Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly review: “I’ve been using this hair product for over 14 years for effortless wavy curls”

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Over the years, we come across lots of new beauty products, and some become integral parts of our routines. For senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem, that includes a 14-year relationship with a curling product.

Growing up, I had two beauty inspos that I constantly tried to copy: my older sisters. To me, they were (and still are) the cool ones that I wanted to be like – leading me to sneakily use their MAC foundation for school when they had already left for work and copying their choppy feathered, layered haircuts.

My favourite trend I learned from them? Scrunching my hair to get easy, wavy curls. Except, I could never get it just like them. My Garnier Fructus curling mousse gave me what I fondly remember as wet-look crunchy curls, which stuck together firmly while I played rounders and walked the school halls.

Then, around the age of 17, one of my sisters introduced me to Umberto Giannini’s Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly, £7.25 – and I’ve been in a solid relationship with it ever since.

The thing I love most about this curling jelly is the finish it gives. While the word ‘jelly’ might make it sound a bit questionable, the formula doesn’t leave hair crunchy or looking wet. Instead, it gives my hair a nice shine and I can brush through it with ease, if I need to.

After letting my hair sit in a towel for a bit, I take some product in my hands and rub them together. Then, I tip my head upside down and scrunch the jelly in upwards motions, focusing on the ends.

Once it’s evenly dispensed, I roughly blow dry while still scrunching upwards with my free hand and then, the key to the whole look: a bun.

I twist my hair into a loose, messy top knot and I think this is what really allows the jelly to set my hair into the wavy curls I love. When I take the bun out (leave it for 30 minutes at least, if not overnight), I have defined curls and the formula doesn’t weigh them down either.

For the last 14 years, I have gotten through countless bottles of the stuff and it has been an important part of many life moments. I remember reaching for it every morning before dragging myself to sixth form, the day I got my A-level results and in preparation for one of the most exciting high school calendar events: prom. My hair has always been somewhat of a security blanket for me over the years and so knowing this bottle could give me the same messy curls and volume that I could swish around every time I used it was important.

Umberto Gianni Curl Jelly
Hanna aged 18, 22 and 30 with her hair styled with Umberto Giannini’s Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly.

Even when I went to university, wavy curls were my go-to hair look and so I used this jelly almost every day (only broken by sporadic urges to straighten my hair). From nervously applying it in my student accommodation before a night out during Fresher’s Week to scrunching it into my hair the morning of my postgraduate graduation day (and many lectures and nights out in between), I always relied on it.

Umberto Gianni Curl Jelly review
Hanna at university, with a pink bottle of Umberto Gianni's Curl Jelly always within reaching distance.

I continued using it even as I finished full-time education and entered my working years aged 24. It’s come on every single holiday, saved me on work days where I’ve snoozed for too long and helped me look more ‘done’ while attending industry events.

While I have finally managed to master the technique of a curling wand and still enjoy straightening my hair from time to time, this curling jelly remains a firm favourite for giving my curls structure and definition without much effort.

And, while I’ll continue to discover and love new hair products, I don’t think I’ll ever fully stop reaching for this trusty pink bottle.

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Images: Hanna Ibraheem/courtesy of brand

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