Soft Swerve: The Best Mousse for Curly Hair, All Sans the Crunch

Eunice Lucero | 01 November 2017

If the curly life is so up your alley—whether you’re a bona fide naturalista, enjoy wearing your spirals out or are just all about those reality-star waves—then a curling product that gets you there, stress-free on the daily is crucial. Having the best mousse for curly hair then isn’t just an add-on to your current routine; it’s the foundation on which your other stylers work around. Strong words, we know!

The job of a mousse is to define, separate and give body and volume to hair, in a light, easily spread formulation. It seemed like for some, it was too easy and led to overuse of the product, which resulted in a crunchy, stiff curl. First-generation formulas put a lot more emphasis on pouf and staying power (because hello, 1980s), but thankfully, today’s cocktails are a lot more chill and natural-looking, prioritizing definition and shine, and even incorporate a nourishing or moisturizing element into it all. Scroll on for a few of our picks for the best mousse for curly hair below:

The Best Mousse for Curly Hair: Our Top Picks

best mousse for curly hair fine thinner types
Fine curly hair is more vulnerable to frizz.

1. For fine, fragile curls

If your natural hair texture is fine and thin and you’re looking to create more volume for everyday while still keeping your ringlets soft and touchable, look for a creamier mousse that won’t lend your hair to that awful frizzy, super-’80s-looking crunch. We love the whipped-creamy, frizz-eliminating consistency of Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse, which has a lightweight formula that leaves curls soft and well-defined. It also has nourishing ingredients (care of their Nutri-Style Complex), which is always a great thing, since curly hair typically runs on the drier side.

best mousse for curly hair springy curls
3C hair gets a boost from the right mousse.

2. For springy, high-fashion curls

Craving for a super defined, volumized ringlet that stays in place all day? Regardless of whether you’re rocking looser ringlets or are looking to give your 3C spirals a shiny boost, a mousse that keeps curls soft and hydrated while putting their shape front and center is key. TRESemmé Flawless Curls Mousse does this and more, and has a formula that gives literally 24-hour humidity resistance without any heaviness or stickiness—or alcohol! Yep, it’s alcohol-free, which is a plus if you’re trying to shift into a non-alcohol-based glam routine.

best mousse for curly hair waves
Mousse makes for a great pre-styler.

3. For sculpted waves and curls

Big-barreled babes, this one’s for you: The search for the best mousse for curly hair that helps sculpt even wavy hair is over. Formulations that help give control to curls and helps them stay in shape without sacrificing softness and frizz-resistance is the lookout you need. Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Curls Defining Soft Touch Curls Mousse is one of the best pre-stylers to apply before some hot roller or curling iron action—just make sure to distribute the product evenly so there are no singe-spots.

best mousse for curly hair all out curls
All-out curls are all-out fab.

4. For all-out ringlets, regardless of hair type

Straight-hair types can also now get in on the curl action with a mousse that does it all, and holds it in for as long as it takes. Bed Head by TIGI Foxy Curls Extreme Curl Mousse, is touted as a “curl-boosting mega mousse” and is the does-it-all product when you want to wear your curls out to the maximum. Applied evenly to straighter hair before curling, or scrunched into curly hair before diffusing, it maintains your hair’s final shape and style while simultaneously smoothing the cuticle (thus preventing frizz) and giving it a firm hold. And again, before you lump it into the crunchy category, think again: It’s also conditioning and softening, so yeah, you can finally say good riddance to that permed look of yesteryear.