Possible problems from using hairstyling gels

Hair gel is an excellent hair product that just about all men can use. However, the use of hair gel can deliver easily-fixed problems; in just about all cases, the problem that hair gel causes is what hair expert Rogelio Samson coined as the cardboard effect, which refers to when hair gel completely solidifies the hair so that it looks like it is made of cardboard and even feels like cardboard.

A question mark sign to depict the problems encountered with hair gel use by men

While the use of hair gel isn’t rocket science, there are a couple of common problems you must be aware of that are associated with the use of hair gel

The cardboard effect of hair gel

To avoid the cardboard effect, you should first know how much hair gel your hair requires; this varies between individuals and requires some trial and error on your part. As a rule of thumb, to avoid the cardboard effect, you should never use more than the following amounts of hair gel in your hair in each hairstyling occasion (e.g. after you shower and get ready to go to work or school):

  • Straight: a maximum of one whole inside of your hand coated in hair gel (this is actually a huge amount and straight hair is rarely affected by the cardboard effect)
  • Wavy hair: ¾ of hand.
  • Curly hair: up to all of your fingers of your hand coated in hair gel
  • Afro textured hair: half of the amount used for curly hair.

The actual thickness of the above amounts (i.e. coating your hand) would be a thick film of hair gel, about one fifth of an inch (as a maximum). Remember, the quoted amounts above are the maximum amounts of hair gel you can use to stay away from the cardboard effect; it doesn’t mean that you should use those amounts only, you will find that you can use hair gel successfully with only a fraction of the above amounts.

A piece of cardbard showing the cardboard effect of hair gel

Too much hair gel will leave your hair feeling like cardboard

Removing hair gel

The other problem with hair gel is that it tends to leave plenty of residue behind, especially strong hold hair gel. The ingredients used in hair gel attach to the hair strands (i.e. each of your hairs), making the use of a shampoo a necessity for the full removal of hair gel. Every time you use hair gel, make sure that you use a shampoo to remove it; usually at night works best.

Lastly, those men with curly hair and afro textured hair should avoid, as a general rule of thumb, strong hold hair gel and instead use light hold and firm hold hair gel as there is a risk of hair matting with strong hold hair gel. You may use strong hold hair gel if you do have curly hair or afro textured hair, but use smaller amounts than usual and be sure to clean the hair gel with shampoo at night.

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