In 2017, the styling product formerly known as mousse has reinvented itself—as foam. It's even changing the dry shampoo game.
So forget what you think you know and trust us (and the pros) when we tell you it belongs in your repertoire—whether your hair is cropped and pin-straight or big and curly.
The Benefits of Using a Styling Foam
1. It works with all hair textures. Like mousse, foams are whipped, lightweight, and meant to add volume and shine without weighing the hair down. "Foam is so versatile, but most importantly helps to make hair full and bountiful," explains Tippi Shorter, celebrity stylist and Aveda global artistic director for textured hair. "The way foam expands from a liquid to a full, fat foam is what helps amplify the fullness in the hair strands."
2. It's easy to use. "Because it starts as a liquid, it is easily worked through all textures of hair for ease of distribution," says Shorter. "It serves many purposes for different types of hair, amplifying for fine or straight hair, and providing light hold for curly textures."
3. You can use it on wet or dry hair. Carol's Daughter Style Squad member Caatanda James notes that it's most commonly used for various wet styling techniques, but it can also be used on freshly-washed or dirty hair. "Once the hair is dry, it promotes the ability to finish styling with ease, leaving the hair workable, soft, and frizz-free with maximum shine," she explains.
4. It can be cocktailed with other products. " It can be used as a standalone product or cocktailed for customizing your specific look," says Cal Ellis, curl master and educator for DevaCurl. "I'm a big advocate of experimenting. I always say if something isn't working, some other combination or application will."
Pro Tips for Styling with Foam
For straight hair: "On straight hair, I apply foam to wet hair before blowing it out to get a great amount of body in the hair with a light hold," says Shorter.
For wavy hair: For effortless-looking waves, less is more and acting fast is key. "The number one styling tip for using a foam is not to overuse the product," says James. "Since it is seemingly weightless, its power can be underestimated. Working quickly but efficiently is best as well. Once fully absorbed, you begin to lose pliability and styling may become more challenging."
For curly hair: For curly textures, Ellis pays close attention to the foam-to-water ratio. "With some textures, I will leave in a lot of water," he says. "Take your foam in the shower, glide over curls, squish lightly to distribute to the interior, layer on whatever product will give you your desired result, then scrunch."
James, however, loves applying it section by section on damp, towel-dried hair if it's going to be set. "Allow the hair to dry 100% before unleashing the knots, twists, or rollers," says James."This is the key to locking in moisture and keeping the frizzies at bay."
If you're going to let your curls air dry naturally, hairstylist Pearson Knight suggests applying foam generously from roots to ends. "Once the hair is 80-90% dry, lightly scrunch with hands to desired softness, definition, and hold of the curl."
On long hair: "For medium to long styles seeking volume, don't be afraid to use a good amount and apply product from roots to ends," says Knight. "Then, blow dry your desired style."
On short hair: "For shorter hairstyles, like bob and pixie variations seeking volume and hold, concentrate the product at the crown of the head and blow dry straight off the head or in the correct direction to enhance volume," says Knight.