18 Best Travel Sized Hair Gel That Keep your Style Alive

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

Have you been wondering which hair gel product is right for you?  There are SO many to choose from?

Glazes and gelsPomades, styling waxes, and molding creams Styling creams 

Some people have sworn off using hair gels completely because they didn't find the right one for them.

Don’t give up

Your hair is a statement about YOU.

YOUR style

YOUR individuality

The last thing you want is for your hair to be oily and smells like bear grease ( Jerry Curl) or be hard as a rock  Like ”Ace Ventura pet detective” (unless you really are going for that look). So Crunchy, you think your hair may break off in a chunk. Or sticky, gross!

What do different hair gels do?

Which gel is right for YOUR hair type or for the effect you wish to achieve?

we want to look good not just when we are at home and around friends, but also traveling and on vacation.

  • Which of your Hair gel favorites come in travel size? 
  • Are there any natural alternatives?

You will find the answers to these questions in this article.

My Most Favorite Travel Sized Hair Gels 

Hair Gels 

Gels are thick liquids that have a gelatin or jelly texture. They are used for sculpting wet looks, for accenting curls or controlling thick, wavy hair. They can be used on either wet or dry hair 

Gels and Pomades are good for frizzy or coarse hair that needs extra weight to hold it down.

For me, there is nothing better than gel for defining curls.  I prefer gel over Mousse. Mousse is lighter but I find that the curls don't clump together as well with mousse, and my hair looks frizzier with mousse.  

Gels are also great for smoothing straight hair as well.

Lakme Gel made especially for straight hair.

Some companies rate hold from 1-4,  but more professional products rate 1-10 hold/shine. These ratings help you to determine which products you will give you the result you are looking for.

Generally speaking, The runnier the gel the softer the end result (soft-med hold).  The thicker the gel the stronger the end result will be. Thicker=more hold

Molding or Sculpting Gel

Molding gels give you the most hold. They are very shiny when dry and can be quite hard and crispy.  They keep your hair cemented in place. These gels give you the freedom to create a shape that you could never achieve otherwise.

A friend of my friend can't keep his hair from sticking straight up, the only thing that works for him is Moco de Gorila. (Strongest hair gel there is,  for super rebellious hair) 

Moco de Gorila Punk Gorila Snot Gel​

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Bumble and Bumble Sumogel for Unisex Gel​

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Thick gels can be heavy but med and light gel can give curl definition and volume.

Dippity Do girls with curls

Dippity-Do Girls With Curls Deep Treatment Packet​

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Dippity Do Originally was a brand popular in the 1960s 

I believe this was the first brand of gel I ever used. My mom had some leftover from her teenage years. That my sister and I put to good use. 

Interestingly it was made as a setting gel for roller setting.  That would definitely give you a firm hold and smoother finish. 

If you find that your hair is a bit dry after using a gel.  Add a leave-in conditioner before applying the gel, this will not only moisturize your hair but give you a softer finish.

The Heat factor and gel. Heat tends to soften the crunchy outcome of the gel also helps give a more natural look to the hair.  Slight crunch can be eliminated by scrunching your hair when it's dry

How to apply gel to curly hair 

  1. While your hair is wet 
  2. Finger rake your hair to detangle 
  3. Apply product continue to finger rake and scrunch making sure gel is evenly distributed 
  4. Scrunch out the water with your favorite microfiber towel
  5. Towel wrap till most of the water is gone 
  6. Finish air drying or diffuser

Cantu Extra Hold Edge Stay Gel.​

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Volumizing gels and Texture Gels

These types of gels and pastes add volume to flat or limp hair. They are not as heavy to weigh down your hair. Flexible hold and thicking effect for fine hair.

Glaze or Gelee

The term Glaze or Gelee is getting harder to define.  In my day they referred to gel that was runny or liquid gel.

More recently the term glaze has taken on a new meaning that refers to a product that adds shine and a bit of color temporarily. Glaze is also called color Gloss. I would have called this kind of product cellophane or prizims. (which are just brands of color gloss)

Since we are talking about travel size hair gel products, we will call these liquefied gels.

In the past, these have tended to be sticky 

In doing research for this article I found out that it has more to do with the type of the polymer (the ingredient that gives you hold or the glue factor) used and humidity factors.  

PVP (poly N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) this seems to be the main culprit for flaking gel and in high humidity sticky hair.  AVOID it if you can

 Liquid gels are easier to use in that you can evenly distribute them throughout the hair.  They can be helpful with longer lengths for blow-drying your hair

Some strong hold gels can be almost impossible to use with a round brush, so you would end up damaging your hair from pulling when using a heavy gel.

BIOLAGE Styling Gelée

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Lamaur Sizing 2oz (6 pack) Contouring Liquid for Hair​

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Spray Gel

  • Not a gel at all.​
  • Spray gel is more in the category of hairspray and we will consider it more in-depth.
  • Can use on damp or dry hair​
  • Spray gel is a lighter hold for a gel but heavy hold for a hairspray ​
  • Since it is a misting spray, you can use it on damp or dry hair. Adds volume and texture​

3 Natural ingredients - Hair Gel Alternatives

Aloe Vera gel some surfer friends got me started using this after a day at the beach. Great for straight hair or enhancing your curl.  

Fruit of the Earth Aloevera 2 Ounce Gel - 4 Pack​

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Chia Seed​
Chia Seed
Travel Size Aloe Vera Gel - Pure, Natural​
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Styling Creams

  • This product is Like gel and conditioner in one. 
  • No flakes or crunch 
  • Stronger than mousse but theses have conditioning properties that can weigh your hair down.  Great for curly, dry 4c, thick, rebellious hair Bad for oily, fine and thin hair. 
  • provide lightweight moisture, frizz-free smoothness, and long-lasting definition. 
  • Use on wet or damp hair to control Flyaways

I have tried a few of these products; When I do my hair curly I can go 2 days between washing Since I have fine and thin hair. if I blow dry it straight it works also for a couple of days But as you may have read in a previous article I prefer to air dry. 

So if I air dry my hair, straight with this product it becomes a complete disaster. I find that I need to wash the next day

ELC RD Nourishing Color Care Blow Out Cream​

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Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream​

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ProTip on How to Tame The Frizz

Deva Curl recommends to join the flyaways to the nearest curl grouping and twist them together then scrunch, leave them to dry. Stop touching your hair

Curly Hair Products Travel Trial Size​
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DevaCurl Styling Cream, 3oz​
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Miss Jessie's Quick Curls, 2 Ounce​
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Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream​
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Pomades, styling waxes, and molding creams for women

Thes products add shine, texture, definition, body, and structure to create dreads, twists, spikes, and bed-head looks

These products are NOT just for the guys. 

In Conclusion

  • Gels are great for smoothing hair, defining curl or texture.​
  • The more hold the gel has the harder and crunchier it tends to be.​
  • Gels are high shine​
  • Extra firm hold gels are Great for short hair. ​
  • For longer hair: Use a light to medium holding gel​
  • Use more pliable gels, perhaps a liquid gels for straightening, and blow-drying.​
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