If your hair is volume-challenged, then listen up: I feel your pain! Over the years, I’ve dealt with my fair share of limp locks, falling curls and bangs that were glued to my forehead.
Fortunately, I also happen to have this weird job called “beauty editor,” where I get to meet and interview tons of top hairstylists—and steal all their best tips. You can bet your blow-dryer I’ve been collecting their tricks for creating max volume with min effort.
And now I’m passing them along to you! These 10 pro tips are tried and beauty editor-tested, so I KNOW they work (and if I can do them, you can do them). Some you’ll want to incorporate into your daily routine, and others you’ll want to bust out for special occasions.
Here’s how to cheat your way to more voluminous hair:
- 1. Change Your Part
- 2. Back-Brush It
- 3. Blow-Dry Upside Down
- 4. Boost Your Roots
- 5. Put in Hot Rollers
- 6. Use a Volume-Building Shampoo
- 7. Crimp Your Roots
- 8. Sleep in a Bun
- 9. Apply Dry Shampoo
- 10. Add Colour
- Hair Volume: How To Get Big, Voluminous Hair
- Step 1: Heat Protectant
- Step 2: Blow out
- Step 3: Add Luxy Hair Extensions
- Step 4: Curl The Hair
- Step 5: Tease The Curls
- Step 6: Add Volumizing Spray or Volumizing Powder
- Got Five Minutes? You Can Add Major Volume to Your Hair
- 1) PUT YOUR HAIR IN A PUFF / PINEAPPLE WHILE DRYING
- 2) START ON STRETCHED HAIR
- 3) USE A PICK-COMB
- 4) FLIP HAIR OVER AND FLUFF AT ROOTS
- 5) TRY USING A DIFFUSER
- 6) DON’T USE PRODUCTS THAT WEIGH YOUR HAIR DOWN
- 7) CONSIDER HAIR VOLUMIZING PRODUCTS
- 8) PART / SHAPE YOUR HAIR DIFFERENTLY
1. Change Your Part
Change your part to create volume at the crown.
Chances are, you have a favourite place to part your hair. It’s where your hair likes to fall naturally (somewhere in the middle or off-centre), or on the side closest to it. Problem is, that’s also where your hair lies the most flat, and you’re training it to stay that way.
Flipping your part to the opposite side creates instant volume at the crown; if you’re worried about looking lopsided, then do it while your hair is still wet. To build the most height, try a deep side part on the opposite side in dry hair, misting lightly with hairspray to hold. This is the model-esque swoosh I’ve been talking about lately, which is a little bit ’80s and VERY sexy.
2. Back-Brush It
Back-brush the roots of the under-layers of your hair for soft volume.
Teasing has a bad rep. It doesn’t have to mean aggressively back-combing your hair with a fine-toothed comb to create massive tangles (which are a nightmare to get out in the shower). You can actually create soft volume by back-brushing the roots, using a large paddle brush instead.
My preferred technique is to pin up the uppermost layer of the hair, and then back-brush the rest, working section by section. Holding each section taut and away from the head, brush in a downward motion at the roots in three quick strokes. To make the volume last, spray each back-brushed area with hairspray. Once you’ve completed all the sections, let down the rest of the hair, leaving it smooth.
3. Blow-Dry Upside Down
Blow-dry your hair upside down for instant, easy volume.
Haven’t perfected your blow-dry technique? No worries—the best shortcut to a voluminous blowout is just flipping your head upside down. I know it sounds too easy, but it’s exactly how my hairstylist dries my hair every time I get a haircut. (Then he finishes off my ends with a flat iron, for a “straight with volume” look.)
The reason this works is because upside down, your roots are automatically lifting off your scalp, which is how you want them to dry. I like to use this method to get my hair about 90 percent dry, and then I might do my final smoothing with a round brush. Note: If you have bangs, always dry them right side up first!
4. Boost Your Roots
Use a root booster on damp hair before you blow-dry.
Root-boosting products are your friends. Think of them as the scaffolding to your hairstyle. They provide structure and support for any lift you manually create near the roots, helping your style last all day (or even several days).
Look for a product specifically designed for fine hair, so it won’t weigh you down, and apply it all over the head, right at the scalp. (I like John Frieda® Luxurious Volume Root Booster Blow Dry Lotion.) Make sure you use it on damp hair—root-boosters won’t work once hair is dried. And don’t be afraid to layer your volume-building products, adding mousse and/or blow-dry spray through the lengths.
5. Put in Hot Rollers
Throw in a set of hot rollers to get easy waves without the work of a curling iron.
Everybody forgets about hot rollers. But hot rollers are awesome! Unlike curling irons and flat irons, there’s no special technique required; just throw them in while you’re doing your makeup and 20 minutes later, you’ll have sweet volume. This is a great trick if your hair is already dry and it’s too late to build volume into your blow-dry.
All you need to do is choose which direction you want your waves. Rolling away from the face gives you glam Hollywood waves, while towards the face creates a more vintage, Veronica Lake effect. To make your volume last, mist each section with hairspray before rolling, and let the rollers cool completely before taking out. Then brush out and shape your waves for a soft, modern look.
6. Use a Volume-Building Shampoo
A volume-building shampoo won’t weigh your style down.
It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the difference a good shampoo makes to your volume goals. My rule of thumb is to use products that are clear or at least translucent, since they’re the least likely to be loaded with heavy conditioning ingredients. Nothing white and creamy for my hair, please! And yes, it IS possible to find volume-building shampoo that doesn’t strip your hair and is colour-safe (John Frieda® Luxurious Volume Touchably Full Shampoo is one of them).
Also go easy on the conditioner. I only apply it to the bottom half or third of my hair, and I make sure to rinse it extra-thoroughly.
7. Crimp Your Roots
Crimp the roots of the under-layers of your hair to make them stand out from the scalp.
For real! Crimped hair was big in the ’80s, and now it’s making a comeback—but in a brand new (and non-tacky) way. Just crimping at the roots, in the under-layers of the hair, is a fantastic way to rough up the texture and make it stand out from the scalp. Can you say soft, natural-looking volume?
The best part is that it only takes a few minutes, and unlike curling irons and flat irons, requires zero expertise. And the top layer of hair completely hides the crimping from detection.
8. Sleep in a Bun
Sleep with damp hair in a bun overnight and wake up with volume and waves.
Don’t knock the scrunchie. It’s super-useful for this overnight volume cheat—no heat required! After showering at night, pull hair up into a high, loose bun while it’s still damp, and secure with a soft elastic (tight plastic ones may create creases). Your hair will dry lifted off the scalp, so when you wake up and take it down, you’ll have insta-volume, plus soft waves.
Another way to get easy volume while you sleep is with a stretchy fabric headband. Wear it across your forehead and wrap sections of damp hair around it until all the hair is wrapped up, securing with pins if required. Take it out the next morning, and you’ll have gorgeous Hollywood waves.
9. Apply Dry Shampoo
Apply dry shampoo right away to prevent oils from sabotaging your volume.
Are you waiting until day two or three to use your dry shampoo? You might want to reconsider. By the time you notice your hair feels dirty, your scalp’s natural oils are already sabotaging your volume, travelling down the hair shaft and starting to weigh down your strands.
I recommend a preventive approach: coating your scalp with a layer of dry shampoo as soon as you finish blow-drying. That way, there’s already a barrier to the oil, stopping it in its tracks and helping your volume style to last longer. Bonus: dry shampoo is innately volume-building. Spray it through the lengths as well, to create even more texture.
10. Add Colour
Colour can rough up the hair cuticle and give you more body.
If you don’t lighten your hair, then here’s a little secret from those of us who do. It’s not just about the colour—it’s also about the texture it gives you. A little bleach creates added body and roughs up the hair cuticle so it’s not so “slippery”. Basically, a godsend for anyone whose hair lies flat and won’t hold a volume style.
But you don’t have to resort to a whole new hair colour to benefit from the volumizing effect of bleach. A few peekaboo highlights, placed in the under-layers of your hair and in a tone-on-tone colour, can give you just enough of a boost, without having to worry about re-growth.
Have you tried any of these ways to create volume in your hair?
Got any tricks of your own to share? Let’s hear ’em!
Hair Volume: How To Get Big, Voluminous Hair
The 80’s may be long gone, but big, voluminous hair will never go out of style. Contrary to popular belief, size DOES matter, and today, we’ve teamed up with our friend Sarah Angius to show you how to get mega hair volume. Whether your hair is thin and straight or thick and curly like Sarah’s, these tips will leave you with big hair and a bigger sense of confidence.
You will need…
1. A hair dyer with concentrator attachment
2. A big round brush
4. A curling wand or curling iron
3. A teasing brush or paddle brush
4. Volumizing spray or volumizing powder
Step 1: Heat Protectant
Start off with freshly washed hair, and apply a heat protectant spray all over the hair. As we will be applying quite a bit of heat to the hair during this volumizing process, a heat protectant is essential to retain moisture in the hair and keep it from drying out, which leads to frizzing.
Step 2: Blow out
Have you ever wondered what the secret is to the perfect hair salon blow out? Well here it is: using your round brush, take small sections of your hair and wrap the hair around the brush, starting at the root. Start blow drying, and slowly pull the brush out from roots to tip while drying the hair, being sure to keep the hair dryer’s nozzle pointed downward. This will ensure that all the hair dries in the same direction smoothly. Roll the round brush up toward the roots and and pull toward tips again and again until the section is completely dry.
Tip from Sarah: For even more volume, keep the sections lifted and blow dry upward, which will create that hair volume at the roots.
Once you’ve blow dried all your hair, finish it off with a blast of cool air to hold and set the style.
Step 3: Add Luxy Hair Extensions
Luxy Hair extensions are perfect to add that extra thickness to your hair – we suggest going with our thickest 220g set for mega volume. to learn how to clip in a full set of Luxy Hair extensions.
Step 4: Curl The Hair
Using a curling wand, twist sections of your hair away from your face, curling all the hair sections in the same direction. You can use your finger to tell when the hair is getting hot enough to release it.
Tip from Sarah: Leave each curled section alone until you’re finished curling all the hair. This will allow the curls to cool and set, and they will hold for much longer.
One you’ve curled all the hair, scrunch them upwards to make sure all the hair is perfectly curled. for Mimi’s 5 ways to curl your hair with a curling wand, or learn how to curl your hair with a straightener if you do not have a curling wand or curling iron.
Step 5: Tease The Curls
Yes, you heard right! Backcombing the hair is Sarah’s styling secret to literally make your hair bigger. Usually, this is done at the roots to give the hair lift, but if you backcomb each curled section, the hair expands, giving your hair volume and thickness.
You can either use a teasing brush or a paddle brush to tease the hair. Be gentle when teasing the hair though, as you do not want to create a big ball of frizz!
Step 6: Add Volumizing Spray or Volumizing Powder
This is what your hair needs for that extra oomph. Spray the hair at the roots and through the curled sections, with a volumizing spray or volumizing powder, and work the product in. Be sure that you are not adding too much product as this could way the hair down.
…and that’s it! Say hello to your new, big, beautiful, bold hair!
Do you have any special techniques for creating hair volume? Let us know in the comments below. xo
Got Five Minutes? You Can Add Major Volume to Your Hair
At least when it’s raining, I can blame the fact that my hair has fallen, like, pancake status-flat on the weather. But normally, I have no excuse and I’m left totally confused as to why gravity seeks particular havoc on my head. But I know I’m not alone because volumizing shampoo and conditioner exists.
The truth of the matter is that getting voluminous hair can be v. difficult for most, but it’s not impossible. In fact, you can boost your body in only five minutes. I know that to be true because I’ve tried it, and I sat down with celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh at a Nutrafol event and got the scoop on the multiple ways to get volume based on how much time you have at home.
If You Have 5 Minutes…
It starts with your washing routine. Ideally, Josh says you should be using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner, but if you don’t need the latter and volume is truly your goal, skip it. Next, you need to quickly dry your roots with product. “If you don’t apply a volumizer or dry your roots from wet to dry, you’ll never get the lift back in,” says Josh. “…the only way to manipulate the roots is while it’s wet,” he notes.
As far as product, he suggests a mousse, a root lifter, or “any kind of thing that’s going to starch up the hair.” And even though it sounds like it’s not ideal for the hydration of your hair, Josh says if you really want the lifting effect, you need to look for a root lifter with a high alcohol content. “You want things that contain zero moisture that promote stiffness and hardness. That’s what makes it pliable and what keeps the volume going all day long,” he says. We like Living Proof Full Root Lift ($27; sephora.com).
After you’ve applied the product (and you can apply it in soaking wet hair), Josh says to dry the roots with the nozzle of the hair-dryer pointed up.
If You Have 10 Minutes…
So you have a little more time on your hands? Josh says to boost the volume by adding mousse to the lengths of your hair. “Mousses, when you blow dry it or rough dry it, it makes your strands huge, so it looks meatier and allows for more pliability,” he notes. If you’re in need of a suggestion, we’ve had great luck with bumble and bumble’s Thickening Full Force Lift ($16; sephora.com).
After that, you’d blow-dry as normal (don’t forget the root lifter). Finally, pop in the hot rollers on the “mohawk section” of the head to get the lift at the root. He says you can put the diffuser attachment on your dryer and then blast the rollers with heat to create the volume and then blast it with cold hair to set it. “It’s like a cookie when you take it out of the oven. It needs to harden. So hair roots are the same thing,” he says.
RELATED: Hair Sheet Masks Are for the Lazy Girl in All of Us
If You Have 15+ Minutes…
In edition to the above, you can utilize hair extensions for body instead of length. The first step is to make sure the extensions you are using are completely color-matched to your natural hair color, ensuring that they blend in and look as natural as possible. Then, Josh says to clip them in on angles a few inches away from your hair line, as opposed to straight across. You’ll also want to tease the hair before clipping them in so they don’t fall out and the clips are hidden.
If You’re Looking for Lasting Volume…
While extensions can help wearing a voluminous look for days on end, you could consider talking to your doc or your hairstylist about hair supplements. Josh is a fan of Nutrafol, a plant-based daily hair supplement that helps with regrowth. Josh says its important to nourish your hair from the inside-out, and recommends this product to his clients. Viviscal and Rogaine for Women are two other popular options worth investigating.
Of course, watching how often you’re coloring your hair and being contentious about the types of products your hair type needs will help keep it looking healthy and lustrous.
Are you constantly fighting flat hair? As someone with thin, fine hair, I literally feel your pain. When I attempt to volumize my hair, it lasts for a whopping 12 seconds before turning on me. Then I have to spend the rest of my day looking like a tired hippy.
I’ve since ditched all of the so-called “volumizing” products I’ve invested in and now focus on natural methods that don’t make my hair all gunky. Here are 9 simple, natural ways to combat your flat hair fiasco:
1. Don’t over wash
Washing your hair daily is a huge deal-breaker if you want your hair to have oodles of body. It strips your hair of the essential oils needed to keep your hair healthy and lifted.
2. Blow dry upside down
This allows gravity to lift your tresses away from the scalp. Spritz with a light hairspray, but wait about 30 seconds before you flip yourself upright: That’s how long it takes for hairspray to set.
3. Wash with baking soda
I’m now on team no ‘poo, and wash my hair once a week using 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water. Because my hair is long, I let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing. My perpetually flat hair finally has bounce – no products required. Best of all, one week later it still feels as squeaky clean as when I first washed it!
4. Switch up your part
One trick for flat hair that has never let me down: Don’t let your hair get used to a specific part. Switch up your part every morning to help keep your roots lifted. Try new ways to style your hair each day to keep your roots on their toes.
5. Tease it
I wouldn’t recommend doing this very often (unless you’re a fan of damaged hair), but if you’re going to a special event and need your ‘do to last no matter what, this method always does the trick: Hold your hair straight up at the crown, and backcomb in sections down to the root. Brush through with your fingertips to soften the look.
6. Lift your roots
Using a large, round brush, lift your hair at the roots and wrap 1 to 2-inch sections around the brush. Aim your blow dryer at your scalp and pull upward for maximum impact.
7. Scrunch your hair
Perfect for the summer season, give your hair a beachy look by scrunching your hair and letting it air dry. Add a cup of water and three teaspoons of sea salt to a spray bottle. Spray, scrunch, and get ready for the compliments! The tousled look will take the focus away from your roots.
8. Plan ahead
Give your hair a natural wave by twisting damp hair into small buns before bed. Fasten using bobby pins instead of elastics to avoid damaging your hair and leaving unwanted crimps. Unwrap your strands in the morning, tousle them about and use a light hairspray to set.
9. Use your hands
Use the pads of your fingertips to nix flat hair at the roots, the crown, or wherever you need a little boost. Bonus: It doubles as a pretty relaxing scalp massage.
What are your favorite ways to fight flat hair?
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Image: Porsche Brosseau
The spiral shaped stands throughout curly, coily, and kinky hair make it naturally more voluminous in shape as our natural hair tends to grow upwards and outwards. However, the density (how closely packed together your hair follicles are) of your hair also plays a role in how much volume your hair can create. Those with low-density or fine hair may not get as much volume with their styles compared to those with high-density, thick hair. Nonetheless, creating more volume in your natural hair can easily be done. If you are trying to go for that big curly hair look, or the signature afro, there are a variety of ways to do so. Here is how to get more volume in your natural hair:
Disclaimer: Caring for Natural Hair is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. However all reviews, thoughts and recommendations are of our own.
1) PUT YOUR HAIR IN A PUFF / PINEAPPLE WHILE DRYING
This easy trick works wonders for creating more voluminous natural hair. After you have applied your styling products, simply tie your hair in a puff or pineapple while letting it dry. Since your strands are being stretched, it helps to elongate the curl pattern and reduce shrinkage. After your hair is mostly dry, take your puff down and shake and style as desired. The result is fuller hair that falls into place naturally.
2) START ON STRETCHED HAIR
Another way for how to get more volume in your natural hair is to start on stretched hair. This can mean doing a new twist-out on an already old twist-out. Or, you can let your hair air dry over night for fuller hair in the morning. Either way, since your hair strands are already stretched and not left in a shrunken state, it will create more voluminous hair.
3) USE A PICK-COMB
If you want to get big hair, simply grab a hair pick-comb. After your hair has dried, gently grab at the roots and use your pick comb to lift up the roots. Shape and style as desired, using your pick-comb throughout your hair for even more volume. Be careful not to pick throughout the entirety of the strands, because it can cause frizz.
4) FLIP HAIR OVER AND FLUFF AT ROOTS
Another tip for how to get more volume in natural hair is to flip your hair over and fluff at the roots. This way works on dry hair or hair that is close to being fully dry. Flip your hair over your head and use your fingertips to gently fluff and lift the roots of your hair. It is an easy and effective way to lift the hair creating the appearance of a fuller fro.
5) TRY USING A DIFFUSER
Many naturals have gotten more volume with their hairstyles when using a diffuser. Not only does it speed the drying process, but it can create voluminous hair faster. As you are drying with your diffuser, one way to create more volume is to flip your hair over and dry parts of your hair that way. Another method is to gently stretch your hair and apply the diffuser to that section to reduce shrinkage.
6) DON’T USE PRODUCTS THAT WEIGH YOUR HAIR DOWN
Using too heavy of a product, or using too many, can cause an excess of product to essentially sit on the hair strands and weigh them down. This of course, can create less volume. So, if you trying to go for a more volumized look, try using lightweight products and avoid layering on too many products at once. If the style you are going for requires multiple products, let it air dry overnight so the product can fully absorb.
7) CONSIDER HAIR VOLUMIZING PRODUCTS
If you feel you have tried other methods for adding more volume to your hair and they don’t work, you may want to consider hair volumizing products. There are products available, including shampoos and leave-ins that can create the appearance of thicker hair. Additionally, for those with fine hair strands these products may provide more benefit.
8) PART / SHAPE YOUR HAIR DIFFERENTLY
Another easy fix for how to get more volume in your natural hair is to part your hair differently. Flipping different layers of your hair to the other side can give the appearance of fuller hair. This is where you can also shape your hair differently to create more volume.
Check out some other ways to stretch natural hair and reduce shrinkage:
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