The 10 Best Drugstore Mousses For Curly Hair

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best drugstore mousses for curly hair
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There are a lot of hair products out there designed to enhance your curls, and I’ve tried them all — which is how I know that a mousse can provide a lightweight, volumizing lift for full, bouncy curls. Thankfully, this foamy marvel doesn’t have to leave your hair sticky and greasy, and it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. In fact, the best drugstore mousses for curly hair all cost $20 or less, while offering the right formula for your curl shape and texture.

Identifying your curl type is a great first step when looking for the best mousse for your curly hair. Your curls can be shaped in waves, curls, or coils. The tighter your curls or coils, the more difficult it is for moisture to travel from root to tip, so those with curlier hair should look for a mousse with more moisturizing ingredients like aloe, shea butter, coconut milk, avocado oil, bamboo, or almond oil. If you have looser curls or wavy hair, opt for a lightweight mousse that won’t weigh your curls down.

The texture of your curls is also a factor when determining the best styling product for your curly hair. If you rub a single strand of your hair between your fingertips and you can barely feel it, you have fine hair. And, if the strand feels more like a sewing thread, then your hair is coarse. If your curls are fine, you won’t need as much product to coat them, and the best mousses for fine hair are usually lightweight, with a light to strong hold for added volume. Coarser curls tend to be dry and prone to frizz, which means coarse-haired individuals should look for a moisturizing, conditioning mousse with ingredients like oils, butters, proteins, glycerin, polymers, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and silicones to lock in moisture and coat the strands. Coarse hair may also benefit from a firmer hold to lock in its curl pattern.

The consistency of your mousse will also be a factor. Traditional mousses have a light, foamy texture that uses aeration to create space and volume between curls. This can be great for all curl types, but especially for fine and/or loose curls or waves. Gel-to-foam formulas have the stickiness and texture of a standard hair gel right from the dispenser, and then foam into a mousse, which can be perfect for enhancing and defining curls and coils. Cream mousses contain the natural oils and butters you might find in a cream to give your mousse a foamy, creamy texture that will do wonders with tighter or coarse curls. Finally, if you want volume, some mousses come in a spray format that can be directly applied to the area where you’d like to see some lift.

Whatever kind of mousse your curls need, here are the best budget curly hair mousses that you can pick up at a drugstore — or order right here on Amazon.

1. A Styling Foam For Coarse Curls & Coils

This styling foam from Carol’s Daughter is a popular choice for all kinds of curls, but since it’s made with moisturizing cocoa and shea butter, it is an especially good product for tighter curls or coils, or for hair with a coarser texture. The mousse also contains honey extract for a flexible medium hold and ingredients like agave nectar and rosemary to lock in moisture. It’s free from parabens and silicone.

The traditional-style mousse is fairly easy to use: just divide damp hair into sections, rub two to three pumps of foam between your hands, and apply it to each section. If you want to create a whole hair-care routine around this mousse, Carol’s Daughter also sells a bunch of different products in the nourishing Hair Milk line, including conditioner, curl butter, curl refresher spray, curl styling pudding, leave-in moisturizer, and detangler.

Helpful Amazon review: “'My hair is thick, coarse, prone to dryness [...] I've been searching for something that would preserve the damp-curl shape without looking like that scrunched-up crispy hair from the 80's, and THIS IS IT! Soft hold, no obvious residual ‘my hair is mostly product’ look. I now LOVE to let my hair just peacefully air dry [...] I now sometimes actually make it through an entire day without my hair reducing me to a puddle of frustrated tears!”

2. A Volumizing Mousse For Fine Curls

If you have fine curls and would like to add some extra volume, Aussie’s Headstrong mousse is a great pick that’s super affordable since you get a three-pack for less than $15. It’s a traditional mousse formula that contains bamboo to strengthen strands and kakadu plum to boost moisture and shine. Although the product isn’t specifically designed for curls, it promises to provide a boost to any kind of fine hair, and a bunch of Amazon reviewers specifically note how great it is for their curls. “I used to use hair creams and then i switched to this mousse,” wrote one reviewer. “I never realized how much cream weighed down my curls. This makes them light and beautiful.”

To use the mousse, just apply it to damp hair and diffuse or style as you normally would.

Helpful Amazon review: “This mousse is watery, so I wasn't sure how well it would work. I have fine, thin, curly hair. This works perfectly! It doesn't leave my hair crunchy. It leaves it soft while defining the curls with ease. My curls and style lasted all day, until I went to bed. It has a wonderful scent! It is a sweet fruity scent. The scent went away after I blow dried my hair. It is easy to use, and a little is all I need. I really like it!”

3. A Creamy Mousse For Curls & Coils

Another highly reviewed mousse for curls is the OGX Locking + Coconut Curls cream mousse. Combining the lightweight hold of a mousse with the hydration of a cream, this conditioning foam is perfect for thick, coarse curls and coils that crave moisture. Shea butter and coconut oil work together to smooth, protect, define, and moisturize, and the product has a coconut scent reviewers adore. Multiple fans also report that curls feel light and not sticky after use, leaving one to promise that the mousse will “lock the curl in a beautiful and bouncy way.” Just apply to damp hair, scrunch, and air dry.

Helpful Amazon review: “I haven't used mousse in years but picked this up [...] when I wanted to keep easy-to-use curl control in my poolbag to apply after swimming. I am thrilled with the control. After going through the first bottle, I'm better and knowing how much I need to get the control I want without the wet look (you can get the wet look if you want, by using more product). I'm on my third container now.”

4. A Moisturizing Mousse For Thick, Curly Hair

If you have thick, curly hair, you need more product to coat all your strands — which makes SheaMoisture’s curl mousse a perfect choice, since reviewers report that it has a more liquidy texture to help you cover your curls from root to tip. The mousse is also filled with ingredients to provide much-needed moisture, including shea butter, coconut oil, and neem oil, as well as silk proteins to make sure that the curls hold on to that moisture. Plus, it doesn’t contain parabens and phthalates. According to reviewers, the mousse provides a light, flexible, and never-crunchy hold that lasts all day. To apply, just work the mousse through sectioned damp hair, scrunch, and style however you’d like.

Helpful Amazon review: “AWESOME PRODUCT for natural curly hair. I am absolutely obsessed with this mousse. I have used it for about 3 years and will use it for life. I struggled for a long time to find product that made my curls look natural but not frizzy yet touchable. I am so happy I found this. It is so light, exactly like a can on whipped cream. It's almost like fluffy whipped lotion. It holds for a long time and definitely eliminates frizz. I always buy 2 bottles at a time, because I can't live without this stuff. If you are on the fence, just try it. It is the absolute best product and you cant beat the price!”

5. A Styling Mousse For Waves & Curls

Got waves or curls? Then try Garnier Fructis’s Curl Construct mousse. It’s a lightweight traditional mousse with an extra strong hold, and the brand recommends it for curl types two through four (two is wavy, three is curly, four is coily). Shea butter and silicone provide and lock in moisture, providing definition and volume. While these ingredients are especially good for coarse hair, the lightweight texture means that fine-haired people can also benefit from the product, too. The foam is also cruelty-free, vegan, and free from parabens. Apply to damp hair, followed by a scrunch and air dry, or a blow-dry with a diffuser.

Helpful Amazon review: “I absolutely love this product, and cannot live without it! I have thick wavy hair that is hard to style. This stuff is affordable, smells great, curls my lazy waves, and makes my hair feel soft.”

6. A Defining Mousse With A Strong Hold For All Curl Types

All curl types can reach for L'Oréal Paris’s curl mousse if they’re looking for a strong hold. It’s a traditional mousse formula made with polymers and silicones, and it promises 24-hour curl definition. Reviewers report that it works for fine and coarse curls, with one fan loving that their curls stayed soft without frizzing, flaking, stickiness, or stiffness, and another touting that it held their curls naturally, comfortably, and “smells awesome.” Just apply to damp hair, scrunch through curls, and add more near the roots for an added lift.

Helpful Amazon review: “I have VERY curly hair and it keeps my hair soft and non-frizzy without weighing it down. It adds gobs of volume to help make my hair look full because my hair is very fine. I put it on my wet hair and then scrunch it and let it air dry.”

7. A Gel That Turns Into A Mousse For Curls & Coils

If you’re on the fence about whether to get a gel or a mousse, then you should consider this Carol’s Daughter gel-to-foam mousse. It dispenses like a gel, so you get that gel-like hold and definition, and then foams up to a lightweight mousse that dries quickly. Aloe and glycerin give the mousse a slippery and spreadable texture that nourishes and moisturizes your strands — just work it through wet or damp hair and you’re done!

According to Carol’s Daughter, the mousse provides up to 48 hours of hold, plus humidity protection and detangling properties, and it’s designed especially for curls and coils from 3A to 4C. Reviewers with coarse and fine curls alike gave positive reviews, leaving one fan to rave, “Has to be one of the best products for styling natural hair.” The mousse is free from alcohol, parabens, and sulfates, and you can also combine it with other products from the same Wash Day Delight line, which includes a shampoo, conditioner, and hair moisturizer.

Helpful Amazon review: “I like to use gel and mousse on my natural curls to get them more defined. This gel to foam styler is basically a 2 in 1 gel and mousse but turns the gel into mousse if that makes sense. The bottle is a pretty nice size and a little of the product goes a long way which is great. The gel/ mousse has aloe in it and smells really good and has a light scent. The product is fast drying which is a huge plus because your hair is not wet for hours. You can literally style and by the time you leave the house it’s dry. Definitely recommend for girls with kinks and curls.”

8. A Lightweight Mousse With Aloe, Coconut Milk & Mango Butter

When you see aloe vera as the first ingredient in Maui Moisture’s mousse, you know you’re getting an especially nourishing foam. Not only does the aloe help strengthen hair while reducing frizz, this mousse also has coconut milk and mango butter to further add moisture. Overall, this is a combination that’s great for dry or coarse curls, and it doesn’t contain parabens, silicones, or sulfated surfactants either. The mousse has a traditional foamy texture and is used in the traditional way — just scrunch it through damp hair and air dry for a defined, flexible hold. Reviewers love the tropical scent, too.

Helpful Amazon review: “This airy lightweight, vegan formula hair mousse by Maui Moisture smells divine, works miracles on my natural curls without being sticky or leaving white residue behind. It quenches my curls making them look and feel hydrated and healthy. The infusion of coconut milk and mango butter has given my long curly locks the moisture it needs without weighing them down.”

9. A Root-Lifting Spray Mousse

Although SexyHair’s spray mousse isn’t formulated specifically for curls, the brand promises it can provide 48-hour hold for all medium to coarse hair types. Just spray directly to damp hair at the roots and you’ll not only get volume and lift, but protection from heat and humidity. The formula uses ingredients like PVP and silicone to coat the strands and provide hold and definition. One reviewer, who is also a hair and makeup artist, reports that “NOTHING works as well as this to give you volume and it really holds! I try new things as they come out and I haven’t found anything that even comes close to being as good as this!”

Helpful Amazon review: “I spray this in my naturally curly hair and let it air dry. Because its spray I dont flatten out like I would if I applied by hand.”

10. A Defining Mousse For Wavy Hair

While this quick-drying curl-enhancing mousse is designed for waves, curls, and coils, how well it works in fine, wavy hair is where it really stands out. Different Amazon reviewers report that it holds waves, adds body, and provides shine without a crunchy feeling. The formula contains avocado oil to condition strands, wheat proteins to strengthen them, and almond oil for moisture and shine, so your hair feels totally taken care of. The mousse has a traditional feel that can easily be applied to damp hair and then air dried or diffused, leaving a medium hold. Choose from a few different sizes.

Helpful Amazon review: “I have fine, naturally curly/wavy hair and have tried nearly every brand, type and combination of hair care products available. My search is over. Hold. Shine. Curl definition. Frizz control. No need to blow dry/diffuse. Look carries over to day two fantastically. Checks all the boxes. Now I just have to hope they never quit making it.”