pharmacy cleverly clones more expensive products and creates generic products that include the same quality ingredients but didn’t require as much effort since the original product creator did most of the work. That’s why generic products are cheaper. When you buy expensive pharmaceutical products that have identical generic products available, you are literally just paying more for the name of the product. Compare labels, hun.

 I’m still trying to find out whether this product is generic but it works really well. It has great hold and no white flaking – hallelujah, but you have to use quite a bit of product as well.

This should have been called edge glue because, honey, it performs. I recently braided by hair and wanted to complete the look with perfectly laid edges.  I was really impressed.

My initial thoughts that edge tamer was a waste of money if you could use gel, have just been squashed.

It’s really only meant for your baby hairs though. The hold of this gel is so intense that it would actually stiffen up the rest of your hair if you used it. I did finger test and it’s like having prestik on your fingers if you tap them together.

It’s rather pricey for a hair gel but it will last a really long time considering the hold and tiny amount of hair that you need to cover.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these before and/or if you have an interesting hair gel story to tell. I’d love to chat to you.

Feature photo: source

 

On learning to embrace your fro – Life as Leslin

leslin jones bewhole natural hair journey

When I met vlogger, Leslin Jones of Life as Leslin at a hair event in Cape Town, I  was naturally drawn to her flare for adventure.

She recently went skydiving and by the look of her photos, you can tell that the experience was exhilarating.

I’ve left a link for you to check out her skydiving experience at the the end of this post.

She says, “I love adventure and life! I love travel so much that I decided to travel the world for 10 years. Through my journey I’ve seen amazing places and met amazing people. I was also a dancer and that’s how I’d met Nelson Mandela.”

She stirs a whirl of inspiration for things that she’s truly passionate about, and natural hair is one of them.

She notes that her natural hair journey allowed her to discover the woman that she could be and to her mind, was supposed to be.

“I have never felt more beautiful and confident. Growing up, I’d look at other girls and wanted long, straight hair. I always wondered why my hair was so different – why I was so different.”

And then she started relaxing (chemically straightening) her hair. She said that she felt beautiful for a while until she’d have to fork out more money to relax her re-growth.

“When a colleague pointed out to me that my hair was falling out, I knew that I had to do something about my hair… It wasn’t healthy; it was breaking off, thinning, and not growing.

That’s when I decided that I’d had enough. Why was I doing this to my hair? For what? For who?” So she transitioned to her natural hair. It wasn’t a tough decision at all because she’d always been fascinated with curls. And now that she’s learned how to maintain her own hair, she’s determined to share her knowledge with or aspiring naturals. Take a look at her tips tips below:

Leslin Jones from Life as Leslin natural hair journey
Leslin Jones from Life as Leslin

Leslin’s Top 5 Tips for starting a natural hair journey:

1. Protect your hair

Get a satin bonnet, sleep cap, head wrap and/or satin pillow case. This will help to prevent breakage and tangling your hair.

2. Welcome more water

Invest in a water based moisturizer and eave-in conditioner (petroleum/mineral oil free). Water is the key ingredient to moisturized hair.

Start by applying a water-based moisturizer to wet hair. By the way, a good conditioner can do the job of a shampoo.

3. Know your oils

Your hair needs oil, just like your car. My favourites are,olive oil and coconut oil. These types of oils are great for dry hair, especially because it’s nourishing but doesn’t weigh the hair down.

4. Be patient with your process

The longer your curls get the more care they’ll need. Think washing, detangling, and then styling.

For your ideal look we’re talking patience and commitment. A lot of the time you only see the successful wash and go’s, braid outs and twist outs. What you don’t see is that in the beginning there will be more fails than successes, so patience is key.

Try not to manipulate your hair too much and stay away from heat. Have regular trims and keep your hair moisturized.

5. Develop a winning wash and go routine:

I co-wash (conditioner wash) once a week and use a sulphate free shampoo when needed. On shampoo days I use a scalp massager and then condition (using my wide tooth comb to detangle).

A wash day is never complete without a weekly deep conditioning treatment. My favourite treatment is Dr Miracles Deep Conditioner.

I always follow with a leave–in conditioner. My favourite is the Cantu Leave-in Conditioner. I then finish off the look by applying a curling cream and a light oil.

Did you find these tips useful? Drop us a comment in the section below to show Leslin some appreciation 🙂

Click here to watch Leslin’s skydiving experience and other natural hair, travel, and beauty endeavours from her blog, Life as Leslin.