Everyone wants fuller hair – whether yours is naturally fine and flat or thick, straight and weighed down at the roots – but a good volumiser is hard to find: so many create frizz, leave a sticky, residue on hair, don’t last, or simply don’t work.
We set some industry greats to work on a variety of straight and curly, thick and thin hair to find our favourites, be they shampoo, serum, styling product or finishing spray. The results give great texture and lift, while leaving hair touchably soft.
OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo: £4, Amazon
Hair is noticeably thicker to the touch after just one use of OGX’s Thick & Full shampoo and conditioner (also £4), and in a way that feels like the product has built upon individual strands, rather than just added airy volume. Its RRP is £6.99 but it’s often on offer on Amazon or in Boots.
Bumble and Bumble Go Big Thickening Treatment: £24, John Lewis & Partners
Spray this serum of wheat protein and starch, pro-vitamin B5, amino acids and brazil nut protein on to damp hair and blow dry for extra volume and grip that properly lasts all day. If your hair is naturally thick and heavy, it adds volume at the roots where it would usually be dragged flat.
Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo: £20, cultbeauty.co.uk
This, form the Swedish salon range, is like a salt spray in a shampoo (and conditioner, £22): it gives hair thickness, lift from the roots and beachy texture without weighing it down or sapping it of moisture. Slightly alarming blue colour aside, you can’t go wrong.
Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast: £23, spacenk.com
For days when you don’t have time to wash, prep and blow-dry your hair with carefully chosen styling products, or when you need to rescue flat hair at a moment’s notice, Living Proof’s volume spray gives airy volume and a slightly roughed-up texture but doesn’t have any of the crispness of a hair spray.
Philip Kingsley Maximizer: £23.50, philipkingsley.co.uk
We expect big things from the brand that created Elasticizer, and this doesn’t disappoint. Sprayed on to your hair, paying particular attention to the roots, before blow-drying, it gives body and airiness without fly-aways or stiffness.
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Spray: £6.99, superdrug.com
This has the results of a far more expensive product, leaving our tester’s fine, curly hair defined and lifted. It didn’t last quite as long as some we tried – about four hours – but stays put longer with a little hairspray help.
Davines Liquid Spell: £25, cultbeauty.co.uk
It’s certainly a product with a big claim in the name, but this pre-blow-dry spray delivers increased body and shine (many volumising products achieve their goal by adding texture, which mattifies the hair). We found it also adds fullness to air-dried hair – good for days you can’t be bothered with a hair dryer.
Evo Gluttony Volumising Shampoo: £17, evohair.co.uk
We are totally seduced by Evo’s simple, striking packaging and witty product names, from ‘The Therapist’ hydrating shampoo and conditioner to ‘Easy Tiger’ smoothing balm. Limp, thin hair calls for ‘Gluttony’ shampoo and its mate, ‘Bride of Gluttony’ conditioner (£19), which use proteins and film-formers to create body.
Aveda Pure Abundance Volumising Clay Conditioner: £22.50, John Lewis & Partners
The word ‘clay’ may conjure images of heavy, solid-with-product hair, but included here, kaolin clay strengthens and fills out fine, weak hair without weighing it down. It is thicker than most conditioners, so be careful to rinse it out thoroughly to avoid leaving a sticky film on dry hair.
Ouai Volumising Hair Spray: £22, net-a-porter.com
No matter how good your blow-dry products, sometimes your newly enlarged hair needs a little help to keep its shape, especially if it is straight, heavy and freshly washed. This is a very gentle, non-crisping spray, but if you’re nervous about too much hold, apply to the roots only.
The Verdict: Best hair volumisers
For a budget boost, combine OGX’s Thick & Full shampoo and conditioner with John Frieda’s blow dry spray. If price falls by the wayside in your quest for mega hair, Sachajuan, Bumble and Bumble and Living Proof are a powerhouse combination.