9 best hair mousse for defining curls, adding volume and taming frizz

Louise Whitbread
·7 min read
<p>Apply to towel-dried hair before blow drying for the best results</p> (The Independent/iStock)

Apply to towel-dried hair before blow drying for the best results

(The Independent/iStock)

Mousse in our hair care routines can have a multitude of uses, from boosting volume, defining curls or keeping frizz in check. Not only that it adds texture too, giving a stronger hold to whichever style you’re going for.

Whatever you’re looking for in a mousse product, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Nobody wants a crunchy texture or stickiness left on your hair, which makes it hard to style and rough to touch.

We’ve made it our mission to find the best money can buy, whatever your budget or hair type, and after a lengthy trialling process, have discovered the best.

It’s typically applied to towel-dried hair and blow dried in for the best results.

If you have fine hair, ensure you fully dry tresses from root to tip to get the most from a dollop of mousse and for curly hair, opt for a scrunching motion and make use of a diffuser attachment on your hairdryer.

From luxurious treats worth the splurge to budget buys that’ll keep your bank account happy, these are our top rated products, that deliver on volume, keep your curls happy and add life into even the most limp, lifeless locks.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Philip Kingsley volumising froth

If you have fine hair that often feels weighed down by product, this is a lovely compromise that delivers on volume without leaving you feeling frizzy, as long as it's applied correctly. As recommended, we combed it through towel dried hair to ensure it was evenly spread, as a common mistake to make with mousse is to not distribute it throughout hair, which can leave you with clumps of product build up. It’s a great all-rounder for short, long, curly, wavy and straight styles and it left a nice softness to strands, while also adding hold for other heated styling tools you may wish to use, such as a curling wand.

Buy now £22.00, Marks & Spencer

L’Oréal Paris elnett satin strong hold volume mousse

The L'Oréal Paris elnett range is most commonly known for its hairspray that does wonders for holding all hairstyles in place for hours, but it's volumising mousse is an underrated gem of the collection. The brand has clearly cracked the code for giving hair hold and ensuring carefully styled tresses stay in place all day. This mousse works best before you blowdry hair with a rounded brush taken from root to tip for an added boost. It's easy to distribute throughout hair and doesn’t leave any trace of crunchiness or stickiness, and we found it worked brilliantly on both curly and straight hair that’s seeking a fuss-free voluminous do. Just be careful when dispensing it onto your hand, as the product shoots out quite quickly, and using too much can leave your feeling crispy.

Buy now £5.99, Lookfantastic

Oribe grandiose hair plumping mousse

The ombre black and gold packaging of this luxe plumping mousse is reminiscent of a decadent perfume bottle. While the brand says it can be used on blow dried or air dried hair, we wouldn’t recommend the latter as you’re more likely to be left with a slight crunchy texture. Instead we saw impressive results when applied evenly from root to tip on wet hair, then blasted with a hairdryer and a brush to guide each section. Our hair, particularly at the roots were voluminous and super soft, and lasted a full day and night’s sleep. It’s a luxury treat that will come in handy between salon visits, lockdown or not.

Buy now £39.50, Cult Beauty

Ouai soft mousse

Jen Atkin is the brains behind Ouai, and counts the Kardashian family as clients, so she knows a thing or two about helping hair look as good as possible. This soft mousse, perhaps the chicest we’ve seen, is great for minimising frizz on straighter styles while adding body. With a formula enriched with wheat proteins and amino acids, it adds a nice shine to hair too, which keeps it looking healthy and a little goes a long way. We found no tackiness on either our hair or hands after use too. It comes out like a liquid and foams up while in your palm and as you’re applying it, so don’t be put off by the fizzing sound it makes as you run it from root to ends before blow drying strands.

Buy now £22.00, Space nk

Boots curly hair mousse

This is a fantastic budget-friendly option for curly hair that gives definition and hold. It’s speedy too, just apply through locks evenly from root to tip and leave to air-dry or use a diffuser for an extra boost. It leaves a slight stickiness, but for the price it’s hard to complain. We found it delivered a good hold in curls for nearly two days, and didn’t weigh hair down thanks to the lightweight texture. From enhancing curls to adding more definition, this is a budget buy worth picking up on your next trip to Boots.

Buy now £1.50, Boots

Bumble & Bumble full form soft mousse

Just as the name suggests, this is unbelievably soft and creamy in texture, not to mention it smells amazing. We applied to clean, damp hair as instructed and blow dried hair carefully, paying close attention at the roots. It works brilliantly on fine hair that lacks that elusive volume we’re all looking for, but leaves no stickiness or stiffness, whilst adding ample amount of bounce. If your hair is naturally poker straight, we’d recommend brushing through the mouse once applied all over, to ensure you've got an even coverage to limit any product build up.

Buy now £22.00, Liberty London

Umberto Giannini curl whip curl activating mousse

We loved how soft our hair felt after using this vegan foaming mousse, with natural, healthy-looking curls that were frizz-free and not crispy at all. One squirt is enough for shorter hair, and the thin nozzle makes it easy not to use more product than your hair needs. We scrunched it into hair and used a diffuser to help keep our curls natural pattern while reducing frizz. For the price, it rivals luxury counterparts and leaves behind locks that aren't sticky to touch, making it easy to style afterwards.

Buy now £7.00, Boots

Shu Uemura Art of Hair awa volume mousse

While not the cheapest, this is great if you’re looking to add texture before styling hair. Application is a doddle, just flip your head upside down and run your hands with one pump of product all the way through, then blow dry. We found there’s an even bigger boost of volume when you dry your hair upside down too. Once dry, it leaves behind a soft texture to work with and we found the curls we created with heated tongs lasted longer than usual too. Think of this as a blowdry in a can.

Buy now £16.35, Feel Unique

Moroccanoil curl control mousse

Rich in argan oil, which FYI smells incredible, this mousse is made with curly hair in mind, adding definition and fullness to lacklustre locks. It’s perfect for curly to tightly spiraled hair, particularly if you like having a more textured finish that isn’t crunchy. We found one pump is a generous amount for shorter hair, while slightly more will be needed for longer tresses, and with regular use over a few weeks, we saw less frizz, even after blustery winter walks. It’s great if you’re feeling lazy too, simply scrunch into towel-dried hair and leave to dry naturally.

Buy now £14.85, Feel Unique

The verdict: Hair mousse

The Philip Kingsley volumising froth is fantastic for most hair types, from poker-straight to tight curls and has a lovely lightweight texture that provides a long lasting hold without the crunch. It’s a failsafe option that’s great if you’re new to using mousse in your hair care routine.

For extra bounce, we’ve also found the best hair volumising products