Why wet-look hair gel is the unsung hero standing between you and Margot Robbie tresses

Why you need wet look hair gel to create this season's hottest styles.  

Just a simple flick through any fashion magazine or scroll through your social feeds and you will undoubtedly see a whole host of stylish ladies currently wearing their tresses in wet-look styles. Whether you want to go for a subtle glossy finish or OTT fresh-out-the-shower strands, a wet-look hair gel is a must-have.

Just like its styling sibling, mousse, wet-look gel products have got a bad rep over the years and we think it’s high time for a re-education on the wonders of this miracle product. But that’s not all that is on offer here…

From how to use a wet look hair gel to styling inspiration, see all you need to know about this hair wardrobe staple by simply reading on.

bella hadid dark brown wet look smoothed back hair on runway
Tempted to try the runway approved wet-look hair trend? Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

What is wet-look gel?

As you might expect from the name, a wet-look gel is a styling product which gives control and a slick, wet effect to the hair. Designed to keep hair in place, often all day, a gel can be used to help create styles from extreme fauxhawks to elegant low buns, making it a staple for all hair needs.

How to use wet-look hair gel?

For most styling products, it is best to start with a small amount and build up until you reach your desired finish. However, if you’re using a gel to help create the wet-look hair trend then throw that concept out of the window. Instead, take a generous amount of product (approx. 50p sized to start with) and rub between your palms before applying to the hair.

When creating wet-look hair, you can start with either freshly-washed wet hair or day 2 (or even day 3) dry hair, the choice is yours. Either way, we suggest building up the product starting from the roots, paying particular attention to the sides of the hair where flyaways tend to wreak havoc. For a root to tip wet look finish, apply any remaining gel from your palms through the lengths of your hair.

Now you know why you need a wet-look gel in your bathroom cabinet, let’s see all the runway and A-list approved hairstyles you can create!

margot robbie red carpet event with blonde wavy wet look bob hair in side-parting
Margot Robbie gave wet look hair the red carpet thumbs up. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Side part

Margot Robbie attended the SAG awards with a wet-look wavy style, essentially giving the runway trend the red carpet seal of approval.

Parting her hair down the side meant Margot could sweep her hair backwards for a soft quiff finish, helping to draw attention to her summery makeup.

Editor’s tip: Get the look by applying the VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel through dry or damp hair scrunching hair to help create a wavy finish.

side view of model on runway with long blonde slick back wet look hair wearing sunglasses and white dress
Slick back strands are one of the most popular ways to wear the trend. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Swept back

For those just-stepped-out-of-the-ocean vibes, opt for a slicked-back style with a soft wavy texture through the lengths of hair, as seen on the Prabal Gurung runway.

Style tip: Focus most of the attention on the roots of your hair when styling and then comb your hair through with a wide-tooth comb from root to tip.

kaia gerber on coach ss18 runway with brown wet look hair in half-up, half-down wavy style
Half-up grunge vibes at Coach SS18. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Half-up, half-down

Looking for a style a little more undone? Why not try channelling Kaia Gerber‘s grunge vibes and go for a high shine finish on half-up, half-down hair? Just be sure to leave a section of your tresses to fall forward for an unpolished look.

Editor’s tip: To help achieve wet-look hair without overloading on gel, try applying the gel to only your mid-lengths and ends, and using a hair wax or pomade to take the flyaways at your roots.

We love the VO5 Classic Styling Soft Moulding Wax for taming frizz and adding shine, not to mention it has a non-sticky formula meaning hair will feel natural to the touch.

karlie kloss backstage at jason wu spring 2014 runway show with blonde bob hair in middle parting wet look style
Karlie Kloss wows with centre part wet look hair. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Centre part

From the Kardashians to Karlie Kloss, centre-parted hair is the timeless way to wear the wet look trend. For updos, choose from a sleek bun or a low ponytail.

Style tip: If like Karlie Kloss your shorter strands tend to fall forward, we suggest using bobby pins to help secure hair.

close up of model backstage at runway show with wet look brown straight hair
From wet roots to drenched ends. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Drenched ends

Who said you had to stick to wet look roots? We certainly didn’t. Giving the style a unique twist, stylists at the Altuzarra show paid particular attention to bringing the wet look trend all the way through the hair for a glossy finish from root to tips.

Style tip: For an even finish, try working product through sections of your hair.