Contrary to popular opinion, curly doesn't always equal mega volume. Whether your hair is naturally fine, thin or just “grows down” there are some natural, stress-free ways to enhance the fullness of your hair.
Turn it up!
What do you do when your hair is constantly falling flat and just about every volumising product has failed? Short of teasing it and getting a load of split ends for your efforts, there are ways for you to up your volume, naturally and damage-free. By simply changing the way you wash, condition and style your tresses, you can give your hair the bigness it craves.
The way you wash:
Are you washing your hair standing up under the shower? While this is an excellent way to minimise tangles, it also minimises volume, as your hair becomes accustomed to constantly being pushed down by the weight of the water.
If you're not tangle-prone, then, from start to finish, wash your hair with your head bent down. The downwards direction this encourages when you are bent over will translate into upwards action at the roots once you're upright. If you do suffer from tangles, get them out of the way by washing, conditioning and detangling up right. Then, place your hair in loose braids or section it and place covered elastic bands loosely midway down your length. Then rinse your hair bent at the waist with the strongest flow of water to ensure your strands go in the direction you want them to go. And to ensure product buildup is not sabotaging your campaign for greater volume, be sure to clarify your hair on a regular basis.
The way you condition:
Your hair tends to be dry but also lacks volume. So to get some lift at the roots you try skimping on conditioner and end up with parched, broken hair and only the faintest improvement in volume. This is actually the way to thinner, wispier hair as your strands taper off from the neglect.
Instead of giving your hair less than what it needs, apply enough conditioner to get the hair sufficiently smooth and seaweedy, but rinse it thoroughly. Rinsing out the conditioner well is one of the many tricks up the sleeves of Dominican stylists, to whom making sure their client's hair is as full and bouncy as possible after a Blowout is paramount. While most conventional European and US stylists actively encourage leaving some conditioner in, their Dominican colleagues make sure they get it all out with plenty of hot (not scalding, just on the hotter side of warm) water. With Dominican conditioners being as rich as they are, they do their job excellently while they're in your hair so you don't need to leave in a little bit “just in case”.
The way you moisturise:
While rich conditioners are most certainly in for hair that tends to be both flat and dry, leave ins need not be so rich and must be applied more sparingly. Heavy products like grease, hair food and even some rich moisturizers may be too much for your hair. Most formulations containing weighty ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil or beeswax will flatten and stiffen your hair beyond relief. Even when using natural butters, keep in mind that these too are heavy and will not magically weigh your hair down less just because they are not artificial.
Avoid heavy leave ins and always check the ingredients for those products that look light but are stealthily weighty. Try applying your leave in on wet hair; the water in your strands will allow it to spread through the hair more easily so you get good coverage with a smaller amount of product. If product application on wet hair is not for you, then try diluting your product in a separate container (experiment with different concentrations; adding as little as 10% water might make all the difference). Finally, if you can't live without the smoothness or sealing your heavy product brings, use a lighter leave in first, and then run a tiny amount of your heavy product as a sheer top layer.
The way you treat your scalp:
In the rush to get hair styled and conditioned, many people forget where it all started and pay little attention to their scalp. Others pay it the wrong kind of attention, slathering their scalp with grease which not only blocks the hair follicles, restricting new hairs trying to make their way through, but also weighs the hair down at the roots; a double whammy against the effort to increase your hair's volume.
Avoid greasing your scalp. Instead use very light natural oils very sparingly if needed, or water-based spritzes to moisturise and lubricate your scalp. And don't forget to massage; not only does this stimulation encourage growth, it's also a great trick to lift your hair at the roots infusing it with volume.
So you have the opposite problem? More volume than you could ever have wished for? Check out tomorrow's blog on how to work with volume, and how to streamline it when needed.
DHA Hair Care Experts