My love affair with gel has ended...
The Benefits of Using Conditioner as a Styler
1. It's moisturizing!
Sure, natural gels can be moisturizing, but for those of us who are using the not-so-natural ones to save money, it can leave a lot to be desired in terms of the moisture level of your hair under the gel. Conditioner always leaves my hair soft, smooth, and moisturized, and when I go to rinse again, my hair is still soft, as opposed to being rough and/or dry under the gel cast.
Moreover, dryness, breakage, and splits have become fewer and farther between since ditching gel.
2. It's cheap!
Depending on what conditioner you use, you can get 16 ounces for $3ish (Trader Joe's) as opposed to spending $10 on 16 ounces of natural gel (Shea Moisture).
Personally, I am now using up my stock of Moisture Maniac (which costs more than Shea Moisture) but I was using Aussie Moist before, which is a much greater value at $6.50ish for 29 ounces.
You can get a number of creamy conditioners that are great for styling that are a better value than natural gels and still produce good results.
Depending on what you use, you can get a bigger bang for your buck using conditioner as your styler of choice.
3. It saves time!
Every natural knows that braids take FOREVER to dry. With conditioner, my hair just seems to dry a lot faster than when I used natural gels even though I use pretty chunky sections (like 8, at the most).
And a big bonus of using conditioner is that you can take out and manipulate those braids that might still be a little damp in the morning because...
4. It leaves hair less-than-overly defined.
This is purely a matter of preference, but I appreciate not having super defined/crunchy/"perfect" hair.
Because it takes away stress!
Now, because my hair is a lot softer and more natural-looking as opposed to braid-out-looking, I don't have to worry about making sure each section comes out perfectly.
How annoying is it when you have this ultra-defined set and ONE section decided not to participate (usually the section MOST visible)?
Moreover, after all the work of raking and braiding, how do you maintain it at night so it was all worth it?
Now, my hair is somewhat a mix of natural curls and braid-out curls, which creates bigger hair for me with a bit of frizz that I really don't mind.
Now, if my braid doesn't completely dry before taking it out, it doesn't totally ruin my style (and day). And I always get multiple-day hair that gets softer as the days go by.
It's just more effortless to me.
5. It's ideal for workouts!
The reason I stopped wearing WNGs was because I had a need to rinse my hair a lot more often due to my workout schedule and that would mean a whole lot of money on gels if I had to reapply multiple times per week.
It's much easier (and cheaper!) to just rinse and squeeze some conditioner into my braids and go than it is to rinse and start over with gel.
Sometimes I will use gel to lay my edges down, but never again will I use it on my length and ends!