- Hair mousse is a styling product that provides hold, bounces, lifts, defines curls, hydrates, fights humidity and frizz.
- There is a perfect hair mousse for every hair type, except for dry, curly hair.
- Hair mousse should be applied to damp (not wet or dry) hair in a tennis ball-sized amount.
Depending on your hair type, styling your hair can be quite challenging. There are so many different concerns depending on your hair’s thickness and texture. A quality hair mousse should be able to provide a flexible hold that stands up to the day without feeling sticky or leaving you with product build-up. We’ve scoured the beauty aisles to find the best hair mousse for a range of hair types and a variety of budgets.
From what hair mousse is to how to use it properly to style your hair, as well as the differences between hair mousse and other styling products, this is your ultimate guide to hair foam you don’t want to miss!
Hair Mousse Guide: Contents
- 21 Best Hair Mousses for Different Hair Types
- What Is Hair Mousse?
- Who Should Use Hair Mousse?
- Hair Mousse vs. Hair Gel vs. Hairspray
- Hair Mousse Benefits
- How to Use Hair Mousse
- Extra Tips for Using Hair Mousse
21 Best Hair Mousses for Different Hair Types & Styles
Whether you are looking for a volumizing mousse or one for controlling frizzy hair, this list has you covered!
1. Best for Fine Hair: Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam
If you have fine hair, you know that product build-up can make your tresses look even thinner. Aveda’s Phomollient hair mousse offers a weightless solution that creates body, volume, and a healthy shine to your hair without the dreaded product build-up. But even those with medium thickness to their strands can reap the benefits.
You’ll also like that this is good for the environment since it doesn’t contain hydrocarbon propellants. And as you’ve come to expect from Aveda, this volumizing mousse is paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free and cruelty-free. It is available at Nordstrom and Amazon.
2. Best Thickening: Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse
Nothing makes you look more vibrant and younger than a head full of thick hair. But if you have fine to medium strands, this might not always be naturally achievable. Living Proof’s thickening hair mousse is perfect for straight, wavy, or curly hair and promises to give you a flexible hold that also doubles as a heat protectant against styling tools. You’ll love how with this product your hair not only looks thicker but feels fuller as well. Shop it now at Sephora or Amazon!
3. Best for Color-Treated Hair: Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Mousse
No matter your hair type, you want to use hair styling products that actually help your hair rather than weigh it down or make it look worse for wear. Eva NYC’s hair mousse is infused with argan oil and baobab to give you the lift and life you’ve always craved in your hair without that gross stiff feeling that was common with old-school hair mousse products. Get soft, manageable hair that looks visibly smoother with less breakage. This particular hair mousse is ideal for color-treated as well as keratin or Brazilian-treated hair. Get it now at Ulta!
4. Best Volumizing: Drybar Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Mousse
If you have kinky curly hair, you know that not every hair product is designed with your unique tresses in mind. But the brand that made blowouts a household name created a volumizing mousse that’s perfect for all hair types, including tightly coiled manes like yours. This silky mousse is designed to build body while strengthening your hair and providing vital moisture – an essential for curly to kinky coily hair types. You’ll also like that this hair mousse is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Buy it now at Sephora or Amazon!
5. Best Hydrating: Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse
Big sexy hair doesn’t have to be a pipe dream thanks to Oribe’s plumping hair mousse. If you’ve been on the hunt for a volumizing mousse that delivers, you’ll get that big pageant hair and then some with this option – minus the stickiness or crunchy feelings. You’ll like the all-day hold, moisturizing properties, and the fact that this mousse is safe for color- and keratin-treated hair and also offers vital UV protection. Buy it at Nordstrom or Amazon!
6. Best Weightless: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Weightless Mousse
There’s a big difference between styled and shellacked. So, if you want perfectly styled hair that’s still weightless and doesn’t suffer from product build-up, you’ll like this hair foam. This luxe mousse focuses on providing serious yet soft-to-the-touch hold while also infusing your hair with essential moisture, banishing frizz, and adding shine for a healthy effect. Shop for it now at Ulta or Amazon!
7. Best for Curly Hair: DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam Lightweight Body Booster
When you have curly hair, you know there’s a fine line between “carefree curls” and a frizzy mess. DevaCurl’s got you covered with their Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam that’s designed specifically for wavy and curly hair. You’ll love that this lightweight foam is designed to give you those drool-worthy big curls while adding essential shine and keeping frizz at bay. As you’d expect, this product is alcohol-free to protect moisture levels but adds lemongrass and sunflower for volume and shine. It is available at Sephora and Amazon.
8. Best Lifting: Redken Guts 10 Volumizing Spray Mousse
Thin hair is definitely not the look that people desire these days. So, if your thinner tresses are giving you volume FOMO, Redken’s volumizing spray mousse is the solution to your hair woes. Suitable for all hair types, this anti-frizz volumizing mousse promises to give you maximum lift while still keeping hair flexible. This mousse lifts at the roots for the biggest and boldest hair you could possibly achieve. Shop it at Ulta or Amazon!
9. Best for Wavy Hair: Ouai Air Dry Foam
You don’t have to spend all day at the beach to get the perfectly tousled beach waves that everyone craves. Ouai’s hair foam is designed to be used while you wash your hair to create an effortless hairstyle effect. Formulated specifically for wavy and curly hair, this volumizing mousse also works to condition and detangle hair and is free of parabens, sulfates or phthalates and is infused with North Bondi fragrance. Buy it now at Sephora!
10. Best Versatile: Amika Plus Size Volume & Body Mousse
If you’re sharing hair mousse in your house, then you need a versatile option that can work with the most hair types. Amika’s volumizing mousse is designed for all hair types and promises to create big voluminous hair with their whipped formula.
In addition to adding body and volume, you’ll like the flexible hold and that this frizz-banishing mousse is also designed to serve as a heat protectant. Essential ingredients like sea buckthorn berry, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E help to provide moisture and nutrients to keep your hair looking and feeling healthy. Shop it now at Sephora or Amazon!
11. Best Fortifying: R+Co Star Thickening Style Foam
These days you need a hair care product that does more than just make your hair look nice. R+Co’s thickening hair foam is perfect for all hair types and is designed to be used on damp hair. In addition to serving as a volumizing mousse, you’ll like that the kiwi and mango fruit extract, aloe vera, and infused vitamins help to fortify your hair for intensive moisture without a sticky effect. Get it now at Nordstrom or Amazon!
12. Best Humidity-Resistant: Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus Humidity Resistant Volumizing Spray Mousse
Just because you want voluminous hair doesn’t mean that you want to spend a lot to achieve it. This is the best hair mousse for not breaking the bank while still giving you the voluminous hair you’ve always wanted. You’ll like that this hair foam is designed to work at the root and gives you massive lift without the stickiness. This is especially useful for heavy or thick hair types. Buy it now at Ulta or Amazon!
13. Best for Dry Hair: MoroccanOil Root Boost
When you have dry hair, it can be hard to achieve voluminous hair without shifting into a frizzy mess. MoroccanOil’s Root Boost is designed for all hair types and works as a spray-on mousse to give you ultimate volume and texture. You’ll like that this hair mousse offers intense moisture thanks to the added argan oil while also serving as a heat protectant. Plus, it is paraben- and phthalate-free. Shop it now at Sephora or Amazon!
14. Best Budget: John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Mousse
John Frieda is a legend when it comes to hair care because the brand has become synonymous with creating effective yet affordable products that keep your coif looking perfect. Their thickening hair mousse contains panthenol to help strengthen your hair as it increases the volume. You’ll like that this also works to fight humidity for a style that lasts all day long. Buy it now at Ulta or Amazon!
15. Best for Defined, Soft Curls: Bumble and Bumble Bb. Curl (Style) Conditioning Mousse
Curly hair needs more TLC than straight hair – it’s just a fact of life. Bumble and Bumble’s best-selling hair mousse is designed specifically for wavy, curly, and coily hair regardless of whether your texture is fine, medium, or thick. You’ll like that this lightweight volumizing mousse helps to combat dryness while also defining your curls and preventing frizz.
Nourishing butters and oils focus on hydration. And as you would expect from a brand like this, this styling foam is free of parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil, or phthalates while also being cruelty-free. Shop it at Sephora or Amazon!
16. Best Long-Lasting: Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Foam
Everyone loves defined style, but no one wants a head of hair that feels crunchy. Paul Mitchell’s hair mousse works to prevent frizz while providing shine and infusing moisture into your strands. This volumizing mousse works with panthenol for strengthening support while also defining your curls. Buy it now at Ulta or Amazon!
17. Best Anti-Frizz: Wella EIMI Nutricurls Soft Twirl Anti-Frizz Styling Foam
Wavy hair can easily waffle between frizzy or defined depending on the products that you use. Thankfully, Wella’s styling hair mousse is designed specifically for use with wavy and curly hair to create defined hair that’s voluminous and not frizzy. Wheat bran extract and jojoba oil help to nourish your hair with moisture for a light hold that isn’t crunchy or sticky. Buy it now at Ulta!
18. Best Hold: Joico Joiwhip Firm-Hold Design Foam
Sometimes you need a styling foam that’s meant to give you serious hold. Joico’s Joiwhip Firm-Hold hair foam is created for specifically this use. You’ll like that it’s alcohol-free so it won’t sap your hair of essential moisture. Meanwhile, the kukui nut oil provides vital moisture for a confident hold that can stand up to the windiest day in the town. Buy it now on Amazon!
19. Best for Flexible Control: Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Extreme Curl Mousse
Curly hair can easily veer into the land of insane frizz. Keep frizz at bay with Tigi’s Bed Head Foxy Curls styling mousse. Whether you’re wavy, curly, or kinky coily, this is the best hair mousse designed to give you flexible control while volumizing your hair. For best results, use on wet hair and then set with a blow dryer while using a diffuser attachment. Find it now on Ulta or Amazon!
20. Best TLC: Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Multiplying Volume Styling Mousse
Just like your skin, your hair can change over time. To keep it looking and feeling as healthy as it was when you were younger, Alterna Haircare offers the best hair mousse, designed to protect, strengthen and restore your hair’s natural thickness while minimizing breakage.
This hair mousse acts to actually thicken the diameter of each strand of your hair thanks to the Marine Plumping Complex that has omega-3 and Seasilk. This is also a great solution for color-treated hair to prevent fading. You’ll like that there are no parabens or phthalates either. Buy it now at Sephora or Amazon!
21. Best Non-Drying: Kenra Professional Curl Glaze Mousse 13
Curly hair truly is a unique hair type, as it requires more moisture as well as more frizz prevention than other hair types. You’ll like that Kenra Professional’s hair mousse is alcohol-free to prevent dryness yet offers a hold that can last for up to 60 hours. You’ll get curls that will have your hands in your hair all day yet resist frizz or the effects of humidity. This volumizing mousse is safe for color-treated hair. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!
What Is Hair Mousse and What Does It Do?
With so many different types of hair styling products, it can seem overwhelming to figure out what makes each option different. How is hair mousse different from traditional hair spray or styling gel?
Hair mousse can seem like a confusing product, but it’s actually fairly straightforward. Also known as hair foam or styling foam, hair mousse is a styling product that combines multiple needs in one easy-to-use bottle, like providing hold, creating lift, and bouncing.
Hair mousse can also provide other benefits as well, like moisture and nutrient infusion for shine and definition, fight humidity, serve as a heat protectant, and offer style versatility. But hair mousse is best known for not creating product build-up – a common issue with traditional styling gels and hair sprays.
The composition of a hair mousse is alcohol, water, and active ingredients in an aerosol can, which gives it that lightweight foamy texture. Oils, polymers, and chemicals are also added to the formula to hydrate and add shine, to volumize and thicken, as well as to keep frizz at bay.
This multitasking product was first invented in France, and later brought to North America by L’Oreal in the 1980s. The original version was packaged usually in an aerosol foam spray or cream foam.
Thanks to the big hair trend of the ‘80s, hair mousse was a serious staple. While hairstyles have changed, volumizing mousse has continued to be a mainstay over the decades but has transitioned to offer a more flexible hold that’s not crunchy to the touch thanks to the modern alcohol-free formulas.
Who Should Use Hair Mousse?
The truth is, almost anyone can use hair mousse. There is a range of options that are designed for various hair types and textures. But hair foam isn’t a one size fits all affair.
Hair mousse, much like other hair care products, is often designed with specific hair types and textures in mind. As you noted in our roundup, we highlighted who is best served by each particular hair mousse. So, it’s always important to read the product description and confirm that the mousse you’re considering buying is designed for your hair in particular.
If you’re familiar with the hair typing system, you know that there are four core hair types. Type 1 is straight hair, type 2 is slightly wavy, type 3 is curly, and type 4 is kinky coily.
Likewise, there are multiple mousse weights. Some are billed as lightweight, whereas others are denser. Lightweight hair mousse is ideal for wavy and curly hair, whereas a denser formula is best for thinner or straight hair. Conditioning mousse is best for dry hair, while mousse gel is a hybrid product that provides great hold without looking as artificial as hair gel.
However, there are a few hair types that shouldn’t rely on hair mousse. Specifically, particularly parched curly hair that’s constantly in need of moisture should avoid hair mousse.
Note, though, that not everyone who’s naturally curly has a moisture problem. You’ll know that your hair is excessively dry because it will feel brittle and dry. And if this is the case for you, skip mousse and opt for the layering LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method to seal in moisture.
Hair Mousse vs. Hair Gel vs. Hairspray
Okay, so now you know what hair mousse is, but how exactly does it differ from other styling products? And is there a time where one option is better or worse than the other?
Hair mousse is the most versatile styling product, working for different hair types, textures, and lengths. It tames the frizz, defines curls, builds volume and thickness with a light hold. The only downside is that the hold it creates isn’t as long-lasting as the one you’ll get using styling gel or hairspray.
On the most obvious levels, hair gel is a jelly-like substance that is used to style hair. It’s wet to the touch and eventually dries when it comes into contact with air. It’s a thick substance but is easy to manipulate into your hair.
Gel typically offers a stronger hold as compared to hair mousse and is usually ideal for strategic hairstyles that require a sculpted or extremely defined look. However, depending on the hold level, hair gel can leave your hair with that telltale stiff look and feel. And if it’s not alcohol-free, you can experience product build-up by way of white flakes.
Hairspray is a spray that is usually ideal for fixing or setting a style after you’ve finished manipulating your hair. It’s great for banishing flyaways or ensuring that waves and heat-styled curls stand the test of time throughout the day or evening. But daily use of hairspray can lead to serious product build-up that will require daily washing.
Reasons Why You Should Use Hair Mousse
If you’ve been struggling to properly style your tresses, it might be time to forget images of hard, crunchy 1980s-era mousse-styled hair and embrace the modern iteration of hair mousse. But if you still need more reasons for why mousse is truly your hair’s new BFF, keep reading.
• Because Hairspray Isn’t Always Effective
There’s nothing more frustrating than spraying your hair to the heavens only to walk outside and have it either fall flat or grow into an unwieldy cotton candy mass of curls. Hairspray is great, but it has limitations. Specifically, we’re talking about humidity. In contrast, hair mousse is better at fighting humidity and other forms of weather precipitation.
• For Curls That Are Defined – Not Slicked down
When you have curly hair, it can feel like you only have two choices, cotton candy or slicked down greasy hair. And if slicked-down hair is your thing, go for it with that hair gel. But if what you want is definition where you and everyone else can actually see your curl pattern, a good hair mousse that’s designed for curly hair is really the way to go. Mousse manages to hydrate and define each curl without weighing them down.
• Because You Want Volume That Moves
We get it, you don’t want to look like a 1980s throwback. So that means you want voluminous hair, but you also want for the wind to be able to blow through it for a photoshoot effect. A good volumizing mousse can check off both of those boxes by lifting at the roots, building bounce, keeping your hair touchably soft – and most importantly, weightless.
• Hair Mousse Tends to Be Goof-Proof
Assuming you don’t use half a can of mousse to style your hair, it’s pretty hard to mess up a hairstyle with hair mousse. As long as you follow the directions on the packaging, you can be confident that you’ll walk away with a hairstyle that looks exactly like you wanted it to.
• Added Benefits All in One Styling Product
If you’re the type that relies heavily on heat styling tools, a good hair mousse can provide heat protection and keep your tresses healthy no matter how you style your hair. And other benefits include moisture infusion, breakage prevention, and a wealth of other benefits that help to minimize the total amount of product you need to apply to your hair. And that also speeds up your daily beauty routine.
How to Use Hair Mousse Properly
You know what hair mousse is, what it isn’t, and why everyone should at least consider using it. But is there a right and a wrong way to use this multitasking hair care marvel? The tl;dr answer is yes, there are certainly right and wrong ways to use mousse. So, keep reading for quick dos and don’ts.
The basic steps of applying hair mousse are as follows:
- Shake the bottle and glaze a small amount of product on freshly washed damp hair, distributing it from root to tip.
- Add more product to the areas that didn’t get moussed up.
- Use your blow dryer diffuser to style curls and waves the way you like.
Always Start with Clean Hair
Unsurprisingly, just like everything else in beauty, you need to start with a clean base. Applying hair mousse on top of dirty hair is only going to lead to product build-up, which will impact your final style.
Don’t Use Too Much Product
The easiest way to go wrong with hair mousse is by using way too much product. Use too much, and you’ll be left with crunchy and stiff hair. Most people are fine with a tennis ball-sized amount. But those with longer or thicker hair can opt for a tad bit more. However, it’s always best to start with the tennis ball size and then add more if needed.
Damp – Not Wet – Hair Is Best
Mousse tends to work best on damp hair, so make sure to wring out any excess water. For best results, dry your hair with a T-shirt to prevent breakage.
Use the Right Blow Dryer Attachment
Regardless of whether you have straight, wavy, or curly hair, a blow dryer is a good way to set whatever style you’re attempting to achieve. No matter your hair type, don’t use a blow dryer without an attachment. If you have curly or wavy hair, invest in a good diffuser attachment that will dry your hair without disturbing your curl pattern. But straight hair should be dried with a concentrator nozzle to minimize the risk of frizz.
Note, though, that you can apply hair mousse to damp hair, let it air-dry, and still create great results that can be restyled throughout the day. But if you want a more structured style, blow-drying is the best option.
Keep Mousse at the Roots for Short Hair
For truly short hair, mousse can work to help lift your roots and create definition. Concentrate your mousse application at the roots with either your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
Volumizing Long Hair with Hair Mousse
On wet hair, concentrate your hair mousse application to your roots. Be sure to use a volumizing mousse for the best results. Depending on how much time you have, you can methodically apply the mousse section by section or opt just to flip your head over and quickly spread it through your roots while your hair hangs down. After distributing the product, use a blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle. Focus on your roots to help build lift.
On wet hair, apply hair mousse evenly throughout your hair from root to tips. With a diffuser attachment, blow-dry your hair or opt to air-dry. Scrunch your hair with your hands to help set your curls.
Extra Tips for Using Hair Mousse
You might feel like a hair mousse pro after this article, but here are a few more tips and tricks to make you an expert.
Match Your Mousse to Your Hair Type
Like we mentioned earlier, all mousse products aren’t created equal. Many are designed for specific issues such as anti-humidity, or for specific hair types. Always confirm that the hair mousse you plan to buy is designed for your hair type and any specific hair concerns that you have.
Opt for an Opposite Side Part
Even if you always part your hair on the left, opt for a part on the right to help instantly lift your roots.
Be Careful with Mixing Styling Hold Products
If you’re already using a hair mousse, you might not need to also add a super-hold gel or a styling wax. But if you do decide to include them in your styling routine, be sparing with how much product you use. Adding too many styling products can easily leave you with stiff, crunchy hair with product build-up.
Don’t Apply Mousse to Dry Hair
Hair mousse works best on damp hair. If you try to apply it to dry hair, you’ll end up with flat, dull hair.
Photos via @natalieannehair, @taliamarmusic, @kellyshahbazian, @overglowedit