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How To Add Texture and Volume to Fine or Limp Hair

Woman's fine hair grayscale image

Sometimes, fine hair can feel like a bit of a curse. Sure, it’s nice and easy to style, but it’s also prone to looking super flat, lifeless or limp. Your roots deflate at the first sign of trouble and the tiniest smidgen of product seems to make your locks look dull and greasy. Oh, and your scalp? Permanently sunburnt. Particularly now that winter’s given way to spring, and your spending more time outdoors.

So what’s a girl to do? We’ll be the first to admit that your everyday, run-of-the-mill hair thickening tips just won’t work on fine hair. You can try braiding your hair before you sleep, but there’s every chance you’ll wake up to a frizzy mess. And don’t even get us started on the whole “scrunching” trick…

That’s not to say that you’re stuck with limp (or lifeless) hair though. Small changes to your routine – coupled with some carefully chosen products – can quickly breathe fresh life into fine hair, and there are plenty of ways to add extra texture too.

Keen to get started? We asked some of our top stylists for advice on adding texture and volume to fine hair, and they were kind enough to give us the following tips:

Change your parting

Switching your parting helps to fluff up the roots, which makes it a nice, easy way to add instant volume. It’s also a great way to hide those pesky baby hairs, and it does stop certain areas from getting too stressed or damaged too.

According to our stylists, it’s best to switch up your parting once every few weeks,  but if you’ve got very fine hair and you want to make sure your roots are standing upright, you could probably up the frequency to once every fortnight.

Not sure how to change your parting? You’ll be pleased to hear that it’s super-straightforward and easy to do. Just pick where you want your new parting to sit, and wash your hair before parting it with a fine toothed comb. Once your hair is sitting just the way you want it, you can use a blowdryer to “set in” your new parting. Bobbie pins, styling gels and hair clips work too, but don’t be too surprised if it takes a few tries to get it just right. You are training your hair to sit in a brand-new way, and it might need a little time to adjust.

Back-comb your hair

Back-combing your roots is a great way to turn up the volume, and give your hair some much-needed texture. It’s dead quick too, but you do have to be quite careful. Particularly if you want to avoid damaging those delicate follicles, or side-step that dreaded 80’s look…

For best results, our stylists recommend taking day-old hair, and sectioning both sides so that all of the strands at the back and crown are left nice and loose. Once this is done, you’ll need to take a section of loose hair and comb out any snags, before teasing backwards towards the root. You need to use a good comb for this step – otherwise you risk breaking the hairs. We’d strongly recommend snagging Tangle Teezer’s special backcombing brush, which is super-kind to fine hair.

Tangle Teeze Blow Style Brush
Click to shop Tangle Teezer Back Combing Hair Brush

 

You don’t want to backcomb from the tip either: short strokes will give your hair a much more natural look, and prevent your hairs from frizzing too much. Once you’re happy with the extra volume you’ve created, work your way through the rest of your hair and then spritz with hairspray to lock down your style. Voila! Instant volume.

Blow dry upside down

Blow drying is a tried (and true) method of volumizing fine hair, but lots of ladies struggle to make it work. Common complaints include excess frizz, heat damage or lacklustre results, and our stylists say that a lot of women really struggle to add volume – particularly  when they’re blow drying at home.

Sound familiar? We thought so too, but then we found out that we’d been blow drying our hair all wrong…

Turns out that the best way to blow dry fine hair is to flip your head upside down, and target the root. You want the hot air blowing straight onto the thickest part of the hair follicle, nice and close to the scalp. This’ll help to fix the hair in an upright position and prevent it from laying down flat which – quelle surprise – is exactly what makes fine hair look so limp and lifeless when it’s dry.

It also helps to brush your hair as you dry. This will let you guide individual strands in the direction you want them to lay, and let you draw out sections that need a little bit of extra volume. We’d recommend using Tangle Teezer’s special Blow-Styling Hairbrush because it’s designed to cut down on frizz, and leave your hair looking super-smooth. 

Oh, and watch the temp! You want lots of air flow to fatten up the hair shaft, but too much heat will cause the cuticle layer to open up, and damage your hair.

Boost your roots

If you’re trying to steer clear of styling tools (or just looking to double up on all that extra volume) it’s also worth exploring some of the specialist styling products that we use in our salons. Root boosting foams like System Professional’s Volumize Bodifying Foam are great because they instantly lift and separate individual strands of hair, without weighing everything down or robbing your hair of texture.

Matrix Biolage’s VolumeBloom Full Lift Volumizer Spray is another great example, because it’s super lightweight, and works by plumping up individual hair fibres to give incredibly long-lasting volume. That’s not to say that you need a foam or a spray though. Some dry shampoos can also boost texture and amp up your hair’s volume. Just make sure you stick to salon-quality options like Tigi’s Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo.

Oh, and the best bit? These products can be used in conjunction with some of the techniques that we’ve outlined above, so if you find that blow-drying or back-combing your hair just isn’t cutting it, you can throw one of these root-boosting elixirs into the mix for a quick fix that should sort most of your fine-hair woes.

System Professional Volumize Bodifying Foam
Click to shop System Professional Volumize Bodifying Foam
Click to shop Matrix Biolage Volumebloom Spray
Tigi Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo
Click to shop Tigi Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo

Switch to a volumizing shampoo

Volumizing shampoos are another fool-proof way to boost your roots and stamp out bad hair days. Unlike your regular shampoo, these products tend to be packed with specialist ingredients that strengthen your hair, or plump up individual hair fibres to bulk things out and give the impression of fuller, thicker hair.

Some of these shampoos can also add a residue that weighs your hair down but if you choose carefully, you should find that they’re a huge help in your quest for bouncy hair. Fudge’s Big Bold Oomf shampoo is a brilliant example, because it provides a unique volumizing complex that uses bamboo extract to enrich and strengthen your hair. We’d also recommend Redken’s High rise Volumizing Shampoo because it’s a salon-quality product, with a lightweight formula and all the extra amino acids that are needed to strengthen individual hair fibres

Click to shop Fudge Big Bold Oomf Shampoo
Redken High Rise Volume Lifting Shampoo
Click to shop Redken High Rise Volume Lifting Shampoo

Condition your hair

Most people with very fine hair quickly learn to be suspicious of conditioner, and with good reason too! Most of your everyday conditioners leave behind a greasy residue that weighs down your hair and leaves everything looking a bit flat and dull.

Conditioning can really help to boost the volume of dry hair though – particularly if you choose the right product, and avoid your scalp like the plague. In fact, a good conditioner can actually make the world of difference by penetrating individual hair follicles, and providing the nutrients needed to strengthen flat hair fibres. Not to mention all the added texture they can bring, and their shine-enhancing qualities…

If you’ve been steering clear of conditioner, we’d strongly recommend that you try Paul Mitchell’s Extra Body Daily Rinse, which is designed to feed, fluff and strengthen your hair without weighing it down. You could also try Matrix Biolage’s VolumeBloom Conditioner, which uses natural cotton extracts to thicken your hair.

Paul Mitchell Extra Body Daily Rinse Conditioner
Click to shop Paul Mitchell Extra Body Daily Rinse Conditioner
Click to shop Matrix Biolage VolumeBloom Conditioner

Sleep with your hair in a bun

Another top tip is to sleep with your hair in a loose bun. This prevents your hair from getting crushed against the pillow when you sleep, and it also adds a bit of extra texture, particularly if you work in a good volume boosting foam before you hit the sack. (We’d recommend System Professional Volumize Bodifying Foam).

Given that fine hair rarely bounces back from being flattened down, this trick is actually one of the best ways to keep your hair volumized. It also has the added advantage of making sure that your hair doesn’t pick up any oils from your skin, which can sometimes contribute to that greasy, limp look. Just make sure that your bun’s not too tight, or you risk causing traction damage to your hair.

System Professional Volumize Bodifying Foam
Click to shop System Professional Volumize Bodifying Foam

Still struggling for volume?

If you’ve tried these top-tips and you’re still not getting the volume (or texture) that you really want, it’s definitely worth booking into your local salon, and asking one of our stylists for some tailored advice. They’ll be able to look at your hair and hook you up with the specialist styling products needed to sort things out. They’ll also be able to advise you on styles that’ll maximise your volume, and chat about enhancing hair texture using a colour treatment.

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