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Gel, mousse or spray: which is best for styling hair?

by Sarah Horrocks Published on 16 January 2008
Gel, mousse or spray: which is best for styling hair?

It's a jungle of gels, sprays and mousses out there in the styling aisles. It's easy to get lost, but each styling product has specific characteristics. Here's how to choose products for your hair to get the style you want.

Gel: indispensable for short styles

Using gel:

Gel is mainly used on short hair to style individual strands or create spikes. It's also used for hold and for taming rebellious strands.

How to apply:

Take a blob of gel and apply from the roots to the tips using your fingers. Careful not to get clumps: aim for even coverage over your whole head.


- Wet: apply gel directly onto wet hair and leave to dry naturally.

- Dry: squeeze a blob of gel into the palms of your hands, then rub through your hair and leave to dry naturally.
- Styled: appy section by section to create the effect you want.

Hairspray: the Eighties do!

Using hairspray:

Hairspray holds your hair in place whilst retaining its movement, and is also used while blow-drying. Spritz and roll your hair around a round brush while you blow-dry it and your hair will stay put for longer.

How to use:

Spray at a few centimetres' distance from your hair.


- Natural: Spray hair at a distance of 30 centimetres from your head in circular movements. However, this won't give you very strong hold.

- Sophisticated: for a more marked effect (big occasions only, otherwise it may look too harsh), spray at a distance of a few centimetres, paying particular attention to areas with free-moving strands.

Mousse: the secret of volume

Using mousse:

If you want extra volume or defined curls, mousse is what you need!

How to apply:

Apply over the whole of your head while your hair is wet, fluffing with your fingers.


- Volume: apply to the lengths of your hair and then dry your hair sat with your head down.

- Natural: structure individual sections with your fingers and then dry naturally.
- Curls: apply mousse over the whole of your head from the roots to the tips, then dry your hair sat with your head down, making circular movements with your hairdryer.

Photo: Faretra

Sarah Horrocks
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