I've been on quite the curly-hair styling journey the past few years. After finally deciding to ditch my flat iron, my natural hair really started to shine through, and I knew it was time to embrace it. If you also have curls, though, you know that styling can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Curls tend to be dry, so it's trial and error when looking for the right products. Case in point? Mousse.
Now that I've gone fully natural, I find myself reaching for styling foams, curl creams, hair oils, and whatever else will keep my hair looking its healthiest. At this point, let's just say I've tested quite a few—and they weren't always the right ones for me and my particular curl type (3c). Finally, I'm wising up. Instead of playing a guessing game, I decided to tap two celebrity stylists for advice. Jennifer Korab and Kevin Kelly were happy to give me the scoop. Keep scrolling for the best mousses for curly hair along with their tips on how to use it.
How to Use Mousse on Curly Hair
If using mousse on curly hair, there are a few things to keep in mind. Because curls are naturally drier, Korab recommends looking for ingredients that will add hydration and shine. "Avocado and olive oils are two great ingredients to look out for," she says. She also has a few styling tips. "When using a mousse to style curly hair, you want to start out by misting the curls with water or a curl refresher," she adds. "My personal favorite [to use] is Kerastase Curl Manifesto Curl Refresher. Then, apply a generous amount section by section through your hair. Comb through to distribute the product evenly and then lightly scrunch. For best results, finish by air-drying or using a diffuser."
Kelly also has a few more tips for curly-hair styling when using a product like mousse. "When using mousse, I like to have my clients lean back or flip their head over and really get that root to control any frizziness," he says. "Then, I clamp the hair between my hands with the product. After that, I have them lean up or flip back over. I'll take some additional styling products and pick up random pieces and reshape them with my hand for the perfect curl."
For each stylist's favorite mousses for curly hair, keep scrolling below. You'll find a few of my own recs too.
Best Overall Hair Mousse for Curly Hair: Oribe Curl Shaping Mousse
"This mousse is great for fine, loose curls. It will enhance your curls without creating any stiffness. It also enhances shine and hydration to your hair." — Korab
"This is [also] a little more hydrating than most mousses." — Kelly
Customer Review: "Great mousse. Leaves curls soft, defined, and with reduced frizz. Only downside is it doesn't have the Oribe scent I love. I will repurchase this. Wish they had a curl-shaping spray."
2. Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse
"This is great for [those with] tighter curls that love definition. I [also] love this mousse for frizz control." — Korab
Customer Review: "Yes! Just tried this mousse recently and this worked lovely with my hair type (3c). Will add this to my faves for future. Leaves my hair feeling moisturized with bouncy, soft curls. Love this."
3. Amika Plus Size Volume & Body Mousse
"I love this mousse because it's long-lasting and works on all hair types. Its airy, cushiony feel provides the volume and control without weighing [the hair] down." — Korab
Customer Review: "My stylist recommended this and it works well. A little goes a long way. Plan on using this mostly with my Dyson Airwrap tool."
4. Pureology Style + Protect Weightless Hair Mousse
"[Pureology's mousse] is great for curly hair. Its lightweight formula will help give some volume and vibrancy to your hair. It's also made with aloe water for that added hydration." — Korab
Customer Review: "Love this mousse. Usually don't love mousse because it leaves my hair feeling sticky, but this one, you barely know it's there, and it smells nice!"
5. Color Wow Color Control Styling Foam
"I recommend [using this] Color Wow mousse mixed with the Color Wow Dream Coat Treatment for Curly Hair. Mousse usually has a lot of alcohol in it, so it tends to be drying and make the hair look non-shiny. Adding in the Color Wow Curly Treatment helps [keep] that shine." — Kelly
Customer Review: "I quit using mousse long ago [because] it seemed to flatten my hair and darken my highlights. This one densifies roots and lengths, no greasiness, no dulling my blonde. I've tried every volumizing medium I can get my hands on, and I'm continuously disappointed. Finally—I'm dazzled! Customer. For. Life."
6. Kevin Murphy Body Builder Volumizing Mousse
"Kevin Murphy's Body Builder is great for someone with curly hair that is fine and [is] looking for a little lift at the root." — Kelly
Customer Review: "I originally purchased this from my hair salon and loved it. I then purchased two other mousse products in an attempt to find a less expensive option. In the end this mousse lasts longer and gives the best results. It smells great too."
7. Curlsmith Bouncy Strength Volume Foam
With a blend of hemp seed, rice protein, and nutrient-rich superfoods, this mousse provides curls with light hold and volume while enhancing your natural hair texture.
Customer Review: "Since I have fine, thin curls with a loose curl pattern, I've tried foams and mousses over the years, but I've always been disappointed. Devacurl, SheaMoisture, Not Your Mother's, Herbal Essences—anything I saw recommended online. Other curlies raved about these, but I could never see a difference unless I used them without gel. Unfortunately, without gel for definition and frizz control, I don't have curls. I have a poofball. This foam actually works under gel. I applied as recommended, foam everywhere, but especially on the roots, no gel for the first inch or so of my hair. I now get volume all over, with definition and frizz control, and none of the stringiness or hardness I've gotten from mousse in the past. My hair is soft, my curls are bouncy, and I am happy. The only con I can find is some people may not like the smell. It's very earthy and a bit strong. I don't find that it lasts long, though. My husband says he can't smell it once it's dry."
8. Ouidad VitalCurl + Soft Defining Mousse
Ouidad's VitalCurl is enriched with oils rich in omega fatty acids, such as sunflower, Japanese camellia, and chia-seed oils, making it great for those with drier curls. It helps them retain moisture, bounce, and elasticity.
Customer Review: "Was super bummed when DevaCurl discontinued their Arc Angel Gel, so I was on the lookout for something new. Read reviews on VitalCurl, so I thought I'd give it a try. REALLY wish I tried it sooner. LOVE this product!"
9. SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse
This mousse enhances your natural curl memory and wave pattern without being crunchy or flaky. It also adds shine, a boost of volume, and extra hydration with coconut and hibiscus.
Customer Review: "Been using this mousse for about five years. Live in Florida, so heat and humidity really make my hair frizzy. Can't say enough good things. The smell is wonderful, and the ingredients are the best. Works when my hair is short or long and doesn't affect the color. The price is reasonable considering the high quality. My hair is never crunchy and shiny all day long. Can't live without."
10. Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Curl Activating Mousse
I love a good drugstore option, and this mousse from Not Your Mother's gets the job done. It provides long-lasting humidity control, adds major definition, and is even safe to use on color-treated hair.
Customer Review: "Talk about a product that keeps your curls poppin' all day. This right here is my holy grail hair product. It really helps activate your natural curl pattern and controls that frizz (along with just a little bit of the sculpting gel). After applying this product on my wash day, I barely have to refresh the following day and so on. Never stop selling this!"
11. Design Essentials Curl Enhancing Mousse
This quick-drying formula eliminates frizz and adds a beautiful sheen to the hair with ingredients like almond, avocado, and olive oils. It strengthens your strands to help prevent breakage and provides intense hydration for all-day wear.
Customer Review: "3B/3C hair—I struggle with my hair being frizzy and moisturized. I have tried so many mousses from cheap to expensive brands. This one is it! The smell is amazing! It holds my hair all day with no frizz and does not dry it out. Also… no flaking!"
12. DevaCurl Frizz-Fighting Volumizing Foam
DevaCurl's frizz-fighting foam adds volume and touchable definition. It also provides humidity resistance for up to 48 hours and gives curls a natural, flexible shape that still has definition.
Customer Review: "I used to use this brand before they changed the formula. Would recommend this product now after the changes. Smells great and my curls get their volume back as opposed to other brands."