I like to be at the forefront of new hair care breakthroughs, but this latest one is giving me déjà vu. The hot new hair product that has hair stylists raving? Mousse. Yep, you read that correctly and no, this is not a fake blog post from 1987. That foamy, fluffy product is back with a vengeance and it's had a makeover for the new millennium.
Mousse hit the scene in the '70s and '80s, back when huge hair was the holy grail. Then came the '90s. Everyone went stick straight a la Gwyneth Paltrow, and mousse fell out of favor. It started picking up steam again in the early '00s and in the last several years has been experiencing a resurgence. "Consumers would complain about the crunchy characteristics of their hair, but they always wanted more volume," Eric Spengler, Chief Commercialization Officer of R&D at Living Proof (aka the guy that develops hair care products) said. "We realized mousse was a perfect delivery system for our thickening technology." So has pretty much every other hair care company out there.
Still skeptical? Living Proof's Full Thickening Mousse is one of the company's best sellers, and Vogue reports that Redken's Guts 10 mousse is that brand's best seller, too. And Oribe just released not one, but three specialized mousses (meece? mice?). Mousse is back, but this time around it's not going to make you look like Jon Bon Jovi.
Here's why mousse is awesome, according to all the experts I talked to: 1) It provides volume. 2) It's really light and won't weigh your hair down. 3) It plays nicely with other products, meaning you can use it as a styling base and squirt and spritz other products on top of it without extra buildup. 4) Unlike some cream volumizers, it can give hair texture too. 5) It fights frizz.
Click through for some styling tips and tricks, as well as product recommendations.
At the fall shows, multiple backstage hair stylists used mousse on a variety of styles, from smooth waves at Altuzarra to Prada's wet-look heads. Here's how to play with it:
• Apply carefully: Sascha Breuer, a celeb hair stylist who's styled Anne Hathaway (above) and Jessica Biel, recommends using a golf ball sized dollop. But DON'T just scrunch it into your hair. You'll end up with globs in some places and none in others. Instead dip a wide-toothed comb into the mousse and comb it through. Concentrate on the crown, and avoid your bangs.
• For thickening and body: And by this I do not mean big hair. Mousse can add life and thickness to limp locks, without that crunchy texture it used to be so famous for. The simplest and most basic way to use it: Add mousse to wet hair and blow dry with a round brush, suggests Natalie Makridis, Living Proof's Manager of Test Salon and Education.
• Or skip the brush altogether: Both Breuer and Adam Livermore, celebrity stylist and Oribe's Hair Care Educator, recommend just drying by raking your fingers through your hair as you blow dry. You can still get volume even without a brush, plus it will be a bit more undone.
• Make beach waves: "If you apply [Oribe's] Surfcomber Mousse to wet hair and let it air dry you'll get perfect lazy beach waves," Livermore, celebrity stylist and Oribe Hair Care Educator, said. "Better yet, put it in damp hair and braid it. When it's dry, shake it out and you'll have shiny silky waves."
• Keep your curls soft and kill frizz: Mousse is great for getting rid of frizz, says Breuer. And if you have curly hair, you're allowed to "scrunch" the mousse through with your hands--never brush your hair or you'll lose the curl. Breuer also recommends just gently squeezing hair with a towel--no rubbing!--to get rid of excess water prior to adding mousse.
• Controversial use: Use it the way you would use a gel or pomade in dry hair. Katia Solano used Oribe's Surfcomber in my short hair at the Butterfly Studio Salon, and I was skeptical at first. But it gave me some amazing pieciness, texture, and a sort of wet look (though not as wet as Prada, above).
Click through for some product recommendations.
Bumble and bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse, $29: This is a denser mousse that's tailor made for round brush blowouts. You'll get tons of volume but it will be bouncy, not crunchy.
Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Foaming Air Mousse, $5.49: Gives you lots of volume, you can comb through it, and it claims it will hold for 24 hours (I unfortunately had to take a shower on the day I tried it so can't confirm or deny this claim).
Oribe Grandiose, Surfcomber, and Curl Mousse, $36: The new trio. Grandiose is for big volume (this one is closest to the '80s mousses of yore, but without the dry flaky finish), Surfcomber is for beach waves without the stiffness that sometimes comes with beach sprays, and Curl will cut through frizz for soft curls (use a diffuser to dry).
Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, $26: Thanks to the brand's proprietary technology, this one makes limp locks feel thicker without stiffness. I used this and let it air dry, and my hair had amazing waves that felt soft. And this was without any of my usual serums and potions to get rid of my dry ends.
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Bountiful Body Mousse, $5.99: Another thickening mousse that left my hair pretty damn soft and shiny to boot.