Home Hair Mousse Vs. Gel For Curly Hair

Mousse Vs. Gel For Curly Hair

by Gabbi

Discovering the right products for curly hair can take time, patience, and experimentation. Curls are a unique hair texture that often require additional attention and care to ensure they are looking their best.

While all hair needs are different, curly hair care is specific to each individual’s curl pattern, hair type, and texture in order to achieve the desired results.

One debate that is often seen in determining the best products for curly locks is between hair mousse and hair gel. Both create beautiful curls and have their own specific benefits for what they provide in the hair. Yet figuring out which of these two products works best for your curls can be tricky. 

So, which is better for curly hair: mousse or gel? Depending on your hair texture and curl pattern, mousse and gel will perform differently in your hair type. Looser curls and hair that needs added volume can benefit from incorporating mousse into your routine, while hair that is thicker or more densely curled can see the best results from styling hair with a gel.

Below, we discuss the ins and outs of hair mousse and gel, to help you determine which is the best formula for you and your curls!

What Is Hair Mousse?

Hair mousse is a soft, foamy texture that comes in a bottle that can be used on wet or dry hair. It provides a light hold on the hair throughout the day, and can be a versatile styling product due to its soft and malleable texture. Mousse as a texture is very airy, and translates that feeling into the hair as well.

When mousse is applied to hair, whether it be wet or dry, it provides a lightweight feel and adds bouncy volume to the strands.

For a helpful tutorial on styling curly hair with mousse, take a look at this video from Curly Tay on YouTube.

Hair Mousse Pros

One of the biggest pros for using hair mousse is its weightless feel. Especially when used with curly hair, the texture will not weigh down the curls. It provides a lightweight texture to the hair that is easy to use.

If you like to change up your style throughout the day, mousse is an ideal product because the soft texture allows for the hair to be easily changed.

The weightless texture focuses on adding volume to the hair, so the curls are full of body and movement. Mousse can be used on many different hair textures but is ideal for thin or fine hair that needs an extra boost of volume.

Hair Mousse Cons

While hair mousse does have many pros, it also has its share of cons. Although its lightweight texture is a benefit, it can also mean that it creates a looser, softer curl due to its foamy, airy nature. If you are looking for tighter or more defined curls, mousse will not be the best option for creating them.

While mousse as a texture is lightweight, it also often contains alcohol as an ingredient which can be drying on the hair. Mousse does not often provide additional moisture to the hair, and curly hair in general often requires additional hydration.

If mousse is your curl styling product of choice, you may also need to follow up with hydrating serums to ensure your curls are receiving the adequate amount of moisture they need.

Through its lightweight nature, hair mousse can also have difficulty maintaining curls through high humidity. Mousse forms looser, softer curls, and the humid climates can cause frizz or for the curls to loose their shape. Depending on your curl type, mousse may not provide enough hold for your texture.

What Is Hair Gel?

Hair gel is a thick, sticky substance that is available in a tube or jar that can also be used on wet or dry hair for a variety of styling options.

Gel has a strong hold that is able to withstand various environmental elements, styling options, and hair types. The sticky substance can feel thicker in the hair and can maintain the hair’s look throughout the day.

Gel’s strong hold is able to control frizz and define curls, especially those that are tighter curled or have thicker texture.

Here’s a helpful tutorial for applying curly hair gels from Luisa Louis on YouTube.

Hair Gel Pros

While hair gel is a versatile product that has many pros, one of the biggest is its strong hold that is able to control frizz, even in humid climates.

The products is able to achieve many styles and will keep them in place throughout the day. Although gel is a thicker, stronger product, it can also work well with other styling products and tools to add more definition to the hair.

Hair gel is able to work in a variety of hair types and textures, often for different reasons. However, when it comes to curly hair, gel works best in hair that is thicker or coarser, as well as with curls that are denser or more tightly coiled. Gel can easily, and evenly, define the curls to keep them styled and in place all day.

Hair Gel Cons

With its thicker, stickier nature, hair gel can sometimes be heavy in the hair, and weigh it down. If it is used for curls that are not the right texture, it can cause the curls to stretch out due to the added weight. Especially if hair is thin or fine, a gel product can be too harsh for the lighter curls.

It is important to mindful of the amount of gel you are applying to your curls, as too much product can make the hair look and feel stiff or crunchy. If there is too much gel applied in the hair, it can also start to flake in the hair.

Much like hair mousse, depending on the ingredients, gel can also sometimes be drying for the hair.

What Is The Difference Between Hair Mousse And Hair Gel?

Although hair mousse and gel are two of the most popular styling products to use for curly hair, there are different in their performance and the looks they achieve.

Mousse can make curls look softer and looser, while gel can make curls look more coiled and defined. Gel works best with thicker hair textures, while mousse works best on thinner hair.

Along with the difference in texture, mousse is more lightweight and is easily able to provide volume and body to your curls.

Gel, on the other hand, is thicker and can provide the needed weight for dense curls to help create their shape. The light texture of mousse allows the product to be easily styled to different looks, while gel will hold the desired style in place throughout the day.

Gel will also have a stronger hold on the hair which will protect and control frizz, especially in humid environments, rather than the soft hold that is provided from mousse.

Best Methods for Applying Hair Mousse

Mousse is a versatile product that can be applied to wet or dry hair. When it is used in curly hair, it is ideal to apply the product to wet or damp hair, to begin the styling process.

The best way to apply mousse is to scrunch the product into damp hair. Prior to adding the mousse, it is best if you use an old t-shirt to absorb any excess water from the hair, by scrunch the material through the hair in sections. Follow the scrunching motion through sections of the hair with mousse to form the curls.

As mousse can be drying on the hair, it is best if it is also paired with other hydrating products to ensure the hair is receiving proper moisture.

Best Methods For Applying Hair Gel

Gel can also be applied to wet or dry hair, depending on the styling choice. When styling the hair to enhance your curls, if you have a thicker hair texture, you can comb the gel through wet hair to evenly disperse the product.

To achieve the best definition with your curls, you can use the gel by twisting sections of your hair into curls to evenly define the pattern.

Gel can also be used with other hair care products and works best if it is used after lighter styling products like creams or lotions to provide a stronger hold. It is best to use as the final step after using any other styling products. Be mindful not to use too much gel, to avoid any potential flakiness or stiffness.

How To Choose If Mousse or Gel Is Right For You

Ultimately, choosing between hair mousse or gel depends on your hair texture and curl type. Both can be used for different reasons and to achieve different results. They offer different styling options and choices to those with curly textures that want to define or add volume to their styles.

If you are looking for a lighter, softer hold, the airy texture of the mousse is best, especially if you have fine hair. If you are looking for a longer, stronger hold, gel would be the better choice. 

Mousse works best for hair that has a loose curl or wave texture already, as it can help enhance that curl pattern. It is also ideal if you are looking to add volume and body to your curls.

Gel works best on thicker hair, or hair that has tighter curls naturally.  It works well to define and hold the curls, to last throughout the day.


Overall, hair mousse and hair gel both provide beautiful results to curly hair. Depending on your hair texture and curl pattern, as well as how you want your curls to look overall, will determine if mousse or gel is the right styling choice for you.

However, if you want the lightweight volume of a mousse, but the stronger hold of a gel, combining both products can help you achieve the best of both worlds for your curls!

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