We know the drill. You left the house with selfie-worthy, voluminous locks only to find yourself stuck with flat hair a few hours later. Despite working through every trick in the book to keep the bounce in your tresses, fighting deflated locks can be an ongoing battle.
Enter: All Things Hair. “The key to keeping flat hair at bay is by focusing on lifting the roots,” says ATH hairstylist, Elena Diaz. As well as revealing her insider tips to ensure your tresses stay full, we’ve also got the 411 on the essential gravity-defying products.
Packed with fail safe solutions that will keep your locks looking fuller as the day goes on, these hacks are your first line of defence against flat hair. Try them now, thank us later…
Tackle flat hair with our top tips & tricks
Style your layers for a lasting lift
Perfect for building body and volume, make the most of your layers no matter what your hair length.
“For hair that sits above the shoulders, styling choppy layers with a curling wand is a great way to play with texture,” suggests Elena. “Take layers at various lengths and curl some of the ends inwards and others outwards. This will add the illusion of fuller hair around the face.”
“If you’re rocking longer locks, use Velcro rollers to lift your layers by starting at the mid-lengths of the hair and curling upwards. Secure the curl by going over it with a hair dryer and let it cool completely before removing.”
Find your perfect fringe type
Like a magic trick for your mane, a fringe (clipped on or cut in) can add the illusion of instant fullness. By pulling a section of hair to the front of the face, it gives the illusion that there is a uniform thickness to the rest of your tresses. The result? Locks that appear less flat and more weighted.
If you’d prefer to sport side bangs than a curtain-style cut, you’re in luck. Fringes in any format can be teased and lifted at the roots to give the same body-boosting illusion.
To add extra thickness, curl your bangs under slightly towards your forehead and then run your fingers through them. This will separate the strands and keep your fringe from looking too stiff.
Prep your tresses against flat hair with the right shampoo and conditioner combo
In the battle against flat locks, it’s important to add a volume-boosting step into every part of your hair care routine, and you can set your tresses up for success by investing in a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated to add serious volume. Our favourite? The TRESemmé Collagen+ Fullness Shampoo and Conditioner.
Infused with collagen and micellar technology, this system will gently cleanse and plump each strand to help it look thicker — bonus!
Use a volume-enhancing mousse
Don’t panic! We know you’re shuddering at the thought of adding extra weight to your hair but actually, applying mousse is a step we suggest you don’t skip.
Over time, heated styling tools like curling irons can cause the hair to look damaged or brittle, leading to a frizzy texture. Adding a mousse to your routine before styling can help protect the hair from this not-so-nice fate, while adding an essential lifting effect.
Editor’s tip: The VO5 Big Volume Mousse provides great volume with a non-sticky finish. Squirt a tennis ball sized amount into the palm of your hand and apply evenly from root to tip onto clean, towel-dried hair.
Air drying versus blow-drying: Which is best?
“Your style will have more staying power if you start with wet hair,” says Elena. “Hair that’s dried naturally rather than with a blowdryer will tend to fall flat easier.” To stop hair looking limp, Elena suggests using a blowdryer and barrel brush to push each section forwards so when the hair does drop, it doesn’t fall straight down.
If you want to avoid using heated products, you can still achieve a good level of fullness with air dried hair. The key is to use a selection of volume-enhancing products (especially at the roots) while your hair is wet. When it’s dry, backcombing small sections at the scalp will help lock in the body.
Pick the perfect tools for fullness
There’s no denying it, big hair needs some serious tools. Far from being a job for a single does-it-all device, it’s important to use a selection of products that are each built for a specific flat hair fix.
To lift the roots with a lasting finish, make sure you’ve invested in a hair dryer with more than one heat setting. Fine or damaged hair can be sensitive to high heat, so the best way to choose the optimum setting is by directing the hot air into the palm of your hand. If you’re comfortable having that temperature on your palm, it should be fine to use on your scalp.
For adding that all-important bulk and body to the mid-section and ends of the hair, choose a curling wand with a wide barrel. The bigger the barrel size is, the larger looser your curl will look.
It’s also important to use a wand with a uniform barrel width rather than a tapered point. This thickness will make sure that even at the roots of your hair, you’re creating the most volume.
Use the right kind of hairbrush to avoid flat hair
Your voluminous hair motto? The better the tools, the bigger the volume.
A vented brush will allow hot air to access your strands from all angles when blow-drying. This not only speeds up the process, but also locks in the style along every strand. We suggest avoiding brushes with metal bristles as these can warm up too quickly and damage delicate hair.
The perfect tool for creating texture, a fine-toothed comb is one of the most underrated products for limp locks. It’s the easiest and most effective way to backcomb flat hair, as the thin teeth can get right down to the base of the scalp.
Using a wide, round brush (also known as a barrel brush) is hands down the best way to create OTT volume. A round brush allows you to pull the hair out from the scalp while drying and lift it outwards, a key move for fullness. Look for a tool with thicker bristles, as this will ensure all the hair gets picked up as you go.
Boost your usual blowdry method
Build up body by separating your hair into several manageable sections and concentrate on drying each one as you go, focusing on the roots. “Most people pull the hair out in a horizontal direction when blow-drying but raising the hair out, then upwards to the top of your head is the key to lasting fullness,” says Elena.
Known as ‘over directing’, this technique forces the hair to lie where you want it, not letting it fall naturally flat against the scalp. Elena also recommends keeping your heat settings on medium if you have brittle or damaged locks, or on the highest heat and power setting if your hair is healthy.
“It’s also important to blowdry in zigzag sections, rather than just horizontal layers. This technique will keep the body in your hair no matter where your parting sits.”
Use texture to combat flat, limp locks
When it comes to lifting limp or flat hair, creating lots of texture is key. If your hair is more fine than full, create the look and feel of a thick mane by gently backcombing small sections of the ends of your hair. Use your fingers to then slowly separate any overly tangled strands.
The temptation can be to style large chunks of hair as you go to save time. But, for the most cohesive result, focus on getting the right amount of texture in each small section. This will ensure you have a more finessed and less frizzy result.
Use a dry shampoo to add fullness
The natural build up of oils on your scalp during the day can add weight to your roots, making your hair fall flat. Perk up your hairstyle with a healthy dose of dry shampoo to lighten the look and feel of your mane. Avoid simply spraying the product in the general direction of your roots and take a more targeted, sectional approach.
For a more effective application, lift smaller portions of the hair at the roots and holding the dry shampoo perpendicular to your head. Spray each section accurately towards the scalp. There’s no cutting corners here; the more time you spend on your coif, the fuller it will look.
Editor’s tip: We suggest using the TONI&GUY Express Reboost Dry Shampoo. It has an oil-absorbing formula that will give your tresses an instant feel of freshness and fullness.
Thin and flat hair? Opt for a hair combo of classic styles
Simple ballerina buns and straight ponytails might not be the best styling option if your locks are on the fine side. While thicker hair still holds its shape when pulled back, thin tresses can look flat if hair is simply slicked into a bun or left in a wispy ponytail.
To create some added oomph to thin hair, try incorporating a variety of voluminous techniques into your chosen hairstyle. Adding layers of dimension to the back and front (such as a half braid with loose waves) will add shape and body.
Get to the root of the problem
Building up the appearance of thicker and fuller roots is the key to perking up hair that has flat-lined.
Start by focusing volume-boosting products on areas of the scalp that often feel heavy or weighed down, like the crown. Plump up these sections before you style the rest of your hair for maximum impact.
Editor’s tip: We recommend reaching for formulas that are specifically designed to perk up your roots like the TRESemmé Perfectly (Un)Done Root Lifting Texturising Dust. Created to work weightlessly, this product gives you plenty of texture to style with while leaving a flawless finish.
Make the most of those baby hairs
Want to lift limp tresses around your hairline? It might be time to start embracing your baby hairs. If you’re sporting an updo, try slightly teasing and backcombing any flyaways or thin strands that frame your face.
This quick touch will give the illusion of thicker strands at the base, not to mention camouflaging a thin hairline. Trust us, baby hairs have never looked so bomb.
Flip your parting for an instant boost
Are you ready for the quickest volume hack in the hair world? After blow-drying your hair into your usual parting, flip your locks over to the opposite side of your head, or to a deep left or right parting if you usually separate them in the middle.
It’s an easy fix that will add an instant volume at the crown by moving the parting from where it would naturally let the hair fall flat, giving you a one-step boost.
Build up your bounce with backcombing
Don’t freak out! We promise this tip isn’t as scary as it sounds. If you’re opting for a complex updo or need to ensure your style lasts all day, tease the hair at the roots by backcombing small sections where you want extra volume. Most people tend to rush this process in fear of creating a messy, unkempt vibe, but in order to backcomb effectively, you have to work slowly and precisely.
“The temptation is usually to work with massive sections and fluff up the hair as quickly as possible,” reveals Elena. “The truth is, backcombing the hair firmly and evenly from the shaft down to the roots is the best technique. Work slowly and precisely in each section.”
Far from leaving you with tangled tresses, this quick step is the best foundation for avoiding flat hair altogether and adding longevity to your style. Before you go to bed, remove the style by gently using a flat brush to comb through hair slowly. Work from the end of the backcombed section down towards to the root to avoid snagging and damaging your tresses.
Swap polished locks for an undone, French-inspired finish
You don’t have to ask us twice to try and emulate the je ne sais quoi finish of French girl tresses. Tousled locks might not be everyone’s cup of tea but a windswept vibe will leave your hair looking full and lived-in.
Try using your straighteners or a curling wand to crease loose, unkempt waves. Alternatively, plait your hair before you go to sleep and unravel it in the morning for plenty of curves and kinks. Ooh la la, indeed.
Want to fill your beauty arsenal with more body-boosting hair products? Check out our guide to the best volumising sprays to lift your locks from the roots up.