Curl Cream vs. Mousse: How to Choose The Best Curly Hair ProductsView all articles

Curl Cream vs. Mousse: How to Choose The Best Curly Hair Products

If you’re blessed with naturally curly hair, you know that it can be difficult to find products that truly work for your texture. The right products can give you the best curls of your life, while the wrong ones can leave your hair a dry and frizzy mess. That’s why it’s important to find products that treat your locks right.

Along with a great shampoo and conditioner combo, the right curl-defining cream or curl mousse can make achieving the curls of your dreams so much easier.

It can be hard to know whether or not you should go with a curl cream or mousse for curly hair, which is why we’ve created this resource! Keep reading to discover questions to answers like, “What’s the best curl cream for textured hair?” and “Can I use a curl cream for straight hair?”


What is a Curl Cream?

A curl-defining cream does exactly what it sounds like: it helps define and enhance your hair’s natural texture. Typically formulated with a hydrating emulsion of water, natural oils, and hair-loving ingredients like aloe vera, a cream for curly hair works by coating the hair in a thin film. This film helps to smooth the hair’s cuticles, or “shingles” as they’re often called. This keeps your locks from tangling and creates a smooth surface that allows curls to be bouncier and more defined. The best curl cream will also keep hair hydrated and protect against damage as well.

Who Should Use a Curl Cream?

Anyone with textured hair can use a curl-defining cream. From subtle waves to coils, curl cream can help enhance your natural hair without weighing it down. That being said, the best curl cream will work to strengthen and hydrate your hair in the long run, while lower quality products will weigh both you and your curls down.


Curl Textures

So, can you use a curl cream for straight hair? Not exactly, but we’ll talk more about that later. For now, let’s take a look into the differences between a cream for curly hair, and a mousse for curly hair.

Curl Cream vs. Curl Mousse

While they both may sound similar, there are a few key differences between a curl cream and a curl mousse. Aside from their differences in texture and density, there’s a difference in what each product can do for your hair.

While both a curl defining cream and curl mousse will help define curls and protect from frizz, a mousse for curly hair will give your hair more volume, especially at the roots. Additionally, curl mousses are great if you live in a more humid environment, and will help keep frizz at bay.


5 Benefits of Using a Curl Cream

Let’s take a closer look at what the right curl cream can do for your hair.

1. A curl defining cream will enhance your wave pattern

Whether your waves are soft or coily, the best curl cream will leave your natural curl pattern enhanced and defined. This can be especially helpful when you’re looking to revive and refresh curls in between washes. Just dampen hair slightly and scrunch through your mids to ends.

2. A curl defining cream will prevent frizz

Nobody likes frizz. Thankfully, a good curl defining cream will help keep frizzy strands at bay all day. No more midday touch-ups needed!

3. A curl defining cream keeps your hair hydrated

Thanks to the natural oils and other nourishing ingredients found in curl creams, your hair will be much more hydrated and smooth after each use, helping to strengthen and protect your hair from damage. If moisture retention is a big priority for you, we recommend trying Curl Crush™ Defining Cream!

4. A curl defining cream promotes shine

Cream for curly hair can also be an effective shine-enhancer. Since the product works to smooth the hair’s cuticle, moisture will be able to travel more easily throughout the entire shaft, creating a healthy-looking sheen.

5. A curl cream gives you touchable hair without a “cast”

One of the best things about using a curl cream is that it helps give your hair great definition without creating a “cast”. If you’ve ever used a curl gel before, you’ve probably noticed that it can make your hair feel crunchy. This is because the gel locks your curls in place by creating what’s called a cast. This has to be scrunched out to get those soft, touchable curls we all want. With a cream product, however, you don’t have to do that!

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Can I Use a Curl Cream For Straight Hair?

Like we mentioned before, there isn’t such a thing as a curl cream for straight hair. A curl cream will only really work for hair that already boasts a natural curl or wave.

However, if you find yourself struggling with limp or super-fine strands, using a curl mousse can help give you the boost in volume you’re looking for. Along with a lightweight shampoo and conditioner, the right mousse can help breathe new life into limp strands, lifting hair from the root. No need to spend time trying a curl cream for straight hair!

5 Benefits of Using a Curl Mousse

1. Curl mousse enhances your wave pattern

Just like a cream, a mousse can help instantly give your curls the boost they need to look defined and separated.

2. Curl mousse gives your roots a lift and boosts volume

A great thing about mousse is that it has the added benefit of being a volumizing product. If you want extra hold and volume that lasts all day, you should go for Curl Crush™ Defining Mousse!

3. Curl mousse helps fight humidity

Unlike a cream for curly hair, a curl mousse can help stop frizz from happening (even in humid weather!).

4. Curl mousse encourages shine and definition

Many mousses also have added ingredients to boost shine and can make your hair look more full, bouncy, and shiny than when just using shampoo and conditioner.

5. Curl mousse is versatile

Consider a good mousse almost like a curl cream for straight hair. They’re super versatile and can be used for volume even when you don’t have a lot of natural texture to work with.

It’s also quite common for both creams and mousses to be used together for optimal definition and hydration. Some like to add a curl gel, like Curl Crush™ Defining Gel, to the mix as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styling products and techniques to find what works best for your unique hair!

These Hacks Will Help You Define Your Curls

Want more curl tips? Try these curly hair care hacks.

Remove build-up

Even if you use the best products, you won’t see results if your hair is weighed down by a ton of build-up. Make sure you’re working with a squeaky clean canvas by using sulfate-free Scalp Delight™ Detox Scrub every week. And Yes, it is also approved for the Curly Girl Method, if you were wondering.

For an extra luxurious treatment, we love to apply the scrub with Scalp Delight™ Scalp Massage Brush to stimulate blood flow and gently remove dead skin cells and product build-up.

Work while wet

When you’re using a cream for curly hair, it’s important to work with the product while your hair is wet or damp. Curls activate the best while wet, so when you work the product into damp hair, you’re helping lock in those curls for the day ahead. If you're starting with dry hair, use a spray bottle with an ultra-fine continuous mist to hydrate your curls without soaking them to achieve the perfect level of hydration.

Create slip

The right cream will coat the hair, helping create the ‘slip’ that gives curls their bounce. Creating that slip means finding the right amount of product for your hair. Start by applying a small amount to your mids to ends, and see how that does. Then, if your curls show signs of dryness or frizz, add more.

Air dry your hair

To help keep your curls soft and healthy, we recommend using as little heat as possible. An easy way to do this is by air-drying your hair or wrapping it up in a bamboo towel to dry overnight!

Switch up your brush

Instead of using a traditional hairbrush, we recommend only using wide-tooth combs or your fingers to detangle curly hair. Brushes create frizz, so unless you want to look like Princess Mia Thermopolis before her glow-up, we suggest you avoid them!

The only kind of brush I recommend using on curly hair is a defining brush that is made specifically for styling curly hair. This Bamboo Defining Brush glides easily through hair for better styling, providing frizz-control, definition, and body to coily, curly, or wavy hair. It helps you to form your curls by distributing styling products, giving lift from the roots, and creating defined clumps. The perfect pair to a curl defining cream!

Protect your hair overnight

Did you know our pillowcases can either hurt or help our hair? That’s right. A good bamboo pillowcase and duvet cover can prevent tangles and breakage while you sleep.

Ingredients to Watch Out For

If you’re shopping for the best curl cream or curl mousse, make sure the products you choose are not formulated with these ingredients!

Silicone and mineral oils

While silicone is technically safe to use on hair, it can cause hair to weaken and become dull over time. Additionally, silicone easily builds up on the scalp, weighing hair down. That’s why avoiding products formulated with these ingredients is a major part of the Curly Girl Method!

As far as mineral oils go, it’s best to avoid these if you see them on ingredient lists. They have been known to cause irritation and allergic reactions, especially on those with more sensitive scalps.

Drying alcohols

Some alcohols are good for our hair, but most are chemicals you’ll want to steer clear of. Ingredients like benzyl, ethanol, isopropyl, or ethyl alcohol are all considered drying agents, and can strip your hair of essential moisture and naturally-produced oil – something we curly girls need a lot of to maintain healthy locks! While this may sound nice for those of us struggling with oily strands, these ingredients spell nothing but trouble for curly hair.

Double-check the ingredients on any product you choose to make sure they’re not formulated with these drying agents.


You’ll also want to be on the lookout for a cream for curly hair that doesn’t use sulfates. While found in a lot of hair care products, sulfates can cause excessive dryness and breakage – two things curly-haired people don’t want. What’s more, sulfates can also cause redness and irritation.

Fortunately, as more people become aware of the harmful effects of sulfates, more brands are deciding to curb their usage.


Parabens are synthetic preservatives commonly found in many hair care products, including those designed for curls. While they help extend the product's shelf life, parabens have raised concerns due to their potential to disrupt hormone function and irritation to the scalp. For individuals with curly hair, avoiding products containing parabens is crucial as these chemicals can contribute to dryness and frizz. Opting for paraben-free hair care alternatives ensures that curls are nourished without exposure to potentially harmful ingredients, promoting healthier and more vibrant locks.

Ultimately, the right curl defining product can help elevate your gorgeous hair to an even higher level. From extra shine to more volume and definition, a great cream or mousse can bring out the best your hair has to offer without having to spend too much time styling it. Which curl defining product will you try first?

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