hair mousse guide

How to Use Hair Mousse Properly, Plus Our Top Picks

A good hair day is a foamy palm away.

Hair mousse is one of those hair inventions that can go across gender lines, and seeing as how it’s been around for quite some time, is a pretty universally-flattering crowd-pleaser. Hailing from France (as all things chic and life-saving do), it has saved most women and men the struggle of dealing with limp hair, frizz, or locks that go greasy as soon as the humidity turns up.

Mousse is a great volumiser. It has a heat-activated polymer content that, when dried, swells and holds together, so it gives great volume and hold.
Dan Lynes, Unilever Creative Director and Head Stylist.

Contrary to hard-setting gels, hair mousse, when used correctly, doesn’t give you that crunchy, sticky feeling. All that’s keeping you from your next perfect blowout or those well-defined curls is a small amount of mousse coated evenly onto strands, and a blowdryer. And, well, maybe a pretty good trigger finger, for dispersing the right amount of product.

How to Use Hair Mousse Properly

Whether your hair is short or long, a little usually goes a long way with mousse. Good news: It’s pretty foolproof, once you’ve aced the basics. Below, a few steps:

1. Wash and rinse your hair.

Start by washing and conditioning your hair to begin with a clean slate.

2. Towel-dry your hair.

Using a towel, gently blot hair in between two folds and proceed to gently rumple-dry.

3. Adjust your attachments.

For a full, straight blowout, use the concentrator nozzle on your hairdryer. For waves and curls, use a diffuser instead.

4. Start with a ping-pong ball size—and adjust accordingly.

Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, a one-second shot of foam onto the palm of your hand will suffice. It helps to know the end result you want too: For fuller styles, a true volumizing, shape-holding product such as TRESemmé 24 Hour Body Foaming Mousse, as the name suggests, gives whole-day body and bounce without the stiffness. Fine hair and intricate styles can also benefit from the lightweight, effortless volume, as provided by Nexxus Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam.

5. Curly hair needs a slightly different formula.

To give dimension to ringlets without that dated, crunchy look (’80s babies you know this all too well), choose a non-drying formula that still leaves curls touchable. Bed Head by TIGI Foxy Curls Mousse maintains your ringlets’ sexy shape and style while keeping hair conditioned and soft (yay!).

6. Blow-dry in an upward motion.

For full, bodified blowouts, tug a brush upward and outward from your face and focus the air blast at the root. Wiggle the nozzle across the section as you gently work your way from the root to the tips. For curly looks, position the diffuser at the bottom of your hair and blast upwards, wiggling the nozzle and finger-styling ringlets as needed. Note: When blow-drying, make sure to use a comb or brush to lift your hair so as to blow-dry all the way from the roots. The higher you lift your hair, the more you get an extra lift. As much as it might take a much longer time than just air drying, you will achieve more long-lasting hold that you might not even need to restyle during the day.

7. Comb strands into place.

Refine your look by using a fishtail comb to settle any errant strands in place. You’re done! Finish with hairspray for good measure, or leave as is for a more natural finish. Done!

Hair mousse comes in different forms. Thermal-care mousse works best with blow-dryers and curling irons to boost volume, such as Suave Professionals Natural Volume Mousse. Mousse with an extra hold may be perfect for a windy day, and mousse gels are perfect if you need a much stronger hold, like if you want to try an edgy tall mohawk.

Find the Best Mousse for You

Here’s how you can find which mousse on the market is best for your hair.

1. Mousse is volumizing.

A volumizing mousse helps add fullness and structure from the roots of your strands to the tips without making your hair super stiff. A volume mousse product like adds 24-hour body and bounce, making it a favorite as one of the best mousse for volume.

2. It can battle frizz.

The best mousse for hair that’s prone to frizz will protect your strands against even the most humid weather. TRESemmé Flawless Curls Extra Hold Mousse is a favorite of ours since it works to keep the hair glossy and smooth while also creating volume. It’s also a great travel-friendly option to ensure you’ll be prepared for any weather conditions.

3. It can define your texture.

Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse works to nourish and protect your curls. With its whipped cream texture (versus a spray mousse), it helps to define your waves and curls. Again, this product won’t weigh your hair down or leave it feeling crunchy.

Editor’s tip: If you’re looking for a mousse that’s safe for color-treated hair then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for permanent hair color mousse options or the best temporary hair color mousse, any of these will work. The mousse hair color option works to enhance your texture, fight frizz, and add in some natural volume to your hair.

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