If your hair seems to be less-than-luscious as of late, you’re not alone. Just as our skin loses volume as we age, so too does our hair (albeit for different reasons). Luckily, there are solutions that can visibly boost hair. We tapped stylists to share their top tips regarding products, tools, and styling hacks to temporarily fake a fuller-looking mane. Keep reading to discover them and add them to your own strand-plumping arsenal.
Stock Your Toolkit
There’s a reason your stylist keeps a myriad of different brushes on hand; turns out, each actually serves a different function. Whereas a wide paddle brush is ideal for a pinstraight look, a spherical one is best for creating bounce. “For major volume and bend, use a round brush with a metal barrel and nylon bristles,” suggests Bumble and Bumble® stylist and educator, Allen Thomas Wood. The bristles create tension for sky-high height; the metal barrel conducts heat and helps shape last longer as a result.
But don’t just dive into styling wet hair. Waterlogged strands are much more vulnerable to stretching, damage, and breakage, says Bumble and Bumble stylist Tashina Tantalos. Make sure you’re using an extra-gentle brush (we love the Wet Brush®, $9) to prevent overstretching — which can ultimately weaken and deflate hair.
Once brushed and dry, Wood recommends getting handy with a 1-¼” curling iron (try Hot Tools®, $33). “Wrap big sections of hair [around the barrel] for lasting waves with fullness,” he says. And, of course, don’t forget to finish with a high-hold hairspray. (We’re loving the Kérastase® Laque Extrême, $28.)
Recruit Hardworking Products
The formulas you apply to your hair are just as important as the tools you wield. A generous root-to-end spritz of the Bumble and Bumble Go Big Treatment ($33) and the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray ($30) give great tension and grip while creating volume, says Bumble and Bumble stylist, William Johnson. Both formulas are designed to be lightweight, so you don’t need to be concerned about weighing your hair down with products.
For an even quicker fix, try spritzing the Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish ($31) through dry hair at roots. “This gives instant lived-in lasting volume,” Wood says. For sparse-looking spots that reveal peeks at your scalp, try a product that conceals and volumizes, such as the ToppikTM Hair Fibers ($35).
Style With Intention
Air-drying might be easier than whipping out a blow dryer, but active styling drastically optimizes your hair’s volume potential, asserts Johnson. To start, he recommends gently towel-drying damp hair, then “[flipping] hair upside down and spray with the Go Big Treatment, followed by the Thickening Spray.”
To get the moisture out, do a rough dry (meaning, using just your fingertips and blow dryer). Once your hair is approximately 70 percent dry, recruit your medium round brush, flip your hair back up, and start styling. All you have to do is take even sections of hair between your dryer nozzle and your round brush and dry, starting from the root and working towards the ends until all your strands are completely styled.
Get the Right Cut
Chopping off length could actually be the key to looking like you have more hair. According to Jon Reyman, founder of Spoke & Weal, “the shorter you go, the denser and thicker your hair will look.” His picks: a lob or a bob — or a pixie cut, which will look the most dense of all.
On the flip side, Reyman recommends avoiding cuts that can make your hair look thinner than it is. Long hair — even if it contains layers — will do that, so think carefully about your styling choices. Mullets are another cut that can aggravate a thin-haired look. (We’re glad we’re not in the ‘80s anymore).
Keep Hair Clean
While some people swear by minimal hair-washing, lathering up on a regular basis can actually prevent limpness — especially for fine, oily hair. In these cases, the pros recommend using a volumizing shampoo four to seven times per week. Perhaps more importantly, make sure you’re using a lightweight conditioner — and even then, only on the ends of your hair. Lastly, make sure your shampoo is sulfate-free to preserve color and shine between washes.
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