Today February 21, 2023



How to add body and hold to your hair with mousse, according to stylists


Everyone's favorite '90s hair product is making a comeback.

When was the last time you used mousse? For most of us, it was probably the '90s or early 2000s when the wet look was all the rage and people were still straightening their side bangs and scrunching their hair with pounds of the foamy (and sticky) product.

Since then, hair mousse isn’t as relied on as it used to be. But if you’re looking to add volume, body and a little hold to your hair, it might be the key to perfecting your latest style.

Shop TODAY spoke to three hairstylists about who should — and shouldn’t — use mousse, how to apply it like a pro and their picks of the best ones available on the market right now.


What are the benefits of using hair mousse?

Stylists Leigh Hardges, Michelle Cleveland and Matthew JeanPierre list light hold, volume and fuller-looking hair as some of the benefits of using mousse.

“Volumizing mousse is a product that, when applied to the root or scalp area, will cause the base of the hair strand to stay erect resulting in a fuller look,” Cleveland explains.

Similar to the way most of us used to use it, JeanPierre also mentions using mousse as a way to achieve the wet look without actually leaving your hair wet.

“A lot of girls like to put mousse in [their hair] because it’ll keep it looking wet and scrunched, but it won’t poof up when it dries,” he tells us.

JeanPierre, who specializes in wigs, also likes to use mousse to style baby hairs and keep the hair laying flat. “Sometimes a wig can get clumpy, so you would use a hot comb and some mousse. It’ll get your hair laying flat and looking natural,” he explains.


Best hair mousses to use, according to stylists

Sebastian Whipped Crème

Hardges calls this one of her favorite mousses. According to the brand, it's perfect for use as a light curl cream and even provides shine and hydration. Amazon reviewers agree that not only does it leave their hair styled to perfection and frizz-free, it also has a delightful scent.

Shea Moisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse

Classic curl care brand Shea Moisture is behind JeanPierre's mousse pick for natural hair. It's sulfate-, silicone- and paraben-free and the brand says it enhances your natural curl memory without leaving any residue behind.

Shop TODAY production associate Jill Ortiz says this is what she uses when keeping her hair curly. "She’s the creme de la creme — hold, moisture, easy to use — she’s got what you’re looking for," she raves.

Oribe Tres Set Structure Spray

Hardges raves about this mousse from Oribe. Instead of the typical spout you see from other mousses, this one comes out as a spray.

"You can direct it a little bit better and move a little more quickly. It is awesome," she says.

Kérastase Mousse Bouffant

Another recommendation from Hardges, this Kérastase mousse features key ingredients of marula oil, camellia oil and argan oil to keep your hair feeling soft and supple. According to the brand, it also provides heat and UV protection, while remaining suitable for all hair types and textures.

Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion

A JeanPierre pick for working with wigs, this foaming lotion touts benefits like being non-flaking, adding body, conditioning the hair and being fast-drying. Shoppers with different hair types and styles love it, too. It has over 11,600 verified five-star ratings on Amazon.

Sebastian Mousse Forte

"I love Mousse Forte from Sebastian for this job!" raves Cleveland. "[It] smells great, too!"

According to the brand's description, this mousse touts benefits like defining waves and curls, all-day frizz control and strong, manageable hold.

Lottabody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse

"Lottabody is a really popular one within the wig community," JeanPierre tells us.

It's made with nourishing coconut and shea oils to define curls and defeat frizz. It's also highly rated on Amazon with a verified five-star rating from almost 17,700 shoppers. For less than $4, it's a product you can't pass up.

ORS Olive Oil Hold & Shine Wrap/Set Mousse

JeanPierre's final recommendation for natural hair comes in the form of this wrap/set that claims to do everything from reducing frizz to providing longer-lasting results from roller sets.

More hair mousses to try

Function of Beauty Zero Gravity Styling Mousse

Shop TODAY senior SEO editor Jess Bender says her mom loves this mousse because it doesn't leave her hair feeling crunchy. Part of the brand's wavy hair collection, this mousse is designed to enhance and define your natural waves without leaving them feeling stiff. According to the description, it can protect and defend hair against heat, pollution, UV stress and color fading.

Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam

Another mom-approved pick, Shop TODAY editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger says her mom is a fan of this styling foam from Aveda for it's non-stickiness and pleasant scent. According to its description, it's best used on fine-to-medium hair and offers light-to-medium hold. It has more than 2,000 five star reviews on the brand's site.

Aussie Instant Volume 24-Hour Volume Mousse

If you're looking for a budget-friendly pick, you can't go wrong with this Aussie mousse that's just under $5. It boasts all-day hold and volume that will last 24 hours. For the Aussie superfans, you can grab a trio of the fan-favorite mousses on Amazon for $15.


Frequently asked questions

Who should use hair mousse?

Mousse refers to the foamy texture in which a product comes out, so there are plenty of products that can be called mousse. But when most people think of mousse, a typically volumizing product comes to mind.

For these types of mousses, Hardges and Cleveland agree that it best serves people with fine to medium-thickness hair. “Volumizing mousse is best for fine-haired girls since it creates the illusion of having more hair,” says Cleveland.

Hardges also likes to use mousse on fine hair because it’s light and keeps the hair from being weighed down. She mentions using the foamy product on roller sets on relaxed natural hair, saying “they definitely have their place.”

When to avoid hair mousse

If you have dry or dehydrated hair, Cleveland and Hardges say you’re probably better off avoiding mousse.

“I would avoid these types of products as they can strip the hair of essential oils,” notes Cleveland.

How to apply hair mousse

Hardges and Cleveland recommend applying mousse at the hair root and then working it through to the ends. The latter emphasizes applying the product to your hands first instead of applying it directly from the bottle to your hand.

When applying mousse, Hardges suggests making sure your hair is at least 60 percent dry before applying product section by section. She does this as she blow dries because mousse can get tacky quickly, which can cause your hair to get stuck to your blow dryer and — in the worst case scenario — potentially burn your hair. “Keep it at the root and keep softer styling products at the ends like a styling oil or a gloss or something like that,” she says.

JeanPierre has two tips for applying mousse: Know which one works best for your hair, and less is always more. “Sometimes you don’t have to overuse a product; I think you just have to use the right amount that works for your hair,” he says.

How much mousse you need will depend on your hair type, he adds. For tighter textures, you’ll probably need more mousse (around six to seven pumps) to cover your entire hair. But for looser textures, you might only need around four to get the job done. “It’s just about how tight your hair is and how much hair you have on your scalp,” he says.

Meet the stylists

Leigh Hardges is a stylist with 15 years of experience at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

Michelle Cleveland is a stylist with over 16 years of experience and the owner of Hair Addict Salon and Extension Bar in New Jersey.

Matthew JeanPierre, founder of Slayed by Matthew, is an Atlanta-based stylist who specializes in wig installations.