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While your thick-haired friends may envy your two-minute blowout or painless styling, navigating life with fine hair can feel like teetering on a tightrope. While there may be a host of products at your disposal, applying the wrong or conflicting ingredients to your tresses to boost texture often has the opposite effect. Your mane might get weighed down and feel flatter than ever.
The solution? Weaving thickening products into every stage of your hair care routine. Consider layering a wet product and a dry product suggests Houston-based stylist Michelle Pasterski Mesen. “Coat damp hair with a wet formula, such as a mousse, cream, or spray first. Blow-dry and style, then finish with a dry shampoo or texturizing spray. This two-pronged approach really lifts and builds the diameter of the hair,” she explains.
The point being, there are all kinds of products to choose from. Post-shower treatments hydrate and repair tired or over-processed strands and texturizing sprays and mousses will help hold your newly zhuzhed ‘do in place. Scalp care is also important, as well as using products with a lightweight oil or foam to keep everything in place. If this all seems overwhelming, don’t fret—between your favorite brands and the industry newcomers making waves (no pun intended), where there’s a will for volume, there’s definitely a way.
Check out the best products for fine, flat hair below.
Best Overall: Living Proof Full Thickening Cream
It may seem like witchcraft, but Living Proof’s patented thickening molecule will offer your hair more body than ever before. The brand's "thickening dots" create space between each strand so that fine hair behaves the same way it would if it were naturally thick, while an emollient blend adds shine.
Best Budget: Got2B Fat-Tastic Instant Collagen Infusion Mousse
Luscious hair that holds all day long? This brand has always been a drugstore go-to, but its Instant Collagen Infusion Mousse is in a league of its own. With collagen serving as the key ingredient, the mousse quite literally pumps the hair strand by upping its elasticity. The resulting strands are denser and inevitably stronger.
Best Drugstore: Kenra Volume Spray 25
Many sprays over-promise and under-deliver, but Kenra lives up to every single one of its mandates. Hair that's styled with this product is said to stay in place for up to 120 hours (that’s a whole work week!) and is resistant to high winds and humidity. And no, we didn’t overlook the most important part: this will boost your hair to the heavens, and, obviously, keep it there.
Best Spray: Bumble and bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish
While this spray doesn’t boast an endless hold, it does guarantee superior texture. Composed of silk powders with light holding polymers that attach to hair, it lifts roots and plumps in all the right places. Use to extend the life of your blowout, or thicken your ponytail or braid—soon, your weightless style will be the envy of all your fine-haired friends.
Best Anti-Frizz: Moroccanoil Treatment Light
Oil and fine hair don’t mix, right? Wrong. If your hair is on the lighter side and prone to frizz, Morrocanoil may have the product for you. Reviewers with heavily colored hair claim the product all but saved their ends—in fact, it’s specifically formulated for strands that have come in contact with bleach. Your hair won’t even know itself after this antioxidant overload, which cuts drying time in half, detangles, and adds shine.
Best for Thinning Hair: Toppik Hair Building Fibers
You may have heard of fiber-adding eyebrow gel—well, this is the same concept, but on a larger scale. With nine shades to match any hair color, this product adds colored keratin protein to your own hair to create a full-bodied mane. It’s also highly effective to touch up roots or conceal extension tracks, as well as filling in any patches or part lines. Wind and rain are no match for the product, but it does wash out easily with shampoo.
Best Texturizing: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Any hairstylist worth their salt will sing the praises of Oribe for texture. This spray is activated with heat for mega volume but can be used in any capacity—finding the sweet spot between dry shampoo, volume treatment, and hairspray. So, what’s the secret? Well, the product’s patented polymers go to work on your roots to absorb oil, lifting the strands and helping to hold your styled hair for days on end.
Best for Short Hair: Kérastase Elixir Ultime Bi-Phase Oil Spray
This product may have a slightly higher price point, but it's warranted. Not only is it an excellent fit for every hair type, it actively expands thickness and boosts shine while healing hair with camellia and argan oils—plus, it manages to achieve this without actually weighing down the hair itself. Oh, and it’s fast-absorbing, so no greasy residue post-application.
Best for Long Hair: Essy Naturals Hair Growth Oil
Jam-packed full of vitamins, there’s nothing like this Essy Naturals offering to kick start growth. Castor oil, caffeine, rosemary oil, and a biotin blend work together to stimulate their hair follicles, while antibacterial properties ensure the health of hair. The result is stronger individual strands which mean less breakage and eventually, fuller-looking hair.
Best Mousse: Joico JoiWhip Design Foam
A firm hold that lasts all day while building volume and conditions hair in the process? Joico has really outdone themselves with this one. The Designing Foam is formulated with evening primrose oil—a hair, skin, and nails essential—as well as fatty acids to facilitate healthier hair while it holds. Not to mention all these protectants defend hair against sun damage. This product is literally a quadruple threat.
Best Conditioner: R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Conditioner
R+Co Dallas has also caught on to the power of B5, coupling the vitamin with biotin to encourage maximum thickness from even the finest, flattest hair. With fruit extracts and coconut oil, the conditioner is also intensely moisturizing, so it penetratees each strand to deeply hydrate from the inside out.
Best Volumizing: Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray
Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould is a big fan of this Moroccanoil spray, and who can blame her? This not only suits any hair type but also protects your color. Argan oil, the brand's signature ingredient, restores hair’s elasticity, and wheat protein conditions hair while it holds. Not only will your tresses be more manageably texturized than ever, but you can count on this spray to hold them in place for hours on end.
There are a plethora of plumping products for anyone looking to add volume to fine hair. We’re big fans of the Living Proof Full Thickening Cream; it relies on a patented molecule that creates space between each strand to make hair look and feel thicker (for real). Mousses are a great option for the flat-haired set and the Joico JoiWhip Design Foam is our favorite, full of ingredients that increase volume and maintain the health of your hair. Incorporate a dry texture spray into your routine too, like the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (a stylist go-to) or the Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray.
What to Look For in Products for Fine, Flat Hair
Ingredients that thicken or increase the diameter of the strand
These vary but include things such as polymers, collagen, even plumping powders. "These are the ingredients that give hair body and guts," says Messen.
The lighter, the better. Steer clear of thick balms or pomades, and opt for aerosols, whipped mousses or creams, or featherweight powders. After all, the last thing you want is for the product to be too heavy and end up weighing hair down instead of boosting it up.
How We Test Products for Fine, Flat Hair
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