LUS Brands Gel Review

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LUS Brands gel review for curly hair - photo of the tube of LUS Brands gel over a photo of Irish Sea Moss on the shore

For most of my life, I thought I had difficult hair. It wouldn't straighten easily, it didn't hold a curl, it was fine and got greasy easily. I fought my tresses every morning and once I turned 40, my hair seemed thinner than ever and I was embarrassed by my visible scalp. My hairstylist encouraged me to embrace my natural texture a couple of years ago and with a haircut specifically for curly hair and switching up products and styling methods I found I actually had curly hair.

I've journaled a lot of my curly hair journey a lot here on Wardrobe Oxygen. I shared how the curly hair community intimidated me and various brands of curly hair products that I have tried. I spent so much on tools, special shampoos, conditioners, styling products, towels, protein treatments… and then in 2020 the haircare company LUS | Luv Ur Self slid into my DMs and asked if they could send me their three-step process for curly hair to try out, no strings attached.

Alison in the summer with curly hair. She is wearing a black and white striped tank top with overalls and bright pinkish red lipstick. It is a selfie, she is holding the phone and smiling at the camera.
Me this past summer using LUS (Luv Ur Self) for my fine curly hair. Little effort and big results but Maryland humidity plays a part!

I was floored by how with LUS Brands products made having curly hair was so simple. I shared my unsponsored review of LUS Brands for my fine curly hair, and while I have tried out some other brands of products for curly hair that have come on the market since then, I have always come back to LUS because it really works for my hair and my lifestyle.

I live in Maryland, which is quite humid in the summer. My curls LOVE the humidity, and from April to October with LUS products, I have gorgeous ringlets. But once the weather gets colder and drier, my curls struggle. I can start the day looking okay, but by lunchtime I have frizziness, or my curls have fallen and looked flat. By Thanksgiving, I'm reverting back to my pre-curly hairstyling methods many days because I am so frustrated by my winter hair.

Since being a fan of LUS Brand for so long, I was intrigued by their Irish Sea Moss Gel. Because I know many of you use this line of haircare products or are curious about cruelty-free products for curly hair, I have chosen to write this LUS Brands gel review.

LUS Brands Gel Review

LUS Brands | Luv Ur Self always said they wouldn't make a hair gel. For the same reasons I have struggled with other curly hair brands, LUS | Luv Ur Self didn't want to create such a product. Gels often leave hair heavy, sticky, crunchy, and having that “cast” you need to “scrunch the crunch” out of your dried curls. LUS also prides itself on simplicity – just one styling product is all you need while many curly hair methods require a cocktail of different products to achieve good results.

As someone with fine hair, a gel may give me defined curls, but those curls either feel gross or weigh down my hair and kinda look gross. One reason I love LUS | Luv Ur Self beyond its ease of use is how airdried or diffused, my curls feel like hair and not product. I knew if they decided to create a hair gel, it had to be innovative. And LUS Brands Irish Sea Moss Gel seems innovative.

What Makes LUS Brands Different

Most gels work because they have ingredients that dry out your hair and make it sticky. That's how it holds a shape, whether it's curls, spikes, or a slicked-back look. We curly folks have all experienced those glossy, hard, and crunchy curls from a styling gel for curls. And those of us who have used some of those gels for a period of time have experienced our hair drying out.

LUS Brands | Luv Ur Self uses Irish sea moss, which holds up to 50x its weight in water, and claims to help hydrate your hair. LUS | Luv Ur Self says they've added a proprietary blend of passion fruit, açai, and rice bran oil because it acts as a natural silicone replacement. They claim this will reduce frizziness and offer softness and shine.

LUS Irish Sea Moss Gel, like all other products from LUS, is free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, gluten, DEA, and a bunch of other ingredients that are better left out of anything you put on or in your body. LUS Brands shares the entire ingredient list on the product page. LUS Brands is also Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free.

For those concerned with fragrance, this gel DOES contain it. Fragrance is the last ingredient and IMO not as strong as the styler or other products. However, I've been using LUS long enough to see them come out with fragrance-free versions of the shampoo, conditioner, and styler so I wouldn't be surprised if this gel performs well, to see a fragrance-free version launch in the future.

Who Makes LUS Brands?

Photo of Sahar Saidi, founder and CEO of LUS Brands. She has kinky-coily black curly hair that is about shoulderblade length. She is wearing a bright pink blazer and white blouse and is smiling at the camera.
Sahar Saidi, Founder and CEO of LUS Brands | Luv Ur Self

Sahar Saidi is a fellow curly girl. She bought her first haircare product at 15 years of age and at age 35 still hadn't found the right formula. She hated how maintaining her curls required so many products so in 2015 she began working on a solution. In 2017, she launched LUS B Rands and its 3-step system of shampoo, conditioner, and all-in-one styling product (one formula for wavy hair, one for curly, and one for kinky-coily).

LUS Brands is a small woman-owned brand in Canada that has been quite successful in a short time. With less than $100,000 in start-up capital, in its first year, LUS Brands earned $1.3 million in sales. In year two, Saidi grew the company by 750%. (source) Yet the brand hasn't sold to a bigger corporation or lost its original goals or vibe.

Using LUS Brands Gel on My Fine Curly Hair

Collage of pro photos of Joey Tempest of the band Europe, Kip Winger of the band Winger, and saxophonist Kenny G
One false move with the diffuser and I will have the hair of Joey Tempest, Kip Winger, or Kenny G.

Struggling with my curls this winter, I was psyched to try this gel. I knew from using other products in the past that gel would keep those curls better in dry weather, but often weighed them down so they looked more “Kenny G” than the softer, bigger ringlets I desire and know I can get in warmer months. I hoped it would give me the definition but not the weight or weirdness.

Alison with curly hair smiling at the camera. She is wearing a blue paisley silky blouse with a scarf neckline.
Day 1 hair using the LUS | Luv Ur Self Irish Sea Moss gel. This is the kind of curl I desire for my thin tresses and rarely can achieve in dry winter air.

I hadn't done my hair curly in a few weeks; I usually find it easy to get back into curly mode with LUS | Luv Ur Self, but I hadn't tried in winter since pre-pandemic. I crossed my fingers and in the morning washed and conditioned my hair with Luv Ur Curls products as usual.

  • I care for my hair first in a shower so I can leave in the conditioner as I care for the rest of myself. Then I rinse it out just before I get out.
  • I had the All-In-One Styler and Irish Sea Moss Gel next to the shower. While my hair was still sopping wet, I added one pump of the Styler (I have the liter bottles) to my hair. I finger combed it through, did some spiraling around fingers, a bit of scrunching.
  • I then added about a cherry-sized dollop of the Irish Sea Moss, and again finger combed it through and then sort of squish scrunched it in.
  • I put my hair up into a hair towel and got out of the shower and dried off, etc.
  • I took off the hair towel and gently brushed all my hair in the direction I wanted it to dry. I used a Denman brush. And then I scrunched up each section to help form the curls.
  • I let it air dry about 50%, and then dried the rest with this Hot Tools hair dryer with this Deva Curl diffuser. I just had the diffuser cup different sections.

I do not flip my head over when I diffuse my hair because it gets too big, and I try to move the hair as little as possible. I have sort of a shag haircut, and doing that can totally give me Dude in '80s Hair Metal Band with Curly Locks, or else it all falls apart and I am Kip Winger.

I rub some ends between my fingers to soften them. I prefer a “fluffy” curl over more defined ringlets as it makes my hair look fuller. And this is the result! It doesn't feel much different from just using the LUS Brands All-in-One Styler yet the curls are more defined AND they held up better through the cod, dry winter day.

You may also like: LUS Brands | Luv Ur Self Review for Fine Yet Curly Hair

Day 2 Curls with LUS Brands Irish Sea Moss Gel

One thing I truly struggle with my fine hair is achieving good looking Day 2 curls. Some days, it works. Most days, I wake looking like Kip Winger and need to either start over or at least rewet my entire head to revive the curls. I wanted to see if the LUS Brands Irish Sea Moss Gel would help me maintain curls into Day 2.

I've tried silk pillowcases, the brand's scarf, a satin-lined bonnet but what I find works best for maintaining my curls overnight and not having me overheat (perimenopause women over 40 you feel me) is this silk sleeping cap. I flip my head over, put the elastic near my nape and tuck in my hair. I tie the ties in a bow in the front of my head which helps keep the cap on even if I toss and turn at night. I don't get elastic marks on my forehead, my hair doesn't have so much room it can shift around and get frizzy but enough room that the cap isn't popping off my head. And it's comfortable.

If you have longer hair, you may desire a bonnet with more space. If you don't get overheated with satin, you can find plenty of satin and satin-lined bonnets for long hair. Silk seems to be all I can handle as I sleep hot, and this silk bonnet for long hair gets great reviews.

Alison looking at the camera with curly hair. She is wearing a tan and black graphic print cotton jumpsuit with gold hoops and a gold cuban link chain necklace.
Day 2 curls with the Irish Sea Moss gel

And I found with the LUS Brand Sea Moss gel, my Day 2 curls were more defined than usual without feeling sticky. For this day two look, after waking:

  • I folded a bandana into a triangle and put it on my head kerchief style, tied at the nape of my neck. I did a Peloton bootcamp and some other workouts and have a sweaty head. This will mop up a lot of the sweat but doesn't really affect the curls. When my hair was longer, I'd put it into two scrunched up buns near my nape with scrunchies so there weren't dents.
  • I took my shower without a shower cap, but not trying to get my hair wet. However the bit of splashing, the tips getting wet, and the humidity really helps reset my curls.
  • After my shower I rearranged my curls with my hand, and let airdry. Once I got to the office, I scrunched and rubbed ends to get this result.

Day 3 Curls with LUS Brands All-in-One Styler and Irish Sea Moss Gel

Alison is doing a camera selfie, looking at the camera. She has fluffy undefined curls and is wearing a cream neoprene sweatshirt and gold hoops.
I had nowhere to go today, so this is my Day 3 no effort hair with the 3-step system from LUS. Usually, by Day 3 I'd have limp hair but the curl maintained the volume!

And this is Day 3. I didn't work out in the morning so I didn't yet shower. I wore the silk bonnet last night. I brushed out my curls and then did a bit of scrunching and twirling of pieces around fingers to get the current result.

This is more weekend hair, but good enough that I can head out to run errands and look relatively put together. Since I have bangs and they can get a bit wonky by Day 3, I sometimes twist them up and clip them in place with two of these clips overlapping one another into an X. If later in the day I do want the hair to look more polished, I will spritz with water and take a tiny bit of the All-in-One styler and rub all over my hands and fingers. I'll then reshape with finger twists, and either use the diffuser on low or let it air dry.

collage of day 1 day 2 and day 3 curls with Lus Brands gel
A side by side comparison of days 1, 2, and 3 after using LUS Brands (Luv Ur Self) Irish Sea Moss Gel

I haven't yet tried more than three days using LUS gel as this is a relatively new product. But I do like that my hair, even on Day 3, doesn't feel heavy, greasy, or product-y. I'm intrigued by this new hair gel from LUS Brands and can't wait to play with it more. I'll be sure to keep you posted with results on my Instagram Stories and if my thoughts on this gel change, I will come back and update this LUS Brands | Luv Ur Self gel review with my honest thoughts.

Tips for Using the LUS Brands Irish Sea Moss Gel

If you're new to using LUS Brand's (Luv Ur Self) new gel for curly hair, I recommend starting with a small amount. This is unlike how I have used gel for curly hair in the past. For example, when I used to use Ouidad for my curls, I would take anywhere from 5 to 8 pumps of gels and slather my curls in it. Then when dry, I would “scrunch the crunch” and have the gel flake off and end up with the result I desired.

The Irish Sea Moss gel isn't the same kind of gel. It won't get hard and crunchy, you won't have to “scrunch the crunch.” Too much, and I think it could make hair feel a bit greasy or over-moisturized instead of defined. But LUS Brands products are specifically designed so you use a small amount. I'd say maybe a tablespoon of gel at the most for chin- to shoulder-length hair.

And this gel isn't created to be used alone. This product works best in conjunction with the all-in-one styler. I applied the gel after the styler, but I think they could also work well mixed together in your palm before applying.

Finally, as with the LUS Brands all-in-one, apply this gel on sopping wet hair. As I mentioned above, I keep both products right next to the shower so I don't even have to towel off to reach them and apply. I will use a hair towel or even a t-shirt AFTER applying, which may remove a touch of the product, but not enough to affect the results. When I have towel-dried my hair or even put it up in a t-shirt turban before applying product, the results are not as bouncy or defined.

Finally, play around! For many of us, we are working from home more often or interacting less with the public. No better time to try out new products and styling methods. And with it being cold out, if your test goes haywire, slip it all under a hat! Now when you see me on Instagram in a beret or beanie, you can guess I was test driving a new product or method and it didn't go well!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. When I was looking at your curly hair pictures, I had a thought. (Yeah, once in awhile I do.) I don’t think you look like her except with the hair, a little bit. But there is something about your presence, your bearing that seems very French, like Edith Piaf.

  2. I bought LUS when you first shared your review in 2020 and used it for a while when I also dove into my curly hair during quarantine. I’ve been using drugstore products and accepting ‘meh’ natural hair for months now, and just re-purchased the system with the gel to try it again. Low maintenance hair that looks good is the goal, especially as I will give birth in May and want to be able to air dry my hair with results that I like. Thanks for resharing!

  3. Thanks for the review. I’ve been using LUS for a couple of years now. I do use Curl Junkie’s Deep Fix once a week September through March to remedy winter dryness.

  4. I have switched to LUS after you introducing me to this line, and I am a HUGE fan now. I was wondering what your experience with the new gel has been! One thing that appeals to me about LUS is the simplicity (no more cabinet full of curly products) but I think this new gel could fit into my routine quite well.

  5. Super-helpful! Thanks to your inspiration and a couple of other friends’ comments, I decided to finally try to embrace my hair’s curl. (Mine’s fine and there is a ton of it, prone to frizz.) The timing was good this fall when I realized I still would largely be working from home and could do a bit of experimenting. The first results were … not promising. But have mostly stuck with it and really love them most days. I have a lot of products to work through first (bought Briogeo that was heavily discounted with a Sephora gift certificate over the Holidays). THIS line-up will be my next up for me. I’m still doing the CGM method of gross gel applied liberally when soaking wet for now.

    And so good to hear that MD humidity will help! I’ve fought it for decades and cannot wait to instead welcome it 🙂

  6. I switched to LUS in November and it works for my wavy hair. As a fellow Marylander, I feel you on the change with the humidity difference during the winter. I would love to try the gel, but I don’t need more of the other LUS products now and the shipping charge for a small order is too high. Maybe when I reorder, but that will be months from now. I am intrigued by your review.

  7. I am intrigued! Thanks for this extensive information. The Ouidad products–and a stylist who uses their method to cut my hair–have made a huge difference, but I am now seriously tempted to try LUS.

  8. I don’t have curly hair, but I found this fascinating. It just goes to show that the grass is always greener on the other side — I spent my entire childhood wishing for curly hair, yet I had no idea what went into caring for it. My thin, fine, straight hair requires nothing more than a wash and dry. Easy. Boring. Your hair is beautiful!

  9. Thanks for this! Very helpful. I have similar curls to yours, but thick hair. I have tried a lot of different curl products. I reached out to LUS a year ago and asked if they could send or sell me some samples before I invest in their products. They said NOPE. I was really turned off by a brand that promises a lot and is expensive but won’t bother to let potential customers get a sample. Really bad customer service. Your review intrigues me and I might try to buy something, but investing in all 4 products that may or may not work is a huge leap, so I’ll really mull it over. Again, thanks for the detailed information. As curly girls, we all need to help each other out. Right now, I’m using Aveda Be Curly line but I’m open to other options.

  10. Thanks for this Alison! I’m a total LUS convert. And while I’ve had great success with the all-in-one styler, I will be trying the gel. Some of my gray/white hairs get a little wiry and unruly. But I do love these products and appreciate your thoughts!

  11. Thanks, Alison, for this review. I first heard of LUS here and tried their products based on your review. I was really just beginning to embrace my curls and your experience was so helpful. There are sooooo many curly hair products out there! Thanks for another helpful post, I’ll probably try the gel when it’s time to re-order.

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