Cool Travel Size Mousses to try while on the Go!

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

How do you view your mousse? Is it your favorite go-to hair styling product? Or do you sometimes have a love-hate relationship, because you just don't know how to get the results you want?

In this article, we will answer some of your frequently asked questions:

  1. Which Is better mousse or gel​?
  2. How do I use mousse on curls​?
  3. How do I use mousse on dry hair​?
  4. Can I curl my straight hair with mousse​?
  5. Does it matter if the mousse contains alcohol​?
  6. Are there any without alcohol and fragrance-free​?
  7. And of course, which ones come in our travel sizes​

Is Foam spray the same as Mousse?

Spray Foam or Foam Spray is a type of mousse that sprays on like hairspray but does not expand as much as regular mousse.  Most of these products are root boosters and are not meant for the entire hair. Make sure you find out to get the best results from your product.

Foam Spray is Great to add extra body to dry hair or a little extra something for fine or long hair. 

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This is like salt spray and mousse into one.  Makes fine hair feel thicker. Adds texture to any type including curly hair. Gives the feeling of second-day hair.  

Mousse vs Gel Which is Better?

The chemical composition of Mousse is similar to that of a gel and works to hold the hair in the same way. But because it is a foam and has more water content it spreads more easily through the hair and is lighter and has less hold than Gel.

Between gel and mousse, gel works harder at keeping your hair in place.
A lighter holding mousse tames down frizz, while strong hold mouse gives hair stiffness.
A gel is better for certain hairstyles than mousse. For example, if you want to rock a Mohawk, you reach for a bottle of hair gel instead of mousse.-

As you may recall from my article ” best travel-size gel”, I personally prefer gel for curl definition. But I must say that for more natural and touchable hair Mousse is better.

Mousse can really be used on any hair type. not many other products can claim that!
Some mousse has extra conditioning ingredients, specially made for certain hair types. That doesn't mean if you don’t have that hair type, it won't work on your hair.

Best ways to use Mousse

  1. Simplest most overlooked step​

SHAKE the can  it should come out like whipped cream. If it comes out watery,  you didn't do it enough. Resulting in poor product distribution =crunchy hair

  1. Less is more​

  • Don’t overdo it.  What a good rule for the amount?
  • Golf ball (short hair)
  • Baseball (medium length hair)
  • Softball (long hair)
  1. Work a Little in Your Hands First​

  • I know this seems counter-intuitive, it's a foam why would you want to work it in your hand first?  Ok, you don’t have to work it like a pomade, but spreading it in your hands helps you disperse it more evenly through the hair.
  • If you just add big blobs of mousse to your hair = crunchy hair
  1. Mousse On Dry hair ​

Great method if you don't have time to wash and dry your hair

Mousse on Dry Hair will hardly be noticeable.

  • Work mousse into the root area. Hair doesn't need to be fully wet. If your hair still feels dry, add a bit more to make the hair workable.
  • Use a blow dryer on medium heat and high airspeed.
  • To Pump up the volume focus the air on the root area.
  • Stop just when your hair feels dry
  • Finish with texture paste and hairspray

(This method works for fine, thin, straight, wavy, or short hair)

For short Coily hair to define curls

  • Add some mousse
  • Massage it into the scalp and the coil pattern will start to take shape.
  • Finish the edges with a comb and pomade or soft gel for holding down baby hairs.

Some people have asked:

Can you curl straight hair with mousse?

Can you use mousse to curl your hair overnight? 

This technique should answer both of those questions

  • On dry hair that's been detangled, 
  • Apply mousse to hair, by  finger combing product through ends to saturate (like method #1 above) this time we want more on the ends
Section of head
  • Section the hair in 2-6 sections or more,  depending on how thick your hair is, and how much curl you want. 
braiding hair
  • Braid each section and secure the ends.  (more braids = tighter pattern)
  • Let product air-dry overnight or you can use a diffuser to speed the process. 
    (To find travel diffuser to may want to read best travel-sized hairdryer)
  • If you are going out, shower and dress first before taking the braids out. 
  • The extra humidity of the shower will help set the style.

 Results = Beautiful Beach Wave Hair

*For a more polished look go for rollers. You can read more about the Best rollers for Traveling.

  1. Applying MousseOn Wet hair​

Mousse On wet hair leaves a shiner sleeker finish 

Apply evenly, using a wide-tooth comb to spread

  1. For Curly girls: 
    1. use more on the ends for curl definition
    2. Scrunch
    3. Air-dry at least %70 (even if you plan on using a defuser) 
    4. Use T-Shirt method to air dry for volume
  2. Straight Hair girls:

    1. Concentrate on the root/scalp area for more body and bounce 
    2. Blow-dry to  60-70% dry before using a round brush to finish

Does it matter if Mousse contains alcohol?​

First, all alcohol is not made equal. Benzyl alcohol is used as a bacteriostatic preservative at low concentration in, cosmetics (hair care products ). Benzyl alcohol is used in the manufacturing of, shampoos and other products for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, It doesn't affect the hair texture, but has been linked to contact dermatitis.-Wikipedia

Some alcohol has a very drying effect on the hair.  They can make the hair look frizzy.  Which is, a reason some people have had a bad experience with Mousse. The benefit of these ingredients is, they reduce drying time and product distribution. They are not ideal for curly or dry hair types.

Other types of alcohol like Cetyl alcohol (fatty alcohol) actually condition the hair.  Have you ever felt that mousse has made your hair greasy?  It was probably because it contained one of these common fatty alcohols. 

These particular alcohols are emollients and they are known to soften your skin and hair.-Naturally Curly

So just look for the right type of alcohol in your travel size mousse for hair. 

Some of Our Travel-Friendly Favorites Mousse Brands

Soft Hold​

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Makes fine hair look and feel thicker that lasts 5x longer hold. Heat protection (up to 320°F)

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includes 3 ingredients designed to protect the hair from thermal damage, also leaving it feeling very soft. (not a strong holding mousse)

Nexxus Light Hoild Hair Mousse + Volumizing Foam - 2oz​

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Includes 3 ingredients designed to protect the hair from thermal damage, also leaving it feeling very soft. (not a strong holding mousse)

Medium Hold​

No nothing Very Sensitive Strong Mousse​

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Includes 3 ingredients designed to protect the hair from thermal damage, also leaving it feeling very soft. (not a strong holding mousse)

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ORIBE Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse​

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Super volume-boosting, larger travel-sized, All-day memory

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amika Plus Size Perfect Body Mousse​

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 Long-lasting movable, flexible hold and anti-humidity benefits.

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Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Sculpting Foam​

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(Best for blowouts) adds volume and control for blow-drying. Infused with rich conditioners resulting in soft, bouncy healthy-looking shine

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Firm Hold​

Joico Power Whip Whipped Foam, 1.7 Fluid Ounce​

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Firmer holding than JoiWhip

Holds up to 72 hours and, Protects in high humidity. Protects from heat styling –  up to 450 degrees.

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Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Sculpting Foam​

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(Most Affordable)

Really firm holding mousse

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Schwarzkopf Igora Expert Mousse​

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This is a regular mouse with a bit of a temporary purple color. Helps you style your hair and tone the brassy color for better platinum blondes, gray hair, can enhance cool reds if they have faded.

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Non-Aerosol Travel Size Mousse

Some folks don't realize all aerosols (mousse and hairspray alike) have a propellant gas (like butane or propane)

So if you want a Mousse with-out those ingredients stick with a NON-Aerosol 

And most are also refillable = better for the environment

Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam 1.7 oz Trave Size​

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Most Natural Ingredients

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Keranique Thickening & Texturizing Mousse​

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 (For Thin Hair)

Body without stiffness, made to be a detangler that restores the hair's moisture balance for less breakage during brushing.

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Hair Mousse for Frizz Control and Wavy Hair​

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( Best for 4c and Coily Hair & Alcohol-Free)

Detangle, restructure and define uneven waves. Keep your hair hydrated, lightweight foam makes hair soft, smooth, shiny and bouncy without flakes or residue; Thermal protection for a natural, healthy, shiny blow-out 

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Interesting Mousse Hybrid​

R+Co Aircraft Pomade Mousse​

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This is a Pomade in a foam application (that means it's water-based)

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Read more about best travel-sized made for women 

In Conclusion

Mousse is easy to use. Everyone can use it. And there are plenty of hairstyling options with this product.
I also have come to realize I should switch to a different mousse, that doesn't have the drying kind of alcohol to keep my curls looking their best.

If don’t see a particular brand of travel size hair mousse you were looking for The ultimate guide to travel-sized Hair Care may help 

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