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.
- Keeps static and humidity at bay
- Provides definition and long-lasting hold for all hair types
- Seals hair, scrunches waves and curls or fixes ringlets in place
- Layers well with hair creams and oils for added hydration
- Keeps any hairstyle in place
- Gels with harsh chemicals can damage hair
- The wrong gel could leave your hair looking and feeling flat
- Can make hair stiff if used incorrectly
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.
- Versatile and works well with different hair lengths
- Works best on fine, wet hair
- Won’t weigh your hair down
- Adds bounce to curly and wavy hair without the crispiness
- Increases volume while taming unwanted frizz
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.
If you’re looking for ultra-HD definition without crispiness, follow these steps for styling your hair with gel:
- Wash and condition your hair, then add a styling cream while it’s still soaking wet
- Use a microfiber, muslin or cotton towel to remove excess water
- Apply a quarter-size dab of gel to your palm and rub your hands together
- Use an open palm instead of your fingers to slather it over the hair’s surface
- Either air-dry or blow-dry your hair — this step is crucial
- 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:
- Use your favorite shampoo and conditioner
- Gently wring out your hair using a muslin, microfiber or cotton towel
- Work an egg-sized amount of mousse through your damp hair with your fingers from the root upward
- 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:
- Gel works great as a layered product, so protect your hair with a nourishing oil or hair cream before applying it
- Allow your hair to dry completely before scrunching out the crunch
- Opt for a gel with the best ingredients and without sulfates, parabens, GMOs, phthalates or alcohol
Mousse Styling Tips
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of styling your hair using mousse:
- Always use it on damp as opposed to wet hair to prevent watering it down
- Consider combing mousse through your hair before using your fingers for extra definition
- Avoid using oils or creams before applying mousse as it might prevent them from working
- Use mousse to curl straight ends in braids and roller sets
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