Hair & Beauty Magazine

Here's Why Hair Styling Gels Can Cause Breakage & Split Ends

By Rockitnapptural @Rockitnapptural

Here's Why Hair Styling Gels Can Cause Breakage & Split Ends
Hair styling gels are used to hold hair in place, sculpt, and manipulate stubborn strands. I like to use Eco Styler Olive Oil gel for certain styles such as wash-and-gos, and I prefer edge tamer gels to lay down my edges and fly-away's. However, many gels contain drying ingredients that could cause damage to your hair. Split ends, breakage, allergic reactions, and severe hair loss could result from excessive or improper use of hair styling gels.
Hair styling gel should never be left on your hair overnight without wearing a satin scarf or bonnet. A satin pillowcase is also a good alternative if you don't like to keep your hair tied up. As you move while sleeping, you want to avoid any friction between your hair and your pillowcase, especially if sleeping on a cotton pillowcase. Because many alcohols are drying to your strands, your hair will be more delicate to breakage from any friction that occurs while sleeping. Hair gels are known to strip the hair of essential oils and nutrients that help keep the hair healthy.
Drying Alcohols Commonly Found in Hair Styling Gels:
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Propanol
  • Propyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol 40
  • Menthanol
  • Ethanol
  • Propanol
  • Alcohol Denat
It's best to try to avoid gels that contain ingredients you know will dry out your hair and potentially lead to breakage or split ends. Ecostyler gel is popular in the natural hair community because it doesn't contain any alcohols that could damage the hair.
Read Also: Why is My Hair Breaking Off

Washing your hair frequently will also keep your hair from drying out and preventing breakage. Leaving hair gel in your hair for too long will almost certainly strip your hair of its natural moisture. This will cause your hair to become extremely fragile and highly susceptible to split ends and hair fall.Try not to leave hair gel in your hair longer than two days to avoid the unnecessary damage it could cause.

Because most black women with natural hair have tightly curled or coiled hair, and the naturals oils produced by our scalp cannot reach the end of the hair strand such as those with straighter hair. Keeping your hair soft and moisturized will reduce hair loss and breakage caused by dry, brittle hair.
Read Also: Use a Hot Oil Treatment to Retain Moisture & Soften Hair
Many gels also contain fillers which could be any type of chemical or synthetic. Gels are known to agitate those suffering from skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema on the scalp and even itchy scalp in those with no known allergies. Be sure to read the label of whatever type of hair gel you choose to be sure there are no ingredients that could cause allergic reactions or flare-ups of skin issues.
Tips for Using Hair Gel Effectively
  • Stay away from hair gels that include drying alcohols
  • Reach for the more natural ingredients
  • Do not use direct heat with gel on your hair
  • Read the labels carefully to avoid harmful ingredients
  • Do not sleep with styling gels in your hair without protecting the hair
  • Wash hair after 2 days to avoid drying
  • Do not comb hair gel through hair, this could lead to breakage

Although hair gels can cause damage to the hair, most damage is reversible and can be easily avoided. There is no damage to the hair follicle itself, so your hair should grow back. Working on retaining length and keeping your hair moisturized will be the key in achieving your hair growth goals.
Do you have any experiences with gel leading to breakage or split ends? What is the best gel you've used that isn't drying that you would recommend?

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