Curl sets done with perm rods, flexi rods, magnetic rollers, straws and Curlformers are popular styles for transitioners and naturals alike. Sets offer a longer lasting styling alternative to braid outs, twist outs and bantu knot outs — smoothing the hair and creating uniform curls of various sizes, blending textures and damage, and even setting the stage for stretched hair that can be straightened or styled with minimal to no heat.
However, the products you use to set your style are important. Gels can leave flakes or too much crunch, while butter blends and oils will make the hair soft (with results that won’t last as long). Somewhere in the middle are water‐based foams, mousses, and styling lotions that hydrate and moisturize the hair, while using lightweight styling polymers (like polyquats) for hold without crunch. Here are seven great options all under $10!
ApHogee has a wide range of products that work to pH balance, strengthen, and protect the hair during styling. The Style & Wrap Mousse contains Keravis protein (more on that here), essential amino acids and ingredients like cetrimonium chloride that makes it ideal for roller and silk wraps. The proteins and other heat protective ingredients ensure that the hair is protected should choose to sit under a dryer or flat iron your voluminous curls.
If you’re looking for something a little more “natural”, Shea Moisture’s sister company Nubian Heritage’s Honey & Black Seed Mousse is a great option. It provides softness, shine, hold and heat protection all in one thanks to glycerin, shea butter, macadamia oil, and babassu oil, and honey. This mousse is ideal for taking your hair from highly textured to sleek and straight. This foam can be used for roller sets before straightening or wrapping, or as a source of heat protection while your rods dry underneath a hooded dryer.
This foam provides shiny, soft, moisturized, and well‐defined rod and roller set results. It is full of good for your hair ingredients like aloe vera, Vitamin E, ginseng, coconut oil, rosemary, shea butter, and olive oil. A little bit goes a long way, and the Curl Definer Mousse is definitely best suited for hair that tends to dry out easily. It can also be used to style wash and go’s for a lighter, touchable hold.
Lottabody has one of the most affordable, widely available range of setting and wrapping foams and lotions. From their original blue formula to the brand new Wrap Me Foaming Mousse, which Lottabody product to use on your curl set is all about preference. Their setting lotions tend to be concentrated, and you are able to dilute them according to your personal preferences. The foams are pre‐mixed and ready to use. I’m personally a fan of the Carrot Seed & Keratin Setting Lotion for rod and straw sets.
Although marketed as a gel for wash and go styles, the Condition & Sculpt has the consistency of and behaves more like a setting lotion. It contains sage, nettle, rosemary and henna extracts to strengthen and revitalize the hair while providing flake‐free hold. It has more hold than the Roll and Wrap Foam, another popular Jane Carter Solution product for roller sets and wraps. If you choose to use Condition & Sculpt, definitely pour some into a small spray bottle for better distribution. A little goes a long way.
Formulated with ingredients like castor oil, argan oil, honey and aloe, Creme of Nature’s Style & Shine Foaming Mousse provides sleek results while softening the hair. The Style & Shine Foaming Mousse can also be used to set twist outs and wash and go’s.
Another more “natural” foam is also available from Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus line. Formulated with all naturally derived ingredients, including coconut oil, glycerin, shea butter, and hibiscus extract, the Frizz‐Free Curl Mousse will hydrate and nourish the hair. It provides great shine, but only a very soft hold. If you’re looking for your hair to get way bigger as the days go by, this is the one! Also great for wash and go styling on types of hair that are weighed down easily.
What is your favorite mousse to use for styling?