I remember experimenting with mousse when I was a young teenager. It was so much fun to squeeze the button, and see the fluffy foam grow in the palm of my hand. Then, I would smoosh my hands together and gingerly place the mousse on my hair. The mousse would quickly dissolve and make a subtle crinkle sound as I scrunched my curls for good measure. Then, I would brave the merciless humidity of Puerto Rico, the mousse would immediate cave, and my hair would rapidly shrink several inches. All of that product, for what? Nothing.
After experiencing these disappointing effects with mousse, I swore it off for more than 10 years. Then, several months ago, I was intrigued with Herbal Essences’ Totally Twisted mousse. To add fuel to the fire, I found a coupon in the Sunday paper, and I saved it for my next visit to Target. After purchasing it, I immediately tried it on, and it was love at first try. After washing my hair, I would separate my hair into four sections. Then I would rake the mousse through my hair and scrunch section by section. This way, I was sure that the majority of the curls were coated with the product. (Note that I say "would" because I don't use the product anymore because I cut my hair super, super short and wear it straight. However, I just want to write the review because my experience was definitely notable.) After applying the mousse all over my hair, I would not touch the curls at all until my hair was dry, then I would fluff and fluff until the curls were a little less defined without being frizzy. Before fluffing the curls, the mouse would leave my hair a little crunchy and stiff, but with light scrunch that sensation would go away, and there was no flaking.
Well, after using this mousse for several weeks, and loving how defined and shapely my curls looked, I noticed that my hair was beginning to feel dry and stringy. It was still pretty, but just felt a little damaged. So, I would shampoo more regularly (I have dry hair, so it is not good to do frequently), and I would also slather on more conditioner, which would just create more buildup. During this whole "What is going on with my hair? OMG I love my mousse!" phase, I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on. Then, one day it dawned on me: maybe I should shelve the mousse for a minute and see what happens. After several weeks, my hair went back to normal. The curls were still pretty, but not as pretty as with the mousse; however, it felt soo much better.
Once, this realization came, I frowned. I so wanted to love this beautifully fruity-smelling mousse. I so wanted to forget about how inept mousse was in my teenage years. I just wanted to enjoy this mousse and embrace its abilities to control and define my curls. Alas, it was not meant to be. The product buildup was just too much for my hair.
I finally resolved (before I decided to cut my hair, which was not related to this product) to not use it every other day, and instead use it sporadically. I think my error was that I was using too much product, too often. But here is the thing, I have used and abused my hair for years. I have layered on product, after product, after product, and I have never experienced what I did with the mousse. And this was just one product. So, I will definitely take blame for my error of usage, but I also think this product played a role in drying out my hair. It seems that this mousse acts like a hybrid between a gel and hairspray. It has the staying power of a hairspray (it worked excellently in humidity), and the defining power of a gel. Therefore, along with providing the awesome staying power of a hairspray, it also has the awesome drying power that comes along.
Of course, this was my experience, and I am sure others will have different experiences, but I was just so amazed at the effects after using it for several weeks. Maybe using less is the ticket, but my hair requires a good amount of product to tame it. My hair is like a wild horse that fights to be broken. Either way, I have resigned myself to passing the mousse section in the hair aisle. Will I stop and smell the fragrance that comes out of the can? Yes, this mousse smells divine. If I let my hair grow out again, will I use what I have left? Yes, but maybe once every not so often. I would just want to slowly use it up because it hurts to throw away unused products. Would I buy this mousse again? No. Would I recommend this mousse to a friend? I might, say “hey, if you want to scrunch your hair and make it look beachy every once in a while, this product might work, but Oh wow, look there are five million other products that might be better.” So, in other words, I would not confidently recommend this product to a friend who has wavy hair, and I would definitely not recommend this product to someone who has similar hair to mine.
You know, now that I think about it, I have never had a fulfilling experience with Herbal Essences. The smell is always awesome, but the products always fall short with my hair.
Rating:1.5 out of 5 (Kudos for definition and stay power. It does do what it is supposed to do, but big “boos” for the dryness and the rapid buildup factor. It should come with warning.)
$3 to $5 at drugstores, Walmart, Target