If you have fine hair, you know no amount of hairspray in the world will get your strands to remain as voluminous as they look for those two precious minutes after you finish styling them in the morning. Luckily, you’re not alone. Here, top hairstylists reveal eight not-so-mainstream ways to achieve more volume—we bet you haven’t heard of at least one.
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Use the Right Products at the Right Times
“Using products can help, but what’s more important is how and when you use the product,” says Dana Caschetta, stylist at Ammon Carver Studio in New York City and national trainer for Eufora International. Case in point: “A volume spray or sea salt spritz is best used when is hair is about 75-percent dry, otherwise the wet hair tends to get flat and stringy.” Caschetta says to start by drying roots upward to achieve lift and volume, making sure you’re not raking your fingers through the ends too much (this will create excess frizz). “Once the roots are totally dry, spray your favorite volumizing product (mine is Eufora’s Volume Fusion Spray) and continue to round brush afterward.”
“If you feel like you need to wash your hair every morning, don’t,” says celebrity hairstylist Nikki Lee, suggesting a different approach. “Instead, try putting dry shampoo in your hair before you go to bed. It will keep your hair from getting oily overnight and you’ll wake up with more volume.” (I can speak personally for this trick—I live by it!)
Don’t Hang Upside Down
While we’ve been told time and time again that flipping hair upside down while blow-drying will create volume, Cashetta says it can, surprisingly, cause flatness. “When your head is flipped over, you’re never really given the the proper angle to hold the hair directly outward from where it grows (achieving maximum volume). It sometimes causes flatness in the back as we’re brushing the hair against our head, rather than straight out.” Instead, Caschetta says to tilt your head from side to side while looking in the mirror, allowing gravity to the work as well as making it easier to reach the back. “For the top, extend hair directly upward for best results.”
Blot Before Your Blow Out
“When hair is freshly washed and conditioned, start by blotting the hair,” says celebrity hair stylist Dean Banowetz. “I like to use paper towels to really get rid of the wetness.” Ridding the hair of excess dripping water will allow the volumizing product that comes up next to really sink into each strand instead of just dripping off with the water. Next, Banowitz says to get going with your favorite volumizing product in sections for the best volumizing results. “Start with a section at the nape of the neck and work your way up.”
“Before using hot tools to style your hair, lightly backcomb just the base of each section before using a large curling iron or wand,” says Lee, explaining that after you brush the curls out (they should be dry), “hair will have lots of fluffy volume at the root.”
Don’t Condition Your Roots
According to Caschetta, while you may not make a connection between the two, conditioning properly is the secret key to your best volume. “If your hair tends to fall flat, it could be because it’s too soft,” she says. When applying your go-to conditioner, be mindful to only apply it from the mids to ends of your hair. “A good way to think of it is just applying product to your ponytail, not by the roots!”
Caschetta says the cooling process is almost more important than the blow-dry process itself. Here’s why: “For a style to set, it needs to cool, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to use the ‘cool’ button on your dryer. After blow-drying a section of hair, remove the round brush and do not touch it.” Caschetta says this is where we tend to rake our fingers through and deconstruct all the hard work we’ve just done. “Instead of touching it or raking your fingers through, allow each section to cool thoroughly—once you are all finished, feel free to gently shake it out if needed.”
“A bigger brush is not always better,” says Caschetta. “If your brush is too big for your hair’s length, it will actually create a sleek, straighter look (whether or not that’s what you were going for). Opt for a smaller round brush to create more volume and movement in place of a large round brush,” she says, explaining that the same goes for iron sizes; the smaller the iron the move curl and texture.