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20 Ways To Make Flat Hair Look More Voluminous

It’s as easy as tweaking a few steps in your routine.
  • Chloe Valentine Toscano
March 21, 2024

If you have fine or thin strands, you've probably dealt with flat hair at one point or another. While flat hair certainly has its place in the styling world—we love it for a slicked-back look—a lack of volume can be frustrating if you’re after a fuller, fluffier hairstyle. The good news: With the right styling products, tools, and techniques, you can transform your flat mane into one that speaks volumes (both figuratively and literally).

Ahead, we’ll explain what causes flat hair and share our best tips for giving your mane a much-needed boost. You’ll also discover a few of our favorite volumizing products along the way. Keep reading—we’re spilling everything we know about how to add volume to hair, right here.

Why Is My Hair So Flat?

Genetics, your daily habits, and your lifestyle can all contribute to flat, limp hair. Some of the most common causes of limp-looking strands include:

  • Your hair type: Fine, straight hair tends to be flatter than thicker or more textured strands.
  • Not shampooing often enough: Between shampoos, oil builds up on the scalp. Over time, this excess oil can weigh your hair down, giving it a flat, limp appearance. Using the wrong products for your mane: Using products that are too heavy for your strands can weigh down your hair, making it appear flat.
  • Over-styling: Styling products are often necessary for giving flat hair volume, but overusing them can result in limp-looking locks.
  • Touching your hair too often: Every time you touch your hair, the natural oils from your fingers are transferred onto your strands. To help keep your hair full and bouncy, keep the manual manipulation to a minimum.
  • Showering in hard water: Hard water has a higher-than-average concentration of minerals (like calcium and magnesium). When you shower in hard water, these minerals can stick to your strands, causing your hair to take on a limp or flat appearance.

How To Add Volume To Flat Hair

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If you’re looking to learn how to make your hair fluffy and full, keep reading—we’re sharing 20 of our best tips right here.

1. Give your strands a detox

Buildup, as we mentioned, is one of the main causes of flat hair. To help revive your flat strands, try the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoo With Antioxidants and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Restoring Conditioner With Antioxidants. These products work together to remove weighty buildup from styling products and hard water. The sulfate-free duo is suitable for all hair types and clarifies without stripping color.

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2. Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner

If buildup doesn’t seem to be the root of your problem, consider reaching for a volumizing shampoo and conditioner like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Volume Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Volume Conditioner. The color-safe pair helps condition and revive fine, flat hair, infusing it with shine and lasting volume.

Find more wash day tips in our article on how to wash thin hair properly.

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3. Use a pre-shampoo scrub

Consider adding a scalp scrub to your “everything shower” routine once or twice per month. These exfoliating treatments can help deep-clean the scalp to remove excess oil, dead skin, and stubborn product residue. You’ll enjoy a cleaner, fresher-feeling scalp—and full, voluminous strands.

4. Don’t overdo it with conditioner

Believe it or not, you don’t actually need to put conditioner on your roots. In fact, doing so can weigh down your strands, causing—you guessed it—flat hair. Instead, apply conditioner starting a few inches down from your roots, and use only as much as directed on the bottle.

5. Be choosy with your hair serums

Many hair serums have rich, oil-based formulas that, while nourishing, can weigh down finer hair. If you want to give your mane some TLC and add volume to your hair, look for a lightweight serum suitable for all hair types.

One of our favorite options is the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Pure Oil Erasing Serum For Oily Hair. The exfoliating formula helps minimize excess oils and removes weighty residue, leaving your scalp feeling pure and refreshed. Simply apply the salicylic acid-infused formula to your dry scalp, massage the product in, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, hop in the shower, rinse, shampoo, and condition as usual.

Another great option is the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Moisture Plump Serum, Paraben-Free. Apply the leave-in formula to your mid-lengths and ends after showering for a boost of moisture that leaves your hair shinier, bouncier, and fuller-feeling.

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6. Turn to dry shampoo

If greasy roots are making your hair appear limp but you don’t have time to shampoo and condition, reach for dry shampoo. These spray-on shampoos can help soak up any excess oils that may be causing flat hair and give your strands new life until your next wash.

Keep in mind that when it comes to dry shampoo, less is more: Using too much can contribute to buildup, leaving hair flat, limp, and lank.

7. Tease your roots

Teasing is a styling trick that instantly helps volumize the hair by creating the illusion of more fullness in specific areas. Start by grabbing a three-inch section of hair at the crown of your head. Pull the section forward, so the underside of the hair is clearly visible. Use a fine-toothed comb to back-comb the underside of the section (in other words, comb toward your roots rather than toward the ends). Then, lay your hair back down and repeat the process all around your head. Done properly, the technique should create the illusion of naturally thick, voluminous hair—without too much effort on your part. (If you’d like a more in-depth look at how to tease and backcomb, we break it all down here).

8. Rock voluminous curls

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Flat hair doesn’t always occur solely at the roots. To give your tresses a thicker appearance from roots to ends, use a large-barrel curling iron to add loose ringlets throughout your mane. Once you’ve curled all of your hair, finger-comb the curls to loosen them for a more voluminous, wind-swept appearance. If your flat hair tends to have trouble holding a curl, finish the look with a generous misting of hairspray to help lock the style into place.

9. Try a texturizing paste

If you’re looking to add volume to your hair but don’t want to break out the hot tools, consider adding a texturizing paste to your haircare routine. We love L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty, as it helps texturize and thicken while providing medium, workable hold. Simply work a small amount of the paste throughout damp or dry hair and style as usual for a voluminous look that doesn’t take a ton of time to nail.

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10. Use a volumizing mousse

Hair mousse is another styling product that those with flat hair should always keep in their arsenal—it provides body and fullness without weighing down your mane like a heavier gel or cream might. For those with limp hair, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse. It’s infused with thickening agents and provides up to 24 hours of lightweight volume for bouncy looks that last.

If you need a refresher on how to volumize hair with this must-have product, check out our article How To Use Hair Mousse For Your Hair Type.

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11. Blow it out

There’s a reason why your mane looks so voluptuous when you leave the salon: the post-cut (or color) blowout. While you can hit the salon for a blowout, it’s also possible to do it at home. For the full how-to, read our guide to at-home blowouts here.

12. Blow dry your hair upside down

You don’t have to commit to a blowout to achieve fuller locks at home—simply blowdrying your hair upside down can help add lift at the roots. Just remember to use a heat protectant to help shield your hair against unnecessary damage. We recommend L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Leave-In, which protects against temperatures up to 450oF.

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13. Put it up

If you’re a fan of multitasking, you’ll be happy to know that there are simple ways to lift flat hair that cut down on styling time. One of those is pulling your hair up into a high bun. Don’t worry about creating the perfect bun—you’re not going to be keeping it in.

Start by creating a high, loose bun at the crown of your head and secure it with a silk scrunchie so as not to leave any ridges. Lightly mist your hair with water, then allow it to dry (we suggest taking this time to do your skincare and makeup routines). When it’s time to style your strands, you can take out your bun and reveal instantly lifted roots.

14. Use a hairpiece

You know what they say: fake it ‘til you make it. To instantly create the illusion of fuller hair, consider reaching for a hairpiece. There are a plethora of hairpieces on the market that are specifically made to create the illusion of volume. If you’re a beginner, look for halo extensions or clip-in extensions—they’re super-easy to apply (and remove), so they’re ideal for beginners.

15. Try hair extensions

If you’re willing to spend a little bit more time and money in your quest for fuller-looking hair, permanent hair extensions may be for you. You’ll need to visit an experienced stylist (and prepare to spend a few hours in the chair) for this one, but in exchange, you’ll get volume that lasts—a fair trade-off, as far as we’re concerned.

16. Sport a double ponytail

Give your sad, limp ponytail a new lease on life by propping it up with another pony placed directly beneath it. To create this voluminous look, start by parting your hair horizontally from ear to ear, almost as if you were creating a half-up hairstyle. Clip the top section out of the way, then gather the bottom section into a ponytail at the back of your head and secure it with a clear elastic.

Next, unclip the top section of hair and pull it into a second ponytail positioned directly above the first. Finish by wrapping a scrunchie around both ponytails—you should be left with a bouncy, voluminous updo.

17. Give rollers a try

Putting your hair into rollers can instantly give limp hair life by creating bouncy curls. Use hot rollers and let them work their magic about an hour before you’re ready to go out, or use foam rollers or flexi rods overnight when you want to wake up to beautiful voluminous hair.

18. Finish with volumizing hairspray

Sometimes, the difference between flat hair and voluminous hair comes down to the products you choose to set your style. When finishing a look with hairspray, we suggest looking for one with a lightweight formula, like our L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Strong Hold Hairspray. And if you’re working with color-treated hair, go for the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray For Color Treated Hair. Both contain only six ingredients and provide brushable hold with no stickiness, stiffness, or visible residue.

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19. Switch your part

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Something as simple as a part change can give flat hair a boost. When you part your hair the same way for a long time, your hair can become accustomed to the way it falls. By switching your part, your roots will be brushed in a direction they aren’t used to going. This may help create an arch effect that can temporarily lift your roots.

20. Add layers

For a more permanent solution for voluminous hair, ask your hairdresser to add layers to your cut. They can help add volume to fine, flat hair. This style gives your mane the illusion of having more body and movement, which makes it look fuller. (And if you need some inspo for your salon visit, we’ve got plenty right here).

Next Up: The Best Shampoos to Give Your Thin Hair Volume

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