It’s not easy having super-fine hair. No matter how you style it, it never seems to do anything but lay flat as a board on your head.
If this sounds like your hair, we’re willing to bet you’ve spent plenty hard-earned dollars on shampoos, conditioners, mousses and thickening agents that promise big, beautiful, voluminous hair — only to find they don’t do a damn thing.
Before you go and do something drastic like get a perm, try these tips for adding a little “oomph” to your limp tresses. You’ll probably never pull off an impressive bouffant or flaunt long, Sofia Vergara-esque hair, but you can get a noticeable volume boost with a few easy tricks.
You probably already know this one, but we thought we’d start with the basics. After you get out of the shower, flip your hair over and let the hair dryer work its magic. For curly hair, run your fingers through it as you blow-dry. For straight hair, brush through all of it as you dry, making sure the warm air is evenly spread throughout. This trains your roots to stand up on your head somewhat before falling into their flat routine. If you have bangs, blow-dry them first (right-side-up) and use a clip to hold them in place while you dry the rest of your hair.
Use a rounded brush
While blow-drying, use a rounded brush to curl your hair away from the scalp at its roots. You might struggle with it the first time, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
Put down the products
We’ve tried volumizing, thickening and styling products ranging from $6 to $50, and after a few days of trying to convince ourselves our hair looked bigger, we were always forced to admit our money had gone to waste and our hair looked exactly the same as it did before the purchase. In fact, sometimes our hair looked flatter. If your hair is extremely fine, adding extra hair product can actually weigh it down, counteracting any of the volume-boosting results you were expecting to see. Keep the hair products to a bare minimum — or go au naturale.
Break out the curling iron
We’re not asking you to embrace the Shirley Temple ‘do; simply curling under the ends of your hair can add some bounce.
Can the conditioner
Pick your jaw up off the floor — it’s not that crazy of a suggestion. Conditioner adds extra weight to your hair, so nixing it from your routine (or only using it every few days) can help lighten your locks. If you’re hair gets too knotty after shampooing or if this causes scary, out-of-control static, there’s an alternative: When showering, use the conditioner first; then shampoo. It sounds crazy, but it really makes a difference.
Invest in some hair spray
We know we said beware of the hair products, but we’re making an exception for hair spray — just don’t go overboard. Once you’ve blow-dried your hair and parted it where you like it, flip it over one more time. Separate layers of your hair and spray a line of hair spray straight across your scalp, from front to back. Do this in about three areas — e.g., if you have a left-side part, do one spray on the left side and two sprays on the right side (one lower down your head and one closer to the part).
Flip your hair back over and remind yourself that’s not Helena Bonham Carter in the mirror. VERY CAREFULLY brush the ends of your hair so it conforms but maintains that volume — thin hair can break easily, so be gentle! Don’t brush too much or you’ll lose the look. We recommend Garnier Fructis Volumizing Anti-Humidity hair spray, level 4 hold.
Keep it short and sweet
The less weight, the more volume. Therefore, the less hair, the more volume. If you really want a fuller look, go for a short ‘do. Bobs are perfect for fine, limp hair — and there are a million different styles. Cutting some subtle layers can add texture, giving your hair a thicker look.
Add a little color
The textured look of highlighted hair can create the illusion of thicker locks. It doesn’t require shockingly bright color either; a subtle color slightly lighter than your current hair color will do the trick.