After seasons of super-sleek styles and high-tech straightening technology, hairstylists have traded flat irons and smoothing serums for amplifying mousses, curling tongs and hot rollers. “It’s sexy hair – everyone wants that Victoria’s Secret look,” reveals Paloma Rose-Garcia of Sydney’s Oscar Oscar Salon. Harry Josh, celebrity hairdresser and John Frieda international creative consultant, agrees and adds, “It shouts confidence and elegance.”
While some of us are blessed with bountiful locks, others need a bit of help to fake it. Here’s how ...
Trim your hair
The right cut is key to adding fullness, explains Josh, who tends the tresses of Gwyneth Paltrow, Gisele Bündchen and Rose Byrne. “A bold, layered bob will add fullness to short styles,” he says. While for medium lengths, Rose-Garcia reveals, “Seventy per cent of your hair should be your baseline to keep it thick through the bottom, and the other 30 per cent should be light layers to build body.” If you’re game, Josh recommends a blunt fringe to add fullness to fine hair.
Consider your hue
“Any type of lightening will create volume and definition,” says Rose-Garcia. “Colour blows up the [hair] cuticle, making it swell and appear thicker.” For super-fine strands, Josh recommends a subtle mix of highlights or lowlights to create the illusion of depth by building texture. But ask for a fine weave that’s no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural base for the most authentic and even result.
The secret to a big, bouncy style starts with clean strands. Opt for a volumising shampoo, like L’Oréal Paris Elvive Volume Collagen Texturising Shampoo, $6.95, and a lightweight conditioner, such as John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Conditioner, $15.99. Your technique is also important, explains Rose-Garcia, who likes to shampoo her clients’ hair twice. “The first sits on the hair for 30 seconds to remove product build-up. Then, I work the second [application of shampoo] into the root area until it feels squeaky clean.” And when it comes to conditioning, only apply it from your mid-lengths to ends.
“To build volume, you need to match your products with your hair texture,” advises Rose-Garcia. So if you have fine strands, a lightweight volumiser, such as Kevin.Murphy Anti.Gravity.Spray, $34.95, will coat your lengths to plump them up. For thicker textures, look for cream formulas like label.m Thickening Cream, $39.95, that will tame frizz without zapping fullness. And if your hair is somewhere in the middle, opt for a mousse that adds just the right amount of bulk without weighing down your strands. We recommend Redken Intra Force Hair Densifier, $29.
Add some curl
Hot rollers aren’t just for ringlets (or for collecting dust in the back of your bathroom cabinet). “From up-dos to long waves, many stylists set their clients’ hair no matter what style they’re going for,” reveals Rose-Garcia, explaining that they’re the best choice for creating fullness. To get the look, roughly dry your strands and then roll 5cm sections around the curlers, allowing your hair to cool completely before taking them out. We recommend VS Sassoon Big Hair Hot Rollers, $34.95 for a set of 5. Don’t forget to loosen any too-perfect curls with your fingers before creating your desired look.
Protect your scalp
If your lengths seem limp, the chances are your scalp may need some TLC. “A healthy scalp has a strong blood supply, bringing essential nutrients to the hair follicles. When they are nourished, it boosts the strength and life of the hair shaft,” explains Brad Ngata, a leading stylist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador. To fortify and thicken each strand, Ngata recommends stimulating your hair follicles with a regular treatment, such as Nioxin Intensive Treatment Hair Booster, $118. Rose-Garcia adds that massaging the scalp through regular brushing can also help. “It gets the blood flowing around the hair follicle and encourages growth,” she reveals.
“To get the volume you want, you need to conquer your hair when it’s wet,” advises Josh. Apply a root-boosting spray to your crown, then roughly dry your strands, lifting small sections with your fingers and blasting the roots until they are dry. Try the Remington Pro-touch Sensor Hair Dryer, $33.95. “Only then blow-dry your ends [with a round brush]. You’ll be amazed how much more root lift you can achieve,” he explains. For added oomph, pop in velcro rollers like Hair FX Self Gripping Rollers, $6.95 for a pack of six, while strands are still warm. Once cool, remove, flip your head upside down and use your hands to brush out your hair. Finish with a mist of hairspray.
Backcombing instantly adds height to your hair. Concentrating on your crown, lift a small section of hair and, using a tail comb such as the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium, $6.95, work it down three times, close to the root. Repeat before smoothing over the top with a natural-bristle brush. The key is a lot of small sections rather than one large one. “It’s also a lot easier to brush out than it looks,” explains Rose-Garcia, who recommends the Mason Pearson Pure Bristle Handy Brush, $235. “But never brush out wet hair – it’s weaker than dry hair,” she warns.
To give your second-day style a pick-me-up, lift 8cm sections and allow them to drop through a mist of dry shampoo, such as Joico Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, $25.95. After 30 seconds, massage it into your scalp to prevent residue. Then, spray with a medium-hold hairspray, like Toni & Guy Casual Flexible Hold Hairspray, $15.99, and scrunch. The result is hair with lift and a seemingly no-product finish.