17 Ways to Score Sexy, Fuller Hair—Fast
Switch Your Part
Boosting limp locks doesn’t have to involve complicated styling tricks. “Something as simple as switching up your part will create instant fullness,” says Boston-based stylist and salon owner Mario Russo. Because the roots aren’t used to falling in that direction, they’ll look higher and more lifted.
Channel the ‘80s
A little backcombing can work wonders (don’t worry, we’re not talking full-on, 1980s-style teasing). Take a few small pieces at the crown of your head, around your part—this is where you want to create the most volume, says Russo. Gently backcomb the underside of each section; just a few strokes should do the trick. Softly smooth the top piece over each one to hide the teased hair underneath.
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Pack on the Protein
Here’s a whole new meaning to term body-building. Just like protein helps build lean and healthy muscle, it also helps strengthen your strands, explains Jolene Hart, a certified health coach and author of Eat Pretty. Because protein builds keratin (the main component of strong, healthy hair), it’s important to load up on the nutrient. Hart’s top protein picks? Quinoa, wild salmon, and lentils.
Think Beyond Your Flat Iron
Instead of relying on a flat iron, reach for a treatment tailor-made for thinning hair like Nioxin DiaMax Advanced ($55; nioxin.com for salons), which features a patented trio of good-for-your strands ingredients: caffeine, panthenol, and niacinamide. It individually coats each hair, making it look like you have 11,000 more strands. Plus, with continued use, it helps strengthen and prevent breakage, ensuring healthier hair growth long-term.
Consider Your Hue
Ask your colorist to employ a technique called “shadowing,” says Rita Hazan, celebrity colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City. By keeping the bottom layer of your hair (from the middle of your head down to your nape) slightly darker than the rest, you create depth and the illusion of thickness, she explains.
Score Volume While You Snooze
After showering at night, gather damp hair into a high, loose bun at the top of your head, and secure with a few bobby pins or a soft scrunchie (tight elastics can leave an unwanted crease). Let it down when you wake up to reveal loads of volume and flowy waves, to boot!
Be Cautious with Your Cut
“Hair that’s overly-layered tends to lay close to the head and look flat,” says Russo. Still, layers can help add movement—the trick is to ask your stylist to add just a few, face-framing pieces, rather than cut layers in throughout.
When it comes to volumizing stylers, the lighter the product, the lighter it will be in the hair—and the bigger boost you'll get, says Russo. Your best bet? Airy, whipped foams or mousses, like Vidal Sassoon Boost & Lift Foaming Air Mousse ($4; drugstores).
Keep Your Body Healthy
Keeping your scalp healthy is the first step to promoting strong tresses. Hit the gym: “Regularly breaking a sweat helps circulate nutrients to your scalp, stimulating the release of natural oils that keeps it healthy,” she says.
Highlights are a great way to add dimension and make hair look fuller. But not all stripes are created equal. If your hair is naturally thin, particularly at the crown, avoid chunky streaks. Instead, opt for thinner highlights, anywhere from half an inch to an inch, to make hair appear thicker, advises Hazan.
Perfect the Blowout
Nail a better blow-dry with Russo’s easy technique: Start by flipping your head over and aiming the air at the nape of your neck, moving upward (this helps create a fuller based at the bottom). Do this until most of the moisture is gone, then flip over and focus the heat the roots. Use a small round bush and section off small pieces to achieve the most height and volume.
Invest in Leave-In
Rather than slathering strands with conditioner (which can be heavy in silicones and oils that weigh down locks), mist a lighter, leave-in formula onto damp hair post-shower, advises Russo. For the best results, spray just from mid-shaft to ends. Try Wella Professionals Keratin Boost Leave In Conditioning Spray ($22; wella.com for salons).
Eat for Your Hair
It’s not just your skin that shows signs of aging—as we get older, our hair naturally starts to thin. One reason: A decline in silica levels, a mineral that’s been studied for its ability to increase hair thickness, explains Hart. Eating silica-rich foods (bananas, millet, and radishes) can help you maintain lush locks.
Lose a Little Length
Even if you’re blessed with thick strands (lucky you!), hair that’s too long will hang and fall flat, says Russo. For a universally flattering, volume-enhancing cut, he suggests a long bob that hits at the collarbone. This length makes hair look full, but is still versatile enough to style in different ways.
Dry It Up
For a quick, midday pick-me-up, reach for multitasking dry shampoo. One option: Pantene Pro-V Root Reboot Dry Shampoo ($5; drugstores). Not only do the tiny particles and starches adhere to the hair shaft, making locks appear thicker, it will also absorb any volume-thwarting oils that have built-up on your scalp.
Reach for a Tee to Pump the Volume
Apply your styler of choice, then use a cotton t-shirt to scrunch hair at the roots. The benefit of this technique: “It lifts the root, creating height at the crown, and also absorbs any excess product that could potentially deflate your ‘do,” says Russo. Make sure to use a t-shirt, not a towel (the rough texture of the terry cloth can rough up the hair cuticle and cause frizz).
While the heat of your blow-dryer can help create fullness, cool air is the best way to ensure it lasts. “Once you’re done styling, turn down your dryer to the lowest temperature setting, or use the cool shot button,” says Russo. “The cold air helps lock in and set volume in place.”