How to Gel Your Hair Back

By Grace Phan

Hair gel is a grooming cupboard staple for even the most low-maintenance man. It will get your hair into shape and keep it that way, without the need to even plug in a blow dryer. Whether you're after a slicked-back look like Leonardo Dicaprio, the carefree James Dean style, or you're more of a Don Draper, dust off that bottle of gel and get started.

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All Slicked Back

The completely slicked back look is ideal for special occasions, or when you need to look professional. It works on any haircut that is longer than 1 inch, and is great for taming frizz-prone hair without heat. Pour a quarter-sized amount of strong-hold gel into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Double the amount of gel used if your hair is longer than the tops of your ears. Work the gel through your hair from root to tip to coat it completely. Position a fine-tooth comb at the front of your hairline. Drag it back over the crown of your head until you reach the nape of your neck. Keep the comb directly against your scalp. Repeat all over your head until you're content with the shape.

Pump up the Volume

Give your coif a voluminous boost for instant Rebel Without a Cause style edge. Using gel allows your hair texture to remain intact, and looks natural as it gets tousled throughout the day. It works best on hair that is layered, and lands at the tops of the ears or longer. Comb your hair from root to tip with a wide-tooth comb to remove any tangles, and allow it to air dry until 90 percent dry. Pour a dime-sized amount of gel onto your fingertips and gently pull it through the ends of your hair. Place your fingertips at the front of your hairline, just above the center of your forehead. Rake them back through your hair while lifting your hair upwards to shape it. Allow the ends to fall naturally for a less structured look.

Vintage Appeal

Give Mr. Draper a run for his money with a slick side part. Have your stylist cut your hair to 1 inch long on the sides, and 4 inches long at the crown for best results. Spritz damp hair from root to tip with a spray gel for even coverage. Position the tail end of a rat-tail comb at the edge of your hairline, directly above your right eye. Drag it back until it is aligned with the crown of your head. Comb the hair to the left of the part straight down the left side of your head, and the hair at the back straight down towards the nape of your neck. Place the tail end of the comb directly beside the right parting, under your hair. Gently lift the hair at the root to add a small curve for volume.