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How to Volumise your Hair

Updated on June 5, 2013

The Big Hair is Better Philosophy

Big hair makes a dramatic statement and offers the illusion of thick, rich, luxurious locks and while we may not always want to look quite as dramatic as Gainsborough's "Woman in Blue", many of us would certainly like thicker, more manageable hair.

Thick, bouncy hair sends out healthy signals and tends to have an uplifting effect on facial features, while thinning, sparsely grown hair can signify ill-health.

For those of us with thin or flat, limp hair, volumising is particularly important as it can offer the illusion that we have twice as much hair as we do. Fortunately there are a plethora of products, along with tips and tricks. to help us achieve the seemingly impossible and make small hair appear BIG.

Thomas Gainsborough, "Woman in Blue"
Thomas Gainsborough, "Woman in Blue"

It's all in the Roots

Volumising begins at the roots, as they are the underlying structure that will support the height and breadth you are trying to achieve. Here's a step by step guide to volumising your hair:

  • Start with a volumising shampoo and conditioner but apply the latter only to the ends, to avoid weighing the hair down.
  • Towel dry hair and comb through (don't brush at this stage or you may cause hair breakage)
  • Add a root lifter (these usually come in a spray or gel form)
  • Tip head downwards and blowdry from roots to ends or lift sections of hair skywards, directing hot hair toward toward scalp.
  • Use a good quality volumising brush for maximum tension

This should leave you with plenty of volume but be careful not to weigh hair down with too much hairspray - a light spritz is all you need. Backcombing can also be used to add volume but most hairdressers don't advise this as it's very damaging to the hair. Don't make it a daily ritual.

For a quick fix volumiser, try Big Sexy Hair Powder Play, which is very easy to use and thickens hair instantly - just apply to dry roots, brush in and go.

Pantene root lifter
Pantene root lifter
!980's big hair icon, Joan Collins
!980's big hair icon, Joan Collins

1980's Hair

In the 1980's big hair was, well..huge. Along with power dressing via suits and wide shoulder pads, it became the defining feature of the era.

80's styles came in various shapes and sizes but mostly it was about big hair that reached upwards in a gravity-defying tower of thickness.

Perms were very BIG - they were needed for the volume. The curly mullet cut...high on top, with short sides and a longer, thick back, was a popular choice of style.It was basically an era of glamour and excess..

Perming for Volume

More than any other product, perming will add thickness and texture to fine limp hair. They can also be beneficial if your hair is excessively oily, as perm chemicals tend to be drying. The downside is, they are harsh on the hair and thus not suited to bleached or very dry hair.

These days there are a number of perming solutions you can try, from a root perm to a partial perm or gentle body wave. Anyone of these will thicken hair and boost body and wave.

Add Height with a Bumpit

Bumpits are a handy little plastic insert that self grip beneath your crown hair to add height and volume to the top. The look is very 1960's and work particularly well if you want to try an Audrey Hepburn style up do.


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