My earliest memories of hair gel involve my brother—a bright, energetic, well-meaning mischief-maker. From the ages of five to 11, spiked hair proved his only vanity, and gel his signature product.
Maybe this is why I’ve always attributed gel, or wax for that matter, as reserved for the prepubescent set—OK for those with de rigueur pixie cuts, but off limits to everyone else. And seeing as my hair never shortened past shoulder length, I generally avoided anything meant to slick, wax, or otherwise stiffen my hair into place.
Then, a selection of sleek looks appeared this season, on women with long hair no less! At Celine’s S/S 2015 collection, hair was slicked back on top then left flowing freely. Intrigued, I asked hairstylist Aut Sivongxay how to replicate. Her answer, as you may have guessed, was a combination of gel and wax. So I started exploring.
Lush’s Zeste Medium to Strong Hold Hair Gelly [photo 2] looks like Nickelodeon’s green slime but smells like Jo Malone Orange Blossom with petitgrain, orange, and neroli oils. Dip your fingertips into it, then slide over hair for a just-got-out-of-the-pool slick-back. Or, try Vaughn V Rated Natural Wax —a harder, putty-like product, on damp hair. For a tight look, finish with a fine-tooth comb.
Wax works for pieces and textures like at Michael Kors or John Galliano. Rahua Hair Wax [4, 5] that looks and smells like whipped coconut cream. Piece through hair for a beachy look or to tame strange flippy ends. Alternatively, there's Vaughn’s Molding Paste, which is a little sticky but creamy—perfect for recreating fake fringe .
Spray wax is another alternative for moldable hold, but I'm finding I actually prefer the control of distribution I get with a paste. That, and it's a good excuse to play with my hands.
Photographed by Tom Newton.