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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best hair volumizing products

Last Updated March 2019

There’s no such thing as having too much body in your hair. Whether you’re already blessed with thick hair, are struggling with thinning hair, or are shedding strands from stress, adding a volumizing hair product to your daily routine can create fuller, thicker hair that’ll make heads turn and add bounce to your step (and hair!).

While volumizing hair products are ideal for fine, wispy hair, anyone looking for a root boost or a way to strengthen existing strands can benefit from these products. Volumizing hair products don’t prevent hair loss, but some do stimulate hair growth, and others plump up what you already have and make a huge (so to speak) difference.

It can be difficult to navigate all the products claiming to give you a lion’s mane, but we’re here to help you sort the information. Our guide breaks down the options, gives tips on how to use them, and points out some of our favorites for your consideration.

People with fine or wispy hair can make their hair appear thicker and fuller with hair-volumizing products.

Types of volumizing hair products

Volumizing hair products can be spritzed, lathered, dabbed, or rubbed into your hair depending on what form they take. 

Sprays aren’t just limited to hair sprays. Volumizing sprays focus more on lift and texture than on hold, though they certainly can provide a light hold, too. Some sprays work as dry shampoos while others are formulated to spray onto wet hair before styling either with a hair dryer or without.

Shampoos formulated to create volume and body include ingredients that thicken the hair while you wash it. These may include panthenol (vitamin B5) to increase the diameter of the hair or biotin (vitamin B7) to promote hair growth. Other common ingredients in volumizing shampoos are keratin, rice or wheat protein, and caffeine.

Conditioners are similar to volumizing shampoos in their ingredient list (B5, biotin, keratin) but are designed to be used after cleansing the hair. There are also more natural options that contain botanical ingredients, such as algae, that are designed to strengthen and add body to fine hair

Lotions and creams are designed to add volume by coating the entire hair while damp. They also add softness, smoothness, and some shine. Many of these double as styling products.

Serums have a liquid consistency and are designed as leave-in treatments, often for overnight application. Serums work gradually to thicken hair and stimulate hair growth, so give these products a few weeks to see results. 

Mousses, also known as foams, are fluffy, light hair products that provide lift to the roots along with hold and texture. Traditionally, these are designed to apply to wet hair, but there are newer products on the market formulated to plump up dry hair. 

Gel hair-volumizing products thicken strands by binding to proteins in each strand and providing structure to weak or thin hair. Unlike regular gels, a volumizing gel shouldn’t feel sticky or stiff or leave behind a “gunky” residue.

Volumizing powders work on dry hair. Simply sprinkle some of the white powder onto your hands and scrunch it into your roots. The powder should feel slightly tacky, then waxy as you apply it, providing invisible lift and hold as it drys translucent.

Other volumizing products on the market include clay pastes, masques (masks), and soufflés, all of which tend to be high-end items.

Naturally thickening

Using nature’s own hair-thickening ingredients, such as biotin and keratin, this shampoo promotes hair growth every time you wash your hair. It is free of parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals and is safe for use on dyed hair. It contains caffeine to stimulate the hair follicles on your scalp.

Ingredients in volumizing hair products

Panthenol

Panthenol, aka vitamin B5, has been scientifically proven to thicken hair by increasing the diameter of individual hair fibers. Strands thickened by panthenol are also more resistant to breakage. It can be taken orally as well to stimulate hair growth.

Biotin

Another impressive B vitamin, B7 (biotin) rebuilds hair shingles that have been damaged by shampooing, sun exposure, and heat styling. It can be taken orally as well to promote hair growth.

Keratin

This protein is naturally found in your hair and will strengthen it when added topically, making it less prone to breakage. It bonds to the rough edges of the hair cuticle, resulting in smoother, shinier, thicker hair.

Female-pattern baldness affects 30 million American women. Biotin is a natural vitamin found in many volumizing hair products that helps combat hair loss.

Proteins

Other proteins, such as rice or wheat, are common ingredients in thickening products. They strengthen hair strands and fill in gaps, working especially well for those who have porous (aka curly/kinky) or damaged hair.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a popular volumizing ingredient that has been proven to stimulate and extend the life of hair follicles. 

Polymers

Either synthetic or naturally derived (from cellulose and starches), these molecular chains “stick” to your hair, coating individual strands from root to tip and creating overall thickness and fullness.

DID YOU KNOW?

Starches are a popular ingredient found in volumizing products. Starches perform effectively as “root lifters” because they contain zero moisture and are able to keep the volume up all day long.

Hair volumizing product prices

A basic volumizing mousse or shampoo that can be purchased at drugstores or online starts at $7 and goes up to $14. Low-priced sprays and gels also fall at the higher end of this price range.

A mid-priced volumizing product can range from $15 to $24. The products in this range encompass a good variety of thickening products.

High-end hair volumizing products, typically shampoos and foams, range from $25 to $35. Luxury hair volumizing products can cost upwards of $40.

EXPERT TIP

Volumizing creams and lotions often add texture along with volume to your hair. If you’re going for a beachy wave style, this type of product works well.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Select a volumizing product that’s lightweight and doesn’t cause buildup. You don’t want your hair to be weighed down by a product that’s supposed to lift it up!
  • For bombshell hair, use a volumizing mousse on wet hair from roots to mid-length and then immediately hit it with a hair dryer, scrunching hair upward with your fingers as you go.
  • Excess oil on the scalp can cause hair to fall flat. Using a shampoo for oily hair may help pep up limp hair.
  • For many hair-volumizing products, blow drying your hair immediately after application will heighten the effects. Some stylists even recommend blow drying your hair upside down (by flipping your head over).
  • For best results, use a volumizing shampoo paired with a volumizing conditioner. Note, however, that you should only condition from mid-length down to the ends so you don’t weigh down your roots.

Versatile styling product

As a three-in-one styling product, Bed Head thickens hair, adds shine, and controls frizz. It can also be used as a styling product, molding your ‘do to your liking. It provides light to medium hold without leaving a sticky residue if you run your fingers through your hair. Volume keeps until the next wash.

Other products we considered

The name of this volumizing spray says it all: Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play Volumizing Hair Spray. A humidity-resistant hair spray, this Sexy Hair product provides strong hold and bold volume for up to 72 hours. As a hair spray, it’s flexible enough that your hair will move and you can keep styling it. As a volumizing product, it can tackle your most ambitions big hair goals.

Another TIGI product we’re a fan of is Catwalk Root Boost Spray. This spray mousse adds body, volume, and lift when sprayed onto your roots. It works particularly well to boost roots on thin hair, though some curly hair users love it, too. A little goes a long way with this already low-priced volumizing product.

For best results, aim volumizing or thickening sprays at the roots of your hair.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a volumizing spray and a hair spray?
A.
The main difference is hold. A hair spray is designed to hold styled hair in place; by default, it maintains voluminous styles. Hair spray is used after hair is dry and styled — not before like volumizing products typically are. A volumizing spray may or may not be formulated to hold a style in place, but it will definitely add volume. To make matters more confusing, volumizing hair sprays exist and will add substantial hold and substantial volume. 

Q. I’m a man with short, thinning hair. What’s the best volumizing product for me?
A.
We recommend a thickening serum that you can apply at night to work on hair growth while you sleep. A volumizing shampoo is also a great product for that. Depending on how “styled” you want your hair to appear, a foam or powder could give your roots a little boost as you go throughout your day.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ana
    Ana
    Writer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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