Battle of the Benders: Mousse or Blow Dry Lotion

Eunice Lucero | 23 November 2016

Want to perfect your volumizing routine? Read on to pick the most efficient hair plumper for you.

Big-hair enthusiasts will remember that we were first introduced to mousse back in the 1980s, where everyone turned to this styling foam to help give them the massive curly perms so in vogue at the time. Originating in France, it was best for giving hold, shape and shine to hair and added structure, definition and frizz control to curls and perms. Unlike blow dry lotion, which has more of a silky feel, mousse is typically a light, white, airy product that, when left to air-dry on wet hair, can give a wet look that carried over to the early 1990s.

Mousse vs. Blow Dry Lotion: How to Choose a Shaping Product For Your Hair

blow dry lotion asian bob blowout
Blow dry lotion can offer a fuller shape and a polished lift to bobs and other structured hairstyles. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Blow dry lotion is a more recent invention that gained popularity when softer, more minimal looks became the norm. Usually formulated as a light styling cream, it’s typically alcohol-free and is most effective as a volumizing agent for straight and wavy hair. Usually applied pre-blowdryer to work in tandem with a hair dryer (hence the name), blow dry lotion is best to achieve smooth, fuller-looking hairstyles with a little more polish. It can also be used on curly hair, although it doesn’t always give as much hold and definition to your spirals as mousse can.

How much blow dry lotion is best?

Depending on your hair’s length and thickness, usually a quarter-sized amount of product is more than enough. To apply, squirt the lotion on your palms, rub hands together and rake fingers through your tresses before blowdrying as usual. Building up your arsenal? We like the touchable bounce and fullness (and fruity scent!) of TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Hair Maximizer and Bed Head by TIGI Small Talk 3-in-1 Cream.

blow dry lotion defined curls
Mousse can give your curls that frizz-free, shiny definition. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

To mousse or not to mousse?

Mousse is primarily different from blow dry lotion because it can offer different results depending on how you dry your hair after application. Scrunched through and left to air-dry on wet hair, it can give a slick, slightly crispy effect, especially on curls. Blowdried completely through, and it’s more root-lifting and you end up with a more structured, all-around volumized look. It also gives a bit more hold, which is important when defining curls. The amount of product also depends on your length and thickness, but usually a ping-pong or tennis ball-sized pouf of foam on your palms is ideal. Some of our current faves: Nexxus New York Salon Care Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam and Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Curl Defining Soft Touch Curls Mousse.

Want the 411 on other hair styling products? Check out an editor’s review of sea salt spray.

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