First things first: forget the crunchy, ‘80s-hair connotations you have about mousse. The foamy product was made popular in the era of big hair, but it’s gotten a major makeover thanks to advanced formulas with less alcohol. A slew of brands released new formulas earlier this year, and now every hairstylist we talk to is adding a dollop before a blowout. We checked in with Marcus Francis—he works with Jessica Pare, Rose Byrne, Isla Fisher, and Kerry Washington—for more details.
“Mousse was considered something that gave your hair a crunchy hold, but new formulas have much less alcohol, there’s been a major revamp to the ingredients,” Francis says. “It's about making the hair touchable, but giving it fullness, body, and a memory.”
Add mousse to damp hair before layering in any other products, Francis says. (You can add a small puff to dry hair to create texture, but for the most part, stick to wet hair.) It’ll make your locks feel thicker, lift roots, and—when used with a blow-dryer—give serious volume.
Pick a volumizing formula that provides long-lasting, medium hold, Francis says. “Apply to damp hair from roots to ends and comb through,” Francis says. “Scrunch and air dry if you want to bring out the natural bend in your hair, a la Kate Bosworth, or blow dry for a straight, voluminous style, like Claire Danes.” Try Big Sexy Hair’s Volumizing Spray Mousse ($18) or one of Francis’ favorites, Rene Furterer’s Vegetal Mousse ($23).
You can make any formula work, depending on what you want to accomplish, but make sure it’s medium hold, like Bosley’s Professional Strength Volumizing and Thickening Styling Mousse Medium Hold ($16) or Biosilk’s Silk Mousse ($13). Comb through the bottom half of damp hair, then scrunch hair to bring out the texture.