The definitive guide to mousse and gel, explained

written by Christina

Published on Jan 26, 2022

Mousse vs gel?

This is the question that most of us in the curly hair community ask. With so many products that seem to have the same effect, like mousse and gel, which one should you use? There is a common misconception that these 2 products are the same. These are totally different products but both aim into making the hair more manageable and both can enhance the style of your hair. What is mousse and what is a hair gel

A mousse is an airy and foamy substance that is usually dispensed from a spray can. It has a light and airy consistency and works best for sculpting the hair and adding volume to the curls. Because it is lightweight, those with fine hair can benefit from this product. Although mousse can volumize your hair, it will not hold your hairstyle for a long period of time. 

A hair gel is another hair care product that can be used for a more defined styling for a longer period of time. It is a clear substance that mostly comes in a tub. If you have thicker hair and frizzy hair, hair gel is for you. Gel when applied to the hair makes the hair look shiny. It can sometimes also make the hair look stiff especially if applied too much.

How to choose a mousse for curly hair? Things to keep in mind when choosing a mousse

With so many different mousses in the market, which one should you choose? First, you need to know your hair type and your curl type. Some hair mousse works best for wavy hair and not for curly hair. If you have fine hair, go for a mousse that will not weigh your hair down and make it feel heavy. If you have thicker hair and want to add more volume, choose a mousse with a thicker consistency.

How to choose a gel for curly hair? Things to keep in mind when choosing a gel

Similarly, when choosing a hair gel, you need to know your hair type and curl type. Also, depending on your hairstyle and activity, you can choose between a stronghold, medium hold or light hold gel. For thicker and coarser hair, a hair gel can give you a better hold compared to a mousse when styling your hair. Be careful when buying cheaper hair gel. Cheaper gel tends to flake and make the hair look stiff and crunchy.

Mousse for curly hair

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SheaMoisture Curl Mousse

Enhance your natural curls and wave pattern with this moisture-rich hair mousse. Enriched with coconut oil that hydrates and protects the hair, silk protein that smoothens the hair and neem oil that controls frizz and makes hair shiny. 

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If you have thick curly hair and you don’t want the holding power of hair gel, use this curl-enhancing mousse. Another good thing about this product is that it hydrates and moisturizes the curls so you don’t have to worry about frizz.

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OGX Locking Coconut Curls Decadent Creamy Mousse

Part foam, part cream, this creamy hair mousse hydrates the hair while keeping the curls in place. It is infused with coconut oil and shea butter that enhance the curls and prevent frizz.

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Another quality product from the curl specialist OGX. This time a creamy mousse. It has a cream consistency but is lighter. The cream makes the curls more defined while the foam keeps the hair from falling flat.

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EDEN Bodyworks Citrus Fusion Styling Mousse

Give volume and shine to your hair without leaving flakes and crunch with this nourishing mousse. It provides a light hold that makes the hair look natural and full of life. It contains Acai, Jojoba oil and honey that replenish the hair’s lost nutrients.

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When I want natural-looking curls, I use this mousse. It provides control to my curls without making them look stiff. Plus it has a citrusy smell that lingers in the hair for long hours.

Gel for curly hair

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Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel

Style your hair with this citrus lavender styling gel and get frizz-free hair the whole day. It provides an all-day hold that keeps your curls fabulous the whole day. No crunching. No flaking.

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“You have the right to remain curly!” and you do it without frizz and flaking. If you plan to go for long hours outdoor, I suggest you style your curls with this long-hold styling gel.

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Buocleme Curl Defining Gel

Define your curls with the ultimate plant-powered gel. It contains Linseed extract, Virgin Coconut oil, Argan oil, Marula oil and pomegranate – plant power in one bottle. The serum-like consistency of this product makes it easy to apply, leaving no flakes and heavy product build-up.

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This is one of my highly recommended hair gels. After trying one too many hair gels, I finally settled with this one. The best thing that I like about this product is that does not think like other regular gel. It has a consistency of a serum that makes me feel like I am not putting a ton of products to hold my hair.

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Cantu Shea butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel

Keep your frizz in check and your hair moisturized with this styling hair gel. Made from pure shea butter that provides a strong hold while keeping the hair shiny and smooth. Works best for twists and braids.

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This product is a staple when doing braids and twists. You cannot go to a braiding salon without seeing this product. 

Which one is the best for you and why?

There is no correct answer to this question. Mousse and gel have different functions that whatever is your hair type, you can use either. If you want a soft hold and natural-looking curls, then you go for a styling mousse. But if you want to keep your curls or your hairstyle for a long period of time, you definitely need a hair gel. The best product to use is the product that will serve the purpose.





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