Sometimes flat hair happens to good people. Lack of volume is one of the most common hair complaints, right up there with frizz and damage. And sometimes, products selected to add more hair volume have the opposite effect.
While fine hair is more likely to suffer looking limp—it has 50% less proteins than thicker hair, so there’s naturally less bulk—lack of volume can affect all hair types. The good news is that adding volume to your hair is relatively easy. All you need are the right products and a few expert tips to give your hair more volume. To help you add more oomph to your look, here are the essential do’s and don’ts for creating some serious body. Sky-high strands, here you come!
DO banish build-up. Start with volumizing shampoo to create the best foundation. One of the biggest culprits of flat hair is build-up. Oil, dirt, pollution, and styling products can all gunk up hair strands, adding weight that makes them hang limp and lifeless. In fact, your hair can gain around 4% of its own weight in scalp oils, dirt, and product residue in just a few days.
Remove all that excess with a shampoo that will give you a clean slate on which to create volume galore. If you’re scared of “stripping” your hair by washing it too much, don’t worry: Modern-day volumizing shampoos, like Pantene Pro-V’s Sheer Volume Shampoo, feature gentle-yet-powerful formulas that wipe away build-up without stripping hair. Meaning you can lather up on the regular and your hair won’t turn to straw.
DON’T skip conditioner. It’s volume’s most supportive friend if you find the right one. Let’s set the record straight once and for all: Conditioner is not a volume killer. Back in the day, heavy cream hydrators may have been the norm, but nowadays formulas and textures can be basically weightless.
Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Foam Conditioner is a light-as-air foam that nourishes for easy detangling to keep hair healthy. Damaged hair leads to breakage, which causes fine strands to look even thinner. Using a conditioner every time you wash is crucial to strengthen against regular wear and tear. Sheer Volume Foam is so weightless, you can use it every day without having to worry about hair looking or feeling limp.
DO get grippy with it. Add texture to create more volume. If your hair naturally has texture, awesome—embracing (instead of flat ironing it within an inch of its life) what your mama gave you will instantly give your hair some oomph.
For those with flat strands, you’ve got to fake it to make it. Using products like texturizers or sugar sprays helps add space between hair fibers and pump up the volume. Straight hair is also usually too smooth to hold volume on its own, meaning no matter how much you blow it out, it will slip back into flatness. Using a texturizer will give you some grip, so hair keeps that carefully crafted body.
DON’T get too rough. Opt for hair volume products over backcombing! Professional stylists have many tricks for adding major volume, but they aren’t always the best for the health of your hair. One such move is backcombing, aka teasing. It involves brushing hair backwards, towards the scalp, rather than from roots to end. Teasing creates immediate lift, but does so by roughing up the hair cuticles, leading to lasting damage and sometimes even breakage.
DO use styling tricks to add more lift at the root while your hair dries The position of your hair as it goes from wet to dry makes a big difference to the amount of work you have ahead of yourself to create volume through styling.
Letting hair airdry on velcro rollers is one way to get more lift. If you don’t have time to airdry, use a round brush at your roots while you blow-dry. Hold the brush so your hair is lifted as it dries. Important tip – keep holding your hair up with the round brush even after you put the blow-dryer down. Only remove the brush after your hair cools to help keep it lifted at the roots.
Starting the drying process by adding a volumizing mousse to damp hair will help your hair hold this lifted position for longer.
DO make it last. Once you’ve created that covetable volume, you’ll need to hold onto it so it doesn’t fall flat. Products like Pantene’s AirSpray Alcohol-Free Strong Hold Hairspray will hold your voluminous creation without making it look stiff or feel crunchy.
Don’t fear helmet-hair. Even with hairspray, hair can still have tons of body and flowing movement that lasts as long as you do (and then some).