The One Trick Stylists Rely On For Instantly Thicker Hair

Illustrated by Olivia Santner
Dear Daniela,

Is mousse making a comeback? I think I used it once or twice as a teenager to try and make my hair look extra curly but for the most part it’s definitely not something I would think about using. But last time I went to get a blow-dry I’m certain my hairdresser used it on me, and I’ve seen people talking about it on TikTok, too. Should I be using it? What’s it good for?

Michaella, 25
The thing about trends is that they’re all basically just big ol’ loops. You’re right — mousse was really big in the ‘80s and the ‘90s to some extent, then fell out of favour in the ‘00s when people started going for flicked out ends, pixie cuts and choppy, super shaped styles. Recent years have been all about that kind of done-undone, insouciant texture that we often associate with Parisian girls, achieved with salt spray and texturising mists. So as we reach the end of that arc, it’s high time for a mousse revival. 
"A lot of current hair trends lend themselves really well to mousse," said Ryan Forsythe, international creative director at Trevor Sorbie for L’Oréal Professionnel. "The ‘70s-style curly shag is back in, as well as those ‘90s big, glamorous blow-dries — and both of those get great results from mousse." The kind of mousse you might have used when you were a teen was probably pretty sticky and offered a hold so firm your hair would survive a brisk jog in a wind tunnel. But just like fake tan, the formulations have come a long way since then. Now there are loads of lovely, lightweight options on the market.  
"There’s actually a very good selection of mousses nowadays that suit most hair types. Some are light and ideal for fine hair, others are more nourishing for textured hair, like the Shu Uemura Awa Volume Mousse, or better for curly hair, like L’Oréal Professionnel TECNI.ART Spiral Queen," said Ryan. "On curly hair, mousse gives great definition, shine and volume but on fine hair, it adds buildable volume." Essentially, mousse adds heft to finer hair, which helps with that luxuriously thick look. "It helps to 'bulk' out the hair from roots to ends," explained Ryan. "It also gives the hair substance, making it more malleable, which is great for creating up-dos."
If you’re going for a voluminous blow-dry, Ryan said a small amount of mousse applied evenly to damp hair and combed through is the way to go, before getting stuck in with your hairdryer. I had a great blow-dry at Dryby recently, where they used Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse on me. I was nervous when I saw the pillowy texture but it actually left my hair feeling super soft and nicely plumped up. Two more hairstylists have used it on me since. On curly and textured hair, it can help add lovely definition and shine to your curls, and usually distributes through the hair easily with either fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
Here’s the thing: hairdressers never stopped using mousse because they’ve always known how versatile a product it really is. The crunchy, crispy days of stiff, sky-high hair are well and truly over. So if you’re looking for something to really bulk out your blow-dry, it has to be mousse.

Happy scrunching!
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