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Is gel bad for your hair?

Styling gel is a great way of making sure your hair looks great all day, but it must be used properly to avoid issues. Greasy-looking hair and flakes on your shoulders can be either hair gel, or dandruff.

The difference between hair gel and dandruff can be hard to spot sometimes, especially if you’ve got some build up.

Styling gels themselves are not bad for the hair, but problems can arise when we don’t use them the right way.  

The biggest problems with using hair gel are product build up, flakes, and greasiness from overuse.

A young man with longer brown hair smiling and looking down.


When you don’t wash gel out properly, it can contribute to a mix of oil and product build up on the scalp.

This build up can break down into potentially irritating substances, that for some people can:

  • dry your scalp out

  • cause irritation

  • cause dandruff flare ups

So, it’s important to make sure that you wash your hair thoroughly to avoid build up.

For this you’ll need a deep cleaning shampoo that can bind to the gel and build-up on your hair and scalp and wash it away to give your hair a fresh start.

If you’re using gel every day you may need to wash your hair with shampoo more often too.

So, keep an eye on it and try not to leave gel in for more than 48 hours without washing it out.


In addition, any gel that is used in excess will result in flakes that could look like dandruff, especially if you try to re-style your hair after the gel is already dry. 

To avoid white flakes and hair damage, gels should not be brushed after drying. To restyle, wet your hair with water and then re-mold. Flexible hold gels are less likely to cause this effect than higher-hold gels.


Gel can be used to achieve a ‘wet look’ – it’s a popular style choice. But let it build up too long and your hair could start to appear greasy while product build-up around the roots can make your hair heavy and harder to style too.

The key in this case is moderation. Use a small amount of gel to style your hair. And ensure that you’re washing it out properly.

To keep your scalp and hair in great shape, choose a shampoo that thoroughly cleans both scalp and hair.

Our Classic Clean Shampoo is great at this – it’s a powerful cleaning shampoo and also contains scalp care ingredients like our anti-dandruff active, Pyrithione Zinc (ZPT).

So use it regularly to get rid of build-up and tackle irritation 1 for a healthy scalp and cleaner, healthy looking hair.

More hair care tips and advice

Infographic: Breakage from styling & grooming,


Pomade, distinct from hair gels and waxes, evokes a certain old-school charm. But can you use it with dandruff shampoo?

Older man with grey hair and modern hairstyle standing sideways and looking straight ahead.

When we think of pomade, we tend to think of old school Hollywood icons with slicked back hair, like James Dean or a young Marlon Brando.

You might wonder, though, how pomade affects anti-dandruff products. Well, wonder no more.


Nowadays, you’re more likely to see hair gels and waxes, but pomade is enjoying something of a resurgence. This is thanks to the shine and lustre that it gives hair. For a slick hairstyle, you can’t beat it.

Traditionally petroleum-based, it has an excellent hold and shine, with the ability to reshape your style throughout the day. Recently, water-soluble pomades have emerged to give you the same look and hold while making it easier to remove.

All of which is interesting but doesn’t tell us anything about dandruff.


If you’re worried about using your trusted pomade with dandruff shampoo then relax: you’re absolutely fine.

Because a pomade is used after washing hair, it won’t really affect the performance of dandruff shampoos at all. Incorrectly using pomade, however, could lead to scalp issues.


If you don’t wash pomade out regularly, it can very easily build up, and trap dirt and scalp oils on your skin.

When it does, this mixture can break down into potentially irritating substances (like oleic acid) - if you suffer from dandruff it could make the problem even worse.

So, the solution is simple enough: Use as much pomade as you’d like, just make sure to wash your hair thoroughly.


Choose the right shampoo and it won’t matter if it’s flakes or build-up – you can tackle them both.

A shampoo like our Citrus Fresh Shampoo will give you a great clean and help eliminate of build-up, but it will also care for your scalp and treat dandruff.

That’s due to the active ingredient you’ll find in all our shampoos – Pyrithione Zinc (ZPT).

It means you can say goodbye to build-up, PLUS dandruff and irritation* every time you wash your hair.

And if you use it regularly, you’ll restore your scalp’s natural, healthy balance – a good foundation for healthier hair.  

* due to dandruff

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