Top Gels that Easily Lay Down My Type 4 Natural Hair


[Updated August 2021] The greatest part about my type 4 natural hair is the ability to transform it into various hairstyles. Whether I’m in the mood for box braids, cornrows, twist outs, Afros, wash n go’s or a messy bun, it’s quite liberating to switch up my look. One of my easy go-to hairstyles is a sleek ponytail, bun or top knot because it’s flattering with all outfits. Sleek ponytails are easy to dress up for nights at luxury lounges or brunch afternoons with your besties. To make sure this style is neat and long-lasting, I like to use a hair gel for natural hair that doesn’t flake.

Gels I Use on My Type 4 Natural Hair

Over the course of two years, I sought to find the best gel for slicking back natural hair. With my type 4 high porosity hair, I need something that’s non-drying but locks in moisture. After experimenting, cheaper hair gels from the dollar store work just as good if not better than some of the expensive name brands. Gels I recommend for type 4 high porosity natural hair:

How to Sleek Down Type 4 Hair | Natural Hair Blogger | Type 4 Hair Gel Tips

How I Sleek Down My Type 4 Natural Hair?

Since I have high porosity natural hair, meaning my curls lose moisture quite fast, I created a guideline for myself to make sure I obtain hydration as long as possible with hair gels. Whenever I follow my personal checklist, gel doesn’t dry out my hair for at least four or five days. Here are my hair rules for applying gel:

Less is More.

I never lay globs of gel on my hair at one time because it makes it too clunky and it dries too hard. My favorite gel to use that requires minimal effort is the Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic Curl Stimulator. This curl stimulator is used to define your mane but its hydrating properties of Aloe Vera juice and slight hold makes it great fit for sleeking your hair into high ponytail or top knot.

Apply Oil to Humectant-Filled Gels

If you have high porosity hair, you want to make sure you seal in the moisture from the gels containing humectants like honey or glycerin. If not, your hair will dry out very quickly. After using the Wetline Xtreme Gel, which contains glycerin, a humectant that pulls moisture from the air, I have to seal the gel in so it doesn’t dry out my high porosity hair. I like to seal my hairstyle with a lightweight oil such as grapeseed or almond oil once it dries.

How to Sleek Down Type 4 Hair | Natural Hair Blogger | Type 4 Hair Gel Tips

Apply a Foam Mousse Before Gel

Want to learn how to sleek down type 4 hair easily with any brand of gel? Use a styling mousse before applying your holding gel. A foam mousse provides an extra hold and smooths down the hair shaft more evenly for a sleek look.

The one I use is Texture ID Thermal Multi-Styling Foam filled with honey, wheat protein and Argan oil to provide extra nourishment and softness. Another favorite styling mousse is The Doux Mousse Def, which contains blue agave and green tea to keep strengthen hair and beat humidity. My natural hair is high porosity, so I make sure to use a gel that isn’t filled with humectants such as Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel, Ampro Styl Protein Gel or Softee Protein Styling Gel to seal the cuticles of my hair shaft. 

Gel Works Better on Damp hair

Yes you can use gel on dry hair but your tresses won’t last for more than a day or two, especially with high porosity hair. High porous natural hair needs moisture. Your mane will sing you a love song for spritzing water on before adding a strong hair gel. Water also helps to lay the hair down flat for that super neat look.

High Porosity Hair Likes Protein Gels

If you have high porosity hair, gels containing protein and sometimes low in glycerin are your best friend. The added protein will help strengthen your hair, fill in gaps and overall eliminate breakage. My favorite protein filled gels that lay my curls flat without causing white flakes are:

  1. Eco Styler Moroccan Argan Oil Styling Gel 
  2. Eco Styler Olive Oil, Shea Butter & Castor Oil Styling Gel
  3. Wet Line Xtreme Professional Styling Gel (green cap)

Creams that Work Like a Gel

Something new I recently discovered that make my high porosity natural curls behave is using a hair butter that smooths like a gel. Currently my favorite is Pattern Styling Cream, which is filled with super nourishing ingredients such as Shea butter, cacay and almond oil to not only add moisture but smooth cuticles. Let me tell you, the hold is strong. I used this for my slick-back hairstyles and you would’ve thought I used a gel. My sister and I both have been through 3 jars of Pattern Beauty’s rich buttercream and it never fails our hairstyles. I know it’s used for wash ‘n gos, twist/braidouts and bantu knots but this cream is so smoothing, it works like a gel making it great for ponytails.

Taking care of your hair should remain hassle free. Once I started educating myself about my texture, it made hair maintenance so much easier. Don’t be afraid to experiment or even research to learn more about what works best for you.

What gels do you use to lay down your natural hair? What’s the best styling gel for your curls?

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