If you’ve been natural for a least a few months, you know that it can be expensive and time consuming. This is especially the case if you don’t have a set regimen and staple products. That means trying a million different product combinations, hoping they define your curls without flaking, crunchiness, or dryness. One very popular product that claims to do this is the Eco Styler Gel by the Ecoco brand.There are many different types, including the olive oil, argan oil, and coconut oil variety. It’s cheap and so widely available, that it’s pretty obvious why so many naturals swear by it. However, it’s not a gel that always works on the first couple of tries. If your experience with Eco Styler Gel has been anything like mine, you could use a few tips on how to make this gel work for you.
Make Sure Your Hair Is Extremely Saturated
Like most products, Eco Styler Gel works best when your hair is soaking wet. It captures your curl pattern when it is most defined, and it allows your hair to absorb more of the product. Attempting to apply the gel on the dry hair will disrupt the curl pattern and cause frizziness. When your hair dries, it will probably flake and have a waxy feel when you touch it. If you are applying your products outside of the shower, use a spray bottle filled with water to keep your hair saturated.
Pair It With a Compatible Leave-In
This is one of the hardest tasks for me, because you have to find a leave-in that not only works with the gel, but works for your hair in general. Many naturals suggest that you take a little bit of your leave in and a little bit of the Eco Styler Gel and mix them together in the palm of your hand. If it balls up, it means they do not pair well and will flake in you hair. If the consistency is smooth, then they are compatible and will not flake. However, I have found this doesn't always work. My advice is to aim for a thin leave-in conditioner that still leaves your hair moisturized. A good way to know if the leave-in is the right consistency is to compare it to lotion. Rub a dime-sized amount on your hands and wait a few minutes. If it’s thick on your hands, it’ll probably flake. If it feels like water, it’ll probably leave you hair dry. My favorite leave-in and Eco Styler Gel combo so far has been the new Black Castor and Flaxseed Oil Leave-In.
Mix Your Gel With Water
This still should be done even if your hair is soaking wet. Applying the gel by itself can cause uneven product distribution and disrupt the curl pattern. This will make some parts frizzy and undefined, while other parts are dry and crunchy. Particularly if you are using the raking method. Mixing the gel with water allows you to distribute the gel more evenly throughout your hair while maintaining the curl. You may have to play around with this combination, because it varies based on your hair. Certain parts may require more gel, while some parts may require less.
Mix Your Gel With Oil
Oils help seal in moisture and smooth down the hair cuticles. This really helps to lock in the moisture from the water and the leave-in. The type of oil that you use is your choice, but make sure it is a sealant oil. If you choose to use a lighter oil, such as grapeseed oil, you may have to re-moisturize your throughout the week. If you choose to use a heavier oil, such as castor oil, your curls will be moisturized much longer, but may feel greasy. Avocado oil tends to be a good middle ground between the oils: moisturizing but not too heavy. This will help prevent flaking, crunchiness, and a white cast. However, when you are choosing your oil, it is important to read the ingredients to ensure that your oil is 100%. An oil blend that is made up of synthetic oils will have no benefit to the hair, because it will not penetrate the hair shaft.
Eco Styler Gel is a staple for many naturals, and if you’re a college student, it should be one of yours too. Once you learn to make this product work for your hair, you can use it for a variety of styles: wash n go’s, sleek buns, and even twist outs. Even if you find a product you like better, you’ll always know how to put this money saving gem to good use!
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