If you follow the Max Hydration Method, swear by the Curly Girl Method, or just are an avid fan of more natural than synthetic hair products, then this list is for you!
Why go botanical?
If you're tired of gels that dry out the hair and instead want a one-two combination of moisture and definition, look no further than these bottles and jars of botanical bliss.
- minimal to no crunch,
- don't contain harsh preservatives, and
- are often pH balanced to help step your cuticle closing game up (leading to increased shine and moisture retention)
- botanical extracts like marshmallow root mean you can count on tons of slip and easy product application
Camille Rose Naturals hit it big this year when they released a new formulation of their popular Curl Maker gel. Naturalistas everywhere (myself included) were over the moon with the new formula, and how much it delivered on its promises of no more flaking and more definition and shine. The new Curl Maker is absolutely amazing, and provides frizz-free definition while moisturizing the hair with coconut oil, aloe vera, castor oil, marshmallow, and agave. Want to know how the new formula is different from the old one? Watch my video.
Earth's Nectar Honey Curls is an elegant blend of aloe, jojoba, sweet almond, and glycerin designed to smooth frizz, enhance shine, and create soft, touchable curls. It is versatile enough for all lengths and types of hair, and can be used to set wash and go's twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod sets. Believe it or not, it can be used on locs too!
Obia Curl Enhancing Custard
Another favorite of mine (and naturalistas everywhere) is the pH balanced Obia Natural Hair Curl Enhancing Custard. Formulated with olive oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, and wheat protein, this botanical gel creates soft, defined, and touchable curls that last for days. The oils impart softness and shine, while the protein adds strength to the hair. And did I mention that it was pH balanced? Keeping curly cuticles compacted and flat is one of the best ways to improve shine and moisture retention, and the Curl Enhancing Custard definitely delivers on that!
One of my absolute favorite curl definers of 2014, TreLuxe's Hi! Definition Curl Enhancer Styling Gel is formulated aloe, seaweed, avocado, and honey, among other natural oils and extracts. It is a powerful styler, and a little bit goes a very long way. One of the standout components of Hi! Definition is their one-of-a-kind Active Botanicals 360 Curl Complex with tomato fruit extract. Want to know what that means, and more about how Hi! Definition performs? Click here to read my review.
Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter
This multi-use gel has quickly become a favorite of mine. It calls itself a butter, but what it really is, is an aloe-based gel enriched with shea butter, essential oils, and silk powder. It coats the hair like a gel, nourishing and moisturizing while aloe seals the cuticle and enhances shine. Although it is thick, it dries incredibly lightweight and does not weigh the hair down whatsoever. The end result is light, fluffy, shiny curls that smell amazing! Grab it in the Island Mango scent, and thank me later!
Koils By Nature Peppermint Soothing Herbal Defining Gel
If you love peppermint and cool tingles, then Koils By Nature Peppermint Soothing Herbal Defining Gel is right up your alley. Not only is it infused with botanicals like calendula, burdock root, horsetail, and nettle to stimulate the follicles and strengthen the roots of your hair, but it contains aloe, shea, macadamia nut, and Jamaican black castor oils. These oils combined help to improve elasticity and shine, while easing flaking and dry scalp conditions. This gel has a light hold, so it is best for naturals and curlies desiring mega volume with some definition.
DIY Flaxseed Gel
For the curly girls on a budget, DIY Flaxseed Gel is one of the most cost-effective botanical gels you can buy and make. Flax seeds themselves cost about $1.29/lb in bulk, and trust me -- a pound of flax seeds is enough to practically make a lifetime supply of gel. You can customize the gel and blend in extracts, essential oils, and carrier oils of whatever type you prefer. In my flax gel mix, I blend in jojoba oil and sweet almond. Just don't use coconut oil --when you refrigerate the gel, you'll end up with white balls. After you make your gel, remember --those flax seeds are reusable for at least another two batches!