Up until six months ago, I thought I hated hair mousse. For me, it brought back memories of bad haircuts, after which the stylists would grab the mousse, slather it onto my nearly dry curls and blast them with a hair dryer while either rolling them straight with a round brush or quickly scrunching them out of their patterns and into a ball of frizz. I cannot be sure mousse was to blame, or it was implicated as an accomplice to bad technique, but regardless, mousse was on my do not purchase list. Then someone recommended volumizing foam for root boosting on one of the curly girl sites and provided pictures as evidence of its effectiveness. I ordered a bottle and it quickly became my favorite styler. Since that time, I have used both volumizing foam and moisturizing mousse and while the former of the two adds a bit more body to the hair, and the latter more hydration and shine, you can use either for similar results.


Mousse provides a soft, touchable hold. It creates a slight cast. You can use it as both a styler and refresher. It will keep your curls and coils intact for wash day provided you exercise care when styling, but you will need to touch up second day and beyond hair with more mousse or another styler. Additionally, for best results, you may need to pair mousse with additionally products to meet your hair’s moisture needs, or for longer hold.

For this how-to, I recommend using a mousse that will provide moisture and a light hold. Some curly-community favorites include:

Wash Day Method:

  1. On fully detangled and saturated hair, apply a generous amount of mousse all over your head, working in sections. Note: if you require extra moisture, apply a leave-in conditioner prior to this step.
  2. Smooth the product into your hair from the mid-shaft to the ends.
  3. Using a Denman brush, part your hair as you would normally wear it, and then comb through your hair, ensuring that all the tangles are removed.
  4. Smooth smaller curls together to form larger clumps. If you have any sections of your hair that require more hold, apply a medium to firm hold styler to them using the praying hands method.
  5. Allow your hair to sit undisturbed for a few moments before continuing.
  6. Using a t-shirt or microfiber towel, cup each curl clump and scrunch it towards your head, gently squeezing out excess water as you do so.
  7. For more volume, use hair clips positioned on a diagonal to lift curl clumps at the roots and keep them from drying flat. To stretch any roots flat to control cowlicks, position a hair clip horizontall. This step is optional.
  8. Allow hair to dry naturally or use a diffuser.
  9. When it is fully dry, use a pik to fluff out your roots and give you all-over volume. 
  10. Do not scrunch your hair, as you will lose curl definition.

Refresher Method

  1. Mist dry curls with a fine mist sprayer until they are saturated. They do not need to be soaking wet.
  2. Apply a generous amount of mousse in sections, raking through them as you go.
  3. Smooth together smaller curls to form larger curl clumps.
  4. Gently scrunch the curl clumps and allow them to air dry.

What are your favorite ways to use mousse? Let us know in the comments. For the Top 10 Mousses for Wavy and Curly Hair click here.