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Hair health and science

Hair Volume: is Your Hair Lacking It?

7 minutes

Does your hair fall flat before you’ve left the front door? Hold a curl for approximately sixteen seconds? Call it ’challenging hair,’ but hair that takes work to look good is less than the effortlessly full and bouncy ideal we all dream. If you wish those strands had more body and hair volume, you’re not alone. This common hair frustration is up there with flyaway bits that won’t sit down and hair that looks greasy by noon. Here we present the science behind lustreless locks and how you can fix them. Want to know how to add volume to hair? We’ve got you covered!

Why is my hair so flat?

If you look back at pictures from a few years ago and wonder if your hair’s grown thinner and flatter in the years between, it’s quite possible because it actually has! Frustratingly, as we age, our hair changes too… not only in texture, colour, and porosity, but also in density. Hair volume naturally decreases. Each strand of hair is made of the structural protein keratin and is surrounded by an outer layer of overlapping sheets, like roof tiles, that make up the cuticle. As each hair can be up to six years old, it’s been through a lot; from the everyday friction caused by brushing, heat from blow drying, curling and flat irons, to chemical exposure through colouring, perming, or straightening. This constant wear and tear can cause the cuticle cells to raise and weaken, making the hair appear rougher and more prone to breakage. Over time, the hair follicles themselves gradually produce thinner hairs, and eventually for some, none at all. So, if you’ve noticed hair volume is lacking or questioning ‘Why is my hair flat?”, this might well be the reason!

While there are medical issues (thyroid problems, hormone imbalance and alopecia) as well as lifestyle factors, such as stress that can cause hair to thin, all hair textures can lack body and volume at some time or another and there are easy ways to improve the situation. If you've noticed a big change or feel concerned, consult your doctor for specific advice, but sometimes, thinning or frustratingly flat hair can be improved with a few easy tweaks. All is not lost, as there are tricks of the trade that’ll help restore your hair volume to its former full and fine crowning glory.

For everyone, no matter their hair type, it’s important to realise the reason for getting regular trims, but it’s even more vital if you are looking at how to add volume to hair. If you’re aiming for longer locks, it can feel counterintuitive to go to the hairdressers for a cut (no matter how small), but avoiding the salon chair for too long increases the chances of split ends, literally splicing each strand in two, which can then easily spread up the length of the hair, giving it a wispy, stringy look.

Equally, the daily damage of constantly twisting your hair or putting it up in a bun or style with bands can lead to stress, strain and damage spots at the centre of the hair length. Ponytails, up-do’s and parting all induce some sort of stress that can lead to hair loss over time, and wear and tear equals thinning. So, if you’re wondering, ‘Why is my hair flat?’ just think through your routine and see if there are minor everyday changes you can address to make hair health a priority.

As any girl with fine, limp hair knows, the easy fixes that work for wavy or curly hair won't do their magic on volume-less tresses. For those with finer hair that generally looks greasy more easily, you’ll need to be even more aware of product application and heat exposure, as the hair itself is more susceptible to damage. And that’s because the structure of each hair type has a big impact on how the hair falls in its natural state.

Essentially, the thicker, coarser and curlier your tresses the less likely it is that volume is an issue as curls automatically make the hair look thicker and fuller by creating space between the hair strands. At least as long as you’re not misusing product or exposing your tresses to too much colour and heat! But we’re all a little guilty of that, no matter how much hair we have on our head.

How to get more volume in hair

So, if hair volume doesn’t come naturally, and you want to know how to get more volume in hair, you’re in luck… 

The key to upping your volume from limp to lustrous lies in prevention. Minimize your heat tool usage, as regularly combining friction and intense heat causes the hair to break down and become brittle. Always make sure to use products that will protect the hair from the damaging effects of direct and indirect heat, and where at all possible the less heat the better. Whether that’s reducing the heat on your appliances or giving your hair a rest between heated styling sessions, get out of your comfort zone and you might see a big difference. You might even learn to love your own natural hair texture, or at least find less damaging ways to style it.

It's also likely that your “flat hair” is all in how you're styling it. If you use the wrong products, or use them incorrectly it’s more likely you’ll end up with hair that’s got as much life and lift as a pancake. If you tend to be heavy-handed with product, try a less is more approach to ensure it’s not the product that is weighing your hair down. Look for phrases like “volumising,” and “thickening” and opt for sprays that are full of nutrients, as opposed to some heavier balms. This is where Pantene’s new Lift’n’Volume Collection comes into play nicely. A range uniquely designed to give volume and fullness to strands that fall thin and flat. Infused with a ingredient quartet full of nutrients that deeply nourish strands. For thicker-looking* tresses in a heartbeat, introduce Pantene Grow Thick into your haircare regimen. This miracle hair thickening treatment thickens existing hair to create the look of a whopping 6,500 more strands! If your hair is lacking volume, this is a good place to start!

Another little trick if your hair’s lacklustre efforts veer on the lazy side, is to flip hair upside down when you blowdry it. Flat roots could also in some small part be down to gravity. Blame Newton, but as the hair dries it is pulled downwards. So, whether your hair is curly or straight, thin or thick, encourage shape, texture and volume by drying the hair upside down to counter its effects. And once you achieve that hard-earned “wow” moment of instant volume and root lift, keep it with a light application of holding spray.

The good news is that thin hair and hair that lacks oomph is totally normal. And with a little know-how, it's easy to pump up the volume. Read more on tips on how to make thin hair look thicker.

*vs. unwashed hair

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