I’ve just about tried everything they say on how to get volume in hair. In fact, this post has been at least 10 years in the making! No joke – as someone with very fine, straight and thin hair, I feel like it’s been my #1 hair concern, and so I’m really glad to be able to share this with you!
The following are my personal, tried-and-tested ways to get volume in hair, which I hope you find one that is useful. Please do let me know if you have any more tips on getting more hair volume.
1. The “volume in hair” myth
First and foremost, we need to get this out of the way: The very first thing everyone tells you to get more volume in hair is to “get a layered haircut”, and whatever you do, don’t believe them! I used to get it done and honestly, after being told what to do instead, it was probably the biggest “a-ha” moment in my hair volume journey.
Basically, the thought behind it is that if you layer your hair, it will break it up and cause areas to look thicker than others, giving your hair more movement and body, thus volume. But no, I actually think this does the exact opposite when you have thick hair lacking volume. (totally works for those with thick hair, but then again I don’t think they get layers cut for the same reason we do.)
The thing is, a layered haircut in already thin, flat, volume-less hair will just make it look stringy and even more thin and flat. Especially if the hairdresser uses razors to cut your hair. (If you see a hairdresser bringing razors to cut your hair, run out of the salon. They thin out your hair a lot.)
So what should you do instead? You should keep the ends of your cut very blunt – this will give the illusion to a thicker, straight line of hair. Simply ask your hairdresser to cut your hair straight across, not even in a slight diagonal direction.
2. Avoid this hairstyle
Another thing to remember if you want more volume in your hair: avoid super long, straight haircuts. The weight of the long hair can pull your hair down, making your crown area look even more flat.
Pretty self explanatory, but it’s one to note that most people don’t think of. If lack of volume is your hair concern, I would also recommend to avoid long hair in general – it can pull down your hair more. Personally, I don’t let my hair length go past than a few inches below my collarbone. This is, of course, completely up to you – but the longer the hair, the longer it can pull down your hair and create flatness on the crown area.
And if you want to get a haircut that has volume in your hair, there is actually a simple haircut that creates natural volume that will suit any hair type, face shape, age. It’s called The Universal Haircut.
3. Products to use
There is a bit of mixed thoughts about volumizing products. Some say that they don’t work, but I have to disagree. I reckon they just haven’t found the right product. I’ve personally found that volumizing shampoos do work, and I have found personal success in my own hair volume after using them.
That being said though, it is a bit tricky to find good products that actually work in giving your hair more volume.
The first it to start in the shower, with your shampoo. The best I’ve tried is this one, which I find so underrated as well as Redken Bodyfull Shampoo and L’Oreal Professionnele Expert Series Volume Shampoo with good results.
Avoid heavy conditioners – look for any one that says it helps with volume, they will all be “weightless” – and only apply conditioner to the ends of your hair. Any higher and it can weigh down your hair, and, you guessed it – create flatness on the crown area.
Next, right out of the shower, your best friend is a volumizing mousse. Pump out a golf ball sized of mousse and apply it on towel dried hair, from root to tips. You can then blow dry it, or let it air dry, although blow dry will give more boost.
Other products you might want to experiment with are sea salt sprays and texturizers; both work well in creating volume and thickness to the hair. Experiment to see what products work for you, and don’t give up – it might take awhile and make you lose confidence, but products absolutely do work in helping creating more hair volume. Just start in the shower, and a thickening mousse, and I guarantee you’ll already see a difference.
(And products not to use…)
OK, “not to use” might be an exaggeration, but when you’re concerned about volume in your hair, then you should be concerned about products that weigh your hair down, making it look flatter, and you guessed it: less voluminous.
Try to avoid heavy leave in conditioners, hair masks, or heavy styling lotions – usually ones that are made to moisturise hair are very heavy. Instead, use lighter oils to moisturise the hair, and here’s a trick for hair volume in the shower: use conditioner first, then your shampoo.
4. Try dry shampoo
Speaking of shampoo… dry shampoo is a quick fix for hair volume. It’s especially good for volume at the crown area, and one of my favorite ways to add some life and volume into my hair – and it only takes a few seconds. Simply spritz a bit of dry shampoo onto the roots of you hair and ruffle it up with your fingers. This is a trick I do and it does work very well. It not only gives some great volume to the hair, but it refreshes it and makes it less greasy. Batiste is the best in the biz, and super cheap.
5. Sleep in a bun
This is a hair volume trick you can do that can almost become routine – tie up the crown area of your hair (top half) in a bun. And then go to sleep with it, and let it loose in the morning.
This will create lift and height at the top of your head to avoid flatness, but if you want all over volume, I suggest sleeping two buns: one bun on the top half of your head (crown area), and one for the bottom half; testing the bottom bun ever so slightly so it can give some shape and volume to the hair. Don’t make the buns too tight – you could tug and pull out hair while you sleep – but a simple, comfortable bun at night will help you wake up to a bit more body and volume in the morning.
6. Styling tools
Blow dryers, hair curlers and thongs will also give hair much needed volume, which is also a huge part of how I get volume in my hair. I’m using Tourmaline by Amika, an amazing hair curler (probably the only one that has worked on my hair, and I’ve tried many).
To use a blowdryer to get more hair volume, all you have to do is after shampoo (with a volumizing shampoo, of course!) flip your hair over your head and focus on blow-drying the roots. This will give major lift to the roots area, giving your much more hair volume.
7. To dye or not to dye?
Coloring your hair instantly makes hair look thicker, because the hair dye goes into the hair shaft and “swells” it, making it bigger and therefore looking thicker. I know some people who dye their hair their natural color just for this thicker look (and also for the shiny, glossy effect that hair dye gives). It’s so crazy, it actually works.
If that’s too out there for you, well placed high-lights and low-lights can give the illusion of dimension to flat hair – it’s like contouring for your hair, basically. Also, the darker your hair color, the more thicker it looks – strange but true! My best friend, who went from blonde to a deep red, and was shocked at how much thicker her hair looked. It’s worth a try.
8. Fakin’ it
This has to be, in my experience, the easiest way to add more volume and thickness in your hair. Hair extensions are super easy to clip in and clip out, look very natural, with no real damage to the hair. I find clip in hair extensions way easier, better to manage and cheaper, so I definitely recommend trying them out. They are tricky at first, but after a few times, it will feel like second nature.
9. Change your parting
If you want a super easy, fast way to create volume in the crown area of your hair, simply change the parting of it. For example, if you tend to part your hair in the middle, try parting it to the right. Or if you usually part your hair on the left, try parting it to the right. Your hair is not used to this “change” in parting, so it will tend to stand up and not like so flat on your head, creating much needed boost in volume.
You can do it several times a day for volume throughout (instead of running your hands through your hair – we all do it at some point throughout the day – simply make it a habit of changing your parting back and forth instead) or in the morning and leave it for the day, this aded height to the crown area will last half a day at least.
10. Perms: The last resort.
The last resort is a perm. While it is very damaging, here’s the deal: I can honestly say it’s probably the only real, long lasting thing that get volume in hair.
If you think you will need volume in your hair at all times (versus just on special occasions), then a perm is permanent, there is almost no maintenance and it’s volume all day, everyday. But then, there’s the damage. So perms are definitely something you need to think about properly beforehand.
Digital perms are said to be much better for your hair because they cause less damage and look much more natural, but check out my digital perm experience before taking the plunge, ’cause it’s something to really think about it carefully.
If you’re looking for more hair volume, there are plenty of options to try out. If you’re a casual, low maintenance kinda gal, then the volume shampoo, conditioner and volumizing mousse route will probably be enough for you. If nit, then there is the little hair tricks and dry shampoo to help you out as well, but if you want serious volume, then I’d recommend clip-in hair extensions or to consider a digital perm.