Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Verna Meachum
Hair mousse is often underrated, yet it can be incredibly beneficial when used correctly. Curly hair can be especially unruly and difficult to manage, so it’s no surprise that a product like a mousse—which helps define curls and provides extra hold—is one of the most popular products among curly-haired folks.
With spring (and soon summer) around the corner, now is the perfect time to take inventory of your hair care routine and choose a mousse that works best for you.
To help, I’ve rounded up the 15 best mousses for curly hair. We’ll also share some key ingredients and tips to keep in mind when shopping for a mousse because let’s face it, curly hair is unique and requires special care.
Let it be known that the mousses of today are moisturizing, and defining, and offer great hold —not sticky or crunchy like the ones of yesteryear.
Mousses are not only here to stay, but they’ve been transformed into superior formulas with conditioning ingredients – goodbye frizz and flyaways!
So don’t shy away from this retro styling product: embrace your natural ringlets while giving them shape and definition by adding mousse into your routine.
Discovering the Perfect Mousse for Your Curls: A Guide to Finding the Best Product
Mousses come in an array of formulas, so it’s important to understand what you’re looking for before making a purchase.
Furthermore, because everyone’s hair varies in terms of type and porosity, products or methods that do wonders for one individual may prove ineffective for another.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping for the ultimate mousse:
Ingredients to look for
Hair fixative polymers are essential to every styling recipe, providing a solid foundation for any successful formulation.
For good style retention and hair quality, these polymers are ideal:
- Polyquaternium – 11
- Polyquaternium – 28
- Polyquaternium – 69
- Acrylates Copolymer
- PVP/VA Copolymer
- Vinylpyrrolidone (VP)/Vinyl Acetate (VA) Copolymer
Additionally, you want to look for products with moisturizing agents like natural oils and humectants that help to reinforce hydration and hold.
For remarkable hydration and multi-functional benefits, these novel hydrating ingredients are great options:
- Acetamide MEA
Let’s talk about alcohol for a minute. Denatured ethyl alcohol is added to a formulation to work as an additional solvent, combined with water so that styling polymers and other resins can be dissolved more readily.
Additionally, the amount of ethyl alcohol present varies depending on the type of polymer used. Overusing this ingredient can lead to dryness and brittleness in your hair, so keep an eye out for mild formulations.
To create the perfect mousse, you must incorporate foam for volume – this can be achieved by introducing a special foaming agent.
Amphoteric mild or non-ionic surfactants are ideal as they provide a creamy lather with abundant volume.
Top foaming agents:
- Cocoamidopropyl Betaine (Amphoteric)
- Coco Glucoside
- Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (Amphoteric)
- Decyl Glucoside (Non-ionic)
Cationic hair-detangling agents are the perfect solution for providing your hair with unparalleled softness, smoothness, and detangling benefits.
- Cetrimonium Chloride
- Behentrimonium Chloride
- Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine
What Are The Benefits Of Hair Mousse for Curly Hair?
The benefits of a good mousse include:
✔️Defining and enhancing your curls.
✔️ Enhancing voluminous styles.
✔️ Providing lasting hold and shine.
✔️ It is a barrier of protection for your curls, shielding them from the effects of humidity and preserving their natural texture.
✔️ Helping to reduce frizz and flyaways.
✔️ Replenishing moisture for soft, healthy curls.
✔️ For thin and fine curls, a volumizing mousse is an ideal solution to creating an illusion of volume and texture. With just one application you’ll be able to experience visibly thicker hair with amplified body and movement.
✔️ Accentuating the texture of your hair while giving it shape.
How to Use Hair Mousse
1) Give your hair a thorough cleanse, removing any dirt and debris, to help give your style a clean foundation.
2) After shampooing and conditioning, remove the excess water from your hair with an old cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel. This type of material works best with curly hair as it helps to dry the hair without causing much frizz or breakage.
3) Dry your hair until it is only slightly damp. Mousse is the ideal styling product to use when your curls are in this state; its unique formula ensures even distribution.
4) Section your hair into small sections.
5) Dispense a small amount of mousse into the palm of your hand and gently emulsify it to spread it.
6) Beginning from the back of your head, apply the mouse with your fingers beginning at the roots and working down towards the ends. Make sure you distribute it evenly.
7) To finish, lightly scrunch your hair and either air-dry it or use a diffuser.
Tip: To get the most out of applying mousse to your curls, begin by flipping your head over. Then grab sections of hair in between both hands and add the mousse before going upright again. Finally, look over your entire head to see if you need to apply any extra product. If so, reshape them with your hand or fingers.
15 Best Mousses for Curly Hair
AG Hair Natural Cloud Volumizing Mousse
Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Pvp, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Gluconolactone, Polysorbate 20, Lactic Acid, Polyquaternium-70, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Limonene, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Citric Acid, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract, Malic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Calcium Gluconate, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tilia Tomentosa Bud Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Linalool.
Pros: It is a vegan formula, silicone-free, and 98% plant-based. It protects hair against heat and prevents frizz.
Cons: A little bit on the pricey side, but well worth the price.
Bumble and Bumble Full Form Mousse
Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Isobutane, Propane, Polyquaternium-11, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Wheat Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium PCA, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Arginine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Cetrimonium Chloride, Tocopherol, Vp/Va Copolymer, Laureth-4, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyquaternium-4, Glycine, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxycitronellal, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol.
Pros: This is a heat-protective mousse that gives volume and adds moisture to your curls. Great for wavy textures.
Cons: It is a little pricey.
Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Curl Enhancing Mousse
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Polyquaternium-55, Decyl Glucoside, Cetrimonium Dimethicone PEG-8 Olivate/Succinate, Phenoxyethanol (and) Benzoic Acid (and) thylhexylglycerin (and) Glycereth-2 Cocoate, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance (Parfum), Cetrimonium Chloride, PEG-75 Lanolin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Citric Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Yellow 5 (Cl19140), Blue 1 (Cl42090), Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate.
Pros: This mousse differs from similar styles in that it is infused with thickening wheat protein. It smells so good and is one of my favorite mousses!
Cons: It does contain silicone, so if you’re strictly following the curly girl method, then this is not for you.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Polysorbate-20, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Honey, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Polyglyceryl-10 Diisostearate, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.
Pros: This lightweight mousse will give your curls a soft hold and add shine to your curls
Cons: If you’re looking for a stronger hold, then this is not for you.
Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Hair Mousse
Ingredients: Water/Eau, Isobutane, Propane, Polyquaternium-4, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, C9-11 Pareth-8, Dmdm Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid.
Pros: It gently lifts and separates curls without leaving hair feeling greasy or heavy.
Cons: If you’re not keen on fragrance, then this is not for you. It also contains DMDM Hydantoin.
Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam
Ingredients: water/aqua/eau, pullulan, galactoarabinan, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, glycerin, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, calcium gluconate, hydrolyzed rice protein, decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, sorbitol, potassium sorbate, cananga odorata flower oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil, salvia sclarea (clary) oil, vanillin, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil, hydroxypropyltrimonium honey, sorbic acid, citric acid, diheptyl succinate, capryloyl glycerin/sebacic acid copolymer, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil*, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, macelignan, tocopherol, linalool, limonene. *Certified Organic. †A natural component of essential oils.
Pros: Although this is technically a foam, it’s a great product. This is truly a great addition to your curly hair product arsenal. If you’re looking for something with great ingredients, then this is for you.
Cons: A little pricey, but worth it.
Joico Power Whip Whipped Foam 09
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Hydrofluorocarbon 152A, Isobutane, VP/VA Copolymer, Polyquaternium-46, Pentapeptide-29 Cysteinamide, Pentapeptide-30 Cysteinamide, Tetrapeptide-28 Argininamide, Tetrapeptide-29 Argininamide, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Beeswax/Cera Alba/Cire D’abeille, Prunus Domestica Seed Oil, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Glycerin, Opal Powder, Polyquaternium-69, Polyquaternium-11, Ceteareth-6, Steareth-21, Ceteareth-25, Diazolidinyl Urea, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, Fragrance/Parfum.
Pros: Great for fine curly hair and helps accentuate curls and boost volume.
Cons: It’s a little bit on the pricey side.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Polyquaternium-11, VP/VA Copolymer, Isobutane, Propane, Steareth-21, Nonxynol-12, DMDM Hydantoin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Benzophenone-4, Quaternium-52, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PPG-5-Ceteth-20.
Pros: If you’re looking for a mousse to boost the volume and a provide firm hold in your hair, this is it!
Cons: It may not be best for fine hair. Contains DMDM Hydantoin.
Maui Moisture Flexible Hold + Coconut Milk Curl Foam Mousse
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, VP/VA Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Polyquaternium-69, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum).
Pros: Moisturizes and volumizes while keeping curls intact. 100% aloe vera as the first ingredient. Free of harsh additives like silicones, sulfated surfactants, synthetic dye, and mineral oil.
Cons: Some users didn’t like the way it made their hair feel.
OGX Locking + Coconut Curls Decadent Creamy Mousse
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Isobutane, Propylene Glycol, Polyimide-1, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Panthenol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PVP, Polyquaternium-4, Polysorbate 80, Propane, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Diazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance (Parfum).
Pros: It’s part cream and part mousse, which makes it a hydrating formula.
Cons: It’s super affordable.
Original Moxie Pop Life Volumizing Mousse
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein***, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (and) Citric Acid*** (and) Sodium Benzoate (and) Potassium Sorbate***, Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), Glycerin*** (and) Water (and) Bambusa vulgaris (Bamboo) Extract, Glycine Betaine (Beta vulgaris (Beet)) Sugar Extract****, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Hydrolyzed Adansonia digitata (Baobab) Seed Protein, Glycerin***, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol, Maltodextrin / VP copolymer***, Gluconodeltalactone (and) Sodium Benzoate (ECOCERT), Cetrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic), Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid***, Essential Oils of Citrus reticulata blanco var tangerine (Tangerine), Cymbopogon flexuosus (Lemongrass), Magnolia champaca (Champak), & Santalum spicatum (Sandalwood), Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) Extract. *** Natural Source.
Pros: This is a concentrated curl-activating volumizing mousse.
Cons: Just slightly pricey if you’re on a budget.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Isobutane, Propane, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, VP/VA Copolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Decyl Glucoside, Stearyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-4, Laureth-4, Acrylates Copolymer, Polyquaternium-11, Laureth-23, Oleth-20, Cetyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Polyquaternium-72, Panthenol, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, Silicone Quaternium-3, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Polyquaternium-59, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Olus/Vegetable Oil/Huile Végétale, Silicone Quaternium-16, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Litchi Chinensis Fruit Extract, Trideceth-12, Wheat Amino Acids, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Undeceth-11, Benzyl Alcohol, Butyloctanol, Undeceth-5, Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Acetic Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citral.
Pros: It contains luxurious ingredients like vitamins, protein, and botanicals.
Cons: It’s a bit pricey.
Ouidad VitalCurl+ Soft Defining Mousse
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Isobutane, Polyquaternium-4, Corn Starch Modified, Propane, Canola Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Oil, Camellia Japonica (Tsubaki) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Phospholipids, Benzophenone-4, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Glycolipids, Laureth-4, PEG-15 Cocomonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance/Parfum.
Pros: It gives a good boost and volume. You will not get a crunch or stiffy feeling on your hair.
Cons: It’s on the pricey side.
Pantene Mousse Pro-V Maximum Hold Mousse
Ingredients: Water, Isobutane, Propane, Polyquaternium-4, Propylene Glycol, C9-11 Pareth-8, Fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Panthenol, Citric Acid.
Pros: You want maximum hold, then you’ve got it with this product. It tames frizz and defines curls.
Cons: Contains DMDM Hydantoin.
Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse
Ingredients: Water, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*+, Panthenol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable), Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-10, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Potassium Sorbate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride.
Pros: Enhances curls and waves while moisturizing the hair with coconut oil and combatting frizz with need oil.
Cons: If your hair doesn’t like coconut oil then this is not for you.
Is Gel or Mousse Better for Curly Hair?
Gel and mousse are two very different hair care products and to determine which is best will vary from person to person based on their specific needs, along with the results one is looking to achieve.
Mousse is a lightweight, non-greasy styling product that may be used on damp hair to create natural curls. It is generally used in small quantities on damp or dry hair. It’s popular for adding volume and curl definition, while also helping to prevent frizz.
Mousse is less crunchy than a gel and thus provides a more natural, soft appearance as well as more flexibility in your preferred style, allowing you more time to perfect the style before your hair dries.
It is also a great option for those looking for something lightweight and won’t weigh down curls. Another thing to keep in mind is that mousse is airy and light, so it doesn’t have the same staying power as a gel.
Gel, on the other hand, is best used on soaking wet or damp hair. It’s thicker than mousse and best applied in small amounts. It’s best to start with a very small amount and add more if needed, as gel should not be used on dry hair.
Gel will help to define curls and keep them in place all day long. It is also great for those who want a more solid hold.
Whether you have frizzy or dry curls, you’ll need to experiment with various products until you discover the one that works best for you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that no two people have the same texture, so whatever product they used on their hair may not work for yours.
For more information about gels, gel casting, and the science behind them, read: Reasons Why You’re Not Getting A Gel Cast.
So, those are my top picks for the best mousses for curly hair!
Whether you’re looking for a lightweight mousse that will give you a soft hold or the best mousse for curly hair that provides a firm hold, there’s something here for every type of curl. And with so many great options available, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your hair.
Happy mousse hunting!