Bid Adieu To Flat Hair With These Easy Hacks

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Photo courtesy of Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy.
Over the last few years, hair trends have been all about volume and texture — whether it's the classic 70s curtain bang, the new, much hyped 'Sachel' (a mix between the 90s Rachel Green cut and a classic shag), or nifty layering techniques to amp tresses up (concave layers or the 'air cut'). Just look to Miley Cyrus at the 2024 Grammys: rocking a mega blown out barnet that Tina Turner would be proud of. Maybe our obsession with textured hair is a need to be carefree and a little wild, or maybe we're just attached to this line from the film Hairspray: "Hair can't just sit there like a dead thing on your cheeks."
Whatever it is, we're here for the texture, shape and volume. But avoiding flat, lifeless hair can be tricky if you don't know the best techniques. To get some tips on how to give your hair a little boost of volume (and make it last for more than half a day), we spoke to James Kavanagh, Dyson Hair Care Education Manager and Lyndal Salmon, Artistic Director and Head Educator at BIBA Academy, about the essential tricks and techniques you'll need to get your hair to that voluminous sweet spot; plus the best haircare products to help in volume crusade.

Prepping your hair is a must

According to both hair experts, prepping the hair with product while it's wet is essential to building a foundation to ensure that any volumising styling lasts.
"If your hair type is fine, a light product will do. If it is thick, use something more heavy-duty. Also, applying product to wet hair and then drying it will help hold the style much better than lots of hairspray at the end," Kavanagh explained.
Salmon recommends spraying a leave-in treatment first (on the mid-lengths and ends) before applying a heavier product such as mousse. He then combs the products through with a wide-tooth comb. "People often ignore this step, but it's how you ensure an even end result," he says. We love Hair by Sam Mcknight's Cool Girl range for all things volume building. The Cool Girl Superlift Volumising Spray, £26 is a lightweight spray that grabs onto your roots and protects your hair from heat and humidity, and it works wonders when combined with the Cool Girl Volume Foam, £32. This weightless foam is packed with pro-vitamin B5 and a thickening active called Voluminis to boost hair whilst also leave it frizz-free and shiny.
Kavanagh also shared that a leave-in moisturiser works best as a prep product for curly hair before attempting to style for volume and shape. "Start by applying a leave-in moisturiser to the mid-lengths and ends only, and then dry to about 80% before switching to a round brush to create tension and ease to manipulate the hair." Again, Sam Mcknight is ticking all the right boxes with another Cool Girl range favourite: the Bigger Love Cool Girl Volumising Treatment Mask, £52. While our beauty writer Karina swears by the Coco & Eve Sweet Repair Hair Mask, £32 for her own dry, frizzy hair,  consultant trichologist Eleanore Richardson has previously advised Refinery29 on her favourite hair masks specifically designed for natural hair. These include the Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Hair Masque, £10.49 and Holy Curls Curl Mask, £29, both of which nature and restore damaged hair and promote hair growth, as well as hydrate strands and soothe irritate scalps.

Get savvy with your tools

Good hair starts with good tools — so Kavanagh recommends investing in a high-quality product such as Dyson's Supersonic Hairdryer, £329.99.

James Kavanagh's hair drying procedure for more volume

1. Dry till about 80% done (or damp to the touch) using the styling concentrator attachment. Then, for an added root lift, tip your hair upside down.
2. Section the hair and use a large round brush, such as the 45mm vented brush from Dyson, as you blow-dry with the brush and the concentrator turn your velocity down to give you more control. Play the brush at the root area and lift and rotate. The more you lift and roll the more volume you will get.
3. He also likes to add a soft bend on the end. The round shape of the brush and the airflow shaping the hair through the barrel itself makes this really easy.
4. If your hair doesn’t hold shape very well, a great tip is to always blast with the cold shot on the Supersonic to set the style.
5. Once your hair is styled apply a dry texture spray again paying particular attention to the root area.

Lyndal Salmon's hair drying procedure for more volume

If your budget doesn't quite stretch to a Dyson, you're in luck — Salmon says this technique can work with any hairdryer.
1. Wash your hair. Double shampoo your hair to make sure all the residue of everyday life has been removed. Use minimal conditioner through the ends as conditioner can be quite heavy.
2. Towel dry before putting products in (otherwise they slip straight off), then comb the hair into a style that has no parting. 
3. Remove the nozzle from your dryer to increase the surface area of your airflow and dry your roots first. Use your hands to stretch the root off the scalp — work around the whole head until the roots are bone dry. Do not dry the ends before the roots are dry — you are building a house, you have to lay the slab first. Put the nozzle back on for the rest, grab a brush and start working through your ends
4. Tip your head upside down once it's completely dry. Turn the heat on your hairdryer off, remove the nozzle again and cool it all down as it will set the hair into its max volume shape.
5. Finally, hit the roots with a texture spray and try your hand at some backcombing. Lift up a few key spots where you feel the head sits flat, use a small tool (like a tail comb or backcombing brush) and push the hair backwards towards the roots. Two swipes in the same spot will do!

How to blow dry curly hair for more volume

For curly hair, both Kavanagh and Salmon recommend starting with damp hair to get any volume going. They also both highly suggested setting the hair with a cold shot to ensure the style lasts.
While Salmon recommends using a hairdryer with a diffuser, and drying from side-to-side into its natural curl, Kavanagh suggests brushing down the hair at the roots to remove the curl — it just depends on what kind of look you're trying to achieve.
Kavanagh also suggested applying a small amount of serum and hairspray to seal your curls if they tend to go frizzy, especially in the warmer months.

Get the most out of your look

There's nothing worse than leaving the house with a fresh look and having it completely flattened within 30 minutes of commuting or walking.
"Hit the roots with some dry shampoo. I love the Wella Eimi DRYME spray," said Salmon, explaining how to revive a voluminous look.
She also recommends sleeping with a silk pillow to stop the hair from ruffing up and squashing into random shapes overnight, as well as wearing velcro rollers to hold the look and roots in place.
Kavanagh recommends using the concentrator nozzle and a large round brush to bend the fronts of your hair around the face to refresh a voluminous look. This will create a polished look at the front and a more natural finish at the back.
"Remember, lived-in hair is very on-trend right now. Tipping your hair upside down and applying a dry shampoo or texture product like Hair by Sam Mcnight's Cool Girl Texture Mist, £27 will also help refresh volume into the hair," he added.

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