Ladies, let’s face it: We all want to know how to get more volume in hair.
And as someone with very naturally flat and fine hair, I’ve tried literally everything over the years to get some volume in hair. (If you don’t know your hair type, check out “What is My Hair Type and How Do I Treat It?“)
In fact, this post has been at least 10 years in the making, 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 – I hope you find one that is useful for you!
1. The “volume” hair myth.
The very first thing everyone tells you to get more volume in hair is “get layers cut.”
Don’t believe them! I used to get it done and they’d layer so much, my hair looked more thin. (Here’s how to tell your hairdresser what you want.)
So what should you do instead? You should keep the ends of your cut very blunt and ask your hairdresser to cut straight across, which will give the illusion of thicker hair.
Also, another thing to remember if you want more volume in your hair: avoid super long, straight haircuts. Keep your hair length around your collarbone or only slightly longer. The weight of the long hair can pull your hair down, making your crown area look even more flat.
If you want to get a haircut that has volume in your hair, there is actually a simple haircut that creates natural volume – so you don’t have to fuss too much – that will suit any hair type, face shape, age. It’s seriously the best. It’s called The Universal Haircut.
2. 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 – shampoo, conditioner, and styling products – that actually work in giving your hair more volume.
Before I go on though, if you have colored your hair, beware – most formulas can strip or fade the color, resulting in bad coloring and brassy shades. Also, because volumizing shampoos give volume and are formulated not to weigh hair down, it does not contain so many conditioning agents; so it can dry out your hair a lot.
I feel like I’ve tried them all, so here are some of my recommendations for shampoos for more hair volume. And yes – the list is so short because there are so many that just plain don’t work! Here are the best I’ve tried.
- The Body Shop Rainforest Volumizing Shampoo. I find that TBS’ shampoos are so underrated. The Rainforest line of shampoos are incredible and this one is such a best-kept secret. It beautifully moisturizes and cleans the hair while giving hair a fluffy, more bouncy and therefore volumized look. Plus, it’s super affordable and smells absolutely delicious. A must-try.
- Redken Bodyfull Shampoo. I too have only good things to say about this shampoo, because it gives some major volume. The only thing is, it can dry out your hair, so make sure to condition it well after.
- L’Oreal Professionnele Expert Series Volume Shampoo. This is another shampoo I’ve had great results with. It’s a bit tough to find as it’s part of L’Oreal’s professional haircare range, but thankfully you can find it online at Amazon.com.
Styling products for volume can work well, too. A volumizing mousse, in my opinion, works just as well as volumizing shampoo without drying out your hair. (If you are using volumizing shampoos and conditioners though, you can still use use a volumizing mousse – in fact, a lot of hairstylists still recommend that for extra volume).
Another good product is dry shampoo, which is especially good for volume at the crown area. Just 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. And the best dry shampoo for that is good old Batiste Original Dry Shampoo.
(The Product Order For the Most Hair Volume)
OK, so with the various products out there for volume, it can get pretty confusing on when you need to use the products.
This is the order I’d recommend to using them:
- Shampoo and conditioner. Focus the volumizing shampoo and conditioner on your hair scalp – this will allow it to fully work.
- Mousse and other volumizing styling products. Apply it on damp, towel-dried hair, after your shower, and apply it an inch away from your roots, down to the tips of your hair. (If you apply it too close to your hair roots, it will get greasy, which you don’t want!)
- Blow-drying your hair. Blow dry your hair upside down – flip your hair over – for even more volume.
- Dry shampoo. Only apply it on dry hair, only on the hair roots and crown area.
3. Backcombing – a must do.
Backcombing (sometimes also called “teasing”) your hair at the crown and smoothing some hair over it will lift hair and not make it so flat. Beware though – backcombing is very damaging, but if you want some extra height at your roots, this works very well.
I’ve been doing this for many years – it’s one of the most used hairstylists’ technique – and is fantastic in creating major volume, although it is temporary. All you have to do is take a fine-toothed comb and tease the hair roots. After backcombing the crown area of your hair, spritz on some hairspray to keep the hold. Check out How to… Backcomb Hair Without Damaging It.
If you want to use products to create volume in hair, I found this image of the model above, who got her hair volume fully from products.
If I were to guess, as a professional makeup artist who is also learning hairstyling, what is used on this model above to have such volumized hair is what I’ve said so far: volumizing shampoo, applying a volumizing mousse, upside-down blowdrying at the roots, and then a hint of dry shampoo and backcombing at the roots. Perhaps, even there is a little bit of sea-salt spray to give it that piecey, slightly beauty texture.
And I know it sounds like a lot (and it is, honestly), but if you get used to it, the styling after shampoo could take less than 10-15 minutes.
But wait, there’s more ways…
4. 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.
Furthermore, curling your hair will also create volume in your hair – this is something I talked about in Which Hairstyle Suits Me?, where waves and curls in your hair is one way to quickly create more volume in hair.
Try not to apply any leave-in products at the ends of the hair (such as leave-in conditioner, etc), as they may “pull” the hair down and make the top of your hair flat again.
5. To dye or not to dye?
The answer would be yes.
As I mentioned here, coloring your hair instantly makes hair look thicker (particularly darker colors). Some explain that it’s because the hair dye goes into the hair shaft and “swells” it, making it bigger and therefore looking thicker.
Whatever it is, I personally have seen in my hair, when I experimented in hair dye, that the dye does indeed “expand” the hair shaft and makes it look thicker.
There are also other ways to make your hair look fuller and thicker – well placed high-lights and low-lights can give the illusion of dimension. Also, the darker your hair color, the more thicker it looks – strange but true! This is why you may see that when celebrities go from blonde to brunette, their hair appears to be much thicker and fuller.
My best friend too, went from blonde to a deep red, and was shocked at how much thicker her hair looked. It’s worth a try!
6. Fakin’ it.
A friend of mine experiments with extensions and another one wears wigs and it works perfectly for them. I too love a good clip-on extension once in awhile to make my hair look fuller and thicker.
This has to be, in my experience, the easiest way to add more volume and thickness in your hair. They are super easy to clip in and clip out, look very natural, with no real damage to the hair.
However, be sure that it can be a bit tricky to learn how to fix it in while still looking natural.
It’s all about personal preference though, and also about how much you’d like to spend on your hair, but this for sure will work. I find clip in hair extensions way easier, better to manage and cheaper, so I definitely recommend trying them out.
Some great clip in hair extensions are Louis Ferre wigs and Hairdo by Jessica Simpson – I loved Jessica’s line, and wish it was still around! Definitely get it while you can, I reckon it will be discontinued soon.
7. Change The Parting of Your Hair.
This is a simple, easy to do trick that works. All you have to do is to change the parting of your hair – meaning, change the direction of your hair line.
For example, if you tend to part your hair to the left, then perhaps your hair is “used” to it, and it falls naturally there. So to create some volume in the crown area of your hair, simple flip the parting of your hair to the right instead. Because your hair is not used to it, it will still try to “move” to the other side, which makes it fall higher and therefore look thicker and more voluminous. It’s a super simple and easy hair volume trick you can do – and it only takes a few seconds!
8. Perms: The absolute last resort.
The last resort is a perm. I know, I know. Perms get a bad rep because most people remember those crazy high hair of the 80’s.
Plus, they break down your natural hair texture and structure to recreate a new one with curls, all with chemicals. So yeah, they are bad. (But one thing’s for sure, you will save a lot on blow drying and products!)
However, I myself has had many, many experiences with perms, and while it is very damaging, I can honestly say it’s probably the only real, long lasting thing that gave me volume in my hair.
My favorite of them all was called a “root perm”, and while there were many cons to it – it was damaging, expensive, and it looked strange when it grew out – I still look back on my hair in those days and I still think that is when my hair looked the best! I had really huge, bombshell hair and I really loved it. Perms also last very long, until your hair grows out, so while it’s also expensive, I find the cost is worth it.
But again, this is something you need to research and think about very carefully. 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.
P.S. Check out tips on how to get Blake Lively hair – she has the most beautiful, voluminous full hair!