Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Gel or wax for your locks, how to make the right choice

I bet this is the most asked question about palm rolled/ twist/ gel locks and not only with newbies but also with those that have had locks for a while and still haven't settled in with any specific kind. The most irritating thing though is the answer to this question. It's usually very ambigous as it is very common that the answer goes something like " the type of gel or wax you choose will be influenced by a couple of things which include your hair type, how often you wash your hair and your preferences". I know most have asked and got that same answer and you think, thanx a lot for NOTHING.

Though it is true that these do affect your choice in a gel or wax, I have tried to compile a small list that will help you out. The list might not give you a specific brand that you'll go pick at the store tomorrow but atleast it will help you choose one more easily and faster.

First things first, what are all these things, there is gel, wax, pomade, mousse, paste and gum? What can you use on your locks and what can't you? What is the difference between them? Well considering we all want our locks held in for at most 2weeks, we'll just cancel out mousse, paste and gum from the list as they are not meant to hold the hair for too long. If you have dry hair, completely stay away from mousse, it contains alcohol that dries hair. Now we're left with gel, pomade and wax. Pomade is wax like, actually for some it means the same thing but according to the Wise Geek, pomade contains wax in it plus other oils and fragrances while wax is pure. Both of these lead to build up in the lock though they do hold much better than gel. I would say pomade is better than wax in that it contains oils that moisturize your hair unlike wax that's just plain wax. Though wax doesn't dry up hair like mousse I do think the extra oils in pomades do make a difference. You have to check what kinds of oils are in the pomade as sometimes they use petroleum based oils which cause more build up than moisture.

Now that all those are solved, we're now left with gel and wax yet again. Which is better?

1. Gel is water based so it can easily be washed out of hair after only shampooing once while wax tends to build up and to avoid the build up you may be required to shampoo more than once.

2. Gel should only be used on wet hair as it tends to set the hair, setting dry hair may cause breakage. Wax on the other hand is very flexible and may be applied even on dry hair with no damage.

3. It's advisable to stay away from alcohol based gels, especially for dry hair.

Lastly, I would insist you always check the ingredients of the gels you use before you take them to the cashier at the department store. If you definitely want a specific gel even with it's unadvisable characteristics, you can always "pimp" it. Check out websites on different homemade recipes to enhance your gel, or wax or pomade.

You may also use honey as a substitute for your usual gel or wax, it doesn't hold as well as either of the two but it gives a very fresh feeling to the scalp, you can read about that at Sweet Locks and Sweet Locks Aftermath. But even with honey it's not advisable to use it throughout your locking journey as it bleaches the hair not unless you already do bleach your hair.

Another school of thought advices to completely stay away from both of the above (wax and gel) and instead use oils while other advice to make your own gel. Shea butter is a no go zone, as adviced by various readers when I revealed I wanted to try it out on my own locks. I hope with this I've brought you closer to a decision on what is best for you. Unfortunately, I still don't really know what is in the gel I have been using for my 3 locked years but I'm still trying to get my loctician to reveal the BIG secret.

Finally just for the fun of it, does anyone
remember this scene on There's Something about Mary when she used the guy's sperm thinking it was hair gel?


  1. Hey wusup Cee,
    My name is Blake an yes i do remember dat scene 4rom that movie lol.
    But anyway. I have like yourself soft hair.
    I used the method of comb twist if dats wut u call dem an i have had dem 4 2 weeks an 6 days. My twist on the sides an bac r doin good. Dey r stayin together juss fine. But my only problem is dat my twist in the top r not doin as well. The top ones came almost completely out after it rained on them while i was at work 1 day. ( I push shoppin carts at wal-mart, so i was outside 4 most of the day an it rained the entire day i also skateboard so i sweat alot.) What would you recommend dat I use to help loc my hair in the top?

  2. Hey Blake,
    welcome to my blog. You could try interlocking the root to tighten the lock from coming out after being rained on or sweating. Depending on the length of your hair, you could also try out braidlocks and after they lock you continue with twisting using gel etc. You could also get a professional to latch the base for you, this also prevents the hair from unravelling.


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