The battle of how to make fine hair look thicker has been going on since the dawn of time, and I’m here to help you win the war. This might sound just a bit dramatic, but as most know, those with fine, seemingly lifeless hair know this is a serious struggle—and rarely do we ever come out on top. Fortunately, with a decent amount of willpower and a few key products, there are plenty of beginner-friendly ways to get the thicker, super-full, and bouncy strands of your dreams.
Whether a Victoria’s Secret blowout is your idea of serious body or you simply want to up the volume for a special occasion, here are the habits well-worth mastering so you can see (and feel) results sooner than later. Some are a little old school, but all of them are almost impossible to mess up.
Volume Begins With Cleansing
Though root-lifting products are almost guaranteed to uplift flat strands, getting longer-lasting results requires going beyond your styling routine. And by beyond, I mean making smarter choices about the type of shampoo you use. Generally speaking, you should opt for a more invigorating shampoo that will really get the follicles on your scalp to perk up.
In the case of fine hair, anything with volumizing benefits will suit your hair best and make the job of your mousses, texturizing sprays, and curling irons a whole lot easier. To that same point, a lot of volumizing shampoos may not have ingredients whose benefits are tied directly to adding volume; some simply cleanse the hair without adding weight. So products made with heavier nutrients, like butters and oils, should be avoided.
Avoid This Conditioner
To that same point, conditioners that claim to have “hydrating” or “smoothing” benefits on the bottle most likely have oils in them that will keep your hair from gaining volume. If you must condition the hair everyday, apply to the ends so you can still detangle. However, steer clear of the roots as that will definitely weigh down the entire strand. Dry shampoo is also a great alternative that will make your hair feel more full and fluffy.
The Blow Dry
The wash-and-go technique seems easy and effortless in theory. We assume that once our hair is dry, they’ll be soft beach waves you can run your fingers through. Instead, your fingers keep getting stuck in random knots as you attempt to detangle your sticky, matted hair on your lunch break (trust me–I’ve been there.) For this reason, blow-drying is quite literally a godsend if done correctly.
As with all other hair textures, those with finer strands should always use a heat protectant before grabbing the blowdryer. After that, be sure to flip your head over, and start blow-drying with a round brush. After the dampness is gone, flip the hair back over, and begin to blow dry the rest in sections. Make sure to have a diffuser on the end of your dryer to separate and lift the strands as you continue to style. Lastly, giving the hair time to cool before you run out the door will also give it lasting power.
Roll It Up
If you have the time (and patience) for adding even more volume, you can keep it old-school and set your hair with velcro rollers and clips after blow-drying. However, no need to set the entire head; roll the front pieces for about 20 minutes and that will be enough to deliver the illusion of thicker hair all over.
Teasing the roots of your hair is another extra step that will amp up the results of your old school roller set or give your root-lifting stylers a head start. Simply take a rat tail comb or small brush, lift a pre-determined section of hair (size is up to you) and wiggle the brush/comb back and forth between the hairs closest to your scalp.
Lift at the Root
After teasing, spritz a small amount of root lifter in your hair to make sure your roots stay up. This can be in either mousse or spray form, but just make sure not to put in too much product. Doing so will work against you—and weigh hair down in the process. Also, if you’re using more than one styling product, use just one at a time instead of cocktailing, another technique that cuts your styling time down, but will also trap your strands and keep them from lifting.
Hairsprays, the finishing look for most styles that emphasize volume, should have thickening or volumizing agents built into them. Use them to set your overall look and like your conditioner, avoid the ones that are made with heavy oils. Though they may not feel as sticky, they’ll damage all of the hard work you just did to put the style in place.
In addition to your everyday styling tricks, a haircut with layers also creates texture with no effort on your part. Just remember that as with all haircuts, dedication to maintenance is required.
Don’t brush your hair too often; this stimulates oils from the scalp, which will make your hair flat. If you must fix your hair with some sort of tool, opt for a wide-tooth comb.
You’ve probably heard this about 3,000 times, but do not wash your hair everyday. Pulling back on how often you wash your hair will allow for fuller-looking hair at the roots. In-between washes, use dry shampoo.