10 products that’ll add volume to your fine hair
I've spent years trying hair products—here's what I swear by.
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You know the shampoo commercials where people have long, luscious locks that look strong, shiny, and worthy of envy? Well, that’s not my hair type. Instead, I have ultra-fine strands that are more likely to fall flat to my scalp than maintain a salon-quality blowout for even a couple of hours post-appointment. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have thin hair (which technically means that it’s thinning). Rather, I have a full head of very fine, oily-prone hair that falls close to mid-back. My hair is also slightly damaged thanks to years of heat styling and color processing (I’m a natural strawberry blonde but sport red locks).
While I’ve taken a major step back from these damaging habits because of quarantine, my hair still needs all the help it can get to look smooth, shiny, and voluminous. After testing loads of brands and products over the past decade of being a beauty writer, I’ve finally landed upon my 10 must-have products for my ultra-fine hair. If your strands sound anything like mine and you’re hoping to achieve full-bodied hair, let me be your guide.
1. A shampoo that takes away excess oil
A good hair day starts in the shower. For that reason, I put extra care into my shampoo and conditioner (more on the latter below). When it comes to how I stock my shower, two products are a must: Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo for Damaged Hair and Dae’s Daily Shampoo. I reserve the Briogeo shampoo for days when my hair feels particularly damaged and dry, as it contains moisturizing B vitamins, elasticity-enhancing panthenol, and strengthening biotin and algae extract.
On the days in between, I use Dae. While the Dae shampoo isn’t drying, it’s not as hydrating as the Briogeo, which I like because I find using the Briogeo for every single wash day causes my hair to fall flat. Thankfully, the combination of the two in my routine helps ensure that my fine strands don’t get weighed down. Beyond that, both products smell absolutely divine—Briogeo has a clean, rich scent, while Dae is more citrusy. What’s more, they clean my strands and scalp well enough that I can typically go a few days between washes (though, this took my hair some getting used to).
- Get the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Super Moisture Shampoo for Damaged Hair from Sephora for $36
- Get the Dae Daily Shampoo from Sephora for $24
2. A conditioner that won’t weigh your hair down
I like when things match—especially when both items in a pair exceed all expectations. And that’s part of why I keep my shower stocked with Briogeo’s Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Conditioner for Dry + Damaged Hair and Dae’s Daily Conditioner. Like their coordinating shampoos, both conditioners smell delicious and make me feel like I have commercial-quality hair. Best of all, these moisturizing conditioners help smooth my strands, cut down on frizz, and reduce the appearance of split ends.
As for when I use them, I pair them with their shampoos based on days when I need ultra-deep hydration (Briogeo) and just regular daily care (Dae). Typically, that comes down to washing once per week with the Briogeo and twice with the Dae, as I try not to wash my hair more than three times a week. The reason I rely on both is because, like the shampoo, if I use the Briogeo conditioner daily, my hair falls flat because of how moisturizing it is, but once a week is the sweet spot to keep my locks hydrated and feeling lightweight.
- Get the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!™ Super Moisture Conditioner for Dry + Damaged Hair from Sephora for $36
- Get the Dae Daily Conditioner from Sephora for $24
3. A microfiber hair wrap
Once I get out of the shower, the first thing I do is wrap my freshly washed strands into the Aquis hair turban. While it may seem like any old towel—only with a button and elastic loop to keep it in place—it’s pure magic. Thanks to the microfiber fabric, it’s able to soak up all of the excess water in my hair so that it’s damp (rather than soaking) within 10 to 15 minutes. When I use a regular bath towel, it typically takes 30 minutes or more.
Using microfiber is gentler than coarse terry cloth on the hair cuticle. This is particularly beneficial for my fine strands because hair is most susceptible to damage while it’s wet. And my fine hair needs all the help it can get to dry as safely (and smoothly) as possible because it breaks more easily than thicker strands. Though I love it for my hair, microfiber hair wraps can benefit any hair type, as they can cut down on frizz, too.
4. A leave-in conditioner that won’t leave hair looking oily
Once my hair turban sops up most of the water from my strands, I remove it and shake my hair out. Before even thinking about running a brush through it, I spritz a leave-in conditioner. Up until the past month, I’ve always reached for Briogeo’s Don't Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Spray Hair Mask and used it as a leave-in conditioner—it works wonders for loosening tangles, conditioning strands, smoothing texture, and delivering shine. It’s my be-all-end-all, but using it every day results in very flat hair, thanks to how much moisture it offers.
So, as the matchy-matchy person I am, I immediately made room in my routine when Dae released its Cactus Flower Leave-In Conditioner in March 2021. It features the same citrusy scent as the shampoo and conditioner and works well to soften and detangle strands in preparation for brushing.
As for how I choose which to use on any given day, it’s a draw. While I’ll always use the leave-in mask with the other Briogeo products in my routine, some days I’ll pair it with the Dae shampoo and conditioner, as well, if it feels like my hair needs more moisture (but not as much as washing with the full Briogeo set would offer). No matter which leave-in I choose, though, I know I can look forward to a frizz-free mane that’s soft and shiny.
- Get the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!™ Strength + Moisture Leave-In Spray Hair Mask from Sephora for $28
- Get the Dae Cactus Flower Leave-In Conditioner from Sephora for $26
5. A brush designed specifically for wet hair
I will never again brush my wet hair with anything other than a brush specifically designed for wet hair. While I’ve tried a variety of brushes, none ever come close to the cult-favorite Wet Brush. It has soft, flexible bristles that wiggle their way into knots to untangle them without any pulling or pain. I’ve owned more than I can count—not because they’re flimsy and break but because I get lazy about washing my brushes and sometimes it’s easier to buy a new one than fuss with cleaning bristles.
6. A set of styling tools that dries and smooths the hair
I am well aware that it’s a splurge, but if you’re someone who regularly books blowouts, the Dyson Airwrap Styler will pay for itself in a short period of time. After all, a salon blowout plus a tip can ring you upwards of $65, meaning that you could enjoy roughly eight blowouts or purchase this high quality at-home set.
The kit comes with the Airwrap device, four Airwrap barrels (two large and two small barrels that point in opposite directions), three styling brush head attachments, and a pre-styling dryer. I can’t get enough of how easily this lets me dry and blow out my hair into a sleek style. While the wrap barrels are technically designed to curl the hair, they never create lasting curls in my fine strands. I don’t mind, though, as I’m instead left with soft, voluminous strands. I find the brush head attachments most useful because I can use them to smooth my strands and flip them out at the ends. And, after just getting my hair layered for the first time in over 10 years, I’m having lots of fun creating all the body and flip I can.
Don’t just take my word for it—we named the Airwrap one of the best curling irons and wands for its versatility and effortless-looking curls.
7. A curling wand for more defined curls
Fine hair generally refuses to hold a curl, and even the Dyson can’t make spirals in my locks. Luckily, I found Conair’s Infinitipro Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand. I purchased my first one in college almost 10 years ago. Over the years, the silhouette has changed, but the results remain the same: jaw-dropping curls and waves—which is all the more shocking considering its lower-than-most price.
When I want spiral curls (which I ultimately brush out for defined, beachy waves), I always opt for this tool. The tourmaline-coated wand has five heat settings so you can pick what’s best for your locks, starting with lower for fine hair or higher for a thick mane. I prefer the results from the second (330 degrees) or third (360 degrees) heat settings, neither of which scorch my hair. Despite using the lower settings, the curls this wand creates always last all day. Whether I leave them as-is, shake them out, or brush them out with my favorite post-styling brush, my hair will maintain the shape. That’s something I can’t say of many other curling irons, wands, or in-salon blowouts.
8. A flexible, mixed-bristle brush for smoothing dry hair
When I tell friends how much I adore this brush, they scratch their heads in bewilderment because of its relatively unknown status. Made with a blend of plastic and synthetic boar bristles, the Mon Shampoing Special Flexi Brush works to smooth my fine hair without taking away its hard-to-achieve body. Whether it’s straight, wavy, or curled, I can count on this brush to smooth out my strands without fully flattening them to my head.
9. A bottle of long-lasting texture spray
After drying and styling my hair, I check it from all angles to see where it could use a little extra lift. Then, I reach for one of my favorite texture sprays—the IGK No Limit Dry Volume and Thickening Spray or the Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Texturizing Finishing Spray—to make my voluminous hair goals a reality. If I’m hoping for an updo to stay high and secure all night long, I go with Drybar, which I find has more hold. For wearing my hair down with my everyday beachy waves, I prefer the IGK spray for added texture and hold.
My favorite way to use them is to part my hair deeply on either side, spray it in, then do the same on the other side. If I still want more volume, I’ll add a light spritz throughout my hair while doing a hair flip, which seems to give it that natural extra oomph without having to get super handsy (I’m no professional stylist, after all). Any time I tell people how fine and flat my hair is—unless, of course, they’ve seen it fully unstyled—they scoff and say there’s no way. That’s how well these sprays work for keeping the roots lifted.
- Get the IGK No Limit Dry Volume and Thickening Spray from Sephora for $31
- Get the Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Texturizing Finishing Spray from Sephora for $26
10. A can of easy-to-blend dry shampoo
I’ve been writing about beauty for almost 10 years. Throughout that time, more stylists than I can count have told me how essential it is to not wash your hair every day. As someone with oily-prone roots and flat hair, I always thought it was impossible to maintain clean hair for more than a day or two. But over the past few years, with the aforementioned products and dry shampoo, I finally caught on to the wonders of washing less.
On no-wash days that I wake up with oily roots, I use Dove’s Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo to absorb the excess oil while lightly lifting my roots. What I enjoy most about this dry shampoo (apart from its affordable price) is that it quickly absorbs into hair so that roots look natural and mattified instead of white, powdery, or shiny with oil. Reviewed’s dry shampoo tester agrees, naming this the best overall because it doesn’t leave behind any residue or weigh the hair down.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.