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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best mousses for curly hair

Last Updated May 2019

It can be tricky to lock curly hair into place, especially in rainy weather or humid conditions. Some products only offer minimal hold, while others weigh hair down or make it stiff to the touch. Mousse for curly hair is a wonderful alternative to other styling products, thanks to the lightweight hold and body-boosting ingredients it offers.

Hair mousse is a light, foamy styling product that has been popular since it was invented in the 1980s, as it can make even fine, thin hair look thicker and fuller. However, a downside of this modern styling concoction is its tendency to be drying to the hair. But the great thing about mousse that’s made specifically for curls and coils is that it’s formulated with ingredients that moisturize, protect, and define bouncy locks while simultaneously taming frizz.

There are numerous types of mousse available, but if your hair is curly, you need one with ingredients that match your needs. We’ve simplified your search by highlighting our favorite mousses made just for curly hair. In addition, we put together this handy shopping guide with information and advice to help you discover how the right mousse can work wonders for your curls.

Mousse for the hair was first made in France in the 1980s, and it quickly gained popularity for its fluffy, foamy texture and volumizing effects. The word “mousse” is French, and it means “foam” in English.

Key considerations

Many people with curly hair love the benefits of using mousse, from definition to hold. But it’s not ideal for everyone. Here are a few points to consider before you buy.

Is mousse for curly hair right for me?

Ask yourself a few questions about your curls and styling goals to determine whether mousse should become your go-to styling product.

Do you prefer light hold?

Mousse may not make your do last through a windstorm, but it will define curls and lock the shape in place for hours under most conditions. Similarly to hair sprays and gels, mousse contains ingredients that bind to hairs to “lock” them in place. However, while other products tend to make hair stiff, mousse provides a flexible hold for bouncy curls.

Does your hair need more body?

When it first hit the market, one of the initial purposes of mousse as a styling product was to add volume to limp hair. Many modern mousses that are made for curly locks also volumize hair while they define and hold.

Do you need a versatile styling product?

Another selling point of mousse for curly hair is its versatility. It can be used to lock in the shape of curls and make fine, thin hair look fuller. Because it’s lightweight, it is easy to use with other products, like leave-in conditioners, styling cream, and hair spray. You can even use a bit of mousse on dry hair when your curls need to be refreshed. Additionally, many mousses made for curls contain ingredients that moisturize, protect, and add shine to hair. 

Do you need firm hold?

Mousse provides a light, flexible hold that may not be enough in some situations. Rainy, humid weather can make frizz flare up and cause curls to lose definition. Because the hold that mousse offers is somewhat buildable, you can add more product as needed. However, a gel or spray make work better for controlling your curls if you live in a moist climate.

Controls and conditions

Loose waves, tight curls, or springy coils — Kerastase Discipline Mousse lives up to its name because it is made to hold them all. It only takes a small puff of this this foamy product to add definition and crunch-free hold, and it’s excellent at controlling frizz. Discipline Mousse is made with ingredients like keratin and elastin that leave hair conditioned and moisturized while adding healthy-looking shine.

Features of mousse for curly hair

Some features are common to almost every type of mousse, and others are specific to certain brands and formulas.

Type of curls
Just like other hair care products, mousse comes in various formulas designed for specific hair types. As you browse available options, look for a mousse that will match your curls. For example, a product that’s made for waves and loose curls may do little to tame frizz or hold coils in shape. On the other hand, one that is made for tight curls and coils may contain oils and heavy moisturizers that would weigh down looser curls.

Consistency
Although it may vary a bit from brand to brand, most mousses have a light, whipped consistency. That’s why it’s often referred to as styling foam.

Ingredients

Mousse is made with synthetic resins and polymers that bind to hair for control and hold. However, many mousses for curly hair are made with plant oils, vitamins, keratin, and amino acids that work together to control frizz and define the shape of curls. Some premium brands offer products that are made without additives that can be damaging or drying to curls, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and silicone.

Bottles and dispensers
Mousse comes in bottles made of plastic or metal. A nozzle with a button or pump mechanism allows the product to come out fluffy and drip-free.

DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that you can use mousse on wet or dry hair? Although it works best when applied to damp hair and left to dry, mousse can also be applied to dry hair to freshen the look of curls.

Mousse for curly hair: prices

The price of mousse varies from product to product, from around $5 to almost $40. Pampering your curls with a product made just for them will cost you more than a standard mousse, but you are more likely to get results you’ll love.

Inexpensive: From $5 to $15, you’ll find basic mousses. Formulas for curls in this price range may be drying or lack quality ingredients.

Mid-level: Between $15 and $23, you’ll find many mousse brands with curl-nourishing ingredients.

Expensive: If you are looking for a mousse by a premium brand that will moisturize and protect curls, expect to pay $23 to $40, or a little more. These products are often made without additives like parabens or silicone, and they may contain ingredients like plant extracts and keratin that condition curls.

Mousse’s popularity in the 1980s was fueled by the big hair trend of the decade. Modern formulas made for curly hair add body and lock in curl with a lightweight hold.

Tips

  • Remember to shake the bottle before using mousse. This will mix the ingredients together and enhance the product’s airy consistency.
  • Don’t discount using mousse if your curls are on the dry side. Many modern curly hair formulas by premium hair care brands are loaded with moisturizing ingredients like essential oils and keratin. These are less likely to dry out the hair.
  • Use your fingers to style your curls after you apply mousse. Twist it, shape it, scrunch it, and separate it to make your curls pop.
  • Remember that less is often more. A few pumps of mousse is all you need to enhance and hold your curls. You can always add a bit more as you go if you feel that you need extra volume and hold. However, if you apply too much product, you risk your curls looking wet or oily or feeling stiff and crunchy.
  • Use mousse to add lift at your roots. Apply the product at scalp level, working in an upwards motion. Use a comb, pick, or brush to finish your style.
EXPERT TIP

The foamy consistency of mousse makes it virtually mess-free. You can easily pump it into the palm of your hand and whisk it through your hair without it running or dripping where you don’t want it to go.


Staff  | BestReviews

Highly moisturizing formula

If your curls are tight and coiled, you need a mousse with extra-moisturizing ingredients. Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse contains argan oil that has a well-deserved reputation for moisturizing dry hair. What’s more, it doesn’t take a lot of this product to define curls and give hair a sleek look without leaving it feeling crunchy or stiff. All these benefits combined with a pleasant scent make it mousse that delivers a terrific performance and value.

Other products we considered

There are some other great options on the market besides our top recommended choices. If you use heat styling tools or chemical treatments on your hair, Drybar Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Mousse may be perfect for you, as it contains plant oils and extracts that nourish hair and help to make it stronger. It’s suitable for all types of curls and leaves hair bouncy and volumized.

Moroccanoil makes an extensive line of products that cater to curls, including the brand’s Volumizing Mousse, which adds volume to fine hair. It gives hair a lift without being heavy or sticky, and it can be used on all types of curls. Like other Moroccanoil products, it smells fantastic and is made with moisturizing argan oil.

If your top priority in a mousse is to lock in waves and loose curls, OUAI Air Dry Foam is likely to impress you. Simply smooth it through your hair and let it dry — that’s all you need to achieve a natural look. It leaves hair soft and shiny, not crunchy or weighed down. You won’t need a lot of product to get a look you’ll love, either!

When you apply mousse to damp curls, the product dries along with your hair, locking the shape of your curls in place while controlling frizz.

FAQ

Q. What is the best technique for applying mousse?
A.
After you wash your hair, blot it with a towel. While it is still damp, pump the mousse into the palm of your hand, and work it throughout the length of your hair using both hands. Scrunch your curls together to give them definition and shape.

Q. I love the way mousse adds volume to my curls, but sometimes, the light hold isn’t enough. What can I do to make my style last longer?
A.
Because mousse is lightweight, you can use it with other styling products without weighing down your hair, provided you use them in moderation. To keep curls in shape when you need a little extra hold, apply mousse first to define your curls. Once your hair is dry, spray them with a bit of hairspray to give your look even more staying power.

Q. How much mousse do I need to use?
A.
The answer depends on the length of your hair. For shorter lengths, generally one pump of product about the size of a ping pong ball should do. If your hair is longer or thicker, plan on using two or three times that amount to completely cover your hair.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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