I went to a high school with a strict dress code, so my hair was always in a ponytail; years later, I can last half a day, at best, with my hair down before getting frustrated with it and tying it up. It’s partly habit, and partly a permanent dissatisfaction with my hair’s lack of volume.
I know a good blowout can put volume into the flattest hair, but for me, a blowout only happens when I get my hair done, and like Danielle, I’m trying not to use heat on my hair at home if I don’t need to. I mean, I can’t give myself a salon-quality blowout anyway. I have the brush and the dryer and the concentrating attachment but neither the arm strength or the coordination to produce anything decent. Doubling up on arms day at the gym is probably the first step.
Instead, I’ve found some ways to add volume to my hair just by altering the washing process—no hot tools or finishing products required. None of these take any extra time either, which is perfect for mornings when you’re struggling out of bed 10 minutes before you really need to leave the house.
Use a Volumising Shampoo
I used to think using a specialised shampoo was like pouring money down the drain, considering how briefly it stays on the hair and the fact you rinse it right off. While that’s true to an extent, there’s evidence that shampoos containing pro-vitamin B5, or panthenol, can add volume by thickening the hair shaft. A thicker, stronger shaft means the hair has more structural integrity and won’t lie down flat.
My favourite volumising shampoo is Bumble & bumble’s Thickening Shampoo. It’s expensive at $25 for a regular bottle, but you only need to use the tiniest amount. The bottle even warns you that your usual amount of shampoo will be way too much.
Shampoo Your Roots After Conditioning
This one’s also known as reverse-washing your hair. Conditioner is great for making your hair glossy and smooth and all that good stuff, so I’m always liberal with my conditioner application (especially because my ends are still a little fried from a long-ago flirtation with peroxide blonde). If you take the conditioner too close to the roots, though, it can weigh the hair down.
You can just be cautious and not put conditioner anywhere near the roots, but I find it’s more precise to just revisit the root area with a bit of shampoo as the last step anyway. Any old one will do—at the moment I’m using the L’Oreal Total Repair 5 shampoo and conditioner.
Let Your Hair Dry in a Top-Knot
Me and the top-knot go way back, and I love it just as much for managing volume.
This is a trick I whip out if I’m washing my hair before I go to bed. Just pull the hair up into a bun on top of your hair, the further forward the better. If you twist and wind it around itself, the lengths will dry nice and wavy too, but that’s secondary to the boost it’s giving your roots.
Generally, I find my hair needs some dry shampoo a couple of days after washing, but if I’ve let it dry in a top-knot, I can last three or four days before it starts going limp. This might be really simple but it’s kind of revolutionary to me, considering how bloody expensive dry shampoo is in my country.
None of these techniques are going to take the place of a fancy blow-dry, but they appeal to my low maintenance hair sensibilities—at least until I give in to my fantasy of getting extensions the same length as my hair. Has anyone done that? Any other great hair volumising tips? What’s your biggest gripe with your own hair?