Mousse vs Gel for Curly Hair: Which Is Better?

An image of gel and mousse in their containers

Mousse vs Gel for Curly Hair: Which Is Better?


If you have naturally curly hair, you know how tough it can be to find products that genuinely suit your unique texture. The correct products can help you achieve your dream curls, while the wrong ones might leave your hair dry and frizzy. That's why it's critical to choose products that are gentle on your locks. In this article, we'll focus on mousse and gel for curly hair, offering valuable insights to help you make the best choices for your hair care regimen. Let's get into it.


mousse vs gel difference


What Is Hair Gel?


Lady with curly hair putting her hand into a plastic container to get some green olive oil gel to use

Credit: Naturally Curly


Hair Gel is a firm, sticky hair styling product that hardens a few minutes after application to the hair. It works best on thicker, coarser hair and can be used on wet or dry hair.


Pros of Hair Gel


Lady with curly hair in her face pouting her lips to kiss you

Credit: iStock


  • Hair gels are a multi-purpose product that may be used for scrunching, finger coils, adding curl definition, and styling hair.
  • It prevents frizzy curls and seals in flyaways, making it great for 'fluffy curls'. It's also strong enough to control thick, dense hair.
  • It also layers nicely, which is fantastic for locking in moisture from a leave-in conditioner or oil and keeping your curls looking wonderful for longer.


Cons of Hair Gel


Lady with curly hair looking out the side of her face at her hair

Credit: Love Curly Hair


  • Hair gel can be quite thick and heavy, which isn't great for looser curls, long hair, and waves that easily become oily. However, there are some excellent lightweight choices available that aren't overly sticky and wet-looking.
  • Before purchasing a gel, make sure to read the components. Some curly hair styling products contain alcohol or synthetic, petroleum-based chemicals that may provide excellent grip but can strip and damage the hair. If at all feasible, choose natural ingredients.
  • The most well-known disadvantage of gel is that it can make your curls sticky or crunchy. Drugstore gels will dry your hair to the point where it feels rock-solid to the touch. 

Gel for Curly Hair: How to Use It


Lady with damp curly hair wearing a white shirt pouring some gel into her hand to use

Credit: Ouidad


1) Begin With Damp Hair


Spray your hair with water from a spray bottle if you're working with dry hair. If your hair dries rapidly, you may want to do this in portions so that you don't miss a piece. Hair gel works best on wet hair.


2) Put Your Leave-In to the Test


It's critical to ensure that various moisturizing and styling treatments will "play nicely" together before applying them to your hair. How do you know? Mix your leave-in conditioner and the gel you intend to use in the palm of your hand. These products work nicely if they are blended evenly and smoothly. You need to change the combination if little white balls appear.


3) Distribute Evenly


It's vital to distribute your style product evenly throughout your hair to avoid having certain curls that feel crunchy from the gel and others that are frizzy and lack definition.


4) Remove the Crunch by Squeezing It Out


If you went a little too heavy-handed with your gel application, you can end up with a hard cast after your hair dries. To avoid this, simply apply a small amount of oil to your fingers like a mild Vitamin E oil and gently "scrunch out the crunch."


The Best Hair Gels for Curly Hair


Now that you know the pros and cons of using hair gel for curly hair, here are the best hair gels that are currently available in the market:


1) All About Curls High-Definition Gel


all about curls high definition gel


If you’re looking to define your curls without the dreaded frizz, All About Curls High-Definition Gel is a game-changer. This exceptional styling gel not only provides a strong hold but also locks in moisture, giving your curls a healthy shine. It's a great product for a wide range of curl types, from 2a wavy to 4c coily. The best part? It's completely free of alcohol, sulfates, parabens, and silicones, ensuring your curls are cared for with the utmost consideration.

2) Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly


curl smith hydra flexi gel


Curlsmith's Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly is a lightweight liquid gel that packs a punch in the hold department while remaining gentle on your curls. Crafted to define and enhance your curls and waves, this gel won't weigh them down or cause unsightly buildup on your scalp. If you're all about conscious choices, you’ll be pleased to hear that this product is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.


3) Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel


mielle styling gel


For a touch of nature's goodness, turn to Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel. This woman-owned brand brings you a gel that not only enhances your curls but also encourages healthier, stronger hair. Packed with nourishing ingredients like honey, ginger, aloe extract, and babassu oil, it nurtures your hair while avoiding product buildup and harmful chemicals. Suitable for Types 3A to 4C natural hair, as well as various porosity levels, this gel is a versatile option for curl enthusiasts.


4) Maui Moisture Frizz Free + Shea Butter Elongating Gel


maui moisture elongating gel


If you’re looking to pamper your curls with a gel that truly works for all hair types, consider using the Maui Moisture Frizz Free + Shea Butter Gel. Enriched with the goodness of 100% aloe vera, shea butter, and macadamia oil, this gel not only elongates and defines your curls but also effectively tames frizz. What's more, it's free from drying alcohols, sulfates, parabens, and silicones, making it a safe choice.


What Is Hair Mousse?


3 different bottles o hair mouse with some of the contents in the middle

Credit: Naturally Curly


Hair mousse is largely neglected, despite the fact that it could be one of your most effective styling tools. Mousse, which is French for "foam," is thinner than gels and has a bouncy feel to it than creams. It can give your hair twice, if not three times as much volume. Mousse is ideal for a natural hair look.


Pros of Hair Mousse


A lady trying to brush her hair with a wide-toothed comb from the back of her head to the front



  • Mousse is great for creating volume without weighing down your hair, but it may lack hold and definition, so you'll need to use a cream or gel to 'lock in' your curls.
  • Those with loose waves and curls will appreciate how mousse gives their hair extra bounce without leaving a residue or crisping up their waves and curls.
  • If you have fine hair with curly or wavy hair in the 2a/2b/2c/3a range, mousse is a fantastic choice.


Cons of Hair Mousse


A lady with a pink top on showing her blonde curls that looks a little frizzy

Credit: islandpicnic


  • For those curly girls with short hair who want more control, mousse's light hold may not be suitable. It will give you some lift and volume, but unlike gel or other styling tools like sprays, it won't last very long.
  • For fine hair, it can be drying, and for frizz-prone persons, it may not produce a firm cellular barrier.
  • Unless you can find a product that's specifically intended for humid environments, it won't hold up well if you're dealing with 60 percent humidity or more on a regular basis. It's not the best for frizz control.



Mousse for Curly Hair: How to Use It


A lady holding some mousse towards her brown curly hair so she can rub in her hair

Credit: StyleCheer


1) Squeeze Any Extra Water Out


Flip your head over and squeeze any extra water out of your hair strands after washing them. To dry your hair, gently pat it with a cotton T-shirt. When used to dry wet hair, the T-shirt will be softer than a standard towel, which may cause hair breaking.


2) Using Your Fingers To Apply Hair Mousse


When it comes to hair mousse, remember that little is more - you don't need a lot to achieve the desired effects. Using your fingers, work around an egg-sized amount of product through damp hair, concentrating the product on your roots.


3) Ensure You're Using The Right Blow Dryer


If you want to keep your curls defined, use a diffuser, which distributes air across a greater region of hair and prevents your strands from straightening. This will also help to tame frizz.

 Infographic showing how to use gel and mousse on curly hair


The Best Hair Mousses for Curly Hair


On the hunt for the ultimate curly hair mousse? Look no further. We've compiled a list of top-rated products that are guaranteed to cater to a diverse range of curl types:


1) Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse


design essential mousse


At the top of our list is the Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse. Infused with the nourishing benefits of natural almonds and avocados, this product is versatile and suitable for all curl types. Its quick-drying properties ensure quick drying time with zero flaking. Beyond the convenience, this mousse is also great for enhancing curl definition and overall hair health, leaving you with soft and manageable curls that last longer.


2) SheaMoisture Curl Mousse


sheamoisture mousse


SheaMoisture's Coconut and Hibiscus-infused Curl Mousse is a curly hair essential. Harnessing the power of all-natural, curly-friendly ingredients, including shea butter, it promises to bring out the beauty and bounce of your curls. Additionally, this product enhances your curls' natural memory and wave patterns while ensuring a clean finish without any leftover residue. 


3) Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse


moroccan oil mousse


A trusted name in the curly hair community, Moroccanoil continues to shine with its Curl Control Mousse. Enriched with natural ingredients, this lightweight foam takes curl care to the next level. It locks in moisture, tames unruly curls, and combats frizz effectively. With the signature Moroccanoil fragrance, this product is the perfect option if you’re looking to achieve a medium hold for your styling needs.


4) Mielle Organics Curly Cocktail Curl Mousse


mielle organics mousse


When dry and damaged curls need a boost of hydration, Mielle Organics Curly Cocktail Curl Mousse comes to the rescue. Suitable for Types 3A to 4C natural hair, this mousse is a hydrating dream. Infused with nourishing Pure Babassu Oil, it's designed to restore vitality to your curls. The lotion-style application makes it a breeze to apply, ensuring your curls get the pampering they deserve.




So who wins in the mousse vs gel debate? It all depends on your hair type, natural curl pattern, and what you want to achieve. Both have good points and bad points. The best way is to experiment with both of them and see which one you like better. Also, keep in mind that you can use your hair gel and mousse together for the best curly girl method!


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