If you have thin, fine hair like me, I know you know the frustration of trying to add volume. It seems like no matter what you do, your hair just falls flat. Today I’m sharing my 15 top tips to add volume to thin, fine hair without resorting to a lot of backcombing or teasing. I’ll show you how I add volume to my own fine hair and share the products and tips that work for me.
1. Add Volume to Your Hair with a Haircut or Layers
I’ve learned the hard way that I can have long hair and I can have voluminous hair, but I can’t have both. Once my hair gets past my shoulders, it’s going to lay flat against my head, no matter what I do. If you can’t bear to give up the length of your hair, adding a few layers at the crown can help add more body.
2. Get Rid of Mineral and Product Build-Up from Your Hair
Voluminous hair starts in the shower. I live in Nashville, which has very hard water, with a high mineral content, so I need to periodically use a shampoo and conditioner that will clean my hair and scalp of both mineral and product build-up. If I don’t use some type of clarifying shampoo on a regular basis, the minerals in the Nashville water and the products I use in my hair will cause my hair to oily and flat, no matter what I do.
So, I wash my hair at least once a week with Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo and Conditioner to eliminate the build-up of minerals and products and keep my hair soft and bouncy.
Note: I can’t change my shower head because it’s weird, but if you live in an area with hard water, I highly recommend spending around 25 dollars and getting a shower head with a water softener filter. It will change your life.
3. Use a Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner
On the days I don’t use my clarifying shampoo, I like to use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. A volumizing shampoo gives your hair lift without weighing it down at the roots with heavy conditioning ingredients.
I like to use Kevin Murphy Plumping Wash and Rinse because it’s specially formulated for thin hair. It’s also the best smelling shampoo I’ve ever used so it’s like getting a spa treatment in the shower whenever I use it.
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4. Don’t Overdo the Conditioner
Even though I use a volumizing conditioner, too much conditioner can weigh down your roots. I only apply conditioner at the ends of my hair and avoid putting it near my scalp. This helps keep the volume at the roots and prevents my hair from looking greasy.
5. Towel Dry Your Hair Gently
Wet hair is fragile and can be easily damaged, causing frizz and split ends. So, once out of the shower, I wap my hair in a microfiber towel and gently squeeze the water out of it, rather than using the towel to roughly dry my hair. Then I blot my hair dry with the towel so it’s damp, but not soaking wet.
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6. Don’t Weigh Your Hair Down with Tons of Products
If you’re trying to add volume to your hair, it’s tempting to use all the products that promise to add volume. But adding too many products to your wet hair can cause it to go flat and limp.
So I only add two products to my hair when I want volume: a thickening spray and a root booster.
7. Use a Thickening Spray for Overall Volume and Heat Protection
First, I spray my hair with Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray. This acts as a heat protectant and thickens my hair shaft so my hair looks fuller. It’s formulated for fine hair so I don’t need to worry about using too much and causing my hair to look oily and flat when it’s dry.
After I lightly mist my hair with the Thickening Spray, I comb it through with a Wet Brush to make sure I have it applied evenly throughout my hair.
8. Add Volume at the Roots with a Lightweight Root Booster
After I spray my hair with the thickening spray, I’m ready for my secret weapon: Aquage Uplifting Foam.
I first heard about this spray from Kate at The Small Things Blog and once I saw what it did for her, I knew I had to try it. This stuff is pure magic and creates instant volume at your roots.
I start by sectioning off my hair and then use the nozzle to apply it at my roots. (No need to get messy mousse on my hands!) I’ll typically divide my hair into six sections in front and then two sections at the crown of my hair and apply the product to each section.
Afterwards, I scrunch my hair with my hands to distribute the product evenly through my roots. The more of the product you use, the more volume it will give to your roots so don’t be afraid to go crazy with it. You literally can’t put in too much.
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9. Blow Dry Your Hair for the Most Volume
Use a Blow Dryer that Gives Great Volume
When I really want the volume in my hair, I’ll use my new favorite hair dryer, the Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus. The Volumizer Plus is a new version of the cult favorite hair dryer, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer.The brush on this hair dryer is smaller and rounder, making it so much easier to get close to your roots so you can dry your hair with the most volume.
Start by Blow-Drying Your Hair Upside Down
I start by blow drying my hair with the blow dryer set on high and my head upside down. This lifts your roots away from your scalp and the heat of the dryer sets your hair. When it’s about 75-80% dry, I’ll set the hair dryer on medium, flip my hair back up and use the brush of the blow dryer to add lift at the crown.
Add Lift by Blow Drying on the Opposite Side of Your Part
I add lift to my bangs by blowing them dry on the opposite side of my part. So if I part my bangs to the right, I’ll blow dry them on the left. You can see in this picture where my hair is parted to the right, but when it’s blow-dried, it has lift on the left side at my brow bone.Finally, when my hair is about 95% dry, I finish blow drying by setting the dryer on low and using the brush of the hair dryer to style it into place.
10. Use Hot Rollers to Add Volume
Most days, I’ll dry my hair, add some hairspray and be on my way. But on the days I want the most height I can possibly get, I’ll turn to our old friend from the eighties, hot rollers.
When using hot rollers to create volume, you want to get as close to the root of your hair as you can. I start by taking a section of my hair, combing it up and spraying the root with a little light hair spray. Adding the hair spray is creates lasting volume; my volume style often lasts for two or three days.
Place the roller at the root of your hair and then wrap the hair around the curler. If I’m wanting a voluminous beachy look without a lot of curl, I’ll leave the ends of my hair out.
Leave the curlers in place until they cool completely; typically between 20-30 minutes. Then, gently remove the curlers, making sure to not pull on the hair as that will loosen the volume boost you got from the hot rollers.
11. Embrace the Mess
Anything you do to style your hair into a neat, sleek look is going to deflate your volume. So, embrace the mess! I like to use my hands to scrunch my hair and add texture.If you have layers in your hair, try flipping them out for a more undone look. The messier your hair is, the more volume it will have.
12. Set Your Hair with Hair Spray
As a child of the 80s, I can’t live without my hair spray. I no longer spray for a full five minutes to keep my hair glued in place, but a light dusting of hair spray keeps my hair from falling flat in the southern humidity.
I’m a big fan of Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray. It has a pretty firm hold, but feels light and you can easily brush through it.
13. Use Teasing and Backcombing Only When Absolutely Necessary
I try to avoid teasing my hair or backcombing as much as possible. It’s not good for anyone’s hair, but my thin, fine hair gets especially damaged.
However, in a pinch, I’ll do some light teasing at my crown to add just a bit of extra volume. To tease your hair:
- Gather a small section of your roots at the crown of your head.
- Pull that section of hair straight up from your roots for about one inch.
- Take a comb and gently push the top layer of hair down toward the scalp in a backcombing motion until you have teased it to desired volume.
If you want to add even more volume, lightly mist your hair at the root with hair spray before backcombing.
14. Sleep with Your Hair in a Loose Bun
Washing and drying your hair every day can lead to limp, dry hair. Plus, who wants to go through the whole process of styling your hair every day?
On the nights I know I’m going to skip shampooing the next day, I like to put my hair up in a loose bun or a top ponytail using a microfiber scrunchie. This keeps my hair from getting flat in the night. The scrunchie won’t dent my hair and when I take it down the next day, my hair is soft and bouncy.
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15. Apply Dry Shampoo to Second Day Hair
Dry shampoo is a great way to add volume to your hair the day after you’ve styled it. Dry shampoo adds texture and blots up oils so it’s perfect for adding volume back into your hair. I like to use Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy Body Building Dry Shampoo because it doesn’t leave white residue in my hair.
All you need to do is spray your roots with the dry shampoo, massage into your hair with your fingers and then brush out. Instant volume!
Watch the Video!
This video is a detailed overview of how I add volume to my hair.