Soft hair and mousse probably don’t sound like a natural pairing. The volumizing, shaving foam-esque product was the backbone of the eighties' biggest hairstyles. It's also infamous for the hard crunch it gave curls if you overused it. As everyone’s hair smoothed out when we entered the next decade, mousse fell off the radar, replaced by new products like volumizing sprays and smoothing serums.
If the 2016 Oscars was any indication, however, mousse is making a comeback—minus yesteryear's wet, crunchy curls. Turns out, the product was key to styling stars' hair on the red carpet, including Saoirse Ronan’s sexy, unkempt waves, Emily Blunt’s modern curls, and Naomi Watts’s Old Hollywood waves.
But the mousse celebrity hairstylists used to prep the actresses for their Oscar moments is nothing like the canned fluff from the ‘80s. “The formulas are more modern now, so they are no longer stiff,” explains Hos Hounkpatin, stylist at Frédéric Fekkai in N.Y.C. “[Mousse] has a bad reputation because traditional formulas used to contain alcohol—and also, because of misuse," including applying it to pre-dried hair or simply using too much of the stuff.
So what makes mousse such a great styler today? Adding volume and thickness to fine hair, and eliminating frizz are its major merits. “Mousse enables a woman to achieve the volume at the roots that a stylist is able give her in salon. It gives the lightweight volume that other products cannot provide,” says Hounkpatin.
Are you convinced yet that you should give mousse a second chance? Read on for a few of the best options, along with styling tips straight from the 2016 Oscars red carpet.