Volumizing Tips for Thin Hair

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Admit it. When you flip through the Victoria’s Secret catalog, it’s not just those long legs and flat tummies you envy. It’s that thick, luscious-looking hair, right? Yeah, we know, because you’re not alone. When it comes to hair woes, women bemoan their fine, skinny strands more than anything else, and like you, are always on the lookout for helpful hair volumizing tips. Because after all, in the overall scheme of things, very few of us are blessed with the full locks of those heavenly Angels.

Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to a lifetime of hats and headbands.  There are many ways to coax maximum fullness and body out of your slender strands.  Here are smart hair volumizing tips from the pros at Matrix:

      1.      Volumize Your Hair With The Right Haircut

Start by finding a stylist who understands hair like yours.  She’ll know that, in general, a few well-placed layers are the best strategy for creating fullness, especially if your hair is poker straight.  The long/short/long/short pattern actually pushes the hair outward, giving it a fair amount of oomph.  It’s all a matter of balance though—too many layers can cause your hair to go limp.  So your stylist should create just enough layering to give you a lift.

If your hair needs volume on top but still full in front, consider getting bangs.  A solid, squared-off fringe will add heft to your overall look and give the illusion of lots of volume.

Finally, trim, trim and trim some more!  Split, damaged ends are the kiss of death for hair that lacks volume—they make it look even flimsier because they’re tapered and pointy.  Frequent trims (every six-to-eight weeks) keep your ends squared-off and solid so your hair looks healthier and bouncier.  You don’t have to lose a lot of length—a few fractions of an inch will make a huge difference!

2.      Volumize Your Hair With the Proper Care

Believe it or not, much of your smart volumizing strategy starts in the shower, well before you begin to style your strands.  Things to avoid?  Tangles, heavy shampoos and conditioners that will weigh down your fine strands, and overly-vigorous manipulation that can cause fine hair to snap.  Here’s more:

    1.          Detangle before, during and after.  Before you set foot in the shower or tub, banish every last existing snarl and tangle.  Use a good quality plastic comb—one with smooth teeth that won’t snag or pull. After shampooing, apply conditioner and gently comb through again.  Finally, once you rinse out the conditioner, towel-blot gently and detangle once more with a wide-tooth comb.

    2.          Choose volumizing shampoos and conditioners.  These types of formulas cleanse gently without stripping your hair, then condition and add shine while actually expanding and volumizing individual strands.


Tip: Apply conditioner only to the bottom two-thirds of your hair to keep roots from drooping.

    1.          Treat fine hair like a fine fabric.  That means no rough stuff in the shower—shampoo and condition gently.  Afterward, blot your hair with a towel instead of rubbing vigorously.  Keep away from brushes that can rip and tear at fragile locks.  Wide-tooth combs are best—your fingers are good too!  Finally, once your hair is dry, use fabric-coated ponytail elastics if you put it up—uncoated elastics can cause major breakage.  And at night, consider swapping out your cotton pillowcase for a slinky little satin number.  Satin reduces friction which means less breakage and fewer snarls.

3.      Use Dry Shampoo  To Add Volume to Thin Hair

Fine hair, meet dry shampoo.  This is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!  Here’s why dry shampoos are brilliant for fine hair types like you.  First, they keep a lid on oil.  Fine hair tends to go limp when the oil from your scalp makes its way along your strands, because the oil is difficult to absorb.  A few quick poofs of dry shampoo will help mop up that excess oil.  Next, dry shampoos buy you time—you can skip daily shampoos, which is a plus because shampooing every day leads to excessive dryness and causes fine, fragile strands to break.  Finally, there’s the texturizing factor.  Dry shampoos actually give your hair a ton of extra body and volume thanks to their powdery consistency.  The best way to apply a dry shampoo is to aim it at your roots, then massage it into your scalp with your fingertips.  If you have dark hair, brush it through a bit to prevent the powder from showing. 

4.      Focus On Your Roots Can Add Volume To Thin Hair

Your roots are like the foundation of your house—they do the heavy lifting and support your style, giving you more volume for your fine hair.  That’s why a root-boosting product should always be in your hairstyling tool-kit.  There are several types to choose from:

    1.          Mousses—a dollop of this whipped-cream-like product will boost roots weightlessly, and unlike those ‘80s versions, today’s formulas are weightless and crunch-less!

    2.          Gels—these are the power lifters of root-boosting.  They can actually sculpt hair and give it a harder-edged look.  A little goes a long way and again, modern formulas are lightweight and malleable.

    3.          Volumizing Sprays—these life-saving formulas are like a padded bra for your strands—they actually fill out hair and make it look and feel thicker.  They also hold up their end of the bargain—namely your roots—for a bouncy, bodacious effect.

5.      Massage Your Scalp To Increase Volume

Hair growth starts in the follicles, deep beneath the surface.  So it stands to reason that if you massage your scalp, you’ll stimulate blood flow, which will nourish those little unborn hairs and help them to grow up big and strong!  Besides—it just plain feels good and it alleviates stress, which is also known to cause hair to thin!  Here are six steps to a quick, relaxing scalp massage that will rev up those lazy follicles and give you more volume. 

1. Apply a few drops of lightweight hair oil to your fingertips.

2.  Place your thumbs on your temples and interlace your fingers across your forehead.  Press and release.

3.  Begin slowly moving your thumbs and fingers upward, to the top of your head, pressing and releasing as you go.

4.  When you reach the top of your head, continuing moving down the back to the nape of your neck, pressing and releasing.

5.  Go back to the original position on your forehead, but this time, place your thumbs on your temples and the fingers of each hand about an inch away from the center of your head on each side.

6.  Once again, begin moving upward, over the top of your head and down the back, pressing and releasing until you reach your nape. 


6.      Consider Color For Adding Volume to Fine Hair

Believe it or not, haircolor and highlights can be the best 911 for skinny strands. That’s because color processes actually plump up the hair shaft, making hair appear thicker and fuller with more volume.  What’s more, a skilled hairstylist knows how to use color to create the illusion of more fullness.  For example, she might make your color a little bit darker at the root and lighter on the ends to create a visual effect of density.  Or, she may opt to combine a mixture of

cool and warm highlights to produce dimension and movement.  Doing so will prevent your hair from looking too flat or solid. 

Finally, be sure to opt for haircolor formulas that are as gentle as possible.  Ask your stylist about low-ammonia demi-permanent color or ammonia-free products that inject color inside the hair shaft and produce minimal stress on the outer cuticle where damage occurs.

7.      Try Extensions to Add Volume to Your Fine Hair

We’re going to let you in on a little secret, Victoria.  Some of the hair on those V.S. models?  Not so real.  Hair extensions are used by hundreds of models and actresses to not only add length but to beef up skinny strands that need volume.  There are many different types of extensions—they can be sewn in, attached with keratin bonds or glue, taped in or clipped in.  The hair can be synthetic or natural or a combination of the two.  Some women believe that while permanent extensions look natural and are easy to wear, their hair looks and feels even thinner when they’re removed.  So clip-ins may be the best solution for gals with fine hair—simply pop them out at the end of the day. To care for your clip-ins, brush or comb through the extension, gently shampoo with warm water, rinse, dry and comb once more before storing.

8.      See Your Doctor to get the “All Clear” for Your Fine Hair

If you’re beginning to see an unusual amount of hair on the floor of your shower or bathroom; if it’s thinning more than usual in certain areas, it can’t hurt to visit a dermatologist or your family doctor.  Most fine hair situations are genetic (thanks Mom!) but sometimes an underlying health situation could be the cause.  Stress, hormones, an illness or an infection can all speed up thinning hair.  Best to rule out the worst case scenario, and once you’ve received the “all clear,” go ahead and choose your full-hair weapons to make the most of what you have!