Is It Bad To Leave Gel In Your Hair Overnight? (Solved)

Leaving gel in your hair before you go to sleep can save you time and effort but is it bad to leave gel in your hair overnight?

Is It Bad To Leave Gel In Your Hair Overnight

What Is The Purpose Of Hair Gel

Hair gel is usually made with a blend of oils, proteins, water, and may contain humectants.

The ingredients will vary with each product because there are simply different kinds of gel. The purpose of hair gel is to stiffen the hair to make it set into the desired hairstyle. 

For example, some people like to use hair gel to glide their hair all the way back to create a sleek, shiny hair look.

More than that, hair gel can also keep curls in place, reduce frizz, add intense volume, and reduce flyaways.

Gel can usually be applied to wet or dry hair, which can make styling the hair a very straightforward process. 

Hair gel often has a gel-like consistency (of course) but it can also be in the form of a spray or a liquid-based product.

Some gels are not suitable for use on dry hair and not ideal for all hair types, such as damaged hair or very oily hair.

Can You Sleep With Gel In Your Hair?

Sleeping with gel in your hair is not recommended. While it probably won’t cause any harm if it’s left in occasionally if the gel is left in regularly it could present many issues. The most common side effects are product build-up, an excessively oily scalp, and itching and flaking.

So yes, it is generally considered bad to sleep with gel in your hair overnight. 

The scalp regularly needs to breathe, especially while you sleep.

Leaving the gel on for long periods of time can clog the pores on your scalp and can even cause an infection.

Washing the gel off at the end of the day is the best way to prevent any adverse effects.

Also Read: 4 Amazing Benefits of Burdock Root Tea Rinse for Hair

Is Gel Generally Bad For Your Hair?

Sleeping with gel in your hair may not be the best option, but perhaps you’re wondering if gel is actually bad for your hair?

The truth is there is no simple answer to that question. It depends on several factors, including:

How Often You Use It

Generally speaking, hair gel isn’t a product that you should frequently use.

This is due to the fact that hair gel should be rinsed out every single day. So if you plan on using gel in your hair daily then you will need to wash your hair just as frequently.

Over-washing your hair combined with some of the drying ingredients in the product can lead to your hair feeling dry, dull, and brittle.

You may notice the hair becomes stiff and even breaks off. The issue is your hair regularly needs a break from all kinds of products.

Your scalp needs to breathe and produce its own natural oils. Using it infrequently will cause fewer issues.

What Ingredients Are In It

The problem with some hair gels is that they contain some harmful and harsh ingredients such as sulfates, drying alcohols, and even triethanolamine.

These types of ingredients can irritate the scalp, dry out the hair, and even cause a reaction in some individuals.

When looking for a hair gel, you may want to opt for products with more natural ingredients.

However, it’s likely that these gels will be less effective without the chemicals.

The Current Health Of Your hair And Scalp

Anyone who has a sensitive, oily, or irritated scalp should probably avoid using hair gels. They should definitely avoid sleeping with gel in their hair overnight.

The simple reason for this is because you will be adding to the problem.

A scalp that is already sensitive or irritated will not react well to the chemicals in gels and it might not be worth the side effects.

The same applies to damaged hair. Damaged hair is often lacking moisture, so putting hair gel on it will only strip it of further moisture.

If you leave it in at night

It is bad to leave gel in your hair overnight because it can lead to an oily, flaky scalp, clogged pores, and even scalp acne.

Leaving it in your hair frequently or for longer periods of time can be bad for the health of your scalp, which could also affect hair growth.

Always remember that a healthy scalp leads to healthy hair.

If your scalp is clogged, too dry, or too oily, this can be detrimental to the health of your hair. 

Also Read: Can Gel Cause Hair Loss? Everything You Need To Know!

How To Use Gel To Style Hair

styling hair with gel

Using gel to style your hair is actually very straightforward and it will take up only a small amount of time.

There isn’t necessarily a technique to using hair gel. All you need is a suitable product and a comb (or your fingers!).

1. Wash Your Hair

It’s always best to use gel on freshly washed hair. This is to ensure that the hair and scalp are free of product build-up, bacteria, and grease.

The last thing you want to do is clog the pores by applying them to an unclean scalp. 

2. Wait Until Your Hair Is Nearly Dry 

Some people will choose to apply gel to wet hair.

This helps to lock moisture into the curls as those with curly hair generally have much drier hair than those with straight hair.

However, if you do not have curly hair, you will often see better results if you wait until your hair is around 70% dry at least.

If your hair is fully dry or dry in some parts, just spray a little bit of water to make the hair damp. It’s much easier to apply gel to damp hair as it will glide through.

3. Decide Which Hairstyle You Want

The hairstyle determines how much product you need and whether you use a comb or your fingers.

If you are looking for a sleek, pushed-back look then you will need a dollop of hair gel, which you will rub between your palms before distributing it.

Using a comb can help to ensure the product is distributed evenly through your hair and gives you that sleek, shiny look.

For other hairstyles, you may need just a dime-size amount, which you will rub in your hands and apply with your hands or fingers. 

That’s all you really need to do when using hair gel to style your hair.

Some styling products will make your hairstyle stay in place for 12 hours or more, while others may have less staying power. This is something to consider when choosing a gel. 

Also Read: Cactus For Hair: 7 Incredible Benefits And How To Use)

How To Effectively Wash Out Hair Gel

So we have established that it is in fact bad to leave gel in your hair overnight. It’s highly recommended that you rinse it out after every single use to avoid clogging the pores.

Here is the best way to wash hair gel out of your hair.

  • Wash your hair with water to ensure that you soften the gel to make it easier to remove
  • Get a generous amount of conditioner in your hands and massage it into your scalp using your fingertips
  • Ensure that you rub with some force to dislodge any stiff gel that may be clinging on to the roots
  • Repeat again if necessary
  • Finish with a cool rinse and leave the hair to dry

Using conditioner rather than shampoo is more effective simply because conditioner is slippery and glides through the hair.

This makes it easier to dislodge any hardened product, debris, and grease. Your hair will also feel smoother and shinier afterwards. 

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Coralle Skye

Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.