Mousse vs Pomade: Which Will Rock Your Locks?

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Hair is one of the most important features people pay attention to when exhibiting their personality. It contributes significantly to how we feel about ourselves. There are a lot of hair products that will help you achieve your desired hairstyle.

But getting your hair to look the way you want, and keeping it in that pattern all day is difficult! Two of the solutions many people look to are mousse and pomade. Which should you use?

In this article, we’ll look at Mousse vs pomade, and break down why you would want to use each, and what each one does best.


Hair Mousse 101

Curling Mousse

Hair mousse is a must-have product for people with fine, flat, or thin hair. It is a silicone-based foam designed to make hair more voluminous and full. Mostly, it comes in an aerosol spray bottle (but you can actually make it at home!). 

You press down on the button and a ball-sized foamy product squeezes out.

Hair mousse is considered one of the most popular hair styling products. Many types of mousse are available on the market – from drugstores to high-end salon brands.

Most mousse products contain alcohol, which can dry out the hair. Over time that can cause damage, and this is why for example you can’t use alcohol mousse on synthetic hair. However, the alcohol makes the mousse work better.

There are always trade offs!

Most mousse products contain alcohol, which can dry out the hair. Over time that can cause damage, and this is why for example you can’t use alcohol mousse on synthetic hair. However, the alcohol makes the mousse work better.

A good quality mousse creates an airy, light texture in the hair that adds volume and shine to your dull hair. It is also used to control frizz and give the appearance of healthy hair.

Hair mousse comes in many forms and accomplishes multiple things. 

For instance, curl enhancer mousse allows you to add extra curls and waves to your hair without heating equipment. Another most popular type is styling hair mousse, which is used particularly on dry hair without giving it a bristle or firm look.

And of course volumizing mousse cranks up the volume and gives your hair some life.

Volumizing Mousse Effects

Pomade 101

Suavecita Pomade

Pomade is a type of hair styling product used to give the appearance of slick, shiny, and wet-looking hair. The history of a hair pomade is traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was crafted out of beeswax.

Pomade is somewhat like a hair gel that adds shine, firm hold, and texture to the hair. 

Historically, pomade has been marketed toward men, but there are now many pomades made for everyone.

Modern pomade is typically made up of water-based substances, such as petroleum jelly, waxes, mineral oils, and silicones.

The petroleum jelly provides a shiny finish, while the mineral oil protects against humidity and water damage. At the same time, beeswax provides nourishment to the hair.

How to Apply Pomade

Pomade, also known as pomatum, is applied by rubbing it into the hands and then combing or brushing the hair with fingers. 

It can be applied on wet or dry hair and can be removed from the scalp with water or shampoo. They can also be applied to a beard or mustache to keep facial hair from getting unruly.

Some people use it as a pre-shampoo styling product, while others use it after shampooing as a styling agent.

Women often use pomade to get the touseled “piecey” look.

Pomade Before and After

Currently, there are a variety of pomades available in the market. They come in different forms, depending on the person’s needs and preferences.

For instance, sheen pomade gives your hair a shiny effect. It has a high shine but not too much so that it looks greasy or wet. 

On the other hand, matte or dry pomades have low shine and give the hair a matte finish. Eventually, it is best suited to oily hair that tends to get greasy quickly.

Pomade vs Mousse

Close-up of hairdresser hairstylist female hand with hair mousse spray.

Mousse and pomade are both hair styling products used to create various hairstyles. However, there are some differences in how both styling products work.

The main difference between both styling products is that mousse provides volume to your hair, whereas pomade is used to give an old-school look. 

The main difference between both styling products is that mousse provides volume to your hair, whereas pomade is used to give an old-school look. 

Mousse is typically light and fluffy, and consistent. It is also relatively easy to wash out of your hair. In contrast, pomade has a consistency more like a thick transparent gel. As a result, it’s harder to wash out of your hair, but it tends to stay in place better than mousse.

Arguably, pomade provides more hold than mousse does.

In addition, men commonly use pomade to style their hair more formally. It is applied to the hair and then combed through, giving the hairstyle a glossy look.

Mousse, on the other hand, is used by women to style their hair more naturally. It is applied to roots first before combing thoroughly with fingers or a brush.

A blow dryer is used after (or during) the mousse application for long-lasting volume and texture. However, you don’t need to use a dryer with mousse.

Men commonly use pomade to style their hair more formally.

In recent years, pomade has grown in popularity because it offers an alternative to gel or hairspray for men who want a more natural look.

Pomade is generally the best hair solution for men with short and thick hair. Men with short and thin hair are suggested to purchase light pomade. The light pomade will prevent hair from getting too heavy and weighed down. 

However, those with long hair should lean toward hair mousse instead of pomade.

It is very easy to coat your lengthy hair with a hair mousse, as it gives your hair a soft hold and natural shine. Pomade provides your hair with the best structure, while hair mousse makes your hair denser and crunchy.

Preferably, when it comes to styling your hair for everyday life, Pomade is better if you have short hair. Mousse would be better for those with long and curly hair.

Benefits of Using Pomade

Premium quality pomades protect your hair from heat damage and environmental stressors such as wind or rain. Ultimately, it gives medium to superior strength to hold your unmanageable hair and the flexibility to reshape the hairstyle. 

Furthermore, pomade adds shine to your thin, dull hair without leaving an oily residue on the scalp or hair strands. It mostly provides a formal look and pairs well with business, casual and fancier outfits.

Pomades are available in many different scents for both men and women. Plus, modern pomades are much easier to wash due to the new and effective formulation.

Earth's Enrichments Organic Pomade - Hair Food for Growth, Contains Tea Tree, Rosemary, Lavender Oil, Natural Grease for Thick, Straight, Curly, Wavy, Thin Hair, Women, Men, Kids, USDA, 8oz
  • BENEFITS: This scalp and root pomade is...
  • INGREDIENTS: In carrying the USDA...
  • NO CHEMICALS: This hair grease is...
  • POMADE TEXTURE: This is a light hair...
  • USAGE: This pomade can be used on all...

Disadvantages of Pomade

Many chemicals in pomade can be harmful if the product is not applied correctly. The chemicals can cause scalp irritation, scalp dryness, and dandruff.

Moreover, old-fashioned pomades with old, heavy formulas are very difficult to wash from hair and might also create flakes on the scalp.

How to Apply Pomade

The application of pomade is quite simple. Here are the following steps you can implement while applying the pomade to your short hair:

  • Comb your wet hair in the direction you want your hair to sit.
  • Take a pea-sized amount of product and rub it between your palms.
  • Apply it on damp hair so that the pomade is activated and molded enough
  • Comb your hair with fingers to evenly distribute the product
  • To achieve a classic look, use a comb instead of fingers
  • Don’t leave pomade on your hair for more than a day
  • Wash your hair with strong shampoo to prevent dandruff or flakes.

Benefits of Using Hair Mousse

Hair Mousse Women

Hair mousse gives your hair three times more volume than any other product and is used as a styling tool for both short and long hair. Mousse is typically applied to the roots of your hair for extra volume and shine.

Additionally, it can be used on curly hair and helps to control frizz, which makes your hair look great in humid weather conditions. 

Mousse also makes your hair feel softer and smoother with no sticky effects. It is also easy to wash mousse out of your hair without giving it a greasy texture.

A good quality hair mousse contains effective nutrients that nourish your hair while lifting them.

However, if you use it a lot, good quality mousse can get expensive!

SexyHair Big Root Pump Plus Volumizing Spray Mousse, 10 Oz | Volume with High Hold | Up to 72 Hour Humidity Resistance
  • Targeted Application for Lift at the...
  • Provides All-Over Body & Fullness up to...
  • Provides Thermal Protection up to 450˚F
  • Long-Lasting Hold up to 48 Hours
  • Provides Humidity Resistance up to 72...

Disadvantages of Hair Mousse

The overuse of the product can severely damage permed or color-treated hair. A low-quality mousse contains a varying amount of alcohol that may burn the cuticle of your hair. Likewise, it lacks moisture, which can be damaging for extremely thin hair. 

Hair mousse can form split ends if used frequently. Also, It may cause a lot of buildup on your scalp and tangles because it clings to the hairs. According to some professionals’ feedback, mousse doesn’t provide a good seal to your hair cuticles.

How to Apply Mousse

Hair mousse makes your hair look thicker, more voluminous, and glossier. It is tricky to apply a mousse on long, thin hair that is prone to damage. Here are a few simple steps to applying hair mousse to your hair:

  • Shake the mousse bottle properly before dispensing the product.
  • Take out a ball-sized amount of product in your palm for long hairs
  • Coat your hair properly with the mousse using your hands
  • Comb your hairs with fingers to evenly distribute the product
  • Apply mousse with a scrunchy motion to give your curls a springy look
  • Now blow dry, or air dry your hair properly to maintain curls
  • Wash your hair with shampoo at the end of the day
  • Don’t forget to deep condition your hair to prevent dryness


Mousse and pomade are great products for styling your hair, but some differences make one better than the other for certain hair types. If you’re looking for volume and have long hair, go for mousse. If you’ve got shorter hair and want hold and a glossy style, try a pomade.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).