Applying gel to curly hair without destroying clumps

Today’s post is about what I think is the best way to apply gel to curly hair. As it can be quite a challenge to get my curls to clump properly, I had to experiment a bit until I found the best way to apply gel without destroying my clumps.

I mostly either use the MopTop anti-frizz gel or the KCCC as my styler to get frizz-free curls. It doesn’t really matter exactly what styler you’re using, the technique to apply it stays the same. What’s more important, is the styler working for your curls!

What to do before applying your styler

Before I apply gel to my curls, I first shampoo and finger-comb them while they’re soaking wet and covered in conditioner. From this point on forward, I don’t finger-comb or rake my curls anymore, not even when I rinse my conditioner or when I finally apply gel to my curls. After rinsing the conditioner, I apply the gel when my curls are still super wet – I want them to still be soaking wet when I cover them with styler (I don’t scrunch before adding styler)

How to apply gel to curly hair without destroying clumps

Since I’ve often talked about my routine, I didn’t only take photos to explain how I apply gel to my curls, but I also did a short video, in which you can see exactly how I apply it.

Let’s start with the pictures:

apply gel to curly hair

1. Take a bit of your favorite styler

apply gel to curly hair

2. Evenly spread it in your hands, before you apply it to your soaking wet curls

apply gel to curly hair

3. Apply it to your curls by gliding along the “outside” of your curls without raking

apply gel to curly hair

4. Take some additional styler (about the same amount as before) and apply it to the “inside” of your curls. Also just glide along, don’t rake through your curls

apply gel to curly hair

5. Scrunch your curls with your bare hands. If you feel like you need some more styler you can add some more and scrunch it in. Scrunch until there’s not much water left in your curls.

Watch the following video to see how exactly I apply the styler to my curls:

As soon as my curls don’t release anymore water, I finish my washing routine by plopping and then diffusing my curls. The way I’m adding styler to my curls also is a part of my washing routine to get great clumps – you can read my whole article about clumping on naturallycurly.com!

5 Comments
  • Malin
    October 15, 2015

    I am trying to figure out my routine and how to style my hair and this a long with some of your other post is very helpful, but I wonder if you could help me solve how to do with my leave-in? In summer it is not so important but now when winter is coming I live in a very cold and dry climate and my hair is already naturally dry. I need to apply leave-in to my hair after every wash. I apply about the size of 4 walnuts and fingerrake and comb so it is distributed evenly. My hair then get all the curl paren destroyed. Is applying the gel using you method and then crunch enough or should I try to get more curlpattern somehow?
    Tricky, right?

    • Sandra
      October 15, 2015

      Hi Malin, you have described that your curl pattern breaks up after raking in the leave-in. This also happens to my curls whenever I comb my curls (or rake any kind of products in) and then don’t get my hair to be soaking wet again. Obviously you don’t want that as the leave-in is supposed to stay on your hair 🙂

      I think you should try to apply the leave-in the same way I apply the gel to my curls (see the above YouTube video), which will help the clumping. I hope this can help you! If it doesn’t you might want to try a different styler (some could cause your clumps to break up).

  • Malin
    October 16, 2015

    Hi Sandra!
    Thank you for your answer. I will try to do that. I been thinking about doing it for a while, just been worried that I don’t get the leave in all over the hair. I will also try the LOC method this winter, just a little bit trouble founding the right products.
    Hope you have a nice day!
    Here in Sweden it is now -5 celcius and sunny!

  • Kathleen
    November 21, 2015

    Thank you for posting your video. Do you use styler along your part line?

    • Sandra
      November 22, 2015

      No, I don’t really use styler along my parting line, because I don’t have a lot of halo frizz and also because applying gel to my roots causes them to get sticky. However if you’re struggling with frizz around your parting line, it’s probably a good idea to also apply styler there!

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