If you’ve scrolled through TikTok recently you may be very well acquainted with the various hairstyling hacks that creators have adopted for getting the hair of their dreams. One hack that has made waves (no pun intended) as of late is using only mousse to hold curls instead of hairspray.
Trading in their favorite finishing hold sprays, people have turned to mousse as part of the beginning process of curling their days old hair. Sure there are all those videos of influencers showing off their curls the next day and swearing that the hack works, but is it really a failproof method? Before you banish your extra hold hairspray to the back of your beauty cabinet, keep reading to learn more about how to use mousse to give curls longevity, how it compares to hairspray and how the two work for a long-lasting style.
Mousse vs. Hairspray: Which One Gives Curls Better Hold?
As it turns out, this social media hack is in fact not a hack at all. Hairstylists have been using this technique of adding mousse to hair before curling it for decades — but like many TikTok beauty trends, it’s having a resurgence as Gen Z creators are learning about this process.
“A hairspray is intended to be applied on dry hair — unless you’re living your best ‘80s hair band dream, then stick to the mousse,” explains Jonathan Colombini, L’Oréal Paris creative director of style and color. Mousse is typically applied to wet strands and hairspray is applied to dry hair at the end of the styling session.
The way it works is that mousse can help mold and define hair while also keeping frizz away — which means your curls look polished, shapely and bouncy for longer. The L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse includes castor oil in the formula, which is known to help add moisture to that hair. More moisture is always a good thing for keeping your style longer, as dry or parched hair can easily fall flat and lose shape, decreasing the longevity of your curly hairstyle.
The difference with this new TikTok method is that creators are using mousse on dry hair, pre-styling. When it comes to whether it holds curls longer than hairspray, it can depend on your hair type or texture. For people with straight or finer hair it helps them to create instant, voluminous curls that typically have a tousled waves look days later.
How to Use Mousse to Give Your Curls Hold
ICYMI on your For You page, using mousse to keep your curly hairstyle for days is actually really easy. Simply follow the steps below to get the look.
Step 1. Clean Your Roots
We’re always a stickler for starting any hairstyling session with clean hair but we understand that for this hack it may make more sense to start on day-two or even day-three hair. So, grab a dry shampoo instead to ensure that your roots are refreshed and to give them some volume and lift.
We recommend the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair, which won’t leave behind white residue as it absorbs oil from your roots.
Step 2. Brush Your Hair
Brush the mousse through your hair. It will make your strands damp for a minute and that’s okay, that just means you’ve really saturated those tresses. Let it air dry for a moment then move on to the next step.
Step 3. Curl Your Hair
Spritz your semi-dry hair with heat protectant to make sure you’re shielding them from heat damage. Then section your hair with claw clips to make styling easy, grab your curling wand and begin to curl your hair in one- to two-inch sections as normal. Use duckbill clips to hold your curls as you go.
Step 4. Finger Comb Your Curls and Leave Them
Remove your clips and shake your hair out once you’ve completed your entire mane. Use your fingers to comb through your curls if you need to separate them. Be sure to wrap your hair in a silk scarf before bed to give your curls a higher chance of staying put the next day. And remember as Colombini says, “Set it and forget it — don’t over touch!”
Editor’s tip: We tried the technique on a human hair wig and it prevailed. The hair felt soft and not crunchy, nor greasy or weighed down and the curls stayed for seven days with continued wear. We also used flexi rods and L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented (skipping hair mousse) on a synthetic wig and the curls stayed for just as long.
Written and photographed by: Shalwah Evans
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