What’s the Difference Between Styling Gel vs. Mousse?

There are seemingly endless hair care products on the market, whether your hair is curly, coily, wavy, corkscrew, fine, straight or anywhere in-between. Knowing what and when to use each one can feel like trying to learn the periodic table or master computer programming.

Thankfully, the pros at Prose are here to answer your burning questions. In this article, you’ll learn the difference between gel vs. mousse. Plus, discover advice on when to use each one, how to use them and some handy styling tips to give you irresistibly gorgeous hair for any occasion. 

Table of Contents

    What Is Styling Gel?

    Styling gel is used to hold your hairstyle in place, and it has a jelly-like feel that comes in a jar or squeezable tube. It can be clear or colorful and includes active particles dissolved in a colloidal liquid substance. Its thick consistency spreads easily over hair but quickly dries with air or sun exposure.

    In the past, styling gels were made with a lot of harsh chemicals but now many use natural elements to boost hair and scalp health. Gel is traditionally strong enough to hold a Mohawk — but it works well with most hairstyles and hair types, adding definition and bounce to textured, curly, wavy or relaxed hair. People with flyaways can achieve well-defined ringlets or poker straight styles with some help from a high-quality hair gel. 



    What Is Mousse?

    Mousse, also known as styling foam, usually comes in a pressurized aerosol can. It often contains alcohol (or compounds that mimic alcohol) and active ingredients mixed with water.

    The whipped cream-like can dispenses a dollop of product that keeps hair in place while adding body. The sculpting effect is relatively light, meaning you can apply and reapply it throughout the day. However, if you want a firm hold that lasts throughout the day, it might not deliver that long-lasting sculpt you desire. 



    When To Use Styling Gel vs. Mousse

    If you’re looking to add dimension and frizz-control to wavy, curly, coily or straight hair, styling gel can be a go-to product. For updos without flyaways, static or unwanted reactions to humidity, it’s your best friend. Likewise, it can give short hairstyles, waves and curls precise definition.

    On the other hand, gel can be too heavy for some hair types, especially fine hair. Mousse is great for adding bounce and volume to fine hair or holding waves or curls in straight hair. Applying mousse to damp curly or wavy hair can provide shape and definition.   

    How To Use Styling Gel and Mousse

    Whether you use gel vs. mousse depends on your personal preference, but both require the correct method. Randomly slathering on either product won’t give you the desired results. Let’s look at how to use both for maximum gorgeousness.

    Styling Gel 

    If you’re looking for ultra-HD definition without crispiness, follow these steps for styling your hair with gel:

    1. Wash and condition your hair, then add a styling cream while it’s still soaking wet
    2. Use a microfiber, muslin or cotton towel to remove excess water
    3. Apply a quarter-size dab of gel to your palm and rub your hands together 
    4. Use an open palm instead of your fingers to slather it over the hair’s surface
    5. Either air-dry or blow-dry your hair — this step is crucial
    6. Use a soft towel, your fingers, or a diffuser on low speed and medium heat to release the gel’s cast 


    If you don’t like using heat on your hair, mousse can help it stay bouncy, full and flyaway-free. Let’s look at how to use hair mousse:

    1. Use your favorite shampoo and conditioner
    2. Gently wring out your hair using a muslin, microfiber or cotton towel
    3. Work an egg-sized amount of mousse through your damp hair with your fingers from the root upward
    4. Either blow dry your hair for extra volume or sit back and let the mousse work its magic 

    Gel Styling Tips

    Let’s look at some tips to help you get the most out of using styling gel to get perfect tresses:

    Mousse Styling Tips

    Here are some tips to help you get the most out of styling your hair using mousse:

    Why Prose Custom Styling Gel?

    Prose’s custom Styling Gel is the perfect solution if you’re looking for a long-lasting, high-definition style that goes the full distance. Nourishing ingredients form a protective layer around your follicle, locking in moisture and securing any layered product you use underneath. Take our hair consultation to get customized haircare recommendations based on your specific hair type and goals. 

    ONLY GOOD HAIR DAYS—Think of us as your partner in haircare. Start with our innovative consultation.GET YOUR FORMULA