OCD Friendly Hair Gel / Spray / Wax
April 9, 2014 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm a bit OCD from a touchy/feeling standpoint, and hair gel / spray / wax gives me the chills. I have short hair (under a few inches) and need to gel my hair for work (office environment). Any suggestions for a non-sticky feeling, OCD friendly hair gel / spray / wax etc.?
posted by WhereAmI to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I use conditioner (I also have short-under-a-few-inches hair). It's not even official leave-in conditioner, just regular conditioner. I finger-comb it in while my hair is still damp, and it doesn't feel sticky at all. If nothing else, it's a cheap experiment if you hate it.
posted by rtha at 12:39 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my experience, molding clay makes my hair feel dirty in the "wow, this looks amazing, why do I ever wash my hair" way, not the greasy "OH MY GOD GET THIS AWAY FROM MY FAAAAACE" way. It's up to you whether you can handle that; as someone who can't wear jewelry for an hour without a sensory meltdown I sympathize.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:43 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

It will depend a lot on what your hair is like and how you want it. I too have found that clay works great, but my hair is also so well behaved that after moisturizing my skin I just apply a little extra to my hair.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2014

Reworks by Paul Mitchell might be a good bet. When you initially put it in your hair it is a bit sticky and hard, like conventional gel. But once it dries you can run your fingers through your hair to sort of break it up and it stays in the same place without feeling (or looking) like it is covered in goop.
posted by sacrifix at 12:55 PM on April 9, 2014

Kiehls. The hair feels like hair. I think its Molding paste.

Also, try this: quit washing your hair. See how the texture changes and if you still need product.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Weird suggestion: How about kind of a slick feeling? What kind of look are you going for? I recently starting using Groom & Clean (because I'm 80 years old apparently?) and it's water-based, completely non-stiff/sticky. I like it better than the wax I used to use (also my hair is longer now).
posted by supercres at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2014

I use American Crew Light Hold Texture Lotion, it's almost like a conditioner but doesn't dry as shiny as a gel. My hair doesn't feel heavy after using it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2014

When I have short hair, I find Bed Head Manipulator feels good. I use it on the day I shampoo my hair, the days I don't, I don't use anything. That is, if you can get away with not washing your hair everyday.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2014

Paul Mitchell tea tree shaping cream. It adds a little bit of hold and texture but doesn't leave the hair hard, waxy or sticky. It also has a nice clean soapy gender-netural scent.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2014

Can you elaborate? Is it the feeling of the gel on your hands when you put it on your hair? Or the feeling of it during the day?
posted by radioamy at 2:02 PM on April 9, 2014

I use J Beverly Hills Root Volumizing Powder.

I refer to it unironically as "magic powder". You can basically make your hair do various things without it feeling weird (unless you use a LOT, and then it just feels like the hairs are gripping each other more near the roots when you run your hands through it). It just feels like hair that happens to be pokey-uppy or whatever you choose to do with it. I get it it at my local salon. A little goes a long way because you do NOT need very much at all.

I have very fine short hair, but lots of it, and this lets me do stuff with it without it being weighted down or gooey. If you are wanting to have curved whatnot with your hair that would require drying it in a certain way, this may or may not be particularly useful, depending on when you put it in your hair. It can be added when damp or dry.
posted by HermitDog at 2:02 PM on April 9, 2014

I feel like I should add: it will not give you "spikes" or stuff that is "hair is obviously gathered together by a product of some sort" looking. It will let you make it point in directions it might not normally, without feeling weird or looking like there's product. Not sure what your style needs are.
posted by HermitDog at 2:09 PM on April 9, 2014

You might find that something like a salt water spray gives your hair just a little bit of stiffness with no slickness at all. I always love the way my hair looks when I get back from the beach.
posted by jessamyn at 2:21 PM on April 9, 2014

Depending on your hair texture and what you're going for, I've been using a tiny bit of body lotion as a sort of leave-in conditioner. My hair tends to act better, lay down nicely and look smooth and clean if I do this when it wet out of the shower and/or when it's dry and acting sort of fluffy or frizzy. I also live in a dry climate so my hair often gets brittle/frizzy looking if I don't condition. Rub the lotion all over your hands and then run your fingers through your hair. I also started using this shea butter body wash instead of shampoo and conditioner. Maybe weird, but it doesn't strip my hair of oils.
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2014

I have OCD and find American Crew Defining Paste to be perfect. I'm also a boy with really short hair, so that might change things...
posted by tacodave at 2:36 PM on April 9, 2014

If you haven't already tried this, experiment with VERY small quantities of products you think won't work. You may be surprised. I can't stand my hair to feel product-y, but need to keep frizz under control. I've been really happy with the results of using a dab (like, less than pea-sized, and I have a lot of hair) of all kinds of things like wax, pomade, and putty. I rub this between my palms, then apply as evenly as possible, with a light touch. I can't even tell I have anything in there, but it helps with texture and smoothness. Depending on how much hair control or shaping you're trying to get, this might work.

Similarly, you could try applying hair spray, gel, or mousse to a brush or comb, rather than directly to your hair.

You'll also get different effects from different products when applied to wet vs. dry hair. It would be worth some experimentation.
posted by jessicapierce at 4:46 PM on April 9, 2014

I like this new Deconstructing Gum by L'oreal.

It's kind of like a stiff paste. It works similar to a wax, is low shine, and low oil. You can fuss with it during the day and after it soaks in initially it's pretty malleable. It doesn't leave flakes, no crunching, but you want to make sure you don't have any gobs in your hair so you want to spread it thin on your fingers first.

I wouldn't describe it as sticky, but it's kind of tacky, but not after it sets in your hair for a bit. It's almost a silky-tacky instead of sticky (if that makes any sense?)

I'm also picky about products because I tend to fuss with my hair but I also want it to stay put. I just got a pixie haircut and it's my favorite hair product of the 5 or so that I've tried.
posted by Crystalinne at 4:49 PM on April 9, 2014

Spray wax. I'm in love with it. Also surf spray - I don't even have to blow dry my hair anymore. And definitely not sticky.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2014

I like BB Styling Creme. It will dry a little bit stiff in spots if you get too much but you can easily comb through those and still have great body in your hair. It's really not sticky at all.

I actually prefer my hair the second day after using this, when I will spray the whole mess down with dry shampoo and brush it out. Gives my fine hair a ton of texture and I can pretty much push it into whatever shape I want with my fingers and it will stay. My hair is very short in the back with layers about 2 inches long on top. I shampoo about twice a week and prefer my hair on days 2 & 3 when some styling product has built up. The dry shampoo keeps it from being sticky or greasy between washes.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:08 PM on April 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try using aloe vera. Seriously.
posted by davidmsc at 7:08 AM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love Paul Mitchell shaping wax. Stays put, not too sticky.

If your hair issues are causing you distress though, please seek out medical help - OCD can cause a lot of unnecessary problems in life.
posted by agregoli at 9:29 AM on April 23, 2014

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