How to Style Your Hair with Gel

Styling gel is the Swiss army knife of hair styling—an all-purpose tool that can help you achieve any goal or look. You may even want to take some on your next camping trip.


Up next in Haircuts & Hair Styling (62 videos)

Get the look of a professional haircut or hairstyle without the salon prices by watching the videos in this hair styling series from Howcast.


You Will Need

  • The gel hairstyling product of your choice
  • A blow-dryer


  1. Step 1

    Choose style

    Choose the style you want and determine the type of gel you'll need to hold it in place. Use a lighter foam gel for a tousled, bed-head look; a medium-hold gel for wet and shiny spikes; or a thick gel for a slicked-back look.

  2. Avoid using gels that contain alcohol—they will damage and dry out your hair.

  3. Step 2

    Wet hair

    Start with wet or damp hair. The gel will hold better and longer.

  4. Step 3

    Rub gel between hands

    Squeeze the gel into your palm and rub it vigorously between your hands until it is warm and thoroughly emulsified.

  5. Use a dime-sized amount for short hair, a quarter-sized dollop for medium-length hair, and two or more quarter-sized dollops for longer, thicker hair.

  6. Step 4

    Work gel through hair

    Work the gel from your scalp to the tips of your hair.

  7. Step 5

    Style hair

    Style your hair as desired.

  8. Step 6

    Let dry or blow-dry

    If you want your hair to remain shiny from the gel, allow it to dry naturally. For less shine and a stronger hold, blow-dry your style into place on a low setting.

  9. Unlike his gelled up, spiked-hair bandmates, Steve Jones, lead guitarist for the Sex Pistols, actually had a perm.