Around a decade ago, Kate Moss mentioned something about how nothing compares to how being thin and skinny made her feel. We’re paraphrasing, of course.
Regrets and the radical reinforcement of unrealistic beauty standards aside: She wasn’t talking about hair, though. Right? Because even models love volume and thickness when it comes to their tresses.
Thin, fine hair is more normal than you think. Genetics, hormones, aging, heat and chemical abuse, poor nutrition: one or any combination of these factors could be the culprit. What’s more interesting is that larger than life hair is usually unnatural! Most of the time, your favorite celebrities are walking around with a ton of extensions attached to their real hair.
How do you do big hair on a budget—and without a team of beauty experts at your beck and call? Read on to find out how to achieve your dream hair without salon treatments and without fake hair.
1. Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner for fine hair
Look for a shampoo and conditioner that are volumizing and moisturizing, but lightweight. Your bath products should be non-comedogenic so as not to clog pores, weigh down hair, or mess with its texture.
You don’t want to cause excessive dryness, and you won’t appreciate the bounce back: oil overproduction.
2. Noticing product buildup? Swap in a clarifying shampoo
A clarifying cleanse should be done about once a week if you have a beauty routine that includes using several hair care products regularly. Like oil, buildup adds weight and pulls down your hair, flattening your entire look.
Try to use something gentle and damage repairing, like a product formulated with keratin.
3. Don’t use conditioner directly on your scalp
Here’s a myth: If you have oily hair, don’t use conditioner. Actually, everyone should use conditioner any time their hair gets wet—especially if air drying follows. Just don’t apply conditioner on your skin.
Scrunch up your hair ends with the untangling product and massage it in until you’re still a few inches away from the roots. This locks in moisture without making hair limp and greasy and allows for natural drying without unwanted frizz.
4. Remove oils, pomades, and waxes from your hair care routine
None of these products will do fine hair any favors. Instead, stick to volumizing mousse or soft-hold hairspray when you’re sitting in your styling chair.
A little bit of mouse applied evenly from the roots to the tips won’t weigh your hair down. If you use one that’s formulated specifically to achieve big hair blowouts, all the better. The hairspray can lock tendrils in place so you don’t have to reach for pomade or wax.
5. Blow-dry your hair for maximum effect, but turn down the heat
Almost all volumizing products activate fully only when heat is applied. Do note though that heat damages hair, making it more prone to dryness and breakage.
You can still achieve volume by air drying or blow-drying with a lower heat setting. After all, thin hair doesn’t require that much heat for a product to set. For extra-special events that need extra-special hair, though, go all out! But maybe spritz a thermal protective product after your volumizer.
6. Dry your hair upside down
Flip your wet and already product-laden tresses upside down and use a blow dryer to start drying it off. Don’t use a brush. Comb your hands through your hair to get the air right in between your locks.
A little over halfway through the drying process, flip your hair back and finish blow-drying in a normal position. You can use a brush now. Pick up the roots but don’t pull too hard or you’ll end up with flat hair.
7. Get large rollers and set your hair for additional lift
You can forego the brush if you want to use Velcro curlers on sectioned-off hair at your crown. Roll the still slightly damp hair right up into the hooks and loops of the curlers and keep them on while you finish getting ready.
If you’re short on time, use the coolest setting of your blow dryer to set the lift completely. Spritz a texturizing spray near the roots if you’re looking at a long day out. When you feel your hair falling flat, flip your hair upside down and fluff up your locks a little.
8. Use dry shampoo to lengthen periods between hair washing
Fine hair can get really oily, so most thin-tressed women actually shampoo more often than they should. The next time you have a long staycation coming up, start shampooing every other day. Go two days without shampooing if you can. Over time, your scalp and hair should adjust and the fullness of your hair should improve.
What do you do on days when you don’t wash your hair? Use dry shampoo, of course. Keep a travel-sized one in your bag for quick touch-ups.
9. Fill in the blanks with fibrous hair powder
We said no treatments and no fake hair, but flax or hair building fibers are somewhere in between. It’s not such an intensive experience, and you can definitely use it on your own, without a professional guiding you. Mostly it’s best in conjunction with extensions and permanent hair color, though.
You can use it to add texture and volume to your tresses anywhere, but it’s particularly useful for covering part lines, white roots, and extension tracks.
10. Have a practiced routine planned for lazy days
Have long hair? Wash your hair at night and apply a smidge of a volumizing product all over, from the roots to the tips. Twist wet hair in one or two loose buns and secure with a soft velvet scrunchie. You may also do two braids or even two braids wrapped up in a bun. Sleep on it. Untie your hair when you wake up and gently style your hair using only your hands. Enjoy the soft, beach babe waves!
If it starts to sag as the day winds down, you can simply switch your hair part or do some quick backcombing before you spray with dry shampoo or texturizing product.