Mousse is making a comeback in a big way. Here’s how to use it like a pro
The products on this page have been chosen by our editorial team. If you buy something we recommend we may earn an affiliate commission.
Much like fashion, hair trends also often work in cycles. However, they aren’t just confined to particular cuts or styles, but also certain products too. The next big comeback in hair? Mousse - but not as we’ve come to know it.
Far from making our curls and waves crispy like it did in our school days, mousse has had a makeover and is now lightweight, silky and deliciously whipped. Plus it's just as good for straight hair as it is for curly, gives hold, volume, natural texture and creating the illusion of thicker hair.
Here's your need to know on the lightest styling trick out there.
What can mousse do for you?
“It can be used on so many different hair types,” notes hairstylist Jamie Stevens , who’s an advocate of using it during blow-drying to give hair extra hold. Adding volume to straight hair (plus, making it easier to curl), thickness to thin hair and providing greater definition to curls, there’s a strong set of reasons suggesting why it’s a ‘trend’ that boasts some serious staying power.
What’s the best way to apply mousse?
Often worried that mousse might weigh my hair down, I’d steered away from it in the past if truth be told. However, this could very well be because I’d been applying incorrectly. “When showing clients how to use it, we always say to apply the mousse to a comb first and then comb it through,” recommends Jamie. “This way, it’s applied more evenly and you won't overload in one area.”
If you’re looking for the type of crunchy style that’s reminiscent of the 90s though, it’s best to get more hands-on: “If you are putting it on to dry naturally for a more scrunch-dried look, then I would use my hands and apply with a scrunching motion all over," Jamie says.
For naturally curly hair, mousse can prove to have an invaluable place in your styling regime when it comes to definition. Application again is key. “It’s not just what you use, it’s the way you use it that makes it modern,” explains hairstylist and curl specialist, Karine Jackson .
Her method of choice? Cocktailing mousse with argan oil to style hair, distributing it evenly from root to tip for a full head of curls. Hair needn’t be wet to begin with either. “I think most people think mousse should be used on damp hair, but it can really amp up your texture and crisp up curls when dispensed into dry hair,” she says, also noting how mousse's revival coincides with the return of another iconic 80s hair trend - the perm. “We’re seeing a resurgence of perms in the salon - we’re doing around four a day,” she comments. “You can’t really style a perm without mousse, it’s a curl essential. I think there’s a preconception that if you have a perm, you’ll wake up with good-to-go perfect curls every morning - but you do still need to style it and mousse will be your best friend for this.”
The best hair mousses to try now
Hersheson's Zhoosh Foam, £12
For oomph and volume, this is your one-stop hair shop, adding that little je ne sais quoi to lacklustre hair. It puffs out of the pump like a cloud in a dry foam formula for extra lift wherever you want it. Use it on dry hair to give volume to flat roots or apply to wet hair to get it ready for styling or to define curls that you're air-drying . You can apply it to day old hair too, to bring life back to it. It disappears into both wet or dry hair, leaving movement in its wake, but without stickiness.
Virtue Volumizing Mousse, £34
Virtue's whole haircare range is infused with wonder-ingredient keratin which binds to damaged hair and strengthens it without weighing down your curls. It smoothes flyaways and strengthens strands with baobab seed oil adding an injection of shine. Whether air drying or using a diffuser, this is a favourite of GTG's editorial director Victoria for how well it defines curls and keeps them light.
Michael Van Clarke Volumising Mousse, £12.50
Created by pro hair styled Michael Van Clarke, this is another mousse loved by Victoria who is fond of it for its volume imparting powers, with zero stickiness. She likes to use it pre-blow dry to give life to thin hair
Amika Plus Size Perfect Body Mousse, £20
This beautifully packaged mousse has a cushiony-whipped formula that adds volume and body without stiffness, giving flexible hold that moves as much as you do.
Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, £25
We can always rely on Living Proof to create science-backed haircare that really works and this citrus-scented mousse is no exception. It creates a tiny pattern of thickening dots on the strands for bigger hair that’s still touchably soft - no crispiness here. It provides heat protection up to 160 degrees too, if you’re using this pre blow dry.
It's a 10 Miracle Styling Mousse, £14.50
This airy foam gives texture and hold without the crunch. It adds shine and lift with a concoction of hair-loving nutrients for long-lasting curls.
Percy & Reed Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Mousse , £15
A favourite in the GTG office for its ability to add body and bounce to fine hair types in particular, this pick is brilliant at adding noticeable volume while keeping ends soft too. “A good tip is while the hair is still wet, apply the mousse and comb from root to tip. Dry your head upside down, continually moving your hair, until it is 80-90 per cent dry,” says hair pro Adam Reed. “Then take sections of the hair and smooth with a round brush and hairdryer.”
Schwarzkopf got2b Volumaniac Mousse, £4.29
A budget beauty buy that packs some serious punch for its price tag, it leaves fine and straight hair types both bigger and bouncier.
Matrix Biolage Style Link Volume Builder Mousse, £8.80
Jamie Steven’s top pick, this airy-textured mousse provides instant weightless body to hair that’s looking for a professional-looking pick-me-up.
Organic Colour Systems Volume Mousse, £13
A favourite of Karine Jackson’s for curly hair, she favours mixing it with a drop of argan oil and working it evenly through the hair to create great texture and a modern shape.
Moroccanoil Beach Wave Mousse, £17.45
The ideal pick for those looking more for texture than volume, this mousse does exactly what it says on the tin. More mermaid than Mayfair blowdry, it provides a sea salt-free way of making waves. Plus, a little goes a long way, so start off slowly if you have finer hair.
MORE GLOSS: I air-dried my hair for a whole summer; here's what I learned