When it comes to hair, thin isn't in — especially at this time of year, when you want to look particularly fabulous. So if big, bouncy, make-'em-stare hair is all you're after, check out our bagful of all the expert tricks you need to get luscious locks. Here's how to fatten up fast.
Start with Shampoo
Big hair begins in the shower, with a volume-boosting shampoo. Does today's technology really make a difference? Absolutely.
"There are ingredients now, like wheat protein, that can swell each strand to almost twice its size," says Lisa Chiccine of the Lisa Chiccine Salon in New York City. Try Sunsilk Anti-Flat Shampoo ($3.59, drugstores) or Kiehl's Rice Wheat Volumizing Shampoo ($18, kiehls.com).
Another ingredient to consider is niacin (also known as vitamin B3); a 2005 study, reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, showed that it made hair visibly fuller when applied topically. Find niacin in Fekkai More Scalp-Purifying Shampoo ($24.50, Sephora; sephora.com).
It's also important to avoid certain products, says Chiccine. On her list: shampoos with conditioning or moisturizing properties, which weigh hair down. Likewise, be sure your volumizing conditioner is lightweight — anything heavy is just going to work against you. Try Dove Extra Volume Conditioner ($4, drugstores) or Infusium 23 (Volum)ologie Conditioner ($6, drugstores).
Blow-Dry It Big
What matters most is what happens in the window between wet and dry, says New York City hairstylist Danny Velasco. The key: great products and an effective blow-drying technique.
Start by using a thickening spray or cream on damp hair to add texture. Try Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray ($23, bumbleandbumble.com for salons) or Nioxin Volume Texture Creme ($13, nioxin.com for salons).
Next, grab a large round brush. "That shape is great for smoothing while giving volume and movement," says Antonio Prieto of the Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City.
Take a three-inch section from your crown and place the brush against the roots. (The brush should be grabbing your hair tightly so that the roots are lifted and taut.)
Aim your blow-dryer nozzle at the barrel for several seconds. Keep the brush there as the hair cools, then slide it down the rest of the section (with the dryer following behind) to smooth. Repeat on the rest of your hair, going from back to front.
Once hair is nearly dry, use a root-lifting spray to lock in fullness and help prevent midday flop, suggests Haruo Noro, a stylist at the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City. Special polymers in these stylers add pliable hold that lasts all day without making hair stiff, the way a traditional hairspray might. Noro suggests trying one of the latest versions with targeted nozzles, which make it particularly easy to squirt the product directly at the base of your strands. Try Nexxus Root Exxtend Volumizing Root Lifter ($13, drugstores) or Tresemme Big Boost Root Lift Spray ($4, drugstores).
After you've spritzed, flip your head over and finish drying. And remember: Once you're done, keep finger fussing to a minimum — oils from your hands can flatten hair.