Adds volume. Keeps hair smooth and shiny. Reasonably priced for what you get. Works well on very straight hair.
Those with fine hair may find it too heavy.
Volumizing. Works well in fine hair. Won't leave any residue in your hair. Helps tame frizz. Doesn't weigh you down.
Not as effective on those who don't have any natural curl to their hair.
No parabens, sulfates or dyes. Adds volume and shine. Good value for the price. Holds curls in place for hours.
Some complain that it leaves hair feeling a little sticky.
Won't leave hair crunchy or sticky. Pleasing scent. Adds volume to fine hair. Dries very quickly. Softens and smooths.
Not ideal for those with dry hair as it may dry it out further.
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Think hair mousse was only meant for big-haired rockers in the 1980s? Well, think again. This light and airy hairstyling product is just as great for creating volume and texture in the twenty-first century as it was in the twentieth.
Used properly, mousse is an excellent way to add life to limp or fine locks, and it’s perfect for keeping curly manes under control. But choosing the right mousse for your hair type and styling preferences can be tricky because there are so many choices available.
That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. BestReviews never accepts free products or perks in exchange for good reviews or product mentions. That lets us bring you the unbiased, helpful, and accurate buying information you want.
If you just want to get your hair styled as quickly as possible, check out our five recommendations in the matrix above. If you’d like to learn more about hair mousse in general, including how to choose and use it, read our shopping guide below.
Also called styling foam, hair mousse is an aerosol hairstyling product that was introduced to the U.S. market in the mid-1980s. The light, whipped-cream consistency combined with serious holding power offered the perfect complement to the tousled, spiky, and big hairstyles of the day.
Like styling gels, most hair mousse products coat the hair with synthetic resins to provide lift, hold, and texture. Unlike gel, however, mousse is extremely lightweight. Instead of weighing hair down, as gel can sometimes do, mousse gives plenty of body and lift. Mousse comes in plastic or metal cans with a pointed nozzle for easy dispensing.
Just as the fluffy hairstyles of the 1980s fell out of fashion, so did mousse. But the ever-turning cycle of style makes everything old brand-new again. The stick-straight hairstyles that have been so popular in recent years are starting to give way once again to waves and curls with plenty of body. Mousse is back in the style spotlight, but today’s formulations are not the same as those from decades past.
No longer the drying formulation of the 1980s, today’s hair mousse is far more moisturizing and gentle on your hair.
There are many types of hair products on the shelves, so why choose mousse over gels, sprays, or other creams? Here are some answers.
Extra-hold hair gel works well for spiking short hairstyles but leaves your mane looking rather wet and plastic. Mousse doesn’t make hair look wet or greasy.
Dry shampoos and powder sprays give hair a nice lift and texture but can leave it looking and feeling a bit grungy. Mousse gives hair a natural, not matte, finish.
Don’t use too much mousse. You’ll end up with a hard, crunchy look instead of gentle texture.
While it’s true that you can achieve height and powerful lift with root-lifting spray, the spray tends to give hair a hard, crunchy look near the scalp but leave the rest of your hair unsupported. Mousse gives lightweight lift from roots to tips.
Pomade, hair wax, texture cream, and similar products are fantastic for adding texture to tousled hair in short-to-medium styles, but these formulations tend to weigh hair down and so aren’t the best choice for styles with height. Mousse provides airy lift without the mess.
If you frequently style your hair with heated beauty tools, choose a mousse with a heat-protection formulation.
Mousse is an excellent way to give fine, limp locks a bit of a boost. Instead of clinging flat to your head, your mane will boast fullness and lift. Go for a mousse with extra lift and body.
If your tresses aren’t as lush as they once were, don’t despair. Choose a thickening, moisturizing mousse to give your hair fullness that won’t go flat as the day goes on.
If you wear your hair short and spiky, medium-long and shaggy, or even long and full, you’ll love mousse’s ability to add lots of lift and texture without weighing your locks down the way gel and pomade often do. Look for a mousse with strong hold.
There’s no need to break your budget buying hair mousse. You’ll find many excellent products for less than $12.
Comb a texturizing or sea-salt mousse through damp hair, twist small sections, and clip them into circlets. Blow-dry or air-dry your hair, remove the clips, and gently run your fingers through hair to separate the twists, and voilà! You look like you spent the day at the beach.
Mousse is one of the best products for girls with natural or permed curls. The airy product won’t weigh your curls down, while the light hold and moisturizing properties of mousse help keep your curls bouncy, shiny, and full. Choose a mousse specifically made for curly hair.
There’s no need to suffer with frizzy hair that has a mind of its own. Instead, work frizz-control mousse through your locks to keep things under control without excessive greasiness or weight.
If you have curly hair, you’ll love the way mousse keeps it bouncy and full while reducing its tendency to frizz.
While working mousse through your hair isn’t rocket science, there are tricks and tips to using it effectively.
Apply mousse to damp hair. Hair should be freshly washed and towel-dried. You don’t want to use mousse on wet or dry hair.
Don’t go overboard. A common mistake when using mousse is applying way too much, guaranteeing a crunchy, sticky finish. For short to medium hair, you only need a golf-ball-size amount of product. For longer locks, go just a little bigger, about the size of an egg. Remember that mousse continues to expand for several seconds after you dispense it from the can.
Don’t apply mousse directly to hair. Spray mousse into your hands, rub them together, and then work your hands evenly through your hair, making sure to hit the roots. Applying mousse directly to your hair makes it difficult to spread evenly.
Style your hair as desired. You can rake it forward or back, lift it from the roots, scrunch into textures, or gently lift curls.
Gently scrunch to remove the “crunch.” Let hair air-dry after applying mousse and styling. You’re hair will feel a bit crunchy, but that’s okay. Once your hair is dry, gently scrunch and tousle it to remove the crunch without messing up your style.
Style with a blow dryer. If you’re in a hurry, or you want to style your hair into curls or wave as it dries, use a blow dryer with a round brush to encourage lift and waves, or use a vented brush to make quick work of drying shorter hairstyles.
Renew the lift without washing. If you want to revive your mousse without washing your hair, don’t apply more product. Instead, wet your hands and run them through your hair, gently tousling as you go. You’ll get renewed lift and hold without weight or greasiness.
Apply mousse to towel-dried hair, then air-dry or blow-dry to lock in your style.
Mousse comes in a wide range of prices, but you can expect to pay from less than $5 to over $20.
Many drugstore brands cost less than $5. While some of these products are excellent, others can be very drying and harsh.
Most quality hair mousse products fall in the $8 to $12 range. You’ll find a wide selection of products for just about every type of hair and style.
Premium brands of mousse generally cost anywhere from $12 to more than $20. While you’re getting good quality at this price point, you’re also paying for the brand name. Buy if you really like the product, but be aware that you can probably find hair mousse that works equally well for less.
Q. Is it okay to use mousse on colored or chemically treated hair?
A. Generally, yes, but choose a hair mousse formulated specifically for colored or treated hair. These products are gentle, so they won’t strip your color or dry out your processed hair.
Q. Can I combine hair mousse with other styling products?
A. Absolutely! Use mousse for body, add a small dab of pomade to the tips of your hair for extra separation and texture, then finish the look with a light mist of hairspray. Or hit your roots with root-lift spray, then work mousse through the length of your locks for extra wave. Or perhaps you just want to add extreme style at the front of your hair with hard-hold gel, and then control the rest with lightweight mousse. The options are nearly endless; go ahead and experiment.
Q. Will mousse dry out my hair?
A. While yesterday’s hair mousse tended to be very drying, today’s formulations are far gentler. But if your hair tends to be dry and needs a little extra care, choose a moisturizing mousse that’s formulated for delicate or dry locks.
Q. Is mousse good for every hair type and style?
A. While hair mousse is great for styles that have lift, wave, or curl, or lots of body or texture, it isn’t the right choice if you prefer super-straight hair, or have exceptionally coarse hair that requires a heavier styling product to keep it under control.