Thin hair can be difficult. And the thing is, much like how one skincare product might work for your friend, but won't agree with your skin, the same goes for hair products and hair thickening advice. Different hair tips and tricks will have varying success among hair types and textures. For instance, I've watched friends create tumbling, voluminous waves using a hair straightener on their hair, but when I try to replicate it on my own hair, the curls will never hold (I personally find a hair wand or tong will give me long-lasting curls). Therefore, if you're looking for ways to make fine hair look fuller, it can pay to experiment with different techniques to see what works for your unique hair.
However, there are some thin hair principles that hairstylists all agree on for creating the illusion of thicker, bouncy hair. "The basic rules of hair volume is that hair sets in two ways," says Paul Percival, expert hairstylist and founder of Percy & Reed. "You can create volume with heat, taking it from hot back to cold, or from wet hair to dry. These are the two ways you can manipulate your hair,” he says. Essentially, your hair wash and how you style your hair—and let it cool— are the two biggest factors to remember when creating thicker hair.
However, after chatting with a lot of expert hairstylists, I've learnt that there are many easy yet effective ways you can create more volume in your hair. They don't require any hair skills and many of them are easily incorporated into your current hair routine. However, there are also some thin hair mistakes you should try to avoid so you can get the best out of your hair wash and styling. Ahead, these top hairstylists share what not to do with thin hair and share the ways you can boost thin, fine hair for more volumised lengths.
Mistake #1: Using The Wrong Shampoo & Conditioner
If your hair feels weighed down, a simple solution may be switching your current shampoo and conditioner for something more suitable for fine hair. "Good volume starts in the shower," says Percival. "You need to make sure you are using the right shampoo, and in particular, the right conditioner that's not heavy. If you use something that weighs the hair down you've got an uphill battle from the start," he says. He explains that many conditioners and hair masks created for dehydrated or flyaway-prone hair contain heavy ingredients that coat the hair, which can leave hair looking flatland weighed down. "Percy & Reed's Turn Up The Volume Volumnising Shampoo and Conditioner has a gel formulation and is very lightweight, meaning it still looks after hair whilst allowing volume to be created," says Percival. On shampoo packaging, look for key words such a 'volumising' or 'clarifying' to get the best results.
This lightweight shampoo leaves roots throughly cleansed, so hair is left with bucketfuls of bounce and lift.
This conditioner adds shine and moisture to lengths without leaving a heavy coating on the hair. Apply to mid-lengths of your hair only and avoid the root area.
Mistake #2: Using The Wrong Blow-Dry Technique
The blow-dry stage can really make or break fine hair. "If you're blow-drying your hair, the first thing to remember is to use a good lightweight product like Percy & Reed Turn Up The Volume Volumnising Mousse—the key is to get in from roots to end," says Percival. "The most common thing people get wrong is just running it through their hair, not in the roots.
Either use your fingers as a comb pulling it all the way through or ideally use a comb to get product through the hair—all the way through evenly from roots to ends." Remember, less is often more when styling fine hair, so stick to one product during your blow-dry, rather than layering several which can leave hair flat.
Using a round brush can also give lift and movement. "Make sure you are always lifting the hair at the root when drying, if you're not, you can put your head upside down. It is really important you are blow drying the hair up to create volume," adds Percival. "Always blow dry from root to ends, other wise you can create frizz and breakage."When blow-drying hair upside down, his top tip is to leave it for a second before throwing your hair back again, so it cools down. "The same goes when blow drying with a round brush; keep it up for a second, before it cools, as when hair cools is when it sets. This is why velcro rollers are good, allowing you to get root to lift.
Apply mousse at the roots and through the lengths with a comb for even distribution and a bouncy blow-dry.
As you blow-dry each section of your hair, wrap it into a velcro roller and leave it to cool. Manipulating the hair when it's warm will allow you to create volume and lift in the hair, which will be locked into the hair as it cools. It's also one of the ways to achieve a supermodel blow-out.
If you find using a round brush and hairdryer too fiddly, using a round brush hair styler can help. "The Babyliss Big Hair styler has a spinning brush that dries hair when you use it, giving you the salon blow dried-like hair, and you can do it with one hand," says Percival.
Mistake #3: Back-Brushing
While back-brushing hair at the roots will give temporary lift, in the long-run it can damage fine hair. "Back-brushing causes strain on hair density by disrupting the cuticle and causing, breakage making hair even more fine," says expert hairdresser, Lisa Carter. "Get out the viscous circle by investing in some professional products to help give the illusion of thickness. They will help to safely swell the hair and give volume. Things like Label.m thickening cream, Eleven dry texture finish spray and dry shampoo are ideal for helping voluminous styles. "
This instantly plumps and thickens hair. Simply apply through lengths before blow-drying to encourage thicker hair. Start with a small amount in your palms before working through the hair—applying too much product will weigh down hair. It really is all about the application, as well as choosing good hair thickening products.
A list misting and strategic placing of texture spray can help enhance your hair texture, making it look fuller and full of body. Remember, less is more, so start with a little and add as needed.
Greasy roots can be more apparent on fine hair types, making it look flat. Dry shampoo can help revive second-day hair by mopping up excess oil and it gives a quick volume boost at the roots too.
Mistake #4: Brushing Hair When It's Wet
Dragging a brush through wet hair can not only be painful, but it can tug at hair and cause breakage, too. "Fine hair is fragile and can be very tangled which can cause breakage," says expert hairstylist, Michelle Brace. "A lot of the time I like to dry the hair off before brushing to give the hair the chance to regain strength."
This brush was created by Tim Binnington, who designed it for his wife who was experiencing hair loss due to illness. This flexible brush moulds to the shape of your hand and is one of the gentlest brushes you can use.
This detangling spray also has heat protection, you you won't need to use two different products to style your hair.
If you find that your hair gets knotted easily, this brush is a must-have. The bristles bend generously as they pass through knots, making detangling a breeze.
Mistake #5: Opting For A Block Hair Colour
Hair that has one all-over colour can make fine hair look thinner. However, strategic placement of hair colour, such as highlights of balayage, will create contrast in the hair, and ultimately make it look thicker. "If you want hair to look thicker, having a contrasting colour underneath can be a great idea," says Percival. "If you're blonde, you can have a slightly darker blonde underneath around the nape of neck, which will give the illusion of thicker hair." What's more, if your hair is in good condition, having your hair lightened can actually make your hair thicker. "A chemically lightening the hair will swell your hair lengths, adding more volume and texture to achieve a fuller look," says expert hairstylist Marina Hodgins at Fringe Benefits Gloucester. Pop in for a consultation with your hair colourist to see what type of hair colour works for you.
This semi-permanent colour mask deposits colour on to your hair (and it comes in lots of different shades to suit different hair colours). This caramel hue is great for those with dark hair who want to add lighter tones to their hair.
If you decide to opt for blonde highlights or balayage, then investing in a purple shampoo will ensure your colour looks its best for longer in between salon appointments. The purple tones help to counteract yellow brassy tones that blonde hair can be subject to.
If you're jetting away somewhere warm and want to help enhance the lightening effects of the sun on your hair, then pack this in your suitcase. Simply mist into hair before heading outside and watch blonde tones emerge.
Mistake #6: Styling Your Hair Straight
If you usually wear your hair straight, you might find that it looks thinner. "Wearing your hair straight shows your scalp's natural oils quicker," explains Carter. "If you have a natural wave or curl to your hair, use products and methods to help bring your natural hair texture to life. Otherwise, try styling with a wand or tong to get some bends in your hair. This naturally
creates volume but the texture will help you go the extra day or two before washing," she adds. For extra lift, switch your hair into a side parting and go an inch further our than you normally would for glamorous volume.
Simply place hair between these waving barrels and get effortless, cool-girl hair with body and movement. This is one of our favourite hairstyling tools that we've used for the price.
If you find that curls won't hold in your hair, then get acquainted with this hair wand. It heats up to 185 degrees C, which is the optimum temperature to hold a curl without damaging the hair.
If you're looking for a does-it-all-styler (and have the budget to invest) then the Dyson AirWrap is worth it. Use the attachments on hair that's about 80-80% dry to lock in curls and add voluminous bounce to fine hair.
Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor of Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.
Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards and also contributed to Powder, winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards for her work in beauty journalism.
Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.
When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner.
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