I don’t really “get” mousse. It’s an embarrassing confession to make, especially since my lacrosse-playing fraternity-aspiring younger brother is a loyal devotee to the Ouai Soft Mousse. I always just thought he had great hair—but turns out, it's product. I noticed the tell-tale signs of it (namely, the silver can) when I was home over the holidays and looking in his bathroom for a tube of toothpaste to borrow. There was the mousse, right next to my missing bottle of St. Tropez. (A story for another time.)
Growing up in Miami, I felt that the good fight was against humidity and inevitable frizz. But the truth is, my hair is straight, on the finer side, and manageable even with the extra moisture in the air. While my friends were flat ironing their hair into submission and pouring on the Moroccanoil, I ignored hair products altogether. Finding the mousse in my brother’s bathroom felt like some sort of blood betrayal—if the secret to his thick, bouncy cut was this simple, why didn’t he tell me?
As fate would have it, Emily Ferber would tell me, about a month later. In the most subtle way possible, she handed me Virtue Uplifting Volumizing Whip. (Is it weird when your editor subtweets your hair by way of beauty product hand-off? You tell me.) I took it home, but I had some concerns. Most hair products make mine feel heavy and greasy, or sticky and crunchy. I like my hair to feel clean, not product-y. Plus, the instructions said to blow dry after application, which I forgo on principle. Don't get me started on the whole product amount lingo—comparing serving sizes to a softball or a quarter is a whole Goldilocks can of worms I'm not going to open.
Maybe it was pure sibling rivalry in me, but one day I picked up the can and put it in my towel-dried hair. I used what I'd estimate is about a spoonful and scrunched in from roots to ends. Then I twisted it (away from the face) into three sections, braided it, and secured it with a clip instead of an elastic. Once it felt dry, I shook it out for ridge-free slept-in texture. Better waves than a low bun, similarly low-effort.
I’ve used it every day since. (I told you I like clean hair.) I haven’t relied on a ponytail in weeks. Not totally sure how it works still, but my hair does more than just hang around my face now, and that's enough for me.
Ali is an ITG editorial intern.