Give fine hair the brush off

Lisa Haynes reveals how to fatten up your tresses with some insider tips and tonics.

JANUARY is undoubtedly the month of diet talk and slimming chat. But there’s one area that many women are in constant pursuit of fattening up — the top of our heads.

An estimated 40% of women have fine hair which can be difficult to manage and style. While the ageing process can result in thinning tresses due to hormonal changes, a dramatic difference in hair texture can strike at any age, with triggers including poor diet, extreme stress, hormonal imbalances or childbirth.

“Big or ’fat’ hair is the picture of health and can make even the most ordinary of outfits look fabulous,” says hair stylist Katie Hamburger.

“It’s thick, healthy and full of life, so it all starts with keeping your hair in great condition.”

Go big on the prep and fling back a fuller mane for spring.

Body building

It’s impossible to create more hair, but you can lather up with products that create thicker, healthier locks right from the follicle.

Choose a thickening shampoo, apply into your palms and give your scalp a DIY massage for a couple of minutes. Massaging the scalp can stimulate blood flow, which can strengthen hair roots.

“Apply a light conditioner to ends only, so the strands aren’t weighed down by any extra product,” Hamburger advises.

For an extra volumising boost, she recommends a leave-in treatment specifically for thinning hair: “It’s ideal for thin hair as it strengthens and improves the density of each hair strand, while creating volume and thickening the hair.”

Heavyweight styling

How you wear your hair can make all the difference between fine or fabulous. Avoid styles that hang limp around your face and opt for volumising layers and clever cuts.

“A shorter cut will help when it comes to thinning hair, as well as adding in layers to create body and movement,” says hair stylist Norris Ogario.

Trying a different parting can also work wonders — a sweeping fringe can create the illusion of thicker locks.”

Gentle waves will add extra texture and a fuller appearance. Place inch sections of hair into medium-size rollers all over the head, apply heat with a hairdryer, then let them cool completely. If you prefer your hair off your face, certain styles can give the gift of volume — try a Bardot-inspired ponytail that involves a bit of back-combing on day-old hair.

3D colour boost

Hair colour has evolved from simple ‘blonde’, ‘brunette’ or ‘cover grey’ ambitions to transformative textural results.

“Ask for a multi-tonal colour — it’s a bit like a 3D effect,” says Josh Wood, hair colour expert.

“If you have a slightly darker, medium and lighter colour, it will look as though you have almost three times the amount of hair than with a single shade.” Using different tones on different areas of the hair, a skilled colourist will play on light and dark to create the illusion of thicker looking hair.

“Roots that are a little bit darker and ends that look lighter will generally make your hair look fuller,” Wood advises.

Simply having colour in your hair can also have a physical effect. Hair that’s coloured has been chemically processed, which gives the feeling of slightly bulkier tresses.


Hair deserves extra TLC in the winter. We spent a little longer in the shower with these intensive conditioners:

Charles Worthington Strength & Repair Longer & Stronger Hair Masque, €7.99

In just two minutes, the beautifully fragranced masque worked its magic on hair that had lost its lustre over winter. After drying, hair felt immediately softer and stronger and it even seemed to smooth split-ends.

L’Oreal Paris EverRiche Nourishing Intense Mask (for dry/very dry hair), €8.99.

Despite the cheap and cheerful price tag, this mask made a noticeable difference to chlorine-parched tresses after five minutes.

Hair looked shinier and felt lovely and soft, and there was no need to coat it in serum after drying.

STUFF WE LIKE – for lovely tresses

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion Promotions, €7.99

Give fine hair a head start with this lotion that boosts volume and shine in one. It comes with heat shield technology to protect your hair from dry heat. Non-stick, it thickens and lifts from the roots — perfect for high-rise styles.

Aveda Invati Thickening Conditioner 1000ml, €96

With this price tag, expectations will be high. This conditioner is packed with arginine, which comes from sugar beets and soy protein, proven to improve hair elasticity and strength. Organic kukui nut oil helps add natural shine.

Schwarzkopf essence ULTÎME Biotin+ Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, €2.99 each (introductory offer Boots)

Developed with Claudia Schiffer, this formula promises to help you get super-model hair. Omega oils help to repair damaged hair cells and prevents split ends by up to 90%. That’s Now there’s a promise worth checking.

L’Oreal Paris Elvive Fibrology Thickening Masque, €6.49

Designed to give long-lasting thickness, this masque helps hair to look bigger, with lots of volume and bounce. Filloxane, which penetrates and expands hair from within, is its wow ingredient and will keep you coming back for more.

Charles Worthington Salon at Home Secrets Collection Amplifying Volume Treatment, €13.33

This treatment promises to condition and lift the hair from all angles, leaving it flexible and frizz free. Collagen gives every strand thickness and bounce, leaving hair looking fuller.


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