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How to create a curl cast

What is a curly girl method gel cast and do I need it?

You may of heard people talking about a cast when doing the curly girl method. But what is a cast, a gel cast or a mousse cast? Do you even need a cast? Here are all the answers on how to create a curl cast on your hair to help your hair last longer and stay frizz free.

curly girl method gel curl cast on thick wavy hair like love do
Curl cast that is dry

What is a curl cast in curly girl method?

A curly hair cast is a crispy shell of gel or mousse that forms over the hair once it is dry. Once your hair is dry the gel is hardened over the surface creating a cast. A cast can help your hair form and keep a curl whilst stopping hair from extra frizziness. Creating a cast can also help keep and lock in moisture in the hair which curls need to keep their bounce. 

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Do I need a curl gel cast ?

You may not always need a gel cast it depends on your hair. Fine hair and thick hair reacts differently and so does wavy or curly hair. Some hair may be weighted down with hair product other hair may be prone to lots of frizz so could benefit from a cast. Some hair needs the extra strength of the gel to hold and form it. For instance my hair is wavy and very heavy and very thick. Using gel to create a cast helps my hair stay in place and curl for longer. Some hair that is curlier may not need it. It really is trial and error an depends on your individual hair. 

curl cast with curl custard

Tips for forming a cast on curly hair

Why can I not get a cast is a comment question. Here are a few reasons why you may or may not be able to get a gel cast.

1.Your hair was too wet when applying the product

Sometimes if your hair is dripping wet the gel or mousse you apply will be diluted down thus making the gel hardener not as effective. 

2. You may have too much curl cream on

Using too much curl cream underneath will result in the gel or mousse being diluted with it and it will not be as effective and too soft.

3. You are over moisturising your hair

Over moisturising your hair may not let gel cling to the hair properly and absorb the thus taking ages to dry. Having lots of other product underneath the gel could dilute it further and alter the way the gel hardens.

4. You are not using enough gel or mousse

Maybe you are not using enough gel or mousse? Try using more gel or mousse. Apply a thin coverage over all of your curls. You can even apply both! 

5. You are drying hair with too much heat

 Drying your hair on a high heat could soften gel and can result in it breaking down your cast before it’s hardened. This is not tried and tested but cooler drying does seem to help

6. You are touching your hair as it dries

Do not over manipulate your hair or touch it too much whilst drying. Using your hands and moving your hair will cause it to start breaking down the cast and lose it’s film before it is dry.

7. You are plopping for too long

Plopping your hair for too long with gel on will result in product being absorbed in to the towel. Applying mousse or gel after plopping is my easiest way of getting a cast. Hair is just right for applying gel and not too wet. So try wet plopping first.

8. You have build up.

If you have build up on your hair your hair will not be in the best position to form a curl or create a cast. Remove any build up by clarifying your hair and start fresh.

Drying hair to get a gel cast

Drying your hair slowly and on a low heat can help with creating a cast. See this defusing tutorial for drying hair to get a cast.

Can you sleep in curl cast?

Yes you can sleep in a gel cast in fact it is ideal to wake up and scrunch out the crunch. However try not to sleep in wet hair it’s not good for your scalp and can cause fungal infections and breakage. You could also wake up with wonky curls.

Gel cast before and after photo

before and after gel cast on the curly girl method photo like love do
before and after gel cast photo

How to remove a curly gel cast 

You can break a gel cast by scrunching out the crunch with your hands. Gently scrunch crispy parts of your curls with your hands. Put your hands into your roots and shake hair to loosen the cast. You can also scrunch out the crunch with a t shirt instead of your hands.

Try using a little bit of curly girl approved oil in the palms of your hair such as Righteous roots oil or Biolage Replenish mist.

See this video below which shows how to scrunch out the crunch.

What’s the best product to create a cast on curly hair?

Gel, curling custard or mousse are great at creating a curl cast. There are so many curly girl method products to choose from These are a few of my curly girl method favourites for creating a gel cast on curly hair.

Scrunched out curl gel cast
Scrunched out curl gel cast

Hair Mousse

Can mousse form a cast on curly hair? Mousse is great at forming a cast on curly hair. In fact back in the days of curly perms mousse was all I used to create a cast. ( yes I didn’t even know I had a curl back then! ) Here are a few of my favourites mousses that are curly girl friendly 

Wella Duluxe mousse

Pantene  mousse no 5

Hair Gels for a cast

What’s the best gel for a gel cast? Gel is great for creating a cast you could try any of the following  gels.

Umberto Giannini curl jelly

Eco Style olive oil gel

Vo5 Mega Hold Gel

Curl custards for the curly girl method cast

Curl custard is great for creating a curl cast. So what curl custards are there for a cast on curly hair?

Cantu Curl custard is my personal favourite for a great curl cast

Kinky Curly Custard is expensive in the UK but easier to get in America. Gives you a great cast

As I Am Curling Jelly Coil and Curl Definer

For the full low down on how to do the curly girl method take a look at my quick start curly girl Method guide.

There are many more products to choose from for the curly girl method. Try one that suits your budget as it not always about the product but as you can see creating a curl cast can be about the technique. For more information on curly girl products take a look a my curly girl products list here.

D x

Everything you need to know about gel casts pin. image


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  1. Hello: I am 60 years old and am growing in my hair to embrace my natural greying hair and have realized I have naturally wavy hair. My hair is fine but I have a lot of it. I’m confused with all the products and have tried several with no luck. I like the idea of a cast as it dries because I tend to frizz and have no volume. I used Carol’s Daughter hair milk and it make a film on my hair and doesn’t stop frizz; I have just bought strictly curls styling foam by Marc Anthony and am going to try your method with this product. I realize I have to take care of my greys differently and am seeking advise. Thank you.

    1. it may be that you need something a bit more substantial. Try a bit of Cantu moisturising curl activator cream. you only need a little bit lathered between your hands. Grey hair can be a bit more wirey and need a bit more. A curl custard might give it a bit more control too. It is really trial and error finding what your hair likes x

  2. I’ve found that any products containing glycerin (added to many products for smoothness) will pull moisture from the air in humid CT, not only drying out my hair but making it frizz more! Once I started paying attention to ingredients, the frizz went away!

    1. Yes this is true good point ill add this to my post. Not very humid where I am but this is a good point it reflects different peoples areas x

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