These Wet-Look Hairstyles Will Make You Rethink Your Gel Phobia

Updated 04/15/19

When it comes to party-appropriate hair, the wet-look finish is something that rears its glossy head year after year. But have we actually bitten the proverbial bullet? Have we dunked our hands into pots of slimy hair gel and offered our hair up to the wet-look gods? No, of course we haven't because we. Are. Wimps.

But we can't just hang this phobia on a fear of gunky gel (and the rock-solid fallout, too), because unless you have super-long, super-straight hair, attempting wet look hair can be treacherous territory. Will you end up looking like some chic secret agent from spy film, or will you end up looking like a disheveled mess, blown in from a rainstorm? It's a hair roulette that we just haven't had the guts to spin. Well, not yet.

As scrupulous research into celebrity sightings of wet-look hair show, the style doesn't just work, but it looks pretty incredible on all sorts of hair textures, types and lengths. Let us present the evidence that proves it—keep scrolling to see seven wet-look hairstyles that will have you desperate to dunk your head into a vat of hair gel.


Wet look hairstyles: Bella Hadid wet-look hair 2017
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff via Getty Images

Bella Hadid

Trust us, you're going to start seeing sharp flicked ends everywhere, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon early. Here, Bella's hair, with its wet-look roots and ear-tuckery might have all the signs of a '90s throwback, but thanks to the tight silhouette and disciplined fly-aways, it feels really modern.

Wet look hairstyles: Rihanna
Jerritt Clark via Getty Images


Being naturally drier than straight hair, curly and textured hair is lucky in that the wet-look adds definition to curls and never makes hair look greasy. Try using a deep-conditioning mask like Shea Moisture Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque (£13) instead of gel, as it will add weight as well as shine.

Wet look hairstyles: Hailey Baldwin wet look hair
Venturelli via Getty Images

Hailey Baldwin

Who knew post-gym hair could look so chic? This wet-look hairstyle is the sort of thing that would look good on all hair textures. First, rake handfuls of styling lotion like Bumble and Bumble Bb. Styling Creme (£21) and hair gel (we find Aveda's Confixor Liquid Gel, £17, isn't as sticky as most) into wet hair before twisting into a tight bun at the crown.

Wet look hairstyles: Yara Shahidi wet look hair 2017
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

Yara Shahidi

It's much trickier to get the wet-look to last on afro hair, as it's far more porous than straight hair, so opt for coconut oil instead. Not only will it give hair a glossy, drenched sheen like Yara Shahidi's, but it will nourish hair while you wear it. Handy. 

Wet look hairstyles: Sofa Richie
David M Benett via Getty Images

Sofia Richie

If you like the idea of wet-look hair but don't fancy sweeping all the hair away from the face, try Sofia Richie's half-up half-down iteration. To stop the lengths from going crunchy, use handfuls of hair oil instead. Ouai Hair Oil (£24) contains a mixture of oils from far-flung realms like African Galanga, Ama and Asian Borage oils, which are all great at inducing glossy shine in hair.

Wet look hairstyles: Millie Bobby Brown
J. Merritt via Getty Images

Millie Bobby Brown

Even short hair like Millie Bobby Brown's looks chic when slicked back. We would recommend, however, keeping a little bit of a parting to soften the overall effect. 

Wet look hairstyles: Selena Gomez
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

Selena Gomez

On the scale of saturation, Selena's hair is more damp than drenched, but this can be a good way to ease yourself into the style. Curly hair works really well for this look too, but if you have straight hair, add a little texture by tonging sections and brushing it out. Then, rub together a 50p-sized blob of hair gel and a pump of hair oil—the oil stops the gel from going crispy—between the palms before patting onto the top of the hair and pulling through the lengths.

Up next, if you thought bronzer was just for your cheeks, you'd be wrong. Your hair is about to get that sun-kissed treatment, too.

Related Stories