Eco Styler gel was (and for some still might be) the holy grail for women of color when it comes to gels for natural hair anyway. It’s one of very few gels that actually has a firm hold making it perfect for styling. For many, particularly my 4c sisters, that’s pretty hard to come by. Not to mention it’s alcohol-free! I think it’s safe to say we were collectively shook when this tweet began circulating back in May:
*Me to myself*
“Girl what? What do you mean Eco is canceled? Eco is all I use to style my hair.”
I grabbed my Eco Styler to skim the ingredients because I’m thinking, there’s no way can this be correct. Sure enough, all the harmful ingredients were calmly listed on the back. I was hurt, especially because Eco Styler is specifically marketed to WOC and it became the only gel I used on my hair. Suddenly, my edges starting to thin out, and my itchy scalp, particularly in the front where I applied the most gel, started to make a bit more sense. Granted, Eco Styler is definitely not the only product that has harmful ingredients. If I looked up ingredients for more than half of the things I use on my body/face/hair on a daily I would probably be horrified. Call me dramatic, but I threw my gel out anyway.
I was on a mission to find an alternative without Tetrasodium EDTA and all that other crap, so I bought a bunch of gels in hopes of finding my new Eco. Good news is, I found one (YAY!). The bad news is, the money I spent on gels that don’t really work for me could have gone to something more important like food or makeup. Anywho, here are a few that I tried and my thoughts on them:
So this one doesn’t have much hold at all. Don’t even waste your time trying to use it for styling or anything that might require a hold. It’s a lot better if you’re looking for a product that adds definition to your curls or twist/braid out. I should have known better from its label reading “Define & Control” versus “Styling”. Overall a decent product, but not what I was looking for.
Overall Grade: B+
Edge control, at least for my hair, will smooth everything down in the moment. A couple of hours later we’re back to the frizz. I was willing to give it a try anyway because flaxseed is known to provide a strong hold. Did I see a strong hold? Not quite. I won’t rule it out completely though. If I just need something to make the style look neater, then this totally works. It just didn’t give me the sleek look that I need.
Overall Grade: A-
Cost: $5.99Eco Styler Gel is Canceled...Here are 5 Graded Alternatives. Click To Tweet
Snot sounds pretty gross. I guess they chose this name because of the very snot-like consistency. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it had all of the hold in the world! But… there were flakes. After a full day, my hair was flaking and it was not cute at all. Maybe adding oil after the snot will alleviate some of the flakes? Who knows. Can’t say I’ll be using this on a regular though.
Overall Grade: B
If it wasn’t for this obscure packaging, this would be the one. I really wonder who let them get away with selling the gel like this. All it needs is a twist off top – keep it simple. The plastic jar thing it sits in is just excessive. Anywho, the product itself is great. I was able to slick down my hair and even do my baby hairs (very important!). It has the same consistency as Eco styler too.
Overall Grade: A
I absolutely love this gel. It does exactly what I need in terms of laying my hair for styling. My buns are back to being super sleek just like when I was using Eco. I don’t love the consistency – it’s more on the snot side, but it makes up for that in hold. It doesn’t flake (major key!) and it’s infused with Biotin, Avocado Oil , and Vitamin E, all great ingredients for your hair. I can confidently say this is a damn near perfect alternative for Eco, minus Eco’s harmful ingredients.
Overall Grade: A+
Have you tried any other great alternatives? We definitely want to hear about it. Comment below or hit us up on IG or Twitter with your favs!