Sorry to humblebrag, but my hair has never been healthier_dare I say, it’s too healthy. I decided to forgo highlights and color treatments for a little bit (you’re so welcome, bank account), and the lack of bleach (plus a cute French bob haircut) has done wonders for keeping my hair healthy and moisturized. But there might be too much of a good thing because my hair is flatter and greasier than ever. I’m talking can’t-even-go-12-hours-without-greasy-hair vibes. Healthy hair means I’ve been able to incorporate products into my routine with a styling purpose instead of focusing solely on my damage repair, so I looked to volumizing products, and one has stuck out so much that I can’t imagine ever not using it again: mousse.
If you grew up with a woman figure in your life who grew up in the ’80s, you’ll likely have strong feelings about mousse. The mousse of yesteryear was sticky, gloopy, and crunchy—like the worst hairspray on the market but somehow even worse. It made fine and coily hair alike look weighed down, even though its sole purpose should be keeping hair lifted.
But in 2022, mousse got a facelift, and the product that was once a main character of my nightmares is solving one of my biggest hair woes. In basic terms, hair mousse is a lightweight foam that gives hair volume, bounce, shape, and definition (especially for curly and wavy hair). There are variations that work for all hair types, so everyone can get in on the benefits. According to Amika Pro Lead Stylist, Rashuna Durham, “mousse is best for giving hold and definition to strands as well as protecting and taming your hair.” She also noted it can help keep frizz in check and make your curls bouncier.
If your hair lacks volume and body, mousse can add lift at your roots and give your mid-lengths a little extra body. It also generally has quite a bit of hold, so if you blow dry your hair or add a style, you’ll get some natural longevity without having to incorporate a sticky hairspray (another product that desperately needs a 2022 facelift). On wavy, curly, and coily hair, mousse not only gives body, but it can also add lots of definition to your curls. It’s a great addition to your wash ‘n go routine if you want a little extra volume and hold in your curls.
Recently, I tested Amika’s Plus Size Volume & Body Mousse and was expecting less-than-stellar results. My experiences with the mousse market were never positive. But in the name of science, I nixed all of my other volumizing products in favor of this for a few washes, and I was amazed at my hair. Just this one product added so much volume to my hair. I continued using my leave-in conditioner for softness and to get rid of tangles, but my volume is all thanks to mousse.
Without a little bit of bleach in my hair, my hair has zero grip or hold. If I do a style at 8 a.m., I can expect it to go flat by noon. Mousse has been a game changer for adding lots of grip to my hair before I even style it so my hair lasts more than a few hours—a massive feat. I styled my hair in the curls pictured above yesterday, and I woke up amazed at how good my hair looks again today without adding any extra product. All I had to do was brush through my curls, and the volume and life came back after sleeping on them all night.
How to Use Mousse
To use mousse, add a little bit to the palm of your hand. Back in the day, we covered our hands in that foam, and if your hair is anything like mine, it probably despised it. Use enough to get in and cover your hair roots to ends, but don’t go overboard or you will experience that heavy feeling we’re trying to get away from. Durham recommended a golf-ball-sized amount, which was perfect for my hair. Then, rake it through starting at the roots. I focus mousse on my roots because that’s where I want the most lift, using a scrunching motion to get a little more body. Then, whatever is left on my hands I’ll scrunch through the mid-lengths and ends of my hair. If your hair is thick or you have a lot of it (can’t relate, jealous), Durham recommended applying it in sections at a time to control how much product you’re applying.
You don’t have to use heat to activate most mousse, but I notice much more volume on the days I blow dry. I use a round brush and a concentrator nozzle to add shape and volume to my bangs, but for the rest of my hair, I just take the blow dryer through it as normal—no real rhyme or reason here (sorry, I’m lazy).
If your hair type is a little different from mine, take a peek at some of our other fave mousses below.
Best for wavy hair
This doesn't have the typical mousse texture you might be used to, but that only makes it more lightweight on natural waves and curls.
Best for anti-humidity
If you live in a humid environment and deal with frizzy hair on the reg, this mousse is the perfect way to add hold and grit to your hair so that your style actually lasts when you step outside.