Hair gel has one of the worst raps in the hair styling game and not everyone believes you can create totally wearable hair looks for every day. But just because something didn’t work for you once—or if it hearkens you back to high school hallways—doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it another chance. Here is how to use hair gel in totally non-ridiculous ways.
A slicked back hairstyle
A slick, wet-looking finish can work to your advantage in a big way when you are going for a fresh, laid-back look—it makes you look like the girl who is so nonchalant, she will leave the house with wet hair any day of the week. Use a dollop of gel, and your fingers as your comb, to pull your hair back off your face and secure in a ponytail or loose bun. Just be sure to finish off the look with a bit of statement makeup, like gilded eyes or a stained lip, lest you look like you actually did just run out of the house.
A side part hairstyle
Gel is a wonderful tool for achieving a polished look, especially if a sleek side part is what you are going for—a strong-hold tool is super effective for taming the hair and keeping each strand in place, which is necessary to get that crisp part. It is the easiest method for turning a standard ponytail into an impressively smooth, all-business look. If you want a bit of texture to mix it up and add some edge, leave the tail of the ponytail fluffy and natural for contrast.
A tousled hairstyle
This subtly tousled, slightly messy look is a favorite to dress up hair that is a little less than clean. Create a center part—or a slightly off-center part—and rub a dime-sized amount of gel between your hand before raking your fingers through each side from root to tip, tucking hair behind the ears as you go. The result is disheveled on purpose, not just disheveled, and the satiny, not glossy, shine is a coolness calling card.