May 25, 2022

"My hair is flat and lifeless." How to add volume to fine, flat hair.

How to add volume to fine, flat hair.

Formulate user Rosie has a volume question:

My hair is really fine and flat. I can never get volume in it, it just lays flat on my head. What can I do to get some volume?

Thanks for writing, Rosie! We've got some handy-dandy tips that we think will be useful for your fine, flat hair. Give the following a try:

Get a cut with strong, blunt lines.

Short or long, fine hair looks best with strong, blunt perimeter lines, says Shelly Wilson, stylist and manager at Robert Jeffrey Hair Studio in Chicago. Consider face-framing highlights to create the illusion of depth and fullness "If you want layers, try some disconnected ones to avoid stringy ends. When blow drying, use a lightweight root-lifter and start applying heat with a round brush at the roots. Hold the brush in place and use the cool button for a few seconds to lock the style in place."

Use a texture spray to enhance your wave

Fine hair that's worn straight can have a shattered effect with the right combination of layers. For fine hair with a natural wave, says David Barron, owner of Barron's London Salon in Atlanta, GA, add texture sprays to enhance the bend. "This is a great product to use for anyone wishing to add more body and wave to their fine, flat hair, in addition to giving it volume. Depending on what specific finishing texture sprays you've got, some can also give additional hold and shine. Spray this to every inch of your hair when you are done styling."

Use dry shampoo to make your hair more voluminous

 Try not to shampoo daily. Every other day, use a dry shampoo, says Bekim Benjamin Osmani, creative director and co-owner of Salon Gaboa USA in Clearwater FL.Be sure to mostly use the dry shampoo on your roots, as having too much on your ends can weigh down your hair. 

Layer in volumizing products and then blow dry from your roots

To encourage volume and help it hold all day, layer in your volumizing products before you blow dry, suggests Lynn Jacobs, a stylist at Up in Tangles in Cypress, TX. "For maximum volume when blow drying, use a round brush and lift hair straight up as you dry. Direct heat at the roots first as you lift them straight up with a brush or wide-toothed comb. This works better than bending at your waist as you lift roots with your fingers--doing that only adds a subtle lift."

Use Visual Deception 

Adding texture creates style support and volume . . . Or at least the illusion of it. Try coloring or highlighting your hair or use a curling wand to add instant texture and movement.

Speak with a specialist

You'll want to start by looking for a fine-hair specialist, suggests Rhys. "Not all hair salons have them, but chances are, older hairdressers or those who have fine hair themselves will be better at handling your hair." If you're unsure, call hair salons ahead of time, and ask them who is best at cutting fine hair. Another simple solution is to ask your friends with thin hair where they go (as long as they have a flattering hair cut of course!).

Once you locate a good hairdresser, talk to him or her about how to achieve more volume. Rhys shares, "Usually short, blunt hairstyles above the shoulders provide the maximum impact. If you're looking to boost the movement and life of your hair, try a few, long layers, but be careful. Too many can make fine hair fall flat. And remember, whatever you do, don't try to cut your own hair or have a friend do it; fine, thin hair has special needs and can look great with the right haircut."

Skip the brush and use hot rollers

Don't just blow-dry hair; check out all the other ways style it. Roller sets are a perfect way to create volume, movement, and body. To add bounce, skip the brush, which flattens hair, and style with the pads of your fingers, says Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys in San Diego, CA. Start with damp hair and add a volumizer. "Set your dryer on high and massage your scalp clockwise all around. This expands the cuticle and boosts volume. Next, pop in a few large hot rollers on top layers only . . . They add movement, while keeping your look modern, not matronly." The larger the diameter of the roller, the more body and volume you'll get. 

Don't skip the conditioner

Many women with fine hair don't use conditioner because it "weighs down" hair or makes the cuticle too compact and flat, but this is a big mistake! Over time, hair becomes dry, dull and brittle. "Always use conditioner, putting it on the ends only if you're afraid to inhibit lift", says Osmani.

Don't overuse styling products

Experiment with products until you find one or two that work great for you. Remember a little goes a long way. "Avoid hairsprays that coat the surface of your hair and weigh it down, shares hairstylist educator Barb Quinn. "Also, very few pomades, waxes or shine sprays work well with fine or thin hair, for they also tend to weigh down hair and create build up. If you want to try a spray, look for one that says it's good for thin hair, and use a very small amount."

Use products formulated for fine, flat hair

Fine flat hair is a tricky problem to deal with. Invest in a shampoo and conditioner specifically created for fine flat hair so you don't accidentally weigh down your hair further. We recommend taking our hair quiz to get a set of products created specifically for your fine, flat hair. 

Invest in a volumizing spray for fine hair

Volumizing sprays can be super helpful, says Rhys, as long as you ensure that only the sides are applied and not the top of the hair. "The product should be sprayed on damp hair. Refrain from using a blow dryer later, but instead, wait for hair to air dry because the latter gives more volume to hair than when it is dried straight from a shower using heated air."

Try Volumising Mousse

 If you're afraid to use a gel that gives your hair unnatural hold and body, switch to a volumizing mousse created specifically to boost hair volume, says Jacobs. "A tennis ball-sized amount should work for most lengths. Then, use a wide-tooth comb to run the product throughout your hair. Finishing it off in a blow dryer should give your hair amazing volume and body."

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