How to Remove Smoothing Gel From Hair

By Audrey Sivasothy

Styling gels are a popular hair product tool for achieving sleek, defined, or even gravity-defying hair looks. When dried on the hair, gels form a stiff film that glues hair strands to one another. Gels can provide many different levels of "hold" or hardness depending on the desired, finished style or the consumer's preference. Smoothing gel is great for achieving sleek, sophisticated looks. Unfortunately, too much gel of any kind can result in flaky, sticky buildup that will need to be removed with a clarifying shampoo.

Man checking his hair
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How to Remove Smoothing Gel from the Hair

Step 1

Thoroughly rinse hair in warm water to loosen and remove stubborn, dried-on gel. Carefully begin to lift and separate the gelled strands with your fingers under the stream of water.

Step 2

Pour a generous dollop of a clarifying shampoo, like Pantene's Purity Clarifying Shampoo, into your hand. Rub your hands together and evenly distribute the shampoo throughout your hair. Clarifying shampoos are stronger than regular shampoos and are formulated to remove stubborn buildup from products like hair gels, waxes, greases, and pomades.

Step 3

Shampoo your hair in a gentle squeezing or "milking" fashion. Work up a rich lather. Avoid rubbing or piling the hair on your head as this can lead to tangles. Rinse the clarifying shampoo from the hair thoroughly. Repeat this step if your smoothing gel is particularly difficult to remove.

Step 4

Carefully section and detangle your wet hair with a wide toothed comb.

Step 5

Apply a creamy, moisturizing conditioner to the hair. Focus the conditioning product on the ends of the hair. Clarifying shampoos can be hard on the hair, so a moisturizing conditioner should always follow the shampooing step for best results. Moisturizing conditioners will help coat, smooth, and soften the hair again.

Step 6

Allow the moisturizing conditioner product to remain in your hair for 15 to 20 minutes for best results.

Step 7

Apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner to the hair and detangle. Style your hair as desired.