How To Add Volume to Lifeless Hair



If you've always wanted bigger hair with more volume, you're not alone. A voluminous head of hair is at the top of most of our beauty wishlists. Thin, flat hair can be lifeless and difficult to style. If big hair is what you seek, we’ve got some words of advice. We’re sharing seven reasons why your locks may be falling flat as well as breaking down everything you need to know to add volume to your hair ahead.


Eight reasons your hair has no volume

The following reasons may be contributing to your hair’s loss of volume.


1. Follicle sensitivity

Reduced hair volume occurs as a result of follicle sensitivity to your hormones. The follicles shrink, producing strands of smaller diameter and shorter length. You’re not necessarily losing hair, but the replacement strands are taking up less space.


2. You were born that way

Your genes contribute to the amount of volume your hair has. At least we’re pretty sure it does. Research indicates that the EDAR gene, which influences hair follicle development, plays an important role in determining hair thickness.


3. Your scalp is greasy

Your scalp’s own natural oils are often the culprit behind flat hair. Throughout the day these oils (in combination with pollution, humidity, and product build-up) can leave your strands looking greasy and feeling heavy.


Karli Moceri ponytail Davines how to

Photo by @karlibobarley


4. You are co-washing

Co-washing is short for “conditioner-only washing.” It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner. Co-washing with a conditioner, rather than shampoo, will weigh the hair down, especially for looser curls. If you want to maintain your hair’s moisture without losing volume, try co-washing less frequently, or using a thinner cleansing conditioner.


5. Your hair is too long

Your haircut may be the reason your hair is literally falling flat. The longer your strands are, the more gravity will affect their volume. If you’ve been trying to grow your hair out, but it’s causing your locks to fall flat, it may be time to snip those ends.


6. You are heat styling without protection

Using hot tools on your hair without first applying a hair primer is a surefire way to dry out your hair’s cuticle and end up with fried, thinning locks. Protect those strands and try not to heat style more than twice a week.


7. You are heat styling to close to the root

In your attempt to add volume to your hair you may actually be making it look flatter. When you're using your flat iron, make sure to start an inch or two down from your root. Ironing too close will cause the root to wilt, causing your hair to look flat.


8. You are using the wrong products

Your hair type, texture, and needs play a big role in the products that will and won’t work for you. If you’ve got thin hair and you’re using products for dry hair, you’re likely weighing down your hair even more. If you’ve got lifeless hair that’s falling flat, you should be using volumizing products.


Davines essential haircare travel sizes

Photo by @karlibobarley


Volumizing hair tips

The following hair hacks, styling tips, and product picks will help you add mega volume to your lifeless hair. Read on for ten volumizing hair tips.


1. Use a clarifying shampoo once a week

In the quest to add volume to your hair, you can actually weigh it down with product residue, creating the opposite of volume. That's why it's essential to use a clarifying shampoo in place of your regular shampoo, once a week. This cleanses your hair and scalp of any buildup, giving your locks a lift and a clean canvas for the rest of your products.


2. Only apply conditioner to your ends

A lightweight conditioner is a must for replenishing your strands and building volume on thin hair. But too much conditioner at the roots can weigh your hair down drastically. Apply your conditioner primarily to the ends of your hair. Unless you have knots, in which case you can use a conditioner at the roots, but only if you follow up with another shampoo to remove residue.


3. Don’t underestimate the power of mousse

Mousse is a game-changer when it comes to volumizing hair products, says Sal Misseri, owner of Davines Concept Salon Reverie. “What’s great about using a curling mousse to add volume to your hair is its versatility. You can use it to blow dry your hair straight or soften and manage your curls. Either way, it adds a ton of body and shine without weighing your hair down,” she says. Misseri recommends using an egg-sized amount and working it evenly through damp hair, roots to ends.


4. Use a diffuser when you blow-dry

Using the diffuser attachment when you blow-dry is one of the easiest ways to add volume to your hair, and make it appear thicker. Diffusing hair uses a low-pressure airflow that allows the drying process to speed without manipulating the natural texture of your hair. Basically, a diffuser amps up the volume factor of whatever type of hair you’re working with, naturally. Plus using a diffuser causes less damage to your hair than blow-drying without it. Some blow dryers come with a diffuser and some are sold separately, so if you’re planning to get one, make sure the diffuser you choose fits on your dryer. Not sure how to use a diffuser to add volume to your hair? See our guide below.


How to use a diffuser to add hair volume

  1. Use a cotton tee shirt or microfiber towel to gently scrunch your hair and remove excess water. 
  2. Add your products. 
  3. Scrunch your hair, cradling small sections with the dryer to diffuse. 
  4. Keep the ends of your hair inside the diffuser. 
  5. Alternate between sections and sides until your hair is fully dry.

Cassell Fere

Photo by Cassell Ferere


5. Part your hair on the opposite side

If you normally part your hair on the left side, blow dry it like normal, then part it on the right. And if you normally part your hair on the right side, then switch to the left side. Your hair gets used to laying the way you part it, so flipping it to the other direction will make your roots stand up.


6. Tease your roots

Teasing, also known as backcombing, is one of the oldest tricks in the beauty book for adding volume to your hair. Follow this tutorial for lifted roots that last.


How to tease your roots to add hair volume

  1. Use a small, fine-tooth comb to section off the top of your hair from your temple to the back of your head 
  2. Starting in the back area around the high point of the head, take about an inch-wide section and hold it 90 degrees from your head, holding the comb horizontally. 
  3. Lightly press the comb in from the back and push down, angling slightly. 
  4. Continue the same technique throughout the hair you've sectioned off. 
  5. Finish by lightly combing the hair on top to smooth it out and spritzing with a texturizing spray.

7. Sleep in an updo hairstyle

The fastest way to flatten your strands is to sleep on them. To get an extra day (or two!) out of the volume you work so hard for, twist your hair into small loose sections and pin them up before bed. When you wake up, unravel your twists and shake out your big head of hair.


Davines Wonderblush volumizing hair


8. Set your hair with Velcro rollers

Velcro rollers are another old school beauty trick for adding big volume to your hair. They’re self-gripping and super easy to use. See our step by step guide below.


How to use Velcro rollers to add hair volume

  1. Prep your hair:Start with damp hair and blow-dry any excess moisture out. Liberally spritz your roots with one of your favorite hair volume products, which Sal Misseri, stylist and owner of Reverie say is an absolute must for creating lift in thin hair. 
  2. Section your hair: Twist your hair up into five separate sections, securing each with a clip. These sections should include two top center sections, one on either side of your temples, and one final section at the nape of your neck. 
  3. Heat the sections: Before you put in the rollers, give that section one more blast of heat with the blow dryer. The heat is the trick to locking in the roller’s volume staying power. 
  4. Insert the rollers: Start with the section closest to the front of your head so it has the longest time to sit. The thickness of your hair will determine how many rollers to use per section. Roll each section, changing directions haphazardly. 
  5. Cool your hair: Once all the rollers are in place, blast your hair with cold air from the cool setting on your blow-dryer. 
  6. Unroll your hair: Starting from the bottom, slowly remove each roller. Don’t just pull the rollers out. Instead, use your fingers to unravel them. This prevents your hair from getting tangled or caught up in the Velcro and causing damage. 
  7. Spray your roots: Once the rollers are all out, give your roots a spritz with a brushable hairspray.This will help maintain the volume of your hair. 
  8. Brush out your hair: Use a boar bristle brush to gently brush out your hair.

9. Add some beachy waves to your hair

Stick-straight strands lay flat against the head, making even the thickest hair appear thinner. Use a beach hair spray on dry or damp to add instant texture and volume to your hair. The beachy waves will make your hair look and feel bigger and fuller.


10. Keep dry shampoo on hand at all times

Fine hair can fall flat from the natural oil in your scalp faster than you can say “dry shampoo.” Refresh your hair and add instant volume with this volumizing miracle product anytime you need a boost. Hold the dry shampoo about 6 inches away from your scalp and spray it onto your roots. Massage your scalp with both hands to work it in. See our previous post on how to use dry shampoo for more of this.


Cross big hair off your beauty wish-list. With our hair hacks, styling tips, and product picks you’ll get major root lift and transform your flat strands into big, bouncy hair in no time!


by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

cover photo by @karlibobarley

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