Byrdie March 22, 2024



The 15 Best Volumizing Mousses that Give Life to Flat Roots


The best for body, definition, and shine.

Volumizing hair mousse really doesn’t get enough credit for just how valuable it can be. Sure, the formulas of the ‘80s were crunchy and stiff, but nowadays, improved formulas add unmatched body, shine, and hold—without the downfalls of the products we knew decades ago. “Mousse is actually one of my favorite ways to create volume and hold within a hairstyle,” says hairstylist John Pulitano. “It’s one of the most effective and versatile hair styling products out there.” 

We researched and rounded up several suggestions from stylists and tried a handful of these products ourselves, taking into account each product’s texture and feel, ingredient list, and overall performance, to give you the gravity-defying volume you’ve been dreaming of. Ahead, find the best volumizing mousses for every hair type, from curly and coily to straight and fine.


Best Overall

Kérastase Densifique Leave-In Thickening Mousse

What We Like

  • Lightweight, non-sticky consistency
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Boosts hair's shine, body, and overall hydration

What We Don't Like

  • Heavily fragranced

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides | Hair Type: All | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

This universally appealing mousse is suitable for all hair types, making it an excellent choice if you're a hair mousse newbie. It's formulated with hydrating ingredients that we'd put on our face, like hyaluronic acid,ceramides, as well as peptides to help reduce hair breakage. It gives the hair a thicker, more full appearance without creating a sticky or crunchy result. Many reviewers with fine hair who say that they struggle to find mousse products that don't weigh down their hair have noted that the lightweight texture and soft finish of this one work wonders for adding volume without weighing down roots. It's worth noting that it's pretty heavily fragranced, so if this isn't your thing, you may want to skip it.

Best Budget

John Frieda Volume Lift Air Whipped Foam

What We Like

  • Works well on fine or thin hair
  • Lightweight feel
  • Boosts fullness and volume

What We Don't Like

  • May not be ideal for thicker hair

Key Ingredients: Vp/methacrylamide/vinyl imidazole copolymer, panthenol | Hair Type: Balanced to fine | Dosage: Palm-full | Size: 7.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Ideal for styling fine hair, this affordable buy works wonders when it comes to creating volume and fullness (thank you polymer technology). The formula also contains caffeine (to help invigorate the scalp)1 and panthenol (aka vitamin B5) to hydrate and revive dry hair. Note that while it's excellent for fine hair, those with thicker more dense hair might not find that it provides enough hold.

Best Drugstore

Dove Style + Care Curls Defining Mousse

What We Like

  • Great price
  • Lightweight feel

What We Don't Like

  • Contains hydrofluorocarbons

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, DMDM hydantoin | Hair Type: Curly, thick | Size: 7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you want to add lift and definition to your curls (no matter your curl pattern), without spending a lot of money, this Dove mousse is pretty hard to beat. It contains dimethicone to smooth and shape the hair,2 while the lightweight texture boosts and volumizes strands without that tacky, heavy, or stiff feeling. It does outline that it’s best for curls, however, we also think this formula would be great for heavy, thick, or coarse hairtypes.

Best Multipurpose

Vegamour GRO Hair Foam for Thinning Hair

What We Like

  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Reduces signs of hair shedding
  • Clinically proven to increase hair fullness

What We Don't Like

  • Small size

Key Ingredients: Turmeric, N. benthamiana, red clover | Hair Type: All | Size: 1.1 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Multi-purpose products add such value to your beauty routine, and this hair mousse that doubles as a hair growth treatment is a fantastic example. It provides the benefits of a great hair mousse—volume, lift, and texture—while also containing proprietary ingredients like turmeric, red clover, and nicotiana benthamiana (a plant native to Australia) to support fuller-looking hair. According to the brand, it's been clinically proven to show visible results in as soon as three months, making it a fantastic option if you use mousse consistently and you're hoping to increase your hair density, too. Our only gripe is that we wish it came in a larger bottle.

Best for Curls

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Mousse

What We Like

  • Defines and enhances natural curl shape
  • High shine, soft finish
  • Smoothing

What We Don't Like

  • Flimsy bottle

Key Ingredients: Deionized water, silk protein, keratin | Hair Type: Curly, wavy, coils, thick | Size: 7.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This formula, which is infused with silk protein and keratin, delivers curl-enhancing volume with botanical extracts designed to activate your curl's natural curl or wave pattern. We love the high-shine, soft finish that leaves curls bouncy without any sticky residue or crunching. It's also great for helping to smooth flyaways. We just wish the packaging was slightly more sturdy.

Best for Curls, Runner-Up

TGIN Rose Water Curl Defining Mousse

What We Like

  • Moisturizing
  • Powered by natural botanicals
  • Provides soft, natural hold for curls

What We Don't Like

  • The volume is subtle

Key Ingredients: Rose water, acai extract, ginger root, lavender, maltodextrin/VA-copolymer | Hair Type: Balanced to curly or coiled | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This nourishing mousse is packed with moisture-rich rose water, plus botanicals including lavender, ginger, acai, and marula to care for curls while creating soft, subtle volume. There’s also polymer technology to shape and define curls and waves. If you're looking for a mousse that won't create stiffness or totally lock curls into place but rather keep them lightly defined, this is the one for you.

Best for Fine Hair

Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse

What We Like

  • Lightweight feel
  • Has heat protection
  • Thickens

What We Don't Like

  • Creates build-up if used for several days

Key Ingredients: Vp/methacrylamide/vinyl imidazole copolymer, panthenol, acacia senegal gum | Hair Type: Fine, thin, or balanced | Dosage: Egg-sized amount | Size: 2 fluid ounces, 5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Those with fine hair will know that creating volume is a difficult balance—if you add too much product, you’ll simply end up with hair that is limp, greasy, and completely weighed down. Thankfully, this mousse from Living Proof gets it right. The secret is a patented thickening molecule that builds on existing hair, giving the illusion of serious volume. It’s also quite light, so there’s no tack or stiffness. While the product works great on day one, if you continue to layer it on, it can lead to build-up and a bit of a film on the hair.

Best for Wavy Hair

Amika Plus Size Perfect Body Mousse

What We Like

  • Holds up in humidity
  • Boosts shine
  • Defines waves without crunchiness

What We Don't Like

  • Strong scent might be too much for some

Key Ingredients: AMP-acrylates/allyl methacrylate copolymer, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, sea buckthorn extract | Hair Type: All | Dosage: Golf-ball-sized amount | Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This airy, whipped option is amazing when it comes to creating soft, beachy waves. It provides a flexible hold, and it's formulated with shaping polymers and sea buckthorn for nourishment, leaving your hair soft, tousled, and defined. Pair it with a sea salt spray for a more undone finish.

Best for Dry Hair

R+Co Aircraft Pomade Mousse

What We Like

  • Corn starch prevents greasy roots
  • Hydrating and strengthening formula
  • Provides smooth finish

What We Don't Like

  • We wish the bottle was bigger for the price

Key Ingredients: Corn starch, synthetic beeswax, papaya fruit extract, neem oil | Hair Type: Balanced, dry, and colored | Size: 5.6 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Pulitano loves this mousse for clients with fine, brittle, or dry hair, thanks to the inclusion of papaya, protein, and neem oil. “Mousse can be drying due to the alcohol content, but Aircraft is surprisingly soft and nourishing. I love smoothing it through the hair before a bouncy blow dry for long-lasting results.” The addition of corn starch prevents grease around the roots, too.3

Best Splurge

Leonor Greyl Au Lotus Volumizing Mousse

What We Like

  • Luxurious, lightweight consistency
  • Adds volume and boosts shine
  • Smoothing finish

What We Don't Like

  • Oils in formula can clog pores along hairline

Key Ingredients: Polyquaternium 4/Hydroxypropyl Starch Copolymer, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, buxus chinensis seed oil | Hair Type: Thin, mature, dry or colored | Size: 5.1 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Formulated without alcohol, this lush French buy is all of our luxury beauty dreams realized. It’s airy and light, so it works on thin, frizzy, or mature hair (there’s no stiffness whatsoever). The addition of castor and jojoba oils recondition the hair, too. (Just keep in mind that these oils can clog your pores if they drip onto your skin.)

Best for Colored Hair

Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse

What We Like

  • Provides shine and bounce
  • Works well on all hair types
  • Has heat protection

What We Don't Like

  • Can leave a bit of a film in the hair

Key Ingredients: VP/VA Copolymer, panthenol, amber resin extract | Hair Type: All | Size: 5.7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

“This mousse is hard to beat,” says Pulitano. “It coats each hair fiber, leaving it shiny, full, and manageable—not to mention beautifully bouncy.” This soft, velvety, and color-safe formula is amazing for building structure within the hair, ensuring excellent hold and a long-lasting finish. Also, it’s got that signature expensive Oribe scent (need we say more). The only downside is that it can leave a bit of film on the hair. Tip: Be sure to work the mousse through your hair evenly to avoid this.

Best for Frizz

IGK Big Time Volumizing Mousse

What We Like

  • Smooths frizz
  • Protects against heat damage
  • Adds volume

What We Don't Like

  • Leaves hair with a bit of a gritty texture

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, sunflower seed extract | Hair Type: Frizzy | Size: 6.2 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you're looking for a mousse to use before you blow dry your hair in order to provide volume and smooth flyaways, we recommend this one. After applying it on towel-dried hair and giving yourself a blowout, it works to add volume, provide a smooth finish, and act as a heat protectant. It also helps to preserve the longevity of your hairstyle, and we love that it's suitable for a wide range of hair types.

Best for Shine

Virtue Volumizing Mousse

What We Like

  • Impressive ingredients
  • Boosts shine and volume
  • Repairs damage and prevents breakage

What We Don't Like

  • Hair can feel crunchy if too much product is used

Key Ingredients: VP/VA copolymer, acrylates copolymer, keratin, hydrolyzed soy protein, wheat amino acids, panthenol | Hair Type: All | Size: 5.1 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Virtue always exceeds our expectations, and this volumizing mousse is no different. It’s packed with keratin, proteins, panthenol, and polymers and will help nourish, strengthen, and build body, all while creating a healthy-looking, ultra-shiny finish. Also nice: The keratin component is actually designed to replenish keratin bonds within the hair, repairing damage and preventing breakage.4 Try to use it sparingly, though. Some online reviewers share that if they used too much product, their hair felt crunchy.

Best for Definition

The Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam

What We Like

  • Excellent hold and lift
  • Lightweight foam adds shine
  • Sculpts curls

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers note it can dry out your ends

Key Ingredients: Panthenol, silk amino acids, | Hair Type: All | Size: 7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This lightweight foam mousse contains natural moisturizers and silk proteins to tamp flyaways, lock in moisture, and strengthen hair, leaving hair soft and shiny. Reviewers note the formula sculpts and creates definition nicely without leaving any flakes behind. Reviewers also note that the product can be drying, especially on the ends, so you might need to condition a bit deeper or finish off with a lightweight hair oil.

Best for Bounce

Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Curl Defining Mousse

What We Like

  • Lifts and volumizes
  • Defines curls
  • Fruit extracts provide hydration

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers note a sticky feel

Key Ingredients: PVP, silk amino acids, panthenol | Hair Type: All | Size: 7.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This lightweight lifting mousse adds spring to curls. Reviewers note how well it works to make coils pop and that it has amazing holding power. A botanical blend of fruit extracts helps provide humectant hydration while keeping flyaways at bay, although some reviewers note it gave their hair a slightly sticky feeling.

What to Look For When Buying a Hair Mousse

  • Hair type: First and foremost, you should consider your hair type. Hair mousse products designed for thin, fine hair will be vastly different from those intended for thick, curly hair. Mousses appear lightweight but the addition of oils or thickening agents may weigh down hair types with less bulk or texture.
  • Volume-boosting ingredients: When it comes to hair that lacks body, look for products that contain ingredients to thicken and plump up the hair shaft. “Polymers, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and even bamboo will lift and volumize fine hair,” says Pulitano. Additionally, look for silk amino acids and panthenol help to strengthen hair, add body, and protect from some of the drying effects of some mousse formulas.5
  • Texture: The texture of your volumizing mousse is also important, explains Pulitano: “I favor products with an airy, silky texture as they’re easier to work with and don’t leave a tacky residue.” Pulitano adds that while it does differ between brands and formulations, a thicker mousse often dictates a stronger hold, whereas a thinner formula will likely provide a light hold.


Does volumizing mousse work?

According to hairstylist Shelly Aguirre, volumizing mousses are an effective way to add volume to fine, limp hair textures. Just be sure not to over apply the product as this could lead to weighed down hair.

How do you apply mousse for volume?

When applying a volumizing mousse, Aguirre recommends beginning with a golf ball sized dollop of product and emulsifying it in your hands before applying it to damp (so not too wet) hair. “Use your fingers to spread the product all over the hair strands,” she says. “You can always add more, but too much is not good, so always err on the side of caution.” From there, you can either let your hair air dry or brush the hair upwards while blow-drying to add extra lift at the roots.

Why Trust Byrdie

For the purpose of this roundup, we’ve tested and tried some of the leading volumizing mousse formulas on the market. We also spoke with trusted hairstylists for expert tips and recommendations. Finally, Byrdie contributor Emily Algar (the writer) is the owner of very fine, soft hair, so she knows a quality volume-boosting product when she sees it.

For this story, she consulted with:

John Pulitano, a professional hairstylist and the co-owner and creative director of Headcase Hair, a salon in Sydney, Australia.

Shelly Aguirre, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She specializes in cutting, blowouts, extensions, and keratin treatments.