Many nat­u­ral­is­tas and tran­si­tion­ers love them some EcoStyler gel. Green top, red top, clear, pink, white…the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Except for me. Don’t get me wrong, EcoStyler is great at what it does. It will hold, slick, and define ’til Jesus comes back. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, with­out the right com­bi­na­tion of “soft­en­ing” prod­ucts or oils lay­ered in, the gel hard­ens impos­si­bly. And even with all that work, I still found myself hav­ing dry hair. What’s a gal to do when you need some hold, or want your edges slicked down for a puff or bun? Check out the­se 6 alter­na­tives to EcoStyler Gel that wont dry out your hair…or your wal­let.


If You’re A DIY-er:


DIY Fluffy Styling Cream

When I’m in the mood for whip­ping out my hand mix­er, this is one of the first things I make. I love this cream, which my sis­ter as affec­tion­ate­ly dubbed “I Put That on Every­thing” (because you can, lit­er­al­ly, put it on every­thing), because it pro­vides touch­ably-soft hold, while infus­ing your hair with mois­tur­iz­ing and nour­ish­ing oils and but­ters. You can use any vari­a­tion or com­bi­na­tion of shea but­ter, cocoa but­ter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, glyc­er­in, apri­cot oil, grape­seed oil.…the list goes on. My mix­ture typ­i­cal­ly includes a base of shea but­ter and coconut oil, with jojoba, sweet almond, and vit­a­m­in E added in. For more infor­ma­tion on whip­ping up your own fluffy styling cream, click here.



Flaxseed Cus­tard

I know many of you have heard of flaxseed gel, but have you heard of flaxseed cus­tard? I exper­i­men­tal­ly whipped some up about a mon­th ago when I didn’t feel like going out to buy a styling pro­duct for my pend­ing twist n’ curl. It’s a sim­ple recipe real­ly — a 3 to 1 ratio of flaxseed gel and shea but­ter. After cook­ing up a batch of flaxseed gel that’s still warm, melt down a few table­spooons of shea but­ter (feel free to add in your favorite oils — car­ri­er or essen­tial), and whip them togeth­er in a bowl with your hand mix­er until a goopy cus­tard forms. This DIY cus­tard is great for mois­ture, soft­ness, shine, and def­i­n­i­tion — and the shea but­ter kicks it up a notch from the stan­dard flaxseed gel recipe. Unless you’re a pro DIY­er or hair sci­en­tist who hap­pens to have emul­si­fy­ing agents on deck, I rec­om­mend only mak­ing enough to use on the day of. Oth­er­wise, it will sep­a­rate. And look yucky.


If You’re A Pro­duct Junkie:

Eden Body­Works Coconut Shea Con­trol Edge Glaze

I’ve become a huge fan of EBW recent­ly. Eden Body­Works won me over recent­ly with their Coconut Shea Pud­ding Souf­flé, beat­ing out Camille Rose Nat­u­rals Almond Jai Twist­ing But­ter for my favorite moisturizing/styling but­ter pro­duct. But I digress. The Coconut Shea Con­trol Edge Glaze is the answer to my prayers, and every­thing I want­ed Sof n’ Free’s Noth­ing But Mold and Hold Wax to be. If you’re look­ing to slick down your edges soft­ly and with tons of sleek­ness, this pro­duct is for you. For wash n’ go’s, twist-outs, braid-outs, ban­tu knot-outs and more, this pro­duct pro­vides great hold with plen­ty of shine, soft­ness, and zero dry­ing out. Although it’s only a 6oz jar for around $9, a tiny bit of Con­trol Edge Glaze goes a long way. A tiny, tiny bit.



Beau­ti­ful Tex­tures Curl Defin­er Styling Cus­tard

A lot of nat­u­ral­is­tas com­plain about this pro­duct. For the life of me, I don’t know why. I have noth­ing but good things to say about this stuff. It’s an afford­able gel alter­na­tive that doesn’t dry out the hair, leave flakes, or turn the hair hard when you use it cor­rect­ly. Based in water and aloe vera extract, and full of good­ies like rose­mary, vit­a­m­in E, coconut oil, shea but­ter, man­go but­ter, and argan oil, the Beau­ti­ful Tex­tures Curl Defin­er Styling Cus­tard is a great pro­duct for reduc­ing frizz, cre­at­ing def­i­n­i­tion, and shine. At under $7 for a 15oz jar, this pro­duct is a great val­ue for all it does. To pre­vent the flaking/buildup some nat­u­ral­is­tas com­plain about, make sure to test your pro­duct mix­es on the back of your hand, and only use a dime-sized amount per small sec­tion.



Nubian Her­itage Indi­an Hemp and Tamanu Edge Tam­ing Taffy

I’m cheap. And there­fore, I like prod­ucts that are capa­ble of doing more than one thing — espe­cial­ly if I’m pay­ing $10 or more. Luck­i­ly, I caught this pro­duct at CVS dur­ing a buy one, get one half-off sale, which was right up my alley (even though buy one, get one free would have been bet­ter). I ini­tial­ly pur­chased the taffy to show my edges some TLC, because I had been bun­ning a lot. But after play­ing with the pro­duct on a small sec­tion of hair, I was deter­mined to use it to set my sat­in strip braid­out one week­end. So I did. And it worked. Because it’s based in shea but­ter, coconut oil and glyc­er­in, it plays well with oth­er prod­ucts and lay­ers eas­i­ly. It made my hair soft and super defined — not to men­tion the taffy is great for seal­ing in mois­ture. Even though it sales for around $12 for a 6oz jar, you’ll dis­cov­er that a lit­tle goes a long way — for your edges and styling. Tip: this pro­duct works best on damp/wet hair (that goes for your edges, too).


Shea Mois­ture Coconut & Hibis­cus Curling Souf­flé

Move over, Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie (or at least just fall back for a sec­ond)! This sweet, sticky souf­flé is a great alter­na­tive to your typ­i­cal gel pro­duct. Notice that in my descrip­tion, I includ­ed the word sticky — because well, it can be incred­i­bly sticky if you go over­board. It’s based in agave, sug­ar cane and glyc­er­in — all which can lead to sticky city if you’re too heavy hand­ed. It has great hold and excep­tion­al shine, and will leave hair touch­ably soft. For opti­mal results, use no more than a dime-sized amount on any given sec­tion. To bal­ance out the stick­i­ness, this pro­duct works best on damp to wet hair. It also mix­es well with the Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie and the Curl and Style Milk from the Coconut & Hibis­cus line. For around $11, the 12oz Curling Souf­flé jar will last you a mighty long time.

What are some of your favorite alter­na­tives to gel?

For more from Christi­na check out her blog, The Mane Objec­tive. You can also find her on Insta­gram and Face­book.

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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76 Comments on "6 Alternatives to EcoStyler Gel for Slicking and Defining Natural Hair"

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I have all nat­u­ral kinky hair now. I want to wear up do braod styles and I do not have a clue on what will keep my hair in tack. Can you peloase give me some ideas?


I total­ly agree with you abt Eco Styler. It’s entire­ly the sticky for me, I can only use it to slick down my edges. Leaves my curls too crunchy and I found that it added to my shrink­age. I absolute­ly love Beau­ti­ful Tex­tures styling cus­tard. It’s more of a water base and my 4a hair doesn’t require too much of it to define my curls. ( def learned that by tri­al and error). I think that’s most ppl’s prob­lem when they try it…using too much. I just deep and smooth!


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The absolute best for edge con­trol and slick buns…I grew my hair to mid back using this stuff…no flakes no itch­ing.


That souf­flé is garbage!


I’ve yet to use that souf­flé with much suc­cess. It’s just a sticky gel. Who wants that??


Agreed. The souf­fle is garbage, and that Beau­ti­ful Tex­tures one too. It leaves your hair stiff dryyyy and crunchy. Try III Sis­ters of Nature Gelo. It light weight, water-based, no crunch, flakes, all nat­u­ral and smells good. Love it


Here’s the thing about the Shea Mois­ture souffle…if you use more than a tiny bit, you have a mess on your hands. But if you use just a bit and mix it in your hands with some the the curl enhanc­ing smoothee…great curl def­i­n­i­tion. I use it every­time I wash/cowash.


Speak­ing of the­se two products…I just got this today. Check out the link. She doesn’t put the souf­fle all over.

You won’t have crunch/dryness issues with Ecostyler if you use the right one and make sure your hair not only is con­di­tioned but the mois­ture is sealed in before you apply it. If you’ve been using Krys­tal, Olive, Argan etc. those all have a max hold and made my hair a bit hard so that I had to scrunch it. That all changed when I used the medi­um hold gels.  I used the pink one when it had a hold of 7 and loved it but they changed the for­mu­la and it went to 8 which was a bit too much… Read more »

[…] this time last year, I did an arti­cle on 6 Alter­na­tives to EcoStyler Gel for Slick­ing and Defin­ing Nat­u­ral Hair. One thing that makes nat­u­ral hair so much fun (for me as a pro­duct junkie at least), is that […]


[…] this time last year, I did an arti­cle on 6 Alter­na­tives to EcoStyler Gel for Slick­ing and Defin­ing Nat­u­ral Hair. One thing that makes nat­u­ral hair so much fun (for me as a pro­duct junkie at least), is that […]


[…] this time last year, I did an arti­cle on 6 Alter­na­tives to EcoStyler Gel for Slick­ing and Defin­ing Nat­u­ral Hair. One thing that makes nat­u­ral hair so much fun (for me as a pro­duct junkie at least), is that […]


[…] men­tioned this lit­tle jar in my arti­cle about alter­na­tives to EcoStyler Gel. Truth­ful­ly, it’s quite a gem and def­i­nite­ly has a taffy-esque feel. I pur­chased it at CVS dur­ing […]


I get your point about Eco (which is why I use it in com­bi­na­tion with Uncle Funky’s Richie Rich con­di­tion­er), but one of the things I love about it is that it has prac­ti­cal­ly no scent. I am sick of hair-care prod­ucts that reek of coconut, straw­ber­ries, bub­ble gum, etc. It would be great if your reviews would include this infor­ma­tion as well.


Ive tried eco styler, kinky curly cus­tard, shea mois­ture custard.…but I fell in love with Cant Shea’s Curling Cus­tard. A lit­tle goes a long way and its best to use it on soak­ing wet hair and fin­ger thru pieces. I add what­ev­er leave in cream/conditioner to make sire its soft. Real­ly defines my com­bo hair.


I have notice eco style has thinned my daugh­ter and my edges. We have mixed curly hair and many edge con­trol prod­ucts do not work because out hair is wet every­day. I use mixed tex­tures and feel it does good for elim­i­nat­ing Most frizz but will not com­plete­ly Lay our edges. Does any­one have any sug­ges­tions…


Dee have you tried Organ­ic Root Stimulator’s Olive Oil Smooth-N-Hold Pud­ding Mois­tur­iz­ing Gel? I think it would work great for you. Itdoes won­ders on my daughter’s hair.

alasia min

Beau­ti­ful tex­tures has a great leavein and smell but the gel cus­tard will have you flak­ing like no tomor­row. It def­i­nite­ly does flake and I didn’t have to use a lot, just a dime size and white flakes will fol­low.