I know what you're thinking. Gel? Really, Tina? I must admit, I am a bit surprised to be using gel myself. Whenever I see or hear the word gel, certain images come to mind... like brown ProStyl and toothbrushes for baby hair. Ok, let me stop. But seriously, whether on my natural hair challenge or not, one thing has always eluded me -- effectively slicked down edges. I've tried beeswax (made hair greasy), Edge Control (gave me white flakes), random Garnier products (dried my hair out), and more... but nothing seemed to be working. Heck, I even tried raw shea butter (caused some weird white buildup). As I trolled my favorite blogs and some tutorial videos, I noticed that all styles included a staple ingredient: Ecostyler gel. Really? Gel in 2012? Despite my initial reluctance, I remained true to my nature as a product junkie and hype beast... so you know I took my behind to the nearest Sally's and grabbed a tub. Hey, at $3.49 (sale price) it was worth a try.
Ingredient List: water, carbomer, hydrolyzed wheat protein, PVP, glycerin, triethanolamine, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, polysorbate 20, tetrasodium EDTA, argan oil, fragrance, yellow #11, love and pride (yes, that is really on the ingredient list)
- carbomer -- A gel-like thickener
- hydrolyzed wheat protein -- Emollient moisturizing protein, also adds some strength to hair
- PVP -- Fixative used to hold hair together, can cause buildup if used in large quantities
- glycerin -- A humectant (moisturizer) that adds slip
- triethanolamine -- Emulsifier (keeps oil and water from separating) and pH adjusting ingredient
- sodium hydroxmethylglycinate -- Preservative, can cause irritation to those with sensitive skin/scalp
- polysorbate 20 -- Slightly foaming and cleansing ingredient, also used for conditioning
- tetrasodium EDTA -- Chelating ingredient that draws minerals from the hair shaft and assists in cleaning.
- argan oil -- Oil derived from the seeds of the fruit of the Argan tree, touted for high concentrations of vitamins A and E, among other other claims
- yellow #11 -- Liquid dye commonly used in beauty products
- love and pride -- nothin' wrong with that.
Affordability: As good as it gets. 32 ounces of product for under $5. If you're feeling really courageous, Sally's carries a lifetime supply-sized jar (5lbs... yes, pounds!) of Eco Styler Gel for $8.99
Product Claim/Description: For all hair types, alcohol free, made with 100% pure argan oil, maximum hold. Shines, smooths, and conditions the hair with no flakes, no tack, and anti-itch. Contains UV protection. "Ecostyler Moroccan Argan Oil Styling Gel is formulated with rare oils from the Argan tree in Morocco. Our formula conditions and revitalizes the hair while adding a brilliant shine. Like all of our styling gels, Ecostyler Moroccan Argan Oil is also weightless and provides a superior hold."
Performance/Delivery: Defintely provides shine, smoothing and a hold that withstood my gym workouts. Did not leave flakes in my hair, or give me the itchies. Not quite sure which ingredient is supposed to provide my UV protection, though.
Bonuses: Comes out really easily. Just add water.
Drawbacks: CRUNCHYYYYY! I made the mistake of using this gel straight on my hair and boy oh boy, was I in for a rude awakening. My hair wasn't alcohol-dried out, but it slicked down my mane to the point where I could knock on it. I would have liked to see more silicones, humectants, and/or oils to counteract this.
Bottom Line: The gel definitely delivers on its promises. If you're a fan of the hard slick down, then by all means use it straight out of the jar. If you prefer a little softness, I would recommend putting conditioner (such as Aussie Moist) and a little bit of coconut oil on your hair before adding the gel.
Ecostyler gel definitely lends a helping hand when it's time for me to wear more protective/tame styling. What holding/slicking products are you a fan of?