You’ve surely heard of the magic of hair mousse and how it can leave your hair looking soft and natural as opposed to wet and crunchy like some sprays and gels can do. In this guide, we set you up with everything you need to know about mousse so that your hair can meet its match.
Contrary to popular belief, hair mousse isn’t just for thick and long curly hair, as it can be used to define thin and short wavy hair, too! In recent years with new formulations, the possibilities for the product have exploded. It’s just a matter of figuring out what type of mousse is right for your waves.
- Will Mousse Work for My Hair?
- Top 10 Best Mousses for Wavy Hair 2023
- 1. Best Overall Mousse: Biolage Styling Foam
- 2. Best Mousse for Thin Hair: Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte
- 3. Best Alcohol-Free Mousse: Nexxus Volumizing Foam
- 4. Best Budget Mousse: L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse
- 5. Best Premium Mousse: SexyHair Styling Mousse
- 6. Best Volumizing Mousse: Aussie Headstrong Volume Mousse
- 7. Best Mousse for Thick Wavy Hair: John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse
- 8. Best Mousse for Thick and Coily Hair: Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse
- 9. Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly
- 10. Best Mousse for Color-Treated Hair: OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse
- Buying the Best Mousse for Wavy Hair
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Time to Make Some Waves
Will Mousse Work for My Hair?
We searched the internet for the best mousse for wavy hair and came up kicking. But before we reveal our top picks of the year, there are a few things you should know.
What Is Hair Mousse?
Hair mousse, or styling foam, adds volume to hair without weighing it down. Its light and fluffy texture provides the hair with both conditioning and hold. This styling product uses synthetic resins to coat the hairs, which allows us to sculpt our locks. Hair mousse is typically dispensed in an aerosol foam and can be applied to wet hair for styling or to dry hair to reduce frizz and define curls and waves.
What to Consider When Selecting Mousse for Wavy Hair
When selecting a mousse for wavy hair, there are a few things to keep in mind. Taking the following factors into consideration can prevent you from choosing a mousse that falls flat of your expectations.
Before you choose a hair styling product, it’s always important to consider your hair type and style. The longer and thicker your hair is, the more hold you will need.
Hair mousses come in all different shapes and sizes, and they come in different levels of hold, too! Depending on your hair texture, you might need something a little more heavy-duty. You also might just be looking for something that just adds a little pop to your hairstyle. We’ll display the strength of each product as we move through our list.
Type of Mousse
Hair mousse was first introduced to North America by L’Oreal in the early 1980s. It quickly grew in popularity, and today, there are more than a few types of hair mousses to choose from. As we go through our top picks, we’ll let you know what type of mousse we’re working with. A quick rundown of the main product families can be seen below:
- Curl Enhancing Mousse: As expected, a curl enhancing mousse tightens and moisturizes existing curls in the hair.
- Volumizing Mousse: Foaming volumizing mousses are massaged into the hair to add air, volume, and moisture to already-wavy locks.
- Frizz Ease Mousse: Many with wavy hair struggle with stray frizz: combat the frizz monster with a mousse that hydrates stray hairs.
- Styling Mousse: Styling mousses are made with maximum hold to help make whatever hairstyle you have stay in place.
To find out more about mousse and how it compares to other hair styling products, like gel, check out our full buyer’s guide. Or, if you’re all ready to go, read on and discover which mousses made the grade in 2021.
Top 10 Best Mousses for Wavy Hair 2023
1. Best Overall Mousse: Biolage Styling Foam
- Type: Styling Mousse
- Hold: Medium
Biolage is a high-quality hair company that many stylists swear by. Their styling foam is suitable for all hair types and continues to make waves all around the world. It provides the hair with a medium hold that goes above and beyond to condition locks with UV filters. A small dollop of the formula can transform dry and bushy hair, taming it along the way.
Unlike some hair mousses that leave the hair feeling heavy and slightly sticky, this high-quality mousse goes on light, giving the hair body instead of weighing it down. It smells amazing, too, but not in an overbearing way. We love how this styling foam doesn’t contain any parabens, mineral oils, or artificial colorants. It leaves your hair feeling silky and bouncy — just the way we like it!
Biolage Styling Foam is strong enough to add a slight wave to straight hair, or a slight curl to wavy hair. However, if you have thin hair, apply as little foam as possible, as an overabundance may cause your hair to take on a greasy undertone. If you’d rather not chance it, opt for a mousse-like Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte instead. Biolage Styling Foam can be a little pricey, but a small amount goes a long way, and besides, can we really put a price tag on gorgeous hair?
- Gives body and reduces frizz
- A light mousse than conditions hair
- Has a light and pleasant fragrance
- Doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the hair
- Doesn’t contain any parabens, mineral oils, or artificial colorants
- A little pricey
- May cause thin hair to feel greasy if too much product is applied
2. Best Mousse for Thin Hair: Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte
- Type: Frizz Ease and Styling Mousse
- Hold: Strong
Say goodbye to frizz once and for all with Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte. This soft creamy mousse is perfect for people with frizzy, wavy, and curly hair. However, it especially works well on thin and short hair, as its strong hold restores its bounce and shine. If there’s one thing you’ll never get over, it’s how amazing this mousse smells — you’ll literally catch yourself smelling your hair!
We love how it leaves the hair feeling light and soft, not heavy and oily. It’s super versatile, too, and you can use it to enhance your natural waves or add volume to your hair before blow-drying it. If you enjoy blow-drying your hair straight or using a diffuser, you’ll be happy to know that this mousse is equipped with UV protection.
Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte is a tad pricey, especially if you have thick and long hair, as more of the product will be needed. However, if you have thin and short or medium-length hair, a bottle should last you for quite some time and can replace many other styling products, helping you to save in the long run. For those of you with super thick, long, and wavy hair, we highly recommend checking out John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse instead. This product will supply you with the hold you’re looking for.
- De-frizzes hair
- Smells amazing
- Doesn’t leave the hair feeling oily
- Protects the hair from heat damage
- Leaves the hair feeling bouncy, soft, and light
- A tad pricey
- May not provide long-lasting hold on very thick and wavy hair
3. Best Alcohol-Free Mousse: Nexxus Volumizing Foam
- Type: Volumizing Mousse
- Hold: Light
Nexxus Volumizing Foam offers a light hold that provides fine and flat hair with ample body. However, it is commonly sought out by people of all hair types because of how moisturizing it is. If you have dry hair, this is the mousse for you. On top of moisturizing, it’s also alcohol-free, which stops the hair from drying out even more.
Nexxus Volumizing Foam also provides hair with added moisture while dousing it with Keratin Protein and Ceramides. So while it doesn’t add much volume when faced with thick or long hair, it nourishes the hair, making it stronger, softer, and shinier. This is especially useful if you encounter frizzy hair as soon as humidity strikes. If you have a sensitive nose and don’t want to commit to a strong-smelling hair product, you’ll love Nexxus Volumizing Foam. It does not contain any added fragrance and thus offers a very light smell.
This lightweight mousse might not be strong enough to maintain volume throughout the day, but you can always use it to restore your hair, and follow it up with a strong-hold gel. Or, if you’d rather keep your hair products to a minimum, you can get the best of both worlds by purchasing a premium product like Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse.
- Protects hair from humidity
- Provides dry hair with added moisture
- Doesn’t contain any alcohol or added fragrances
- Mousse contains Keratin Protein and Ceramides
- Mousse is a little too lightweight
4. Best Budget Mousse: L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse
- Type: Frizz Ease
- Hold: Strong
L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse both locks in your curls and prevents frizz from ruining your day, meaning it’s easy to have a good hair day when using this mousse. It’s so effective that you do not need to follow it up with other hair products. It offers a very light and pleasant scent that you won’t tire of and packs your hair with volume that will carry you through the day.
If your hair is healthy and jam-packed with moisture, you’ll have no issues with L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse. But, if your hair is dry to begin with, you might want to select another product, as this one may dry out your hair even further due to its lack of hydrating agents.
Although L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse does a lot to control your hair, its strong hold can be a little too strong, causing your hair to feel a bit crunchy. But, you can get rid of this by scrunching your hair with your hands once it fully dries.
All in all, L’Oreal Paris AIR DRY IT Mousse is a fantastic product that gets the job done. Still, it’s not suitable for people with heavily damaged or dried-out hair. If your hair needs a boost of moisture, we suggest looking into Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse instead.
- 24-hour frizz control
- Light and pleasant scent
- Adds volume
- Very affordable
- May dry out your hair
- May cause your hair to become crunchy
- Type: Frizz Ease and Styling Mousse
- Hold: Medium
If you’re looking for a lightweight mousse that can help give your hair a tousled look, a good pick is this SexyHair Styling Mousse. This dry mousse enhances your hair’s natural texture, giving it body and protecting it against frizz and humidity. Unlike some mousses that leave your hair feeling wet and leaving a hard lacquer, SexyHair Styling Mousse doesn’t leave behind any residue. Your hair will be soft to the touch as long as you don’t add more than the recommended amount, which is a conservative two pumps of mousse.
One of the things that sets SexyHair Styling Mousse apart from other mousses is its bottle, which pumps out mousse instead of dispensing it through an aerosol can. The bottle is also transparent, allowing you to track how much product you have left. However, due to the nature of the dispenser, it’s important to keep the bottle in an upright position to prevent it from leaking.
If you have thin and flat hair that is borderline curly, you’ll find that this styling mousse gives it a beautiful and controlled bounce. However, if your hair is very thick, SexyHair Styling Mousse might be a little too lightweight. For those with full hair, we recommend looking into Biolage Styling Foam instead, especially if you have both thick and wavy hair.
- Very lightweight
- Doesn’t leave residue on the hair
- Protects hair from humidity and frizz
- A dry mousse that enhances the hair’s natural texture
- Its hold isn’t strong enough for thick and wavy hair
- The dispenser bottle can leak when not in an upright position
6. Best Volumizing Mousse: Aussie Headstrong Volume Mousse
- Type: Volumizing Mousse
- Hold: Maximum
Aussie Headstrong Volume Mousse is infused with bamboo and Australian Kakadu plum — two ingredients that contribute to this mousse’s amazing tropical smell. This volumizing mousse offers a maximum hold which is supposed to last all day long, and it does just that when applied to thin and wavy hair.
If you’d like to plump up your locks and style them using the same product, Aussie Headstrong Volume Mousse has got you covered from root to tip. This value pack contains three bottles of creamy Aussie mousse for a very reasonable price. However, be warned that the three bottles of mousse combined are smaller than some one-bottle products.
Aussie products are cruelty-free and offer long-lasting volume that can see you through an entire day of intense use. Just be sure to apply this mousse to damp or wet hair, as applying it to dry hair can cause hair to feel hard or crispy. You can also apply it to wet hair before blow-drying it for an increased sense of volume. If you’re looking for a product that you can freshen-up dry hair with, check out Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte.
- Smells amazing
- Adds volume to fine hair
- Maximum hold creamy mousse
- Must be applied on wet or damp hair
- Cans are smaller than they appear
7. Best Mousse for Thick Wavy Hair: John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse
- Type: Frizz Ease
- Hold: Medium
When it comes to creating reliable hair products for wavy and curly-haired people, John Frieda has got it in the bag. There is a lot to love about the John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse, like how it’s alcohol-free and protects hair from UV damage. It nourishes the hair too, giving it extra moisture, which allows it to tame frizz. If you have thick and wavy hair, this medium-hold mousse will take you to a whole new level.
Instead of weighing your hair down with a heavy product that leaves your hair feeling sticky, John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse will add a bounce to your step. However, it’s important to add just the right amount of mousse, or else you may find that your hair appears wet for longer than normal. If you have thick, long, and wavy hair, you might be used to diffusing your hair after applying mousse. If this is you, you’ll love John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse because its results are heightened tenfold when you follow it up with a diffuser.
John Frieda products are known for their sophisticated smells. However, their formulas have been revamped and might not use the high-end scent agents used in the past. In fact, John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse now has a very light cologne smell to it. But, this smell does fade away once the product dries, especially if you follow it up with other scented products. If you’re looking for a product that is compatible with thick and wavy hair but prefer to air-dry your hair, we highly recommend Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse.
- A rich mousse that is alcohol-free
- Prevents heat damage and fights frizz
- Doesn’t leave the hair feeling sticky
- The new formula smells like cologne
- Works best when followed up with a diffuser
8. Best Mousse for Thick and Coily Hair: Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse
- Type: Frizz Ease and Curl Enhancing Mousse
- Hold: Medium
Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse offers a medium hold that defines curls while taming frizz and flyaways. It’s infused with wheat protein, which strengthens the hair, thereby promoting hair growth. This mousse also contains almond and avocado oil, which combine to add shine and moisture to the hair. If you’re looking for a product that won’t dry your hair out, causing it to be frizzy, Design Essentials has got your back. We love how this product uses primarily natural ingredients: it doesn’t contain alcohol, parabens, mineral oils, sulfates, or petroleum.
Whether you have short, thick hair or long wavy hair, Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse can revive your locks, enhancing your curls along the way. It dries quickly and won’t leave your hair feeling crunchy or greasy unless you apply it too close to your roots. It smells fantastic and offers so much bounce, you’ll feel like a goddess every time you flip your hair.
This mousse was designed for people with thick hair and may be too heavy for those of you with thin hair. If your hair is on the thin side, but you like the medium hold this product has to offer, check out Nexxus Volumizing Foam instead.
- Quick-drying formula
- Adds moisture to hair and fights frizz
- An alcohol-free mousse that contains hair-friendly ingredients
- Not compatible with fine hair
- Can turn hair greasy if applied too close to the roots
9. Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly
- Type: Frizz Ease and Styling Mousse
- Hold: Medium
Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly is a color-safe and pH-balanced mousse. However, you do not have to have colored hair to reap its benefits. This lightweight mousse offers a medium hold and contains a non-sticky formula that leaves your hair feeling soft and bouncy. It’s perfect for anyone who lives in a humid climate, as it adds moisture to your hair, preventing it from getting frizzy.
If your hair is extremely frizzy and dry to begin with, Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly might not offer enough moisture. And so, it’s best to seek out a product that can give it the moisture and care it deserves, like Nexxus Volumizing Foam.
When it comes to beach waves and light curls, Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly knows what it’s doing. You’ll love the Violent Splash scent that Herbal Essences is known for. Between a nice scent, a good level of hold, and a frizz-preventing formula, it’s worth a look.
- Amazing Violet Splash scent
- Color-safe and pH-balanced
- A non-sticky formula that leaves hair feeling soft
- Adds moisture to the hair, protecting it from humidity
- Doesn’t appease very frizzy hair
- Nozzles may be defective
10. Best Mousse for Color-Treated Hair: OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse
- Type: Frizz Ease and Curl Enhancing Mousse
- Hold: Medium
OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse is one of a kind and it never leaves your hair feeling crispy. This is because it is part foam and part cream, allowing your hair to be styled and nourished at the same time. OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse is blended with coconut oil and shea butter, which locks in moisture and promotes growth. It’s a medium-hold mousse that enhances naturally wavy or curly hair, restoring its bounce and shine. It also protects color-treated hair. So, if you dye your hair and fight frizz on the daily, this luscious and creamy mousse will exceed your expectations.
If you’re looking for a product that can offer you all-day coverage, however, OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse can’t make you any promises. For this reason, it’s best to add some gel or hairspray to your hair after you’re finished applying this product. It will lock everything in, keeping your hair bouncy all day long. While it’s a nourishing mousse, it doesn’t offer as much hold as other products.
Unfortunately, if you’re someone who has a sensitive nose, OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse’s coconut scent might be too strong for you. If you’re looking for a lightly-scented styling mousse, we recommended looking into the beloved Biolage Styling Foam.
- Protects color-treated hair
- Enhances naturally wavy hair
- Moisturizes hair and removes frizz
- Is best used alongside other products
- Has a very strong coconut smell
Buying the Best Mousse for Wavy Hair
Wavy hair is versatile and beautiful, but it may not always feel that way thanks to factors like humidity. Once you find the right product, however, you’ll quickly learn to love your hair, picking up tips and tricks along the way to bring it to new heights (and waves). In this guide, we’ll help you figure out if hair mousse is the right product for you. We’ll also cover some of the most frequently asked questions concerning this foamy product. So, stick around to get some answers!
How Do I Apply Hair Mousse?
The process of applying mousse is quite simple but varies slightly depending on the conditions under which you apply the product.
On Wet Hair
Dispense a generous amount of mousse into your hands and apply it to damp hair. Use a brush or your fingers to work the mousse from roots to ends. For a subtle beach-wave look, allow your hair to air-dry, twisting and perfecting strands along the way. For a more tousled look, flip your hair over and scrunch it in an upward motion. You can use gel or hairspray to seal the deal or blow-dry your hair using a diffuser for an even curlier look.
On Dry Hair
You can use a styling mousse on dry hair to revitalize it and get rid of frizz. However, mousse is more commonly used on wet or towel-dried hair. When styling dry hair, be conservative with the amount of mousse you use to prevent your locks from looking stiff or greasy. Apply a small dollop of mousse, work it through your hands, and gingerly apply it to your hair, scrunching as you go.
Mousse or Gel — Which One Is Better for Wavy Hair?
Mousse is one of the most popular hair products amongst the wavy-haired crowd, and for good reason! Still, some people would rather use gel in their hair and we’re about to fill you in on why. We’ll start by covering the pros and cons of hair mousse before doing the same for hair gel.
Hair mousse is a product that is primarily advantageous in the fact that it adds hold without causing stiffness or greasiness.
Along with adding volume and hold, hair mousse enhances certain aspects of wavy hair.
- Adds volume to hair
- Easy to use
- Enhances waves and curls
- It leaves your hair feeling natural
- Has a light texture that doesn’t weigh down the hair
Principally, the negatives with mousse have to do with price, although there are other small issues some users have with the product.
- Mousse is generally more expensive than gel
- Not all mousses are strong enough to fight off humidity
- Some mousses contain alcohol, which can dry out your hair
Hair gel provides a firm lift and hold, but it’s more visible and can be either greasy or hard depending on the formulation.
Gel is a sturdier and more high-powered product, which is both an asset and a drawback.
- Gel is better at fighting frizz than mousse is
- Gel sculpts the hair, giving it a loose definition
- Gel is one of the most affordable hair products
- Gel can be used to lock in other hair products and is very versatile
Gel is a product that changes texture on application, making it sometimes difficult to work with.
- Gel can leave a buildup of flakes in your hair
- Gel is very heavy and can weigh down your hair
- Gel tends to leave your hair feeling slightly ‘crunchy’
Depending on the ingredients present, both mousse and gel can damage your hair. This is especially true if it contains alcohol. Hair gel and mousse are very compatible and can be used together for a more refined look.
You can start by applying a hydrating mousse like OGX Coconut Decadent Creamy Mousse and top it off with a little bit of hair gel. Doing this will lock in the mousse and lower your chances of encountering frizzy hair.
Air Drying vs. Diffusing — Which One Offers Better Results?
Air drying and diffusing are both great options for people with wavy hair. But which one is better? We’ll compare and contrast these two methods to help you find which one is better for your lifestyle.
If you have wavy hair, you’re probably familiar with the air-drying method. Air drying your hair can be very beneficial. After all, it allows you to skip a time-consuming step and prevents you from overheating your hair with the blow-dryer. The problem comes later: leaving your house with wet hair isn’t always an option, especially if you live in a colder climate. And, since wavy and curly hair tends to take time to dry on its own, it can take a few hours before your curls fully set, which can cause it to become frizzy in the meantime.
When you diffuse your hair, you lower its chances of encountering frizz. Sure, it takes a little extra time for you to dry your hair, but using a diffuser shapes your waves and curls, giving them a gorgeous, defined look. If you enjoy showering in the morning, diffusing your hair will ensure that it’s good and dry before you head out your door. But while using a diffuser can improve your hair’s overall look, it subjects it to heat, which can dry it out in the long run.
Another interesting option? A hairdryer brush (find our favorites here). A hairdryer brush can help boost volume and reduce frizz while drying hair.
In the end, both of these options are fantastic and you can flip-flop between them on any given day. If you enjoy using a diffuser but don’t want it to dry out your hair, you can always select an alcohol-free product that protects the hair from heat damage, like John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Mousse Good for Your Hair?
Like most hair products, mousse can contain ingredients that strip your hair of natural oils. However, since gorgeous locks are the goal, many hair product companies are revamping their formulas to give us quality products that nourish hair while protecting it from harsh environmental factors like heat.
If your hair is dry and damaged, it’s best to use a deep-conditioner or nourishing serum to restore its moisture before applying hair products like mousse. Alternatively, you can select a hydrating and heat-protectant mousse like Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte.
How Can I Add Extra Volume to my Wavy Hair?
While most mousses have volume-boosting components in their ingredient lists, the best mousses for wavy hairs aren’t always necessarily the best mousses for maximizing volume. If you’re looking to boost dimensions, check our list on the best mousses for boosting volume.
What Is the Best Styling Product for Your Hair?
Wavy hair is one of the most versatile hair types. You can use gel to weigh it down or add mousse to it to give it volume. In the end, the product you use entirely depends on the look you’re going for.
For full and bouncy beach waves, we recommend using a mousse like SexyHair Styling Mousse. However, if you’d like to embrace your natural waves and hydrate them in the process, we suggest using a curl defining cream like this one before applying mousse.
How Can I Make My Wavy Hair Curlier?
If you have naturally wavy hair but want to kick things up a notch, a curl-enhancing mousse like Design Essentials will take you where you want to go. But, to get the best results possible, use a diffuser to dry your hair, as it will perfect your curls while reducing frizz.
Time to Make Some Waves
With the right mousse, every day can be a good hair day. In the end, it all boils down to finding the best mousse for your hair type. Mousse is a versatile and trusted hair product that can be used by everyone — whether you want to tame your frizz, enhance your natural waves, or add volume to normally flat hair. We hope our guide has helped you find the mousse of your dreams, giving you the gorgeous waves you deserve.