What Happens To Your Hair When You Use Too Much Gel?

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No hairstyle has gotten as much attention in recent years as the slicked-back look. In the wake of the "clean girl" aesthetic, flyaways were banned, and sleek buns and ponytails took over everyone's heads. No wonder they did, as slicked-back hairstyles are functional and appropriate for almost any event.

However, achieving the trendy slicked-back look requires quite a bit of gel, and going overboard can happen. What do you do when you try to copy Kim Kardashian's sleek hair look and, after you've used all that gel on your hair, it doesn't turn out how you imagined? Yes, you can always just wash your hair and start all over, but your hair probably won't be too happy about the ordeal.

Using too much gel, especially on a regular basis, can lead to an irritated scalp and ultimately hair loss. The ingredients in common hair gel products can affect the health of your hair if you use excessive amounts of it frequently. Sleek hairstyles can nonetheless be easily achieved with different styling products, so there's no need to give up your slicked-back bun just yet.

Alcohol in hair gel can cause hair loss

To better understand how hair gel can affect the overall health of your hair and scalp, it's important to know what's in an average gel product. Polymers give the gel its holding properties, and the hair gel you'll come across in your local beauty store most likely also contains water, emulsifiers, preservatives like parabens, and fragrances, as per Naturally Curly. While not all of these ingredients harm your hair, some can.

According to the FDA, the most common parabens found in cosmetics in general are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Parabens are added to pretty much all cosmetics to prolong their shelf life. When speaking with Byrdie, barber Ralph Wilburn warns that despite their prevalence, parabens can irritate the skin if you're sensitive or allergic, and that goes for the skin of the scalp as well.

Fragrances and sulfates can also be irritable to some, but according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dustin Portela, alcohol is a more harmful ingredient. "If the hair gel contains alcohol or otherwise contributes to the dryness of the hair, it can break more easily, leading to hair loss," he explained in a conversation with Byrdie. However, Portela emphasizes that using hair gel from time to time won't make you go bald, but using too much of it regularly could. If you love your slicked-back buns and don't want to give them up, it's time to swap out your hair gel for an alternative hair product.

Use styling gel sparingly for healthy hair

Taming your flyaways can easily be done with other styling products. There are numerous pomades, hair creams, and even powders that can do the sleek job of a gel just as well. Slick Gorilla's Hair Styling Powder is a great alternative to hair gel, as is Gisou's Propolis Infused Polishing Primer.

In the case that you've gone overboard with gel and don't have the time to do a complete hair-washing routine to get it out, a quick fix is to spray your hair with some water to loosen the product, and then try to comb it out gently. InStyle recommends following up with a blow-drying session to smooth the hair out a bit; just don't forget to wash the gel out properly at the end of the day.

Conclusively, you don't have to omit hair gel completely. Using it every so often won't leave you with bald spots, but make sure you're not drenching your scalp in it when you do use it, and don't use too much of it, Dr. Dustin Portela recommends. The sleek bun is cute, but healthy hair is cuter.