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Pomade vs Mousse: Which Is More Preferable For Hairstyling?

Last Updated on: April 10, 2024

There are two facts about me: I never joke with my hair—the styling and care. And, I almost always rock the pompadour style. This earned me the nickname ‘Mr. Sleek’ among my pals.

Because of my “expertise” in men’s hair grooming and care, I’m always their go-to person when they need advice on what haircare products to buy. 

It got me thinking that most men are like my pals, not knowing the distinctions between the various hair products, thus mixing them up. As a result, I’ll be contrasting the two widely used hair treatments–mousse and pomade, today. So, stick with me, guys!

Main Difference Between Pomade & Mousse

The following findings regarding pomade vs mousse are:

  • Pomades are best used in achieving a sleek, swept-back hairstyle, whereas mousses are used primarily to enhance curls and other blow-dryer styles.
  • Based on the functions of these hairstyle products, a mousse is regarded as a setter used as a hair heat protectant, whereas a pomade is the best option for guys wanting to achieve the waves or pompadour hairstyle.
  • A pomade is preferably suited for short hair, whereas a mousse is better for long hair.
  • Physically, modern hair pomade is more likened to a hair gel because of its water-based formula, whereas a mousse comes in an aerosol can, which releases a sticky foam when pressed or pushed.

Now that you know the main differences between these hair styling products, let’s look at them in detail–how they work, their benefits, and how to use them.

What Is Hair Mousse?

Hair Mousse

A mousse is an aerosolized hair setting product used by stylists to hold down unruly hair or curls. It’s also used to add volume to thin or fine hair.

It’s also a better choice if you have longer hair. Understanding that applying a mousse to dry hair will result in frizz and tangling is crucial. Additionally, it has a light to medium hair holding ability.

How Does It Work?

In contrast to hair clay and gel, mousse has a lighter consistency and can give your hair a lot of volume and strength. It gets its holding power from its ingredients.

A primary ingredient in a mousse is dimethicone; this silicone oil makes your hair tangle-free.

The wax, lanolin, locks moisture and prevents frizz. Other chemicals like lecithin and polymer are responsible for hair strength and volume. The frothy texture of the mousse makes it easier to use, as you can apply it to a larger hair surface area at once.

Advantages Of Using A Mousse

Few people are aware of the fantastic advantages of using mousse on hair. As a result, they typically choose other hairstyle products. However, there are some advantages mousse has over other products.

  • It adds volume to fine or thin hair.
  • It serves as a heat protectant, preventing heat damage to your hair.
  • For people with curly hair, using a mousse helps keep the curls intact and bouncier and prevents frizziness.
  • It also serves as a protective layer on your hair against harsh external factors.
  • It helps hold down stray hairs in place and enables styling; however, the holding ability is loose to moderate.
  • It doesn’t make the hair sticky after use and is suitable for all hair types.
  • It’s easier to work into longer hair than the other hair products.

How To Use A Mousse

Using a mousse is pretty similar to how you use other hairstyle products. Using one shouldn’t be difficult even as a newbie, provided you follow the below steps.

  1. Use mousse only on damp hair before starting a style.
  2. To ensure the mousse foams up properly, shake the can before pressing.
  3. If you have long hair, dispense a sufficient amount and use more if needed. For short hair, use less.
  4. Spread the mousse foam evenly throughout your hair by running your hands through it. You can comb through your hair using your fingers or a big-mouthed comb.
  5. You can blow dry or let the air dry from here. For curls, I advise letting the air do its thing; for straight hair, you can use a blow-dryer.
  6. Make sure to shampoo your hair at least once a day, preferably at night. Leaving product buildup can cause scalp irritation and hair breakage.

What Is Hair Pomade?

Hair Pomade

You won’t be wrong if you think of the waves style or a pompadour when you hear the word pomade. A pomade is a hair styling product used to achieve a sleek and lustrous hair look. 

One of the haircare products utilized by our ancestors was pomade, which is surprising given how popular it is today. Because most of the ingredients in pomade back then were oil-based, with beeswax serving as the primary basis, it was compared to wax at the time. This made cleanup challenging. Modern pomades, however, are water-based, making them simple to wash off.

How Does It Work?

The primary function of pomade is to tame or hold your hair in the desired style. You can also use this product to give it volume.

The ability of pomade to hold your hair is due to the waxes present in it (beeswax and microcrystalline wax). These waxes ensure your hair doesn’t dry out. 

Furthermore, the shiny and ‘wet’ look pomade gives your hair is because of the oils it contains. These oils belong to the class ‘petrolatum.’ Examples of such oils are vegetable oils, coconut oil, castor oil, and aloe oil. Because these oils have beneficial uses for the hair and scalp, they promote healthy hair growth and give it a sleek appearance.

Interestingly, despite these components, pomades don’t leave a greasy film behind when washed off.

Advantages Of Using A Pomade

Despite the availability of various hairstyle products, some hairstylists continue to use pomade. Let’s look at several advantages of pomade over other products.

  • It leaves the hair shiny and sleek in appearance.
  • It has a moderate hold on hair, enabling men to keep their hair in the desired style.
  • Because of its versatility, you get to style your hair differently.
  • It is suitable for all hair types and textures–both frizzy, curly, and straight hair.
  • A little product is usually sufficient.
  • Pomade is suitable for wet or dry hair. However, it won’t give that luster to dry hair.

How To Use A Pomade

Using a pomade on the hair is usually straightforward, not requiring you to visit a hairstylist. Below is a stepwise direction on how to use a pomade, especially if you’re new to the product:

  1. To begin, ensure you have damp hair. This is necessary because pomade works better on wet hair than dry hair. 
  2. Your hair should be combed in the desired styling position.
  3. Start with a small-sized amount of pomade and warm it between your hands.
  4. To distribute the pomade evenly, run your hands through your hair.
  5. Use your hands or a comb to finish the form. Stick with a comb for better outcomes or results.
  6. Don’t forget to wash the pomade out when the day is over. Pomade on the scalp for too long might irritate it and lead to dandruff or scalp acne.

Other Hair Products With A Stronger Hold On Hair–Hair Gel And Hair Wax

Pomade and mousse can keep your hair back, but only for a short time, and not all guys have the time or patience to touch it up constantly. Because of this, most men seek out hairstyle products with increased holding power, and hair gels and waxes come in handy.

What Is Hair Wax?

Hair Wax

Hair waxes are common hair care products used by most men to style their hair. What makes it different from other products, particularly the pomade, is that a hair wax’s primary ingredient is beeswax. Because of the wax, it can hold down hair for styling purposes. 

Applying wax to your hair gives it a firmer hold and assures that you won’t need to bother touching it up for a long time. However, if you’re going for that polished, gleaming appearance, hair waxes won’t deliver. A wax, like hair clay, offers your hair a matte appearance compared to pomade.

Additionally, wax works well on all hair types, even oily hair. Despite being waxy, it is effortless to wipe off. However, because of its texture, you can have trouble applying it to your hair.

What Is Hair Gel?

Hair Gel

The hair product with the strongest hold is by far hair gel. You can be sure that your hair will stay styled for hours if you use a gel on it.

Gels are water-based and made primarily of the PVP component, forming a translucent film around your hair strands. Consequently, your hair will maintain the chosen style for a long time. Gels, just like pomade, can produce sleek, lustrous hair.

Furthermore, they’re super easy to clean off and can be used on dry and wet hair. However, it might be difficult to apply on longer hair and can create an uneven hair layer. It might also leave white flakes in your hair after a while, especially if you don’t wash it off at the end of the day.

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pomade The Same As Mousse?

No, it’s not. Hair pomade and mousse are two different hair style products with different uses and are suitable for different hair types. Modern pomades are water-based products that achieve spiky hair with a wet or shiny appearance. On the other hand, the finest option for adding bounce and volume to your hair is hair mousse.

To clarify any confusion, I have provided further information about these products in the article, highlighting their main differences.

What Does A Pomade Do To Hair?

The advantages of pomade are centered on its exceptional ability to retain hair in place. To style curly or unruly hair, most hair professionals use pomade. In addition, it provides your hair with a beautiful gloss and wet appearance. The natural substances it contains like castor, coconut, and olive oil are to thank for this.

Which Is Better — Mousse Or Gel?

Your choice of hairstyle products is influenced by several variables, including your hair type, desired hairdo, product hold, and workability. All of these must be considered before buying a hairdo product.

Because of their exceptional holding power, gels are a preferred option if you want a product to tame your hair for a prolonged period. However, mousses are preferable if you want something you can use without much hassle.

Furthermore, mousses are better suited for long and thick hair due to their simplicity of use than gels, which are better suited for short hair.

Is Mousse Or Gel Better For Long Hair?

Working a product into long or frizzy hair may be challenging and unpleasant, especially if the wrong product is used. For men with long hair, mousse is an excellent choice because of the product’s frothy texture, making it easy for them to coat their long hair. That does not imply that you can’t use a mousse if you have short hair.

In comparison, using gels on lengthy hair will frustrate you, take extra time, and possibly result in uneven hair layers, ruining the look of the hairstyle.


Men shouldn’t make light of their hair or the products used to maintain it. With the appropriate hairstyle, you may go from looking like a cute nerd to a hot baddie in minutes. So, it is crucial to take care of the hair and style it with the appropriate products.

Your preferred hair styles, hair type and texture, available time, personal tastes, and even your budget all impact the hair products you choose. So, if you want hair that is shiny and smooth like a pompadour, I suggest you invest in a pomade.

A mousse would be a better choice if you wanted to give your hair more volume or highlight its curls.

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