Garners praise from parents who prefer natural products. Vegan formula contains no harsh chemicals or sulfates. Contains aloe vera that protects and moisturizes. Scent is natural, light, and pleasant. A perfect gel for babies and toddlers.
Consistency is on the thin side, and may not work on hard-to-hold hair. Pricey.
Holds kids' hair without being too firm or sticky. Made by a trusted, affordable brand in hair care. Free from alcohol and does not cause hair to be crunchy. Has a light and pleasant ocean scent.
Contains some artificial ingredients including fragrance.
A dual-purpose hair gel with rosemary that naturally repels most lice. Formulated with plant-based ingredients like tea tree oil that help moisturize hair. Nice scent. Medium hold isn't too stiff.
Contains some unnatural ingredients. May not work for preventing all lice outbreaks.
Formula is all-natural, hypoallergenic, and free from toxins. Safe for toddlers and children of all ages. Effectively keeps styles in place without weighing hair down or feeling crunchy or sticky. Alcohol-free.
Has a strong and unpleasant chemical smell.
Formulated with Japanese green tea that offers UV protection and vitamin B5 that promotes hydration and adds sheen. Gel is water-soluble and rinses out easily. Dermatologist-approved, making it a good option for kids with sensitive skin.
Hold does not last for longer than a couple of hours.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Anyone who has tried to tame a kid’s messy locks knows that it’s no easy task. Between cowlicks and crying, trying to make your child’s hair look presentable can seem like a never-ending battle. Thankfully, there are a number of hair products on the market to help parents ready their kids’ hair for a day out. Perhaps the most useful of these is hair gel. Gel helps keeps hair in place and looking good — no matter what your kids get themselves into.
The best thing about hair gel for kids is that most take into account both the basic hairstyling needs of a child as well as their sense of fun. Many hair gels for kids come in fun, brightly colored packaging that appeals to their creativity. And parents can encourage their kids’ independence by letting them experiment with styling their hair themselves. What’s more, most hair gels cost less than $10, so you have the opportunity to try out different options.
To learn more, keep reading our buying guide, which will help you narrow down your options to choose the best hair gel for your little one.
Choosing any type of grooming product for children can be an arduous affair. It’s not always easy to know what will work for your child. But if you take a few factors into consideration when shopping, you can make the right choice. It’s important to first think about the specific traits of your child’s hair (is it curly or straight? Thick or fine?) and what you want the product to do (for instance, do you need to firmly hold curls in place or simply smooth out some flyaways?). Also, take the following into consideration when shopping for hair gel.
Most hair gels for kids will be alcohol- and water-based. Organic or vegan gels will usually not contain alcohol. Alcohol-based gels often lead to hair that feels stiff, while more natural ingredients like honey and beeswax will leave the hair feeling softer to the touch.
The consistency of the gel is important. What consistency you need is dictated by the thickness and consistency of your child’s hair. As a general rule, the more thick and dry the hair, the more a thick-consistency gel will help. Thinner hair will respond better, in most cases, to a more liquid-based gel.
If your child’s hair is typically unruly, then you’ll need a hair gel that can control the flyaways and cowlicks. A firm-hold gel will keep every hair where it should be. Kids also get into a lot of situations throughout the day where they sweat and muss their own hair. A firm-hold gel can handle this type of activity. However, these gels also make the hair more hard or crisp to the touch and less soft. Think about what is more important to you: the look of the hair or the feel.
Wrangling your kid when it’s time to do their hair can stress you out to the point of pulling out your own hair. That’s why the type of container that holds your kid’s hair gel is important. Some hair gels for kids have containers that are meant to stay on the counter while you dip in your hand to grab some. Others come in squeeze bottles that let you pour a few drops into your palm. The best containers allow you easy access to the gel while also keeping a hand free.
How your child’s hair feels after the gel dries is more important than some may think. Children have their head touched throughout the course of a regular school day for any number of reasons — a spirited game of duck, duck, goose or counting off on the way to lunch. To ensure your child’s hair feels more soft than crunchy, choose a gel that is not petroleum-based.
How easy or difficult it is to wash the gel out of your child’s hair is important to parents on a tight schedule. If you have to spend 15 minutes shampooing a hard gel out of your child’s hair every night, then it may not be worth the benefit of a firm hold. Weigh the importance of the time you’ll spend cleaning your child’s hair afterward to help you decide.
A few hair gels for kids are made with fragrant ingredients like rosemary and citronella. These items both smell pleasant and can go far in preventing an infestation of head lice in your child. If you’re going to put gel in your child’s hair, getting this added benefit is worth considering.
Some companies have started making 100% vegan hair gels for kids. If you are concerned about animal products in your child’s hair, then it’s now possible to find a gel that contains none. This means that not only were animal products not used in the creation of the gel, but you can also be confident that animals were not used to test the product.
Many children have skin that is sensitive to any type of cream or gel. If your kid suffers from this, look for a hair gel that’s specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Although not necessarily vegan, these hair gels are made to put the least amount of stress on your child’s skin.
The majority of children’s hair gels will cost between $3 and $15. Anything that costs more will likely be a multi-pack or a special imported gel. You should have no difficulty finding a good-quality hair gel within this price range.
An inexpensive gel that might serve your child’s needs is the Ricitos de Oro Manzanilla Hair Gel, an alcohol-free gel that has a light scent of calming chamomile. If you plan to spend a little more, then you can check out MopTop’s Curly Hair Custard. This gel contains honey, so you know it smells and feels great.
Q. At what age can I start putting gel in my baby’s hair?
A. There are hair gels that are formulated especially for babies. Therefore, you can start putting gel in your baby’s hair as soon as they have hair. Just make sure not to use too much as it can get into their eyes.
Q. Is hair gel the same as hair mousse?
A. No. Gel is usually a translucent solid, whereas mousse is more of a billowy foam. They have similar effects, although many people prefer gel because it’s more substantial.
Q. Can I just “brush out” dried hair gel, or do I need to wash it out?
A. It can be difficult to brush the gel out of a child’s hair because gel, by nature, is a thick substance. In most situations, you will need to wash and rinse your child’s hair thoroughly to remove the gel.