As Asians, we normally have straight, fine hair—but there are still some who can’t escape the genetic code of having fewer follicles on our heads. While most of us can get away with wearing our thin, fine hair down, this also means having limp, droopy strands especially in the middle of a hot, humid day. In this tropical weather, that is always a likely possibility.
Having fine hair also means having difficulty holding curls or any natural volume for a long period of time—but mind you, it’s not impossible. There are ways to achieve your voluminous hair goals, even with a barely-there density that only allows you to do so much. We’ve put together tips and tricks on how you can add some lift to your fine mane.
1. Switch out your shampoo and conditioner to bottles with a lightweight, volumizing formula.
As tempting as it may be, don’t reach for shampoo and conditioner bottles suited for dry hair. Keywords such as hydrating, nourishing, or moisturizing will only add more weight and wilt to hair that will be lifeless by lunchtime. Instead, look out for volumizing products or lightweight formulas designed for fine hair that will add some lift and bounce to those dull strands.
2. That said, don’t shampoo every day.
This might be a hard pill to swallow given that we were all taught to shampoo our heads every day, but a squeaky, oil-free scalp does not equate to clean. The truth is, our scalps should be allowed to produce its own natural oils that coat our hair strands, providing its natural luster. Shampooing every day lets your scalp produce excess oils to compensate for those stripped off. While most hair types can get away with two to three times a week of washing, finer-haired girls can stick to a routine of every other day. That’s what dry shampoo is for!
3. Add dry shampoo to your hair arsenal.
Dry shampoo doesn’t just work as a refresher for unwashed scalps in between shampoo cycles; this product can also work its magic on clean locks! When applied on the scalp, dry shampoo can control excess oil and add more lift to those roots. Be sure to spray at least six inches away from the scalp to avoid any visible white residue. After spraying, feel free to leave it in instead of brushing it out so the powder and starch build on each other for more staying power. If you have more time on your hands, though, crank out a hair dryer and set it to cool to lock the product in!
4. Volumizing mousse is also your friend.
Today’s mousse formulas are not the crunchy kind our mothers used to wear and forced on us when we were younger. These modern-day mousse brands are smooth, elegant, and introduce a lot of lift and bounce when applied properly. A small dollop, applied on wet hair, should be enough to add some life back into your strands—too much, and it will weigh your mane down, the exact opposite of the intended look.
5. A blow dryer is important in activating volumizing products.
Using a blow dryer might not be a particularly tempting choice for fine-haired girls who also happen to be pretty low-maintenance. But for most volumizing products—mousse and hair spray included—to work, the heat from the blow dryer activates their lifting properties. For those who want less of a blown-out look, apply a volumizing spray to your wet roots while upside down, then begin rough drying, or mussing the cuticle to lift the roots for some volume. Afterwards, set the blow dryer on medium heat, using a round brush only on the edges you want to smoothen out.
6. Make sure your hair is dry more than halfway through before brushing it.
Brushing your hair while wet not only worsens the appearance of lifeless hair, it also damages the hair follicles and promotes breakage. When hopping out of the shower, don’t rub your hair against the towel—this also does its own kind of damage. Instead, wrap your hair around the towel for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s about 70 percent dry. Afterwards, grab a round brush, flip your head upside down, and start brushing from the roots to the ends while setting a blow dryer to cool, or while in front of a fan. This creates volume to your mane and adds an all-around lift to the whole hairstyle.
7. For haircuts, stay away from harsh layers.
Most trendy hairstyles require layers. However, heavy layers, especially those that need the help of razors, can chop hair and make the strands appear and feel even thinner at the ends. Avoid the stringy look by opting for one-length cuts or those with soft layers such as a lob or a bob. A side part can also add volume to your crown, making it appear fuller. Blunt edges are also more favorable for thin locks than pointy, sharp ends.
8. Get ahold of a texturizing spray.
Aside from dry shampoo, a texturizing spray is also a fail-safe tool that can help you achieve voluminous, lush waves without the harshness of a sea salt spray, a product that can be unforgiving on thin follicles by drying them out too much. Look for a texturizing spray that allows for texture without sacrificing hydration, and apply on dry hair.
9. Learn to backcomb and tease.
Backcombing might seem like the kind of hair trend you would find in your mom’s old beauty magazines, but this tried-and-tested hair trick never fails when you want to introduce some volume up top, which can also cheat the appearance of fuller locks. This is perfect for events that allow the opportunity to dress up and take time with your hair. Take a section of your hair—about an inch and a half works—and lift it up, first coating the roots with texturizing spray to hold the style and to protect the strands from damage. Afterwards, reach for a fine-toothed comb and push in smooth even strokes from the middle to the roots.
10. Invest in a clarifying shampoo.
With all the products employed to introduce some volume and texture into those roots and strands, it’s time to introduce a clarifying shampoo into your rotation of products in the shower. Piling products on top of one another can make that hair even more limp and lifeless. Used once a week, a clarifying shampoo resets your scalp, clearing it of dirt, grime, and product buildup that can weigh your hair down and put a strain on your scalp.