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Fat Hair: 36 Tricks To Create Hair Volume


Tina Turner All Rights Reserved.

Since the sticky heavily teased hairspray days of the 70s, the hair care industry has cooked up a hot new arsenal of products, tools and techniques to enable fuller hair without the stiffness.

Hair today can have lots of volume and still have shine and sensuality. The days of the over sprayed, mega teased helmet head is over.

Yes, big hair is coming back for 2010 but it is softer, fuller, softer and touchable.

Key Factors To Hair Volume

Scientists who study hair have suggested that the key physiological factors that impact ultimate hair volume include:

  • A. The size or diameter of each strand of hair, which can vary significantly according to the individual. B. Amount of actual hair or density of hair all over the head. C. The strength or stiffness of the individual strands. This includes the ability of the hair to support itself by holding itself up and away from the scalp. D. The natural curve or bend of the tresses. E. The softness or lack of softness which determines if the hairs will nestle flatly together or sustain enough friction to achieve volume enhanced looks. F. Whether the individual strands of hair stick together or not.

Listed below are 36 tips and tricks to add to your hair care arsenal to help your hair instantly swell to desired fullness yet remain soft and flowing.

Not all of the tricks will work for all types of fine hair. Be willing to experiment to find the techniques which work best for you.

1. Start With A Volume Enhancing Hair Cut

Anyone can add volume to their look whether they have short, medium or long hair. While some hair textures are more conducive to bigger hair looks, almost any texture from thick to thin can also have a fatter head of hair.

Starting with the right cut is very important. Hair that is naturally thin or fine will definitely benefit from styles that are formed from well conceived and executed layers, shapes and edges. Bobs and skillfully layered styles are often perfect to give thin or fine hair more instant movement and fullness.

In some cases very fine hair looks fatter when cut all one length.

Natural Curls Which Are Fine

Curly haired folks also can benefit from the proper haircut which maximizes individual curl patterns and allows ringlets to fall in the desired shape and fullness.

When possible, seek out a hairdresser with known expertise in crafting great volume enhancing cuts and styles for fine or thin hair.

Keep in mind that the longer the hair, the heavier it is and the harder it becomes for the roots to support it. For maximum volume for fine or thin hair consider going shorter rather than longer.

Razor cut edges can also help add the illusion of fullness by eliminating hair bulk.

2. Blow Up The Cuticle With Color Or Texturizing Chemicals

Hair color along with highlights and lowlights will cause naturally fine or thin strands to fatten due to the chemical change that occurs in the cuticle with color is applied. Hair scientists have proven that bleaching the hair instantly changes the surface friction of the strand by as much as 30-40%.

The outer hair shaft is less slippery after coloring or bleaching. This means that hair has more friction making your tresses appear fuller with more volume and movement.

If you wish to avoid chemical processing, work with a hair color professional and opt for just a few strategically placed highlights or lowlights that are placed to add the illusion or fullness.

Keep in mind that is skillfully colored with a dimensional pattern of contrasting light and dark colors will appear to have more volume.

Chemical texturizing treatments can also make hair look and feel thicker although often the risks of long term hair damage from perms and texturizers is not normally worth the short term volumizing benefit.

3. Utilize Volume Enhancing Shampoo Formulas

Whether you use a shampoo product designed to add volume or not, it is important to avoid shampoo formulas that are extremely moisturizing since this will flatten strands.

If product build-up is preventing your hair from achieving its maximum volume, you may wish to consider incorporating a clarifying product into your shampoo rotation. Clarifying shampoos will strip hair of environmental or product build-up and toxins. This allows hair to swell. However, clarifying formulas should be used sparingly.

Volumizing Shampoo Products To Try: Rene Furterer Fiorvanti Volumizing Shampoo

4. Minimize Use Of Rinse Out Conditioners

Since rinse out conditioners moisturize the strands and encourage softness, skip any rinse-out conditioners. If your hair benefits from a rinse-out conditioner formula, be careful to avoid applying to the roots and limit application to the ends or most dry sections of your tresses.

Light Rinse Out Conditioners Products To Try: Rene Furterer Fiorvanti Clarify And Shine Rinse

5. Finish With Cool/Cold Water Rinse

Depending on which hair expert you consult, they may or may not recommend a cool/cold water rinse. My own long term experience has shown this to help add volume to my own hair. The cold water will help close the cuticle and build in natural shine and fullness.

Since no two products or hair care techniques work the same for all people and their hair, experiment with this option and form your own conclusion to its usefulness.

6. Towel Blot To Remove Moisture For Optimal Product Application

One key mistake that many hair consumers make is to apply after-shampoo volumizing styling products to overly damp strands. When hair is still wet or dripping, any products will be instantly diluted and not work as effectively.

Therefore, if you wish to utilize volume enhancing root lift, gels or mousse products, make sure hair is damp but not wet before application.

7. Use Very Light Detangling Products

Some detangling products will not only help to remove snarls, they will add conditioning and softness as well. If your hair is prone to tangling and you wish to use a detangler that will not challenge your ultimate hair fatness, use a detangling spray instead of a heavier cream, gel or lotion.

When utilizing a detangling spray, spritz the formula into the palms of your hands making sure fingers are moistened. Do not spray detangling products directly onto your damp strands or you may over saturate and over soften.

Instead, use pre-moistened fingers to distribute through tangles. This allows you to control how much of any detangling product is applied to your strands.

If cream is what your hair needs, select one that is marked light weight and use sparingly while avoiding the roots of your hair.

Make sure to use volumizing conditioners and styling products containing charged ingredients like polyquaternium, quaternium 18 and stearamidaproply dimethylamine to prevent excessive static charge build up in fine hair. These ingredients are conductive. That means they help dissipate the static build-up in your hair before it gets big enough to attack your volume.

Lightweight Detangling Spray Products To Try: Rene Furterer Fiorvanti No Rinse Detangling Spray Rene Furterer Anti-Dehydrating Vegetal Styling Spritz

Lightweight Detangling Cream Products To Try: Rene Furterer Light Weight Detangling Cream

8. True Hair Volume Begins At The Root

The foundation of hair volume starts at the hair roots. When roots are not treated with a root volumizing enhancer, the hair will most likely flatten and loose fullness.

When building volume or lift into a hairstyle it is critical that the roots are dried completely.

Root Volumizing Products To Try: Phytovolume Actif with keratin amino acids

Note: If your hair is chemically colored or highlighted, ask your hair care expert if the volume product you have chosen will accelerate hair color fading.

9. Cocktail Volume Enhancing Products

It is important to note that not all volume enhancing products are created equally. Along the same line, not all hair types and textures will respond equally to product selections.

Volume building hair styling products such as root lifting mousses, sprays and gels temporarily provide the appearance and sense of more hair diameter by coating the strands with a polymer type of film

To achieve maximum results, cocktail products together or layer them appropriately.

If your hair needs moisture along with root lift, consider layering a lighter root lift spray or foam with a moisture enriched soft hold mousse.

Apply the root lift only to the hair directly adjacent to the scalp while applying the mousse a few inches below the root to the ends. Separate hair into a series of parts and spray root lift product directly on the roots for maximum oomph.

If your hair needs maximum root support, consider using a strong volume building root gel instead of a spray. For full hair support, combine with a stronger body building mousse or thickening lotion.

10. Maximize Your Mousse Use

Mousses and foams use a propellant (pressurized gas) and a surfactant in addition to water-soluble styling polymers to help create a smooth, creamy foam.

When you shake the can, liquid propellant is mixed with the water based liquid concentrate. Then, when the can is inverted and product is dispensed, the pressure of the vapor propellant pushes the mixture of liquid propellant and liquid concentrate out of the can.

The liquid propellant then quickly evaporates, creating foam. The mousse foam makes it easy to apply the styling polymers to your hair because in the foaming state it can be spread very thinly.

Mousses and foams are great for long hair that would otherwise be weighed down by large clumps of polymer. Another benefit of mousse is that its foamy state is not runny and thus will stay where you put it - making it another good alternative for adding root lift to a straight style.

When working to create volume for fine or thin hair, mousses are a good choice because they are lightweight and easy to integrate into the root.

When applied correctly, hair mousse can help create volume and great hold for thin to fine hair. Not all mousse products are created equally.

Evaluate mousse products based on your own hair type (thin, medium, thick) or texture (straight, curly, wavy, kinky, mixed) and conditioner (dry, medium, oily, damaged).

Avoid thick or heavy creams or potentially sticky waxes and gels which may cause tresses to clump up. This can give the illusion of even thinner hair than normal.

Root Volumizing Mousse Products To Try: Rene Furterer Anti-Dehydrating Volumizing Mousse Rene Furterer Anti-Dehydrating Mousse - Soft Hold Rene Furterer Anti-Dehydrating Structuring Mousse - Strong Hold

If hair does not achieve maximum volume, reapply mousse to dry hair and blow dry again.

11. Let Hair Air Dry

This option may or may not work. Hair which is allowed to air dry will often dry fuller and with more volume than hair that is dried with heat. Experiment with your own hair to determine the best drying method.

Some fine hair experts believe if you allow your hair to air dry the roots will fall flat and the rest of the hair will follow. Definitely a posibility.

Towel blot, never rub, until excess moisture in eliminated. Finish with a spritz of very light detangler.

When possible let hair air-dry by plopping, wet bunning or rolling while damp in rag curlers.

12. Use A Round Brush When Blow Drying

When blow drying with a dryer is desired, use a round brush to help build in fullness and shape at the roots.

Keep in mind the bigger the diameter of the brush you use, the bigger the lift you will get at the roots.

Some hair experts recommend curving damp strands around your fingers to help lift the roots to great heights.

13. Use A Vent Brush

Fashionable root lift can also be created with a vent brush. If you prefer, use a vent brush, consider using one that has boar bristles.

Although round metal vent brushes will hold in hair and act as an instant hot roller, the heat can also be damaging. If your hair needs TLC, stick with the boar's head brush options.

14. Use Fingers To Lift Roots And Build In Volume

When blow drying with a dryer is desired, use a round brush to help build in fullness and shape at the roots. Keep in mind that the bigger the diameter of the brush you use, the bigger the lift you will get at the roots.

Some hair experts recommend curving damp strands around your fingers to help lift the roots to great heights.

Although round metal vent brushes will hold in hair and act as an instant hot roller, the heat can also be damaging. If your hair needs TLC, stick with the boar's head brush options.

If you must use a vent brush, consider using one that has boar bristles.

15. Try Ceramic or Ionic Brushes

Ceramic brushes are designed to capture heat directly from a blow-dryer, helping to mold the hair into different shapes, including building in lush volume at the roots.

16. Bend Over At The Waist

For a fuller look bend over at the waist and lightly brush your hair upside down. This will add fullness.

Direct heat of the blow dryer directly towards your roots. Use fingers to lift and tousle roots for extra lift. When roots are completely dry to the touch, flip head back over and finish blow drying the top section of the hair until dry.

This technique which used to be a favorite tip of fine hair experts has fallen off the radar. Fine hair experts no longer recommend this tip as freely since you may successfully fluff the middle and ends of your hair but not the roots where it counts.

17. Direct Air Flow To The Roots

Use your brush to lift two inches of your hair straight up away from your scalp and point the dryer’s nozzle under the section directed upwards for more hair volume at the roots of your hair.

Leave the dryer there for a few seconds and then move on to the next section.

18. Use A Concentrator Attachment

A concentrator nozzle attachment will help create extra hair fullness because it allows the hot air to be directed exactly to the roots.

When using a blow dryer without an air concentrator the hair will dry much more quickly without the benefit of the roots receiving extra heat shaping benefits.

If you are unable to use a concentrator attachment and hair does dry too quickly, use a spritz bottle filled with water and mist hair to re-moisten to allow for perfect volume building.

19. Control Blow Dryer Heat Settings

Although it is true that heat does mold the ultimate shape of the hair, when possible set the blow dryer speed to low heat with medium to slow speed. Slow drying on low heat provides the hair with much more time to mold.

20. Finish With Blast Of Cold Air

When hair is almost completely dry, use the cold setting on the dryer or press in the cold shot button to blast hair with cold air. This will set the style and cause the hair to swell slightly.

21. Use Hot Curlers For Creating Maximum Fullness

To create maximum fullness and volume separate hair into small sections and roll with large sized (1 - 1/2") hot rollers.

Follow these steps to add hot rollers:

  • Divide hair carefully into two-inch sections.
  • Wrap each section around a hot roller and then let it set for five to ten minutes.
  • Let the rollers stay in longer if you want more fullness.
  • Remove the curlers and pin the hair to the scalp to cool and set. Let the new curls cool before styling with fingers.

Note: For more volume, after removing newly formed curls from the hot rollers, roll onto a much larger self-adhesive or foam style roller. This will set the warm curl into a larger and fuller shape as it cools.

Always use your fingers to carefully break up curls.

If you prefer, use a curling iron on individual sections and pin in place to cool.

22. Use Hot Curling Iron For Creating Maximum Fullness

Because of the intense heat generated, a curling iron will give an instant lift. Starting at the crown of the head, take hold of one-inch sections of hair and lift vertically, wrapping hair around the iron, as close to your scalp as you can. Then spray with a holding product for a firm but still flexible hold.

The key is to create soft waves and movement without tight curls.

If you prefer, use a curling iron on individual sections and pin in place to cool.

23. Do A Wet Set

Strategically placed sponge or self adhesive rollers will give your hair terrific volume. After hair is washed and towel-dried, separate hair into equal two-inch sections. Roll each section around the roller.

To create maximum lift hold each section of hair at a 90 degree angle to the scalp when actually rolling the hair.

Layer rollers until all hair has been rolled. Set under a hood or bonnet dryer until hair is completely dry. Allow curlers to completely cool before removing.

Arrange newly curled hair with your fingers. Avoid brushing which can flatten the newly created set. Use fingers or picks to arrange new volume.

24. Create A Dry Pony

If your hair is long enough to put into a ponytail, blow dry your hair for maximum volume and then pull all of your hair onto the top of your head and secure with a Bungee cord. Sleep with the ponytail and the next morning you will see more volume at your roots.

25. Back Comb Your Strands For Maximum Fullness

For even more body you can lightly backcomb or tease the hair near the crown of your hair. This technique should be used infrequently. Although back combing can create lots of volume due to the roughing up of the cuticle there can be cumulative damage to the cuticle layers.

26. Ruffle Your Tresses With Salt Water

For a fuller look bend over at the waist and lightly brush your hair upside down. This will add fullness.

For even more body you can even lightly backcomb the hair near the crown of your hair.

If you prefer, use a curling iron on individual sections and pin in place to cool.

27. Use Dry Shampoo As Natural Fattener

A trick of many Hollywood hairdressers is to use a light application of dry shampoo sprayed on clean strands to add fullness and volume. Concentrate the dry shampoo at the roots and adjacent hair to help strengthen root lift and fullness.

Use a light dry shampoo formula. Apply sparingly and gently brush out with fingertips.

Dry Shampoo To Try: Rene Furterer Naturia Shampoo.

28. Avoid Shine Products

Most shine enhancing hair products have some form of oil base and will cause hair to flatten. If you fell it is important to use a shine enhancing product opt for a very light shine spray.

Never spray directly onto the hair. Instead, spritz a fine mist into the palms of your hands and mix well. Brush the palms of your hands lightly over the top of your hair to lighty disperse the oil and minimize hair flattening.

29. Use Lightweight Hairspray

Even hairspray can weigh delicate strands down. If you prefer to use a hairspray, use a very gentle or soft hold formula. Spritz to the palms of your hands the glide over the top of your strands. This will provide hold without weighing down strands or causing stickiness.

If your want extra oomph and hold at the roots, apply hairspray to the roots after first flipping head upside down. This builds lift from the underneath which will hold longer and stronger.

Light Hairspray Products To Try: Rene Furterer Gentle Solution Soft Hold

28. Find The Right Product Balance

There is a fine line between using too many volume enhancing products that will weight strands down and not using enough for strength at the roots. Fine the best balance that works for you.

Volume Products To Try: Phyto Volume System

29. Rotate Volumizing Products

Although some hair experts don't agree, others believe that over time your tresses can become resistant to certain hair products and formulas. If you find your favorite volume enhancing products such as shampoo, root lift or gels are no longer as well as you desire, consider rotating in different product options to see if that makes a difference.

Volume Products To Try: Phyto Volume System

30. Go Hollywood

It has been wildly reported that today's celebrities treat their hair like interchangeable accessories. Which explains why Jessica Simpson and her peers switch hair colors like shoes. How do they do it? A series of fun wigs, clip-in hair extensions or temporary hair strands applied with tape or individual clip-in strands.

Follow their lead and instantly go from drab to fab by clipping in an extension piece that allows you to instantly go longer or shorter or a different color.

Note: To check out the Jessica Simpson clip in hair extensions created by Ken Paves go to:

Whether you use clip-ins to cover newly shorn locks (after you have the fried strands removed) or use them to cover your current damage, consider taking advantage of this great option.

There are lot of other "instant hair fattening" options including miniature hairpieces. These are simple hair combs with different length hair extensions attached. Choose a color to match your own. To get instant lift, fasten the hair on just as you would a traditional hair comb by combing it in against the grain of your hair.

For more talk about clip-in hair extensions go to the Hair Extension Talk Forum at located at:

31. Use Hair Accessories To Get A Fat Head

Hair accessories can be used to maximize the amount of hair that you have. Strategically placed double or single combs and barrettes can instantly create volume or fabulous new lift along the crown or the sides.

Headbands with tiny teeth can be positioned near the hairline and gently pushed back to create volume along the crown.

32. Pop In A Fat Building Hair Form

Made out of foam, nylon or other soft material, these used to be called ratts. Pinned underneath a section of hair, they give instant lift at the back of the crown or in hair buns. Ivana Trump recommends using clean pantyhose rolled into a donut shape as the perfect cheap and easy alternative for tons of root lift.

33. Use Bobby Pins For Instant Lift

Many celebrity hairdressers like Robert Hallowell always keep a few basic hairpins handy for adding instant hair lift. Robert recommends using hair pins to create lift on curly or coarse tresses with four or five pre-wrapped flat pin-curls buried under the top layers of hair, which are secured with pins. He then flips over the top sections of the tresses, concealing the pin curls, resulting in an instant lift.

Bobby Pins To Try: Conair Bobby Pins

34. Use Rubber Bands

Robert Hallowell also makes miniature sections of hair (little ponytails) by carefully tying off small segments of hair underneath the root area and securing with rubber bands, then flipping top sections of hair over the mini section.

35. Surf & Talk About New Volumizing Tips

Visit the Web and check out HairTalk Forums on at (HairTalk) where new hair volumizing gems may be available for your perusal.

36. Instant Fat Hair

If your hair has lost some of its oomph throughout the day don't panic. Separate hair into 1" sections and roll with large foam, magnetic or self latching rollers. Concentrate the rollers around the crown and at the roots for maximum lift. For extra hold spritz each section with a holding spray or product.

Cover hair in plastic shower cap. Stand in a hot steamy shower for 15 minutes. Get out of the shower, remove the shower cap and let hair completely air dry. If you prefer, you can blast the rollers with a blow dryer set to cool.

Remove the rollers, tousle your hair and you will have lots of fabulous new body and volume.

Hair Rollers To Try: Conair Hair Rollers


There are many tricks you can employ to create lots of fat hair. Experiment, have fun and you will unlock your own secrets to big beautiful hair.

Note: All of the products listed in this article including the entire Phyto and René Furterer product lines are available at in the Marketplace.

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Thank you for visiting us at The HairBoutique Blog and for leaving your comments. They are very much appreciated. We apologize in advance but must remove any direct advertisements or solicitations.

- Revised Publication Date: 03/05/10

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