initially palm-rolled into damp dreads, i didn't notice it working until i was driving around the next day with the top down & the sun on my head. at that point, i realized the test dreads definitely felt tighter, but tight by way of the horizontal - meaning, hairs sticking together as length instead of shrinking up to cause tightness on the vertical, as it were. in other words: if you pick a point on a dread & pinch it, the gel makes them feel tight that direction instead of how knots feel tight. i find this completely unsatisfactory, because if the lock is being held together in this manner, it's not going to move & continue dreading. the question is if the gel eventually works like saltwater: if it causes the hair's cuticle to become ragged, which WILL cause individual hairs to knot more easily. that's a more long-term question than this review can answer.
however, for areas that won't stick together, like the tips, the gel has been fantastic. these areas you WANT to stay together on the horizontal instead of splaying out & possibly untangling (especially after showers). i've been quite happy with the extra hold on the tips.
the gel does seem to dry the hair a bit, but in much the same way that saltwater does. i haven't noticed any particular conditioning benefits of the aloe yet, but i've been doing a lot of palm-rolling at the tips & haven't had more noticeable breakage of strands, so i may yet be able to report a slight conditioning effect.
a plus: it does cause loose hairs to cling tighter to their relative dread & it washes out nicely, so a one-day (or until-the-next-shower time period, i suppose) tidying of dreads could be easily accomplished with a run-through of this gel without worrying about it flaking nasty & gooping up long-term. i noticed NO problem with flakes or gunk, even on the tip i went rather heavy on specifically for this purpose.
another plus: it smells fantastic, very clean & lime. no problem there.
so, yes, i've found the gel has positive uses, but they're not exactly as the label claims. (which is how most things work out, i suppose.) jaki, feel free to memories-ize this post for those in the future with interest in product.