Anyone with naturally thin or progressively thinning hair shares the same concern: How can I make the most with what I’ve got? It’s a separate battle from fighting hair loss effectively: In this instance, the concern is maximizing the potential for the hair that remains up top the head.
The goal is to thicken and volumize and give an appearance of greater fullness. And luckily, it’s achievable with the right products and habits, plus a supplement or two.
Here are five tips and tricks for adding volume to thinning hair, and naturally fine hair.
1. Use targeted shampoo and conditioner
When shopping for hair care products, look for ones that promise to add density or volume overall. You’ll find numerous options for thickening shampoos and conditioners, and ditto for those that volumize. The former will plump each individual strand full of added proteins, to create an overall fuller density thanks to the added girth of each hair. Volumizing products, on the other hand, prioritize lightweight formulas that won’t weigh the hair down.
It’s important to pair a shampoo and conditioner together for the same end goal—don’t get a volumizing shampoo and then weigh it down with a hefty conditioner. That being said, it’s also OK to use a standard moisturizing shampoo—something that promises to hydrate while it flushes away excess oils—and then to follow with one of the prescriptive conditioners above. Leave the conditioner in your hair for 1-2 minutes before rinsing, so that the nutrients have time to absorb.
Never use a shampoo and conditioner together; you always want to wash first, then condition—or, simply condition by itself on the days you feel like you don’t need a thorough scrub down.
2. Use dry shampoo between washes
Dry shampoo is a powder-based spray (or a topical powder itself) that soaks up excess grease on the scalp and at the base of each hair shaft. This product is great for adding volume and texture to hair between shampoos, since it dissolves the thing that weighs hair down at the base. Its use is predicated on the idea that you don’t use liquid shampoo every single day (we recommend washing every second or third day, with a rinse or standalone conditioning on the off days).
Don’t overdo it on dry shampoo, though – you want to rinse or wash it clean in the evenings, so ideally it’s done the same day you shampoo (so, dry shampoo in the morning, liquid shampoo and condition before bed). The following day, you can skip both shampoos and just condition, and the next day you can repeat the process.
Target the roots when you use it, and tousle hair with a quick self-administered scalp scratch to evenly distribute the product and prevent any white powdery residue from gathering.
Some hairstylers even deploy dry shampoo in their formulas, and are just as great to target at the roots for a 2-in-1 lift + hold.
3. Use texturizing stylers
The product you use in your hair plays a big role in maximizing volume and fullness. If it’s too dense and heavy, it can turn your hair lifeless and even emphasize any thinning patterns. Look for texturizing salt sprays or pastes if you have medium or longer hair, in order to build some separation and definition between the strands. For shorter styles, try a lightweight wax or clay to help give those strands enough lift and fullness—just be sure to target the roots. Curlier styles need to maximize moisture in order to get fuller and plumper curls, no matter how close to the dome they are worn.
4. Prioritize scalp care
One long-term strategy for thicker, fuller hair is to have a weekly scalp-care regimen. This can include using scalp scrubs to exfoliate dead skin and boost circulation to the follicles (don’t stress about the few hairs you lose while scrubbing; they were likely to fall later in the day anyway).
A weekly scalp mask can pump follicle-fortifying nutrients and antimicrobial/antifungal ingredients into the dome in order to create a more harmonious environment for hair and skin alike. And some scalp serums also help boost circulation (and improve nutrient delivery to each follicle, thus thickening them at the base).
5. Supplement missing nutrients
Chances are, you’re getting adequate overall nutrients if your diet is balanced in the first place. But if you want to supercharge your hair density and fortify each strand on the whole (for an overall denser look, as well as to slow future loss), then it’s good to prioritize certain ingredients.
Saw palmetto can reduce hair fall by blocking the testosterone byproduct that leads to hair loss. The B vitamins help improve circulation and nutrient delivery to the follicles, while one of them, biotin (B7) helps promote fuller, faster growth.
Vitamins C and E can neutralize the free radicals that help contribute to hair loss, while C can also promote collagen production to boost hair quality. Iron boosts oxygen delivery to the follicles, while zinc regulates oil production near the follicles and can prevent excess grease and weighing-down.
You can prioritize diets high in these nutrients, or take targeted hair supplements to boost any dietary efforts.
Don’t forget to clean up your edges and sideburns at home in between cuts too to help your entire look.