Hair gel for women: should you, could you, would you?

Time to get re-acquainted with this '90s styling go-to!

Thick, gloopy and usually a weird, toothpaste-like shade of blue, it’s no wonder hair gel for women‘s garnered a bit of bad rap over the years. And as one of the most overused hair products of the ’90s, we can totally see why most women would rather steer clear of the stuff that’s renowned for giving their hair that rather strange wet-yet-crisp finish. But with suave slick-backs and wet looks slowly making a return to high fashion runways, is it finally time to revive this retro-tastic styling product and make it our mane’s BFF again?

Well, we took a closer look. As it turns out, hair gel for women is actually pretty awesome stuff. And while it might not be a product you’ll pick up on a daily basis, it is – believe it or not – brilliantly versatile if used in the right way to help you achieve a certain style.

Don’t believe us? Why not read on and discover how you might able to make hair gel work for you.

hair gel for women slicked back hair
Could hair gel be your new BFF? Credit:

5 Things you can do with hair gel for women: Editor’s tips


1. Style up your short hair

When it comes to styling shorter cuts, hair gel for women is brilliant for achieving a variety of looks. Use it to smooth down your locks and comb it back for a sharp and slick ’80s-inspired ‘do (also big on the runways this season), or to create a more shiny, voluminous finish, try combining VO5 Men’s Sculpted Hold Wet Look Styling Gel (£2.99*) with the VO5 Plump It Up Weightless Mousse (£3.99*). Work it through your hair before blow-drying backwards with a brush to achieve a fairly strong hold that’ll last all day.

2. Get rid of frizz

If you’re struggling to tame your frizz, then the tiniest dab of hair gel combined with smoothing serum (like the Toni&Guy Glamour Serum Drops, £7.49*) makes for a powerful cocktail that will help calm frizzy hair, without weighing it down, or getting flaky. Mix in the palm of your hands and apply it to your tresses before or after blow-drying to get a sleeker effect that’ll help banish pesky flyaways, too.

3. Pump up the volume

Hair gel for women isn’t just for creating spellbinding shape and texture, they can help you achieve volume, too.

“Try the VO5 Classic Styling Mega Hold Gel Spray (£2.99*),” recommends Dan Lynes. “Use it in conjunction with a hair dryer and it’ll help boost volume as well. So it’s kind of like a very soft version of a mousse. If you spray it on to wet hair and let it dry, it will crisp up, but if you run your fingers through it, then blow-dry, you can pretty much get rid of that crispiness straight away.”

hair gel for women
As well as shine, hair gel’s great for pumping up the volume, too. Credit:

4. Create a gorgeous lacquered look

Want to work that wet look you’ve seen so much of on the runways in real life? Well, now you can!

“If you combine the VO5 Gel Spray and the Weightless Mousse together, you could get a good hold with a little bit of shine. Then mix a little bit of oil or serum into it as well to help you get that nice glossy sheen,” says Dan.

5. Work it in subtly

Despite its strong-hold formula, hair gel doesn’t have to be the main attraction; you can also use it in less obvious ways to help style your hair to perfection. Try using it to create a smooth look with an old school hairband – keeping the front combed back and leaving the rest soft and loose – or work a tiny amount into the front of an off-centre part to create a cool, small quiff. For a more casual, dishevelled outcome, work it in through the lengths of your hair to create a perfectly imperfect tousled look: another fab way to get an extra day out of your hair before washing!

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.