Let's talk hair glues

We ask the experts about how to avoid disastrous hair glue dramas and list the most effective products available now.

Hair & Beauty

No matter how cute it looks, no one wants a forever ponytail. Ever! Unfortunately that was the case for TikToker Tessica Brown who uploaded a video of her ordeal after using a super-strength glue NOT designed for hair. With over 20 million views, since going viral there’s been a lot of talk surrounding the use of strong hair glues in general. We wade in on the conversation by talking to hair glue users and a certified expert...

Rick Roberts
Rick Roberts

Afro Hairdresser of the Year Rick Roberts advises to “always go professional” when selecting products with strong-hold. “The formulas are designed to be kinder to the hair and the ingredients come at a premium, so you get what you pay for.” When it comes to hairstyles, like ultra-sleek ponytails, that require a lot of staying power, he recommends the following...


“Hair glues can cause irritation under the skin so it’s important to do a test before applying it directly to the scalp and the hair. I recommend testing behind the ear where it’s most sensitive for 24 hours. That way if you have a reaction it’s not so visible.”


“If you use hair glues regularly, always moisturise the area where the glue has been applied. These products are known to be highly drying on the hair, so use a water bottle spray to break down the glue bonds before restyling or washing it out.”

Let your hair breathe

“After wearing a style that puts tension on your scalp, when you take your hair down let your hair breathe for at least 24 hours. This will prevent hair loss and in worst cases traction alopecia which can be irreversible.”

Digital content creator Chanel Brookelyn says, “I use hair glues mainly to create sleek ponytails. I detangle my hair first and apply the glue when it’s damp, leaving it to dry and set. When used correctly, the results are spot on. You get long-lasting hold and edges look super laid. I think the stigma from hair glues comes from how people remove it. I always wash it out so I’m removing the product build-up.”

After a bad experience with a fixing spray, Spell reader Yomi Harding warns users need to pay attention to the ingredients list. “Hairsprays contain alcohol and when this substance comes into contact with heat it’s a no-no. Also some of the ingredients can cause skin irritation and should be used with caution. I’m now in the process of growing out my hair and swapping my all hair products for natural formulas only”.

Spell Magazine editor Jemima Cousins adds, “I’m not a fan of hair glues and rarely use them. When I do I dab the smallest amount along the hairline and remove with water. The case of Tessica Brown has been an eye-opener for us all and reinforces the need for further education.”

Hair glues for weave wearers
Professional hair glues for wig and weave wearers

Redken Hardwear Scuplting Gel, £15.70 • Got2b Blasting Freeze Spray, £4.29 • Label.m Hair Glue, £15.50 • ORS Fix it Grip Gel, £5.19 • Fudge Hair Gum, £14

Hair gels for baby hairs
The best gels for laying down baby hairs

Eco Style Gel Black Castor & Flaxseed, £6.99 • Mielle Edge Gel, £7.69 • KeraCare Edge Tamer, £5.50 • Grohealthy Shea & Coconut Color Edges, £4.49 • Twisted Sista Nourishing Sleek Edge Gel, £5.89

Styling gels for long-lasting curl definition
Styling gels for long-lasting curl definition

Imbue Curl Empowering Crème Gel, £6.99 • amika Enhancing Gel, £40 • Monat Flexible Hold Gel, £32 • Trepadora Bamboo Ginseng Glaze, £21 • Shea Moisture Frizz Defense Styling Gel Cream, £10.99

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