Gel or Cream – Which should I choose to define my curls?   

Naturalistas with tighter curls get the best performance from their hair when it is well moisturised and the curl pattern is beautifully defined. Tighter curls love moisture-rich hair products that hydrate the hair while forming defined curls. Sometimes, as in the case of achieving a Wash and Go, Twist Out, or any curl defining hairstyle, a choice has to be made between a gel or a curl defining cream.


Choosing one formula over the other can be a real conundrum, especially if you have a tighter curl pattern. For many 4Cers and others with medium to tight hair strand patterns: a choice between the product that moisturises, such as the Afro Love Curling Puree (which is the line’s Curl Defining Cream), or the product that gives hold and definition, such as the Afro Love Soft Curl Gel and Afro Love Tight Curl Gel. The question is, though, can each of these curl defining products work independently to create hairstyles such as a Twist Out and Two-strand twist? Or, do they even have to work independently at all? Can they be used together to get the best of both worlds? Some insight on curl-defining creams and gels and what they do should reveal the answers to these questions.


What is a curl defining cream?


A curl defining cream for natural hair such as the Afro Love Curl Defining Cream is specially made to moisturise the hair and highlight the natural contour of the curl. Curl defining creams coat the hair strands and causes them to cling together. The moisture in the puree saturates the hair strands, highlighting the natural curl pattern. Curl defining creams can also be used on wavy or straight hair to achieve curls by using curling rods or other curl-forming accessories. However, it is important to match your curl pattern to the product. Type 4 hair requires a heavier styling cream. Type 3 and type 2 strands need a lighter formulation (like our Curly Love curl defining cream) that won’t weigh down looser curls.


What does a curl defining cream do?

The main actions of a curl defining cream are to moisturise, soften, repair and protect the hair strands. Other supportive benefits of the Afro Love Curling Puree include:

  • Frizz control
  • Helps protect ends
  • Promotes and increases shine

How to use a curl defining cream

Use a curl defining cream on damp hair or after applying our Afro Love Leave-In Conditioner. This will support high hydration levels as the cream helps lock in the water already in the strands while adding additional moisture coating the hair strands.

When using the Afro Love Curling Puree, a little can go a long way. Begin by applying a small amount of the product to your hair. Apply more only as needed to fully coat the hair strands. You should see and feel the results of the cream on your hair within a few minutes as it begins to penetrate the strands

Do not rinse this product from the hair. This is a leave-in treatment to keep your hair defined, frizz-free, moisturised and shiny.

The what, why and how of a curl defining jelly aka curl defining gel


A curl defining jelly (or gel) adds moisture and staying power to curls. Most standard hair gels are made of solely synthetic ingredients. However, this is not the case with Afro Love. The Afro Love Soft Curl Gel and the Afro Love Tight Curl Gel have a high concentration of natural ingredients like flaxseed and aloe vera that promote hair growth and can help you maintain healthy and gorgeous-looking hair.


Curl defining gels give a high level of definition and hold. They provide and retain moisture. Moisture is very important to keep your curl pattern defined. Glycerin plays a key part in curl defining gels, as it both adds and retains moisture which supports the definition and hold to curly hair.

How to Use our curl defining Gel

Using gels to contour and keep the shape of curls is a quick and simple process:
1. Apply curl defining jelly to damp hair. The Afro Love Soft Curl Gel is great for forming a looser curl that has more bounce and length. If you prefer tighter curls for more volume, the Afro Love Tight Curl Gel will provide maximum hydration and clumping action
2. From root to end, apply the product to the hair
3. Run your fingers through the entire length of the hair to evenly distribute the gel so it coats all of the hair strands

Gels are generally leave-in products, so no need to rinse.

Which will you choose?

Which option best suits you? is it gel or cream for you? Or is it both?
The great thing about using the Afro Love Line at a time is that you can be sure all of the products in the line can work together. If you want the hold of a gel, with the hydration of a leave-in and curl defining cream you can have it all.


What it comes down to is a matter of preference. Some people prefer to use one or the other. However, you will probably be losing out on some of the positive properties the other type of product brings. So on that note, it’s a good idea, if you can, to grab both a curling cream and a curling gel and use them together to get maximum benefits.


How to use gels and creams together

If you decide to use both, after moisturising lightly with the Afro Love leave In conditioner use the Afro Love curling puree to cover the strands and begin sealing in moisture. Next, apply the curl defining gel of your choice to further define your curl pattern. For a looser definition, you can use the rake method. If you would prefer a more defined curl pattern you can define individual curls with your fingers.

Wrap Up

Have you tried any of these products? We’d love to hear from you. Please let us know what you thought of them in the comments.

For more information about our products, you can contact us by messaging us on our Contact Us page or reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.

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