Does Hair Gel Actually Cause Hair Damage?

When using any hair product, there are always concerns about how safe it can be for your hair's health. We know that certain products, such as hair dye, contain chemicals and ingredients that can dry and damage hair over time. Other products containing sulfates, synthetic fragrances, mineral oils, and silicones are some examples of products you want to keep away from your scalp. These ingredients, besides drying the hair, can harm your scalp health and cause an adverse reaction. When looking at what hair products you use, you want to ensure that they will do more good.


One product that typically gets a negative reputation is hair gel. Hair gel products can make your hair hard to move and stiff. Depending on the hair gel, your product can make your hair crunchy and hard. Because of the rough nature of the gel, many believe it simply can't be healthy for your hair. Before your next hair gel run to the store, you may want to examine whether this product is the cause of your hair damage.

Can gel damage your hair?

While hair gel isn't directly correlated to hair damage, it can help contribute to hair damage. If it isn't used correctly, hair gel can be a problem for the hair and scalp. If you don't rinse hair gel properly at the end of the day, your gel will produce oil and product buildup. Product buildup can dry out the scalp, cause dandruff, and cause irritation. Besides causing dandruff, product buildup of hair gel can start to clump together and create flakes. When these flakes fall onto your shoulders or clothing, they can cause dandruff-looking material, making it more apparent. Even if you don't suffer from dandruff, these flakes will look like you are.


Although hair gel typically gets linked with hair loss, it's not the principal cause. If you usually use hair gel to create tight, pulled-back hairstyles, you're damaging your hair follicles and drying out the strands. This combination, among other factors, can cause hairline issues or cause your hair to fall out. Unless you suffer from an external medical factor, your hair will not fall out unless it is dry and brittle. Prolonged use of hair gel with no break can cause your hair to become dry and brittle. When using hair gel, you want to take proper precautions before and after to ensure that your hair remains healthy, even when using gel.

How to safely use hair gel

Like any hair product, hair gel is safe to use as long as you use it correctly. You can swap your typical hair gel for one that uses natural ingredients. Coconut oil and olive oil are two ingredients you will find are great alternatives for chemicals in regular hair gel. These ingredients are more hydrating and won't dry out your strands as much as other ingredients. No matter what hair gel you use, avoid touching the scalp as much as possible. Focus your application on your hair to avoid clogged hair follicles along the scalp. When your hair follicles are clogged, your hair will ultimately get damaged.


If you want to avoid overusing hair gel, we recommend adding only a dime-sized amount at a time. To avoid clogging the hair follicles, only add the necessary product. If you want to prevent your product from clumping together and flaking, try applying it to wet hair. Applying it on wet hair will keep it moisturized and prevent it from hardening. To prevent your hair from hardening or creating too much buildup, work with different-sized holds. Hair gels will usually have low, medium, and high strength holds. Higher strength holds will keep your hairstyles in place but might be thicker on your hair and scalp. Work with these various holds until you find the right one for your hair type.