Lacking in the hair volume department? You’ve come to the right place. While body comes naturally to some, for others, volume can be frustratingly elusive. Adding oomph and guts to hair (without weighing it down), is all about creating the illusion of thickness, even if the real thing is hard to come by. Here, Vogue speaks to hairstylist Luke Hersheson—who works with everyone from Dua Lipa to Victoria Beckham—to learn the expert hair hacks he uses to make thin hair look thicker, and fast.
Don’t rely on shampoo and conditioner
You might be under the impression that voluminous hair starts with a volume-boosting shampoo and conditioner, but Hersheson says it’s more about what you don’t do at this stage. “Using the wrong conditioner, or too much of it, can weigh hair down and make it feel flatter, which in turn will make it appear thinner,” he says. “I’d advise against using hair masks and heavy conditioner, to help maintain volume and body.”
It’s all about a great haircut
The key to hair that looks as thick as possible? A great haircut, of course. “A decent haircut is the foundation to any form of styling. You need shape and a graphic cut to be there first, otherwise it’s a bit like a building without foundations—and badly cut hair won’t defy gravity, because its weight will pull it down,” he says. Without it, you can use any product or tool in the world and you’ll still struggle to create volume.
Ask for shorter pieces
Whether a grown-out fringe or some feathering around the face, incorporating some shorter hair at the front of your style can also help make hair look thicker. “It helps elevate the feeling of thickness, versus anything flat, straight and curtain-like,” Hersheson says.
Make use of “hair filler”
“It is common to struggle with thinning hair around the temples and sides of the head, especially as you get older. Filler hair pieces—or a patch of extensions at sides—can help to thicken it out a bit,” Hersheson says. Stealthily-placed hair pieces are ultra subtle, and don’t have to look like the obvious hair extensions that have gotten a bad name. According to Hersheson, multiple stars wear them on the red carpet, “and you’d never know”.
Flip your parting
An easy and quick volumising trick is to change your parting and flip your hair over to the other side. “Think Kim Basinger with her big flick-over,” says Hersheson. “A middle parting will always make hair look flatter—flipping it over is an easy way to add more body.”
Tease hair at the crown
Remember backcombing? The age-old technique comes in handy when trying to create the illusion of thicker roots, says Hersheson—but avoid doing it the old-school way, with a comb. “Get a mixed bristle brush and hold the hair up, pushing the brush downwards just behind the roots at the crown—it creates a Brigitte Bardot effect, and helps frame the eyes,” he says.
Find the right product for your hair
A new generation of hair mousses can really help add grit, lift and hold into roots, for a more voluminous effect. Hershesons‘ new Zhoosh foam helps to swell and thicken the hair, giving it guts and hold without being sticky. Other products to try include Oribe’s Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse, and Virtue’s Volumising Mousse.
Blow dry upwards
When you blow dry your hair, ensure you direct the airflow underneath the root and upwards, rather than blowing down on top of the head. “It’s little things like that which make a real difference,” says Hersheson.
Experiment with colour
Well-placed highlights and general colour can help add dimension to hair. “The minute you start adding texture or contrast with colour, you start to see more depth, and that can give the illusion of thickness,” says Hersheson. “Adding very subtle, different tones throughout will do the job well.”