Is Gel Bad for Your Hair? How Much Is Too Much?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Hair gel can really complete your look. But is gel bad for your hair?

When we are discussing whether hair gel is safe for the hair or not, it’s fine in moderation. Hair gel should not be used daily, as it can cause more harm than good.

However, if you want to wear hair gel on special occasions, there is no problem with that. 

If you use hair gel for hair control, there are many other products on the market that are better than gel. Some are natural and target the problem more than just plumping it down with weighted gel.

Here we look into just what hair gel might be doing to your hair!


Why Many of Us Love Hair Gel 

 Your hair can appear fuller and more voluminous depending on the type of hair gel you use. With some gels, you can give your hair shape, giving you that youthful, healthier appearance you’ve been longing for. 

Hair gel has a variety of benefits that make it a great choice for styling your hair.

In addition, gel is a quick fix, regardless of hair type or whether you are looking for a smooth, controlled look.

Is Gel Bad For Your Hair?

Here are a few downsides to using gel in your hair.

1. It Dehydrates the Hair

Hair gel will cause your hair and scalp to become dehydrated since it contains alcohol and corrosive chemicals. These gels are believed to reduce sebum production and the hair’s moisture levels.

This creates brittle, dry, and breakable hair leading to itchiness and flaking of the scalp. In addition to making the hair frizzy, they make the hair rough, dry, limp, and lacking luster. 

2. You’ll See Those Pesky White Flakes

Itchy, flaky, and dehydrated scalps are caused by dehydration, undernutrition, and result in dandruff. Call in the Head and Shoulders!

Poor sebum production, clogged pores on the hair follicles, and weak hair roots contribute to the development of dandruff.

Other skin diseases may result from seborrhoeic dermatitis, such as acne.

3. Clogs the Follicles and Causes Hair Loss

When the chemical contents of the gel combine with excess sebum that builds up on the scalp, it results in clogged hair follicles.

As a result, the roots of the hair become weak, and hair starts to fall out.

Did You Know Gel Can Build Up in Your Hair?

The oil and product build-up on your scalp can be caused by improper washing. As a result of build-up, potentially irritating substances can break down, which may, for some, cause the following effects:

  • Dry, flaky scalp
  • Redness and irritation
  • Pain 

An effective deep-cleansing clarifying shampoo  can bind with the gel on your scalp and cleanse it so your hair will be left feeling fresh.

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo | Deep Cleansing | Color-Safe Formula | Removes Dulling Deposits & Product Build Up | Brightens Highlighted, Bleached, or Gray Hair | All Hair Types | 10.1 fl. Oz
  • Restores hair's natural radiance
  • Removes dulling deposits & build-up
  • Ideal for hard water and well water
  • Cleanses deeply without drying hair
  • Color safe

Washing your hair with shampoo more often may be needed if you use the gel every day.

Make sure you wash the gel out after 48 hours.

How to Use Gel Safely in Your Hair

  • Try a gel with moisturizers like olive oil, coconut oil, or aloe vera
  • There are a variety of gels out there loaded with oils that help to hydrate your hair. 
  • You can create your desired look without drying out your hair by switching from traditional hair gel to a more natural one.
  • The anti-drying ingredients in these gels may not entirely counterbalance the drying effects, but they can help. 

You Shouldn’t Apply Gel to Your Scalp Directly

Applying the gel to the scalp is not recommended to prevent clogging of the hair follicles.

People who apply the gel directly to their scalp can create the look they want, but this can present an issue for others.

The risks, however, are greater than the benefits. In addition to being painful, clogged hair follicles can prevent hair growth. Therefore, the scalp should be avoided to minimize the risk of side effects.


You can certainly style your hair more easily with hair gels, but you should be aware of the damage they can cause. Your hair can get super dehydrated by hair gels, impacting the production of sebum. This can result in frizzy and unkempt hair.

Additionally, it may cause hair loss.

As we said at the start, everything in moderation. Hair gel can clog the scalp, dry out the hair, and even make it look greasy. Before turning to gel, look for better alternatives or consider a new hairstyle.

If you must wear it often, give your hair a break every now and again. Slap on a hat for the day or try a new style to control your fly-away hair. Your hair will thank you.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).