This Is the Best Curly Hair Gel I've Ever Used—and It's Available on Amazon

It even works to tame frizz when it’s humid.

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Diva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Pullman Photography

Of all of the horrors that could happen in middle school, chief among them, for me, was the fact that my hair curled. And I'm not talking about the kind of just-left-the-beach waves that many people pay a lot of money for. Instead, I'm talking about a collection of tight and loose curls that spiraled out and leaned towards the frizzy direction. I felt like a lost cause.

If you're sensing that I've gone on a journey with my curly hair for the past two decades, you're correct. Thankfully, after one ill-advised triangular bob era that still makes me shudder, I discovered the joys (and healing power) of hair gel. I've tried expensive salon-level products, cheap drugstore beauty buys, and other formulations that I've learned have ingredients I should avoid. All of this led me to my ultimate curly hair moment by virtue of the DevaCurl hair gel.

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel Strong Hold No-Crunch Styler
Courtesy of Amazon

BUY IT: $26; amazon.com

A quick search of the "Curly Girl Method" can send you down quite the rabbit hole. While I was fairly certain I wouldn't follow all of the suggested "rules," I was intrigued by the many, many mentions of DevaCurl Ultra Defining Hair Gel. As I started to learn more about it, the fact that it was free from silicones, sulfates, and parabens (three specifics I heard can damage curly hair) stood out to me first. I was also excited about its medium-hold strength, as well as its promise to not create crunchy curls that have a clear product-filled look. Above all, I wanted hair that held with a lot less frizz.

When my new gel arrived, I followed DevaCurl's instructions and applied a small amount to my hair right after washing it. I started with a nickel-sized amount and rubbed it between my palms before flipping my head over to scrunch it into my curls. Then I let my hair air-dry because I wanted to see the true, natural results that weren't aided by my trusty diffuser and hair dryer. Later, once my hair had dried, I performed the final step of "breaking the cast," which meant that I flipped my hair over once more to scrunch away the barrier that the gel had naturally formed to prevent frizz. I was left with soft, defined, almost ringlet-like curls that wowed me to the point of declaring this gel my holy grail product.

Since finding DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel more than five years ago, I haven't deviated from it once. I've used it during every season, and I've traveled with it throughout the South and even abroad to some of the most humid climates. It's worked every time to control frizz and create a soft, defined curly hair look that lasts for multiple days without reapplying.

You can pick up a 12-ounce bottle of the best $26 I've ever spent on my curly hair at Amazon. I only wish my middle school self found it sooner.

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