Regardless of your hair type, creating a stylish look can be a challenge. Thicker textures often take longer to dry, while curls and waves require a specific routine to retain moisture. However, when it comes to fine hair, the most common issue is volume. While wispy strands are great for sleek slicked-back buns, sometimes it’s nice to have full, flowing locks or bouncy curls. Though products like mousse can help, they don’t completely solve the problem. If you want to learn how to volumize hair, you need to, literally, start at the roots.
According to Laura Polko, celebrity stylist and Conair Ambassador, by nature, the silky texture of fine hair tends to fall flat quickly. But as she explains, that's not the only concern. “Breakage is a major issue for anyone, but with fine hair, the risk is a lot higher,” she says. Forever timeless, full, luscious hairstyles are all over red carpets and TikTok. So if you’ve found yourself coveting these looks, but have trouble achieving the same level of volume, there’s a simple solution. “The key is to have a proper [wash day] routine in place,” says Polko.
Ahead, TZR spoke with two celebrity stylists for tips on boosting fine hair. With a mix of products and techniques, their advice will help you develop a foolproof system for long-lasting volume.
What Is Fine Hair?
Characterizing fine hair may seem simple, but it’s actually a lot more complex than just examining the thickness of your ponytail. Though often confused with thinning, celebrity hairstylist Davontae Washington tells TZR that the two aren’t one and the same. “Fine hair refers specifically to the size of the strands, which tend to have a smaller diameter compared to other types,” he says. Furthermore, the delicate and light texture tends to be naturally flat and has difficulty holding curls or volume. While aging can be a factor, Washington notes that genetics and hormones can also play a major role in determining how thick your hair will be.
How To Volumize Your Hair
Develop A Wash Routine
Regardless of what kind of style you desire, achieving it starts in the shower. “The first step to a fuller appearance is to invest in a volumizing shampoo and conditioner,” says Polko. This simple swap can help plump the strands, giving them a thicker appearance. Though washing your hair with a specialized cleanser is a good start, Polko tells TZR that the way you apply conditioner also has its benefits. Most conditioning products have a thick consistency that weighs the hair down. With finer textures, this can be problematic. “When you’re ready to add your conditioner, be mindful and avoid using it on your roots,” says Polko. Scalp care should also be a top priority. “Stimulating the area with scrubs or tools such as a massage brush, will increase blood flow and, in turn, lead to fuller, healthier hair,” she says.
Incorporate Volume-Boosting Products
Specialized shampoos and conditioners lay the groundwork, but adding volume-enhancing products to your routine will prolong the effects. “There are a number on the market that can help you achieve your desired look by thickening hair and providing better hold to prevent strands from falling flat,” says Washington. He explains that by using a root-boosting mousse during styling, you can add body at the crown without having to tease your hair into oblivion. “Excessive manipulation and buildup can further increase the chance of breakage,” he adds. But by incorporating a touch of product before blow-drying, you can easily side-step both issues.
Adjust Your Blow-Drying Routine
If you naturally have fine hair, air drying isn’t ideal for creating a voluminous look. “Blow-drying with a round brush can give your roots an instant boost and add fullness all over,” says Washington. Simply gather the hair around the brush and steadily pull outward, away from the root, while concentrating the heat on your strands. The upside-down method is another popular blow-drying method that can help create the illusion of thicker hair. However, if you’re trying to decrease your use of hot tools, Polko suggests opting or heatless rollers instead: “Not only will these reduce the risk of intense heat damage, but they can create a voluminous style overnight.”
Use Lightweight Styling Products
Similar to conditioner, heavy styling products have a tendency to deflate and flatten the hair. For this reason, Washington advises steering clear of dense oils and weighty creams. However, if you do choose to use them, he suggests applying a minimal amount, mainly on the ends of the hair. “A pea-sized portion is usually just enough, and adding it to the tips will ensure you’re not creating build-up on the scalp,” he says. According to Washington, opting for sulfate-free products is another game-changer. “Sulfates are known to break down natural proteins and potentially hinder hair growth,” he says.
Finish With Volumizing Sprays
Once you’ve achieved your desired style, the last thing you want to worry about is it falling flat throughout the day. Luckily, there are a few tricks to ensure that doesn’t happen. “After you’re finished creating the look, finish with a strong hairspray to keep everything in place,” notes Washington. In the days that follow, your scalp will naturally produce oils that can cause the hair to go limp. Washing your hair every day isn’t always ideal, so having a good dry shampoo on hand can be useful. “Look for a product that eliminates oils at the base but won’t add to the buildup,” he says.