Hair Product Battle: Gel Vs. Mousse


All hair styling products perform certain functions to keep hair in place and aid in personal grooming. However, each one is formulated to do specific things. Two of the most popular hair styling products are hair gel and mousse. Although one can sometimes be substituted for the other, it is a good idea to understand how each one works in order to maximize results.

Gel or Mousse – the Breakdown

For those looking to pursue a career as a hair stylist, understanding the basic purpose of a gel and a mousse are essential. Here is a comparative look:

What is Hair Gel?

Hair gel is the clear or colored jelly-like material which consists of particles dispersed in a colloidal liquid substance. It has a thick consistency when still in the container but can be spread easily onto the hair. It can also dry out if left exposed to the sun and air.


Between gel and mousse, gel works harder in keeping hair in place. It does this job so well that with enough product applied, hair can remain stationary for a long time. It comes in different strengths, such as light hold, medium hold and strong hold. Light hold tames down frizz while strong hold gives hair stiffness. Gel is better for working on certain hairstyles than mousse. For example, if you want to rock a Mohawk, you reach for a bottle of hair gel and hold the mousse.


Hair can feel stiff and brittle with gel. Once dry, some formulations can produce white flakes when brushed or combed. If applied on long hair from roots to tips, strands can appear clumped and stiff.

What is Mousse?

Hair mousse, also known as styling foam, is a styling product that is usually made with alcohol (or similar compounds) and water mixed with active ingredients. It is often dispensed using an aerosol can, which explains its foamy appearance. The basic ingredients of the mousse may be combined with oils, polymers, and chemicals that act as smoothing agents. Oils add a moisturizing and shiny effect while polymers bind to hair strands, creating a voluminous effect, which makes hair appear thicker. Smoothing agents prevent frizz and keep hair in place. Fragrance and coloring agents may also be added to produce a pleasant scent and color the hair, respectively.


Hair mousse is quite versatile and is a good choice for different lengths of hair. It provides a light hold and is best used on wet hair prior to styling. It works well in taming frizzy hair and is a perfect hair styling partner for those who have fine, permed, or curly hair. It does not weigh down the hair so it does not appear flat on the head even after several hours.


The light hold of mousse may not work for people with short hair who want better control. It will give some lift and volume but unlike gel or other styling products such as sprays, it will not be able to keep this hold for a long time.

Learn How Professional Hair Stylists use Gel and Mousse

If you are an aspiring hair stylist, you’ll need to learn exactly how and when gel and mousse can be used for styling hair.  Evergreen Beauty College offers specific training through its cosmetology program that can provide students with the skills necessary for a successful career in hair styling.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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Robert Milliman
Robert Milliman
4 years ago

The best practice for holding you’re is using gels, but if you want to shine or bold your hair better use a mouse. Personally I’m using a mouse!

3 years ago

Years ago I used gel and left t in till I felt like messing with it so it was for my laziness. I was looking like Michael Jackson before he came and I loved it. Really want to start using it again. I t was light.

1 year ago

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