We all know the drill: You left the house with selfie-worthy, voluminous locks only to find yourself stuck with flat hair just a few hours later. Despite employing every trick in the book to keep the bounce in your tresses, fighting deflated locks can be an ongoing battle.
“The key to keeping flat hair at bay is by focusing on lifting the roots,” says hairstylist Elena Diaz. Diaz reveals her insider tips to ensure your tresses stay full and voluminous and gives us the 411 on essential gravity-defying products.
Tackle Flat Hair with Our Top Tips and Tricks
Packed with fail-safe solutions that will keep your locks looking full throughout the day, these hacks are your first line of defense against flat hair. Try them now, thank us later:
1. 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 an extra section of hair to the front of the face, it gives the illusion that there is a uniform thickness to the rest of your strands.
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.
2. Style your layers for lasting lift.
Learn how to make the most of your layers no matter what your hair length is with this hack that’s perfect for building body and volume.
“For hair that sits above the shoulders, styling choppy layers with a curling wand is a great way to play with texture,” suggests Diaz. “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 hairdryer and let it cool completely before removing it.
3. Prep your hair before you shampoo.
In the battle against flat locks, it’s important to add a volume-boosting step into every part of your hair care routine. With a formula that leaves your mane smooth and polished, TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner is designed to be used before your shampoo. Eliminating the need for a conditioner, which can weigh down the hair, this product is a gravity-defying game-changer. The formula uses Fleximax volumizers and fiber-polishing actives to give you a boost of volume and maintain a beautiful shine.
4. Use the right shampoo and conditioner combo.
Set your tresses up for success by using a shampoo and conditioner that are formulated to add serious volume. Rather than piling on several products in the shower, it’s important to use just a few hard-working formulas that give you lasting results.
This will ensure your next styling steps have the right foundation to hold the look while keeping the hair light. Don’t forget: heavy hair = flat hair.
5. Keep conditioner away from your roots.
This is a simple tip that can change the level of volume in your hair. It’s so important that you only focus conditioner on the bottom 2/3rds of your strands. If you put conditioner in your roots is will over-moisturize them and weigh them down, taking away any hope of creating volume at the root, which will, in turn, maintain the flat hair.
6. Use a volume-enhancing mousse against Flat Hair.
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 less-than-perfect fate while adding an essential lifting effect.
7. Air drying versus blow-drying: Which is best?
“Your style will have more staying power if you start with wet hair,” says Diaz. “Hair that’s dried naturally rather than with a blowdryer will tend to fall flat easier.” To stop hair from 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.
To lift the roots with a lasting finish, make sure you’ve invested in a hairdryer 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.
8. 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.
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 mega amounts of volume. A round brush also allows you to pull the hair out from the scalp while drying and lift it outwards, a key factor when it comes to creating fullness. Look for a tool with thicker bristles, as this will ensure all the hair gets picked up as you go.
9. Boost your usual blow-dry method.
Build up your 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 Diaz.
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.”
10. 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.
You might be tempted 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.
11. Give your hair the chop.
Give your hair the best chance and natural volume by cutting it shorter. The longer your hair is, the more likely it is to be flat due to being heavier. This is particularly true for those with flat and thin strands. Try taking off a few inches or even going for a full-on bob to give your hair body and movement.
12. 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 are no cutting corners here; the more time you spend on your coif, the fuller it will look. We suggest using Dove Refresh+Care Volume and Fullness Dry Shampoo as this product has built-in volume-enhancing qualities to aid you in your quest to more voluminous strands.
13. 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 the 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.
14. Create volume with hair rollers.
Hair rollers are a great way to boost the volume to prevent flat hair and body in your style. Start by blowdrying your hair to about 70% done. Then, add in your hair rollers to create and set your style. Remove your rollers once your hair is 100% dry.
15. 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.
16. Make the most of those baby hair strands.
Want to lift limp strands of hair 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 on point.
17. Flip your part for an instant boost.
Are you ready for the quickest volume hack in the hair world? After blow-drying your hair into your usual part, flip your locks over to the opposite side of your head, or to a deep left or right part if you usually separate them in the middle. This is an easy fix that will add an instant volume at the crown of your hair!
18. Get a thickening spray in your arsenal.
After you’re done styling, add in some thickening spray to add extra fullness. TRESemmé Volume Thickening Spray is formulated to maximize lifting and volume. Just give this a spray at your roots and let the thickening begin.
19. 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 for 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 Diaz. “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 the hair slowly. Work from the end of the backcombed section down towards the root to avoid snagging and damaging your tresses.
20. 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 create loose, unkempt waves. Alternatively, braid your hair before you go to sleep and unravel it in the morning for plenty of curves and kinks. Ooh la la, indeed.
Implementing even just one of these tips to your hair care routine can really help pump up the volume in your style. Have fun trying these out and seeing what helps you say goodbye to flat hair for good.