Tips for choosing between mousse or gel when your curls need some extra oomph.
Whether it’s windy, rainy or sunny, sometimes your hair just needs that extra bit of oomph. The go-to styling products for curlies usually involve mousse or gel for curly hair. But these days, there are so many different styling products, it’s difficult to distinguish which one is best for your hair. Luckily, if you have type 3 hair, we have some answers to that hard-hitting debate: mousse vs. gel.
First Things First
What is Mousse? What is Gel? REALLY...
The first question people ask is how to define both mousse and gel. This one is a bit tricky because there isn’t always a distinguishable difference these days. Many products cross the line between mousse and gel, some even calling themselves one when they mean the other. But there are some basic differences.
MousseMousse generally comes in a bottle or spray can and is usually opaque. It’s used in small quantities on wet or dry hair. This product is used more for lighter sculpting technique and for additional volume, a pro to the mousse versus gel debate. If you have to change your hair a couple times in one day, mousse can be used and reused due to its light density.
The downside to mousse is no matter how great it is for sculpting volume, it’s so light and porous as a product that it doesn’t have as much hold as gel by far. Sure, your hair looks great and naturally falls just right with proper mousse etiquette, but if you’re out on a windy day, running after children, or doing any extraneous activity, mousse may not have the hold you need.
What about using gel for curly hair? When people think of gel, they usually think of bottles or jars filled with a clear substance. Again, like mousse, it does not take a lot of gel on wet or dry hair. It not only helps settle hair, frizz and flyaways, but it is perfect for thicker hair. And even though it helps define curls when applied to damp hair like mousse, it does last longer. Gel is heavier and therefore great for running around for hours on end.
Even though using gel for curly har is a great option, it does have its drawbacks. Hair gel is heavier than mousse and tends to weigh down hair. Gel, especially cheaper gels, flake a lot more than mousse. It also has higher density and lower porosity which is great for all-day wear, but if you don’t want your hair looking wet, sleek, and greasy, mousse might be a better option.
Best Bet for Type 3 Curls
Most people prefer either mousse or gel for curly hair, not both. Your decision should be based on the thickness of your hair more than the type of curl. It's the technique or application of the product when it comes to mousse versus gel that makes a difference.
When it comes to thin or type 3a hair, mousse may be a better option. It’s light weight and can give your hair the extra sculpting ability it needs to either become wavy or curly. Gel may not be as good of an option in this case because it will weigh down hair, making it more difficult to define curls for thin or type 3a hair.
The thicker the hair, as well as type 3b and 3c hair, the more weight the hair can handle. Gel’s density has much less effect on thicker hair, and it wins out for its ability to hold hair in place longer. Furthermore, 3b and 3c hair is more likely to frizz than type 3a hair and, gel holds more frizz and flyaway hair than mousse.
The Happy Medium
With any hair product, it is all about the balance. For gel as well as mousse, your choice is based on preference as much as it is on what either product has to offer. Yes, it is true that mousse is better for sculpting and volume while gel is better for hold and frizz. But when it comes down to using mousse or gel for curly hair, neither is good option if you glob it on your hair.
If you need that all-day hold, you only need a quarter-size worth of gel on wet hair and comb it through. If you want springy locks in spite of the thinness of your hair, try a dab of mousse which you can either scrunch or work through. Either way, there’s room for both products on your bathroom counter.
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