Expert tricks for boosting volume in fine hair

Lacking volume? You won’t be after reading this

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / July 31 2023

Believe it or not, fine hair is the dark horse of the hair world. It’s manageable as well as malleable, which means it will suit most hairstyles and responds better to heat styling than other hair types. With that being said, it does however have a tendency to look scraggly and flat if you pick the wrong haircut. In order to ensure you choose the best cut the next time you’re at the salon, and are equipped with the right know-how for boosting volume in your otherwise-limp lengths, we spoke to two of Australia’s top hairstylists – Creative Director of Sydney salon JONNY+JUNE, Simon Bright and celebrity stylist and Director of UVA Salon, Marie Uva. Here are their top tips for adding volume if you have fine hair.

The best haircuts for boosting volume

Both Bright and Uva stress that the longer your hair is, the more likely it is to be weighed down and lack volume. “Some women think by not cutting their hair it’ll make it look thicker, but the reality is not cutting it will only ensure it looks stringy,” explains Bright. “Shorter haircuts above the shoulder, such as the angled lob or a choppy bob with tousled ends, work well with fine hair because they create the illusion of fullness,” adds Uva.  

While a blunt cut is Bright’s number one suggestion for finer hair types, Uva explains that light layers can be added as long as there’s texture throughout the ends to add body, shape and movement. She adds, “fringes also create instant volume and shape to your crown, as the front section of your hair appears thicker than it really is”. 

Ultimately, the aim of the volumising game is to maintain as much bulk in the hair as possible. As such, Bright recommends opting for “longer angles that give the illusion of layers and movement without having to lose the bulk of the haircut”.  Having trouble visualising this look? Think of Kate Mara, Lucy Hale and Margot Robbie’s styles below.

Kate Mara

Lucy Hale

Margot Robbie

The haircuts fine hair should avoid

If you have fine hair, the number one thing to avoid, according to Uva, is “lots of thinning out and feathering of hair”. In terms of styling, Bright says it’s best to “avoid centre-parted styles and sleek, smooth looks”, as they’ll only accentuate a lack of volume.

Top styling tips for increasing volume

If you have longer lengths and aren’t ready to commit to a shorter ‘do, there are several styling tricks you can turn to. Before jumping into using different mousses and tools to create extra oomph, Bright explains that “the most important step in achieving volume for fine hair starts in the shower. Make sure you’re using a volumising shampoo and conditioner, as these will help plump up the hair." Our favourite formula? The OGX Extra Volume + Biotin & Collagen Extra Strength Shampoo ($22 at Woolworths). It's got absolutely everything you need to get your hair off to a voluminous start: collagen for providing fullness-promoting strength and structure, vitamin B7 biotin which helps hair to grow stronger and longer, and hydrolysed wheat protein for major hydration and volume boosts. Quite the blend, huh?

Then, Bright suggests applying “a volumising mousse like O&M Rootalicious Root Lift Mousse ($36.95 at Hairhouse) when hair is wet and combing a palm-sized dollop of product through hair from root to ends. The beauty of using a mousse is that you can keep adding more as you go along. Unlike the mousses our mothers used to use that dried out hair and froze it in all its permed glory, mousse formulas today are more elegant and hydrating”. 

After this step you may be tempted to skip the blow-dry and let your hair dry naturally, but Bright warns against this as almost all volumisers are activated by heat. As such, a quick blast of a hairdryer will ensure your fine hair reaches its voluminous potential. If you’re not a mousse fan or find it a little tricky to work with, a thickening powder such as the GROW Thicker Fuller Volumising Styling Powder ($17 at Coles) or a spray such as JONNY+JUNE’s Volume Tonic ($29.95 at JONNY+JUNE) will also work wonders.

OGX Extra Volume + Biotin & Collagen Extra Strength Shampoo

O&M Rootalicious Root Lift Mousse

GROW Thicker Fuller Volumising Styling Powder

For maximum results when blow-drying, Bright recommends “flipping your head upside-down and starting to rough dry. This will lift the roots and rough-up the hair cuticles, boosting volume. When your hair is 80 per cent dry, flip it back over and start blow-drying using a ceramic brush to smooth ends and add softness to the style”. Just be careful not to pull too hard, as doing so will just ruin all your hard work.

Our tip for making the whole process easier? Try a straightening brush that takes the struggle out of trying to get smooth texture and airy volume. Life-changing hybrid alert! One of our fave tools is the Lady Jayne Salon Pro Rechargeable Straightening Brush ($84.99 at Lady Jayne); it's compact, easy-to-use and (blessedly) rechargeable, so you're free to enjoy a cordless and voluminous life!

Last but not least, Uva suggests reaching for a sea salt spray to add texture and enhance the natural wave, and a great dry shampoo, such as Wella Professionals Eimi Dry Me Dry Shampoo ($14.97 at 
Ry), to maximise volume.

Lady Jayne Salon Pro Rechargeable Straightening Brush


Looking for more hair tips and inspiration? Then check out the unexpected hair trend sweeping the red carpet and discover the four hair mistakes that make you look older.

Main image credit: @jastookes