How to… Get More Volume in Hair

... Too much? (Photo source unknown)
… Too much? (Photo source unknown)

As someone with very naturally flat and fine hair, I’ve tried literally everything over the years to get some volume in hair. In fact – I can honestly say this article has been at least 10 years in the making, so I’m really glad to be able to share this with you!

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. Instead 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, if you tend to have very thin, flat hair, avoid super long, straight haircuts. Keep the length around your collarbone or slightly longer. The weight of the long hair can pull your hair down, making your crown area look even more flat.

I’ve found that volumizing shampoos do work, but they are bit tricky. For one, if you have colored your hair, beware – some formulas can strip or fade the color. 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. Here are some great ones:

Speciality 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 these products). Another good product is dry shampoo, which is especially good for volume at the crown area. It does work very well, and I really like the ones by Batiste.

Backcombing (or sometimes 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. You should definitely check out How to… Backcomb Hair Without Damaging It for help.

Blow dryers (flip your hair over and focus on the roots to create lift), 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!) which is available at Sephora or Amazon.

Another option for thicker hair is to dye it. Coloring your hair instantly makes hair look thicker – particularly darker colors – and well placed high-lights and low-lights can give the illusion of dimension.

A friend of mine experiments with extensions and another one wears wigs and it works perfectly for them, but it’s a lot of work and upkeep. (I once had hair extensions… never again.) It’s all about personal preference of how much you’d like to spend on your hair, but this for sure will work.

The last resort is a perm. One thing’s for sure, you will save a lot on blow drying and products. Unfortunately, perms are very damaging to your hair – it is best that you haven’t had any prior chemical treatments (as in you don’t dye it, you don’t use heat tools on it, etc), and that your hair is very healthy. Check out Digital Perm Review & Tips before taking the plunge, ’cause it’s something to really think about it carefully.

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  • Kelly

    Great tips, thanks!

    • Renee / Beautifille

      You’re so welcome, Kelly! So sorry I just saw your comment now as I changed commenting systems.

  • Rick Kipness

    Geat advice! Even helps with jewish guys hair! Wonderful!!

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Thanks Rick, so glad you found it useful!

  • Naomi

    Wah so many great tips! When I get out of the shower and I let my hair air-dry I usually look like a lion so I don’t need extra volume, however I love how detailed this is!

    xx naomi @ Naomi in Wonderland

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Thanks Naomi. :) And ugh you are so lucky! Wanna trade? I WANT the lion look, haha.

  • Shekin Daud

    Ok i shall ditch layers next time, i had a haircut yesterday. i felt cheated, hairdresser suggest to have more volume, layers is key. But today i feel is thinner than yesterday! :( Great help renee!

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Aw yeah, that sucks! I really don’t get why people say layers is for volume… maybe VERY tiny layers would help, but in general I found that every time I got my hair layered, it would look so thin!

  • Maria

    Hey Renee!! It’s Maria! I’m so glad to receive the email update on your blog switch. I missed your articles so much! And as always, they’re super useful like this one. My hair is so thin, sometimes I wonder if I’d bald prematurely like my Dad lol. Definitely blaming it on the genes.
    I’m already down with the dry shampoo trick (it works and smells amazing, yay!), and have finally stepped out of the “layers” trick that really NEVER works. A straight cut does everything in giving an illusion of thicker hair, and I wish I knew that much earlier!
    Hmm.. I’ve always wanted to venture into backcombing but I can never seem to get it right. My hair always ends up a tangled mess for some reason, and I’ll lose more precious strands trying to sort them out. Eek. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Maria, ah so nice to hear from you! Thank you so much for sticking with me, that really means a lot.

      I don’t know if you’re psychic or I am, but tonight’s “Beauty Tip of the Week” is all about backcombing the right/non-damaging way, so look out for that 😀

      • Maria

        Ah what a coincidence — that’s brilliant! I’ll be reading it in a bit. Thanks Renee!! :)

  • Nayla Khatib

    Wooohoo renee! I have missed these! The second I saw the word perm I was like “nope.” Your old review still makes me cringe.
    I haven’t tried dry shampoo yet but I guess I’ll give it a try soon.
    I totally agree with the layers thing though.
    My hair isn’t as thick and lush as it used to be when I was younger and I used to get layers when it WAS thick, to give it a better body but my hair is medium fluff now so I’m growing it out so I cab get a straight across cut soon.
    I cut my hair super short a few years ago I don’t know how to send you a photo but I did it myself (not sure if I told you this…it was around the time I was still reading and commenting on beautyfool tho) it was fun. My hair was grown out til under my boobs and I cut it off at my neck. It looked GREAT but then I asked for a trim at a hair salon I had never been to and the creature I refuse to call a woman, shaved the base of my neck hollow and I looked like a walking mushroom. I’m not sure if I’ll go short again for a while now. Ladies. Never change hairdressers. Ever.

    Oh another thing – I recently used castor oil (1/4)and almond oil in my hair. Its greaaat
    A friend of mine who often bleaches her hair told me how she swears by certain oils to keep her hair healthy. N her hair is thick strands like mine, with frizz. And she bleaches het hair alll the time yet its still so shiny strong and healthy. Which ia weird cuz when i last bleached my hair it took forever and then my strands were thinner and really weak. So i trust her as shes been doing this for 7 years. She uses almond oil and castor oil and after showering and washing it away, puts some snake oil in her hair cuz its not greasy. U heard me. Snake oil. I have heard of snake oil before but I was a little weirded out to use it. I can’t find it in India though. I’ll have to order it online or get it the next time I visit the middle east or another country that may have it. Next up – argon oil. I need that lol.

    • Nayla Khatib

      Sorry about the typos. Its 4am and I’m on my phone lol

      • Renee / Beautifille

        Hey Nayla, no worries at all – ah what a great comment, thank you! So many great insights.

        Oh my gosh, SNAKE OIL?! That is CRAZY. Do you mind if I write a post about that (will give a shoutout to this comment/credit you)?

        • Nayla Khatib

          Aaaaaah that would be awesomeee! Go ahead! I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet though >.< but I am dying to try it out! 😀
          <3 <3

  • majidah m

    Now this is a great read! Have curly, fine, long hair…they give you that “beach hair” but on other days, it looks so matted like a wet dog :( will try these tips! Love from KL!

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Majidah, thank you :) Let me know how it goes and if it helped? Love from Singapore!