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All about hair mousses

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Hair mousse

Hair mousse is a hairstyling product added to hair for extra volume and shine. Mousse originates as a French term meaning foam. Hair mousse originated in France and was brought to the North American retail market by L’Oreal in the 1980s, the first mousse product coming out under the label “Valence". It is often dispensed in an aerosol foam spray or in cream form. Hair mousse adds volume to hair and often provides both conditioning and hold, without any clumps or build-up. It is a hairstyling product which works by using synthetic resins to coat the hairs, and assist the hair in taking shape. Hair mousse is purple while in the can and turns an off-white colour upon coming in contact with the air. One of the lighter-weight hair styling products, hair mousse is applied to wet hair before drying and styling. Hair mousse may also be referred to as styling foam. Hair mousse can be used on naturally curly or permed hair to reduce frizz and define curl.


The early 1980s arrival of hair mousse in North America was known as “Mousse Mania”, as hairdressers unveiled the new foam product to their clientele . Throughout its first years on the market, hair mousse quickly became a multimillion dollar product. 1984 domestic retail sales for the product ranged from $100–$150 million and almost $200 million in sales by 1986.

Due to the mid-1980s popular style trend for big hair, mousse, alongside other volumizing products raised in popularity. It is believed that the year 1987 marked the decline of “mousse mania”, as the popularity of having big hair decreased and people began to rise in concern on using more environmentally friendly products.[5] Due to the chemical makeup of the hairstyling product it was not commonly deemed as “environmentally friendly”. Today, the product is not only produced and marketed under many different brand names, but is also sold for different hair types. There are mousse products sold specifically for those with curly hair, as well as for those with colour-treated or straight hair.


As a versatile hair styling product, hair mousse is a popular choice for both short and long hairstyles. When hair mousse is applied to wet hair that is allowed to air dry, the hair is often left with a "wet" look that can be "crunchy" feeling, but unlike hair gel, hair mousse combs out easily for a softer look. When hair mousse is applied to wet hair that is dried with a hair dryer, it provides additional volume and hold.

Depending on your hair type, different mousses and combined procedures can be used in order to achieve your desired hairstyle.

Thin hair types looking to achieve thick/fuller hair: Requires any ‘volumizing’ mousse. With this, you need to ensure you hair is a bit damp for the product to seal, flip your head (head facing the floor), distribute the mousse from roots to ends evenly, which can be properly done by using a comb or hairbrush. Then to finish, and add complete fullness, use a blow dryer with your head flipped upside down. Let this run for about 10– 15 minutes.

Straight or wavy hair types looking for curly hair: For this look you will need: curlers, hair spray and mousse. This is exactly like the sections stated above, however you will need to add curlers while your hair is damp. In order to do this properly, section your hair in small sections while you apply mousse and curlers. Once the hair is dry, add hair spray to each curl from the roots to ends to ensure you receive long lasting results.


Usually the first ingredient in a canister of hair mousse is water, which is the top substance used to blend the varying chemical substances together. Another key ingredient is alcohol which helps dissolve the ingredients already added to the water as well as help produce a quick breaking foam.

The next ingredient used is polymer or resin. Polymers are the most effective and important component of hair mousse, which acts as a conditioning agent. These resins are long chain molecules that form a film on the hair allowing a tighter grip on the hair strands, making it harder to brush off and form a resistant film. This allows users to comb or brush their hair, as well as apply heat from a blow dryer without the mousse leaving the hair stiff.

Cationic resin is often blended with another film former to give a firmer hold on the hair. In order for this to be successful, the polymer chosen must be nonionic in nature and should be compatible with the cationic resin.

Emulsifiers are used to help blend the product creating foam. Mousses do not require long-lasting foam stability. Ideally, the foam will beak down immediately once worked into the hair.

Other added ingredients in various hair mousses, such as vitamins, silicones, sunscreens, and dyes, tend to assist in additional functions for the hair mousse product, such as providing an additional conditioning component.

There are hundreds of brands of hair mousse from professional to store brands, many delivering a quality styling product. Certain brands contain alcohol, which is suitable for most hair types except dry. For dry hair, hair mousse that contains natural conditioners and vitamins, but no alcohol is recommended. Users might also consider checking hair mousse and other styling products for ultraviolet sun protection. Hair mousse usershave a variety of differing products to choose from. Across North America, hair mousse products can be purchased under some of the top name-brands including: L’Oreal, Tresseme, Garnier, Herbal Essences, and many others.

Colour mousse is used to cover up grey hair and to create hair styles at the same time. Semi-permanent colour mousse can be used to give toning to hair that is fading from hair colour processes.

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