Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: DevaCurl Ulta Defining Gel

Hello curlies!

I've got a review of a relatively new DevaCurl product. DevaCurl is a company that makes higher end sulfate free and silicone free products with curly hair in mind. Their founder, Lorraine Massey, wrote a really influential book on curly hair care, Curly Girl. In 2011, she followed it up with Curly Girl: The Handbook. Even though pretty much all of the info in those books can be found online, I still think they're worthwhile reads!

Anyway, so in years past, the Deva line included two gels: Deva Angel and Deva ArcAngel. Angel was the lighthold gel, and ArcAngel was a stronger hold. ArcAngel stayed ArcAngel, but Angel became DevaCurl Light Defining Gel.  Then, DevaCurl added a gel with intermediate hold in between these two.  The intermediate holding gel is the DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel. Got all that?

I had tried Angel and ArcAngel in the past. I remember feeling that Angel did not have enough hold for me, and ArcAngel made my hair too stringy.  So with their light hold gel not being enough and their hard hold maybe being a bit too much, I thought, hey, this intermediate gel sounds pretty promising.

Front of the Bottle

Ingredients (you can click to enlarge!)

The packaging is just like almost every other DevaCurl product: green with swirls. Make sure to check that you're looking at the Ultra Defining Gel if you're interested in this level of hold in particular. It would be easy to grab the wrong bottle!

The gel is Curly Girl method friendly, meaning there are no silicones (or sulfates).  It's a water-based gel but it has a lot of glycerin, so you might want to save this for spring/summer/fall if you live in a particularly dry winter climate (dew points regularly below 20).  You can read all about why I say that here!

The important thing to note about the ingredients is that this does have a hefty amount of protein.  If you have coarse hair, you might want to be wary of this product unless you're confident that your hair likes some protein.  If you have fine hair like me though, this is nothing but good news!  Fine hair generally takes protein very well.

This gel is scented, but I find it to be a very pleasant scent and it does not linger on me.

Here is what the gel looks like.  You can really see that water base when it sits in my hand and warms up for a few seconds.  Obviously, it's a clear gel with some body to it, but it easily spreads across your hands, which is important to me because I want a gel to be able to spread easily across my wet hair strands to get even distribution.

I applied this gel using the Squish to Condish method, where I get my hair super saturated with conditioner and water, then scrunch in a gel to this sopping wet hair while still in the shower.  I found that it distributed really well. 

Here are the results.  I love the shine that this gives me.

I was really happy with how this turned out.  So were there any negatives?

My one possible complaint is that by the end of the day, I did have a tiny bit of surface frizz.  I could pretty easily smooth it down with some water/conditioner, though.  So if you're prone to your curl tightness failing throughout the day, you might want to try something with more hold.

One issue I have with this product is the claim from the Deva website that "As it dries, Ultra Defining Gel forms a moisture-protective cast to enhance curls."  I did not find this to be the case.  If I read that a product is going to form a cast over my curls, I expect a true crunchy cast that I need to scrunch to release.  This gel didn't do this to me (at least in the nickle sized amounts I've been using).  It did have a noticeable hold, but it wasn't like Kinky Curly Curling Custard level of cast-formation. So that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your own personal preferences.

All in all, I'm happy with this gel and I'll keep it in my rotation.  Check it out on Amazon, which usually has it for around $2-4 less than in stores.


Diana Mattoni said...

I love this gel! I use it in combination with their volumizing foam.

Diana Mattoni said...

I meant to ask you how you think it compares to the Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly? I've been considering trying it.

Laura said...

Great question!

Overall, I would say they have about the same hold factor for me. I find their consistency to be really similar, and neither of them form a true crunch cast around my curls (or if there is some crunch on the ends, it's very easily scrunched out).

The biggest difference with the ingredients has to be the aloe that you'll find in the Spiral Solutions. The Deva gel has water for the primary ingredient, but the Spiral Solutions uses aloe instead. If you like aloe, you'll probably like the Spiral Solutions. If you aren't sure if you like aloe, try using 100% pure aloe (check the health food section or a place like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's) as your hair gel. In my experience, aloe is a "love it or hate it" ingredient, so it's worth checking with the pure stuff I think.

Another difference is the scent. I find the Deva scent more pleasant than the Spiral Solutions. I'm not a huge fan of the Spiral Solutions scent, but at least it doesn't persist on my hair all day. But if you're sensistive to scents, then that might be a factor for you.

I plan to keep both of them in my rotation. The Deva gel has a LOT of protein. The Spiral Solutions also has protein, but it's in the form of silk amino acids, which I generally find are sort of the "soft" proteins in that they never dry me out if I use them too much. So for that difference, it's worth it to me to keep them both. They are both good light-medium holding products.

Tess Willard said...

I have been looking for products with out the sulfates in them becuase

Tess Willard said...

I have been looking for products without the sulfates in them because I can
never get all of the frizz out of my hair. However, I do live in an area with
very dry winters and humid summers so sometimes I need 2 different products for
each season. However, I have started to
try some natural ‘around the house’ treatments.
I tried olive oil and it did not really help with frizz but it did make
my hair very shiny. I found this site to be very helpful with how to use olive
oil in hair