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).
Look for a thickening formula, like Bumble and bumble’s Thickening Full Form Mousse ($29) or Garnier Fructis’ XXL Body Mousse ($5). “Apply to just the length of wet hair, comb through, scrunch, and either air dry or blow-dry with a diffuser,” Francis says.
Pick up a volumizing formula, like Tresemme’s Thermal Creations Volumizing Mousse ($4) or Francis’ go-to formula: Leonor Greyl’s Au Lotus Volumizing Mousse ($46). Apply to damp hair from roots to ends, comb through, and blow dry like you normally would, Francis says.
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.
Look for a volumizing formula, like Vidal Sassoon’s Foaming Air Mousse ($6) or Phyto’s Intense Volume Mousse ($24). “Apply on damp hair from roots to ends, comb through, and blow dry with or without a brush,” Francis says.
A formula that’s medium to strong hold is key for this texture, Francis says. Apply to the length of wet hair, comb through, then either scrunch and air dry or blow dry with a diffuser. Try Aussie's Aussome Volume Styling Mousse ($4) or Pantene Pro-V Extra Strong Hold Mousse ($6).