Does Hair Gel Cause Hair Loss – Myth Busted?

Hair Gel and hair loss

I used to apply hair gel a long time ago, and stopped using when I saw my hair is thinning out and everybody said that my hair gel is to be blamed for.

I have heard over and over again, that hair gel will cause hair loss. Therefore I did a little research to find out the truth.

Does hair gel cause hair loss? Yes, the chemicals in hair gel could damage the hair strands which could lead to brittles, hair breakages and even hair loss.

In this article I will summarize the information which I have gathered regarding hair gel and hair loss.

Why hair gel is causing hair loss

If you have been applying hair gel every day like me, then you are in trouble. As per the information which I have gathered the following ingredients in hair gel could affect our hair negatively.

1. Alcohol in hair gel

According to the hair experts, alcohol is added to various hair products in order to protect it from microbes, to prevent foaming of the product, and to allow the gel or the spray to dry up quickly when applied.

The alcohol in hair gel will also absorb the moisture in our hair and leave it dry. The dry hair is weak and will break off easily.

Whenever you see alcohol on the list of ingredients in your hair product, do not freak out. Information that I have gathered suggests that there are two types of alcohol. Without making it anymore complicated, I will call them good alcohol and bad alcohol.

1.1 Bad Alcohol (Short chain alcohol)

The most common types of bad alcohol are benzyl alcohol, propanol alcohol, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, ethanol alcohol etc.

These types of alcohol are commonly used in hair gel and spray because of their quick drying up effect. This effect will draw out the moisture from your hair too.

When the moisture is taken away, the hair roots will dry out. Although it may look shiny and hydrated from the outside it will actually be dry from the inside. The dry hair is more weak and they will break more easily.

Therefore, it is best to avoid the hair products which contains bad or short chain alcohol.

1.2 Good Alcohol (Long chain alcohol)

The most common types of good alcohol are cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol.

These types of alcohol has the effect of drawing moisture into the applied area, thereby keeping that area hydrated.

A panel of experts from Cosmetic Ingredient Review, suggest that fatty alcohol or good alcohol are safe to be used in cosmetic products. These types of alcohol are commonly used in hair conditioners because of their moisturising effect.

I highly doubt that the hair gel companies are using good alcohol in their products. Since it does not serve the purpose of drying out quickly.

If there is any hair gel that uses good alcohol, then please educate me.

However, if you are so keen on using hair gel, then try your best to go for alcohol free hair gel. Alcohol free hair gel will avoid the dry hair problem.

2. Silicone in hair gel

Silicone is an ingredient which is commonly used in many hair products. It is a mineral and it is used to make the hair shine, smooth and straight [1]

While silicone having plenty of uses, it also does have its drawbacks. According to the experts, silicone will add another layer to a person’s hair, which will weigh down the hair more. Silicone will also attract more dust and dirt while clogging the hair follicles.

Clogged hair follicles will affect the hair growth rate in the long run. But in the short run it can cause hair fall due to the lack of nutrition absorbed to hair roots through hair follicles.

Silicone will also prevent the hair follicles from getting the required moisture. Over time this will make the hair dry and cause hair brittle.

Your hair product will not directly say that it contains “silicone”. However, it is easy to identify whether the hair product you use contains silicone. Just take a look at the list of ingredients and figure out whether it contain ingredients which ends with “oxane” or “cone”. These types of ingredients are more likely to be silicone.

3. The way you use it

Most people experience hair loss due to hair gel, especially since they are using it wrong . Most of the hair gel brands will damage the hair roots, by absorbing the moisture and making them dry.

If a person is applying hair styling products daily, then his hair will be exposed to chemicals every day. This will make the hair much weaker over the time. This is since the hair roots will not get a chance to recover from the damage caused by hair gel, if a particular person is applying hair gel daily.

Further, hair products can get mixed up with oil and sweat from the body and get build up on the scalp, if they are not washed off properly. This build up can cause various problems like dry scalp, irritation, and dandruff. Such problems can cause hair loss.

Is It Ok To Leave Gel Overnight

No. Do not leave hair gel overnight. It can affect the hair negatively in various ways.

The gel will add another layer to your hair, which can clog the pores or the hair follicles. Most of the cell growth and repairing in human bodies occur during the night. When the hair follicles are clogged at night, this will affect the hair growth process.

At night hair gel and skin oils in the scalp can mix together along with the sweat (if you sweat at night) and can cause dandruff. Dandruff will be itchy and irritating, constant scratching to overcome itchiness can damage the hair roots and the scalp.

So if you are wondering whether leaving hair gel overnight can cause hair loss? Not directly. But leaving hair gel overnight can cause the above mentioned issues, which can affect the hair growth process.

Since no research indicates that, there are any benefit from leaving gel overnight, it is way better to wash them out before hitting the bed. However, night showering also can cause dandruff if it is not done properly. Learn more from here.

How To Use Hair Gel Safely

Hair gel is important to most of the people. It will help them to keep their hair nice and tidy. If you are a type of person who is keen on using hair gel and at the same time wants to protect your hair, then I can give you a couple of advice.

As I mentioned before hair loss due to hair gel occurs mainly due to the content in that specific hair gel and the way you use it. So my advice would be,

1. Do not buy cheap and low quality hair gel in the market. That does not mean you have to buy an expensive gel, but look for a gel which has no bad alcohol and minimum silicone amount.

Most of the drug store hair products have alcohol and silicone in them, which can dry your scalp and cause hair brittle.

Instead spend some money and buy a product which is free from alcohol and contain less silicone. It might be relatively expensive, but it will be worth it.

2. When you are applying hair products, make sure to apply them only when necessary. You must give your hair a free day from the hair gel. The rest day will help the hair roots to recover from the damage caused by the hair products.

3. If you are applying a hair product such as gel and hair spray, make sure to wash them off before hitting the bed at night. On the other hand you must use a shampoo (much better if it is a deep cleansing shampoo), to wash away the build up at least two days a week.

4. When you apply hair gel and spray, try your best to avoid it touching your scalp. This is since hair gel and spray can block the pores and hair follicles, when it touch the scalp. This is not a highly effective solution, but it can help to protect your hair.


Many people have told me that hair gel can cause hair loss, however some believed that this theory is just a myth.

Hair gel and other hair styling products can cause hair loss. However it all depends on the ingredients in the product and the way you use it.

Personally I believe that hair products which are alcohol free and/or made up of natural ingredients like coconut oil are actually good for your hair.

If you Value my content, then sign up and stay updated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts