Vol.2, No.9

How to blow dry hair for more volume

Want to maximize your hair volume? You can with your blow drier. Just follow these tips for full, beautiful hair.

Salon blow dry
Photo Credit: Ahmad Faizal Yahya
Like all fashions eventually do, big hair is making a comeback. It is not the big hair, however, of yesteryear. The style of women in the 60's, 70's and 80's was achieved with sleepless nights on pop can sized rollers, lots of teasing, and enough hair spray to create a hole in the ozone layer just above a girl's head. Hair that was done right took on the texture of a fine mesh helmet that could withstand gale force winds.

These days, the big hair style is much more subtle. The look we desire is that of fullness, yet much more natural looking. We no longer seek out the helmet head style, but hair that flows naturally, and that you can actually rake your fingers through without them getting stuck.

Some people are born with a head of full, thick, luxurious hair. The rest of us, however, can fake it with the aid of a blow drier and a good brush.

In order to increase the volume of your hair, towel dry it after washing to remove the excess moisture. Once it is no longer dripping, comb it thoroughly with a wide-tooth comb so that it is free of knots and tangles.

Before blow drying you may want to consider applying a styling gel or mousse. This is particularly helpful if your hair is fine, limp or naturally oily. When you apply the product to your hair, you want to apply it mainly to the roots. It is the inch or so of hair closest to the scalp that you want the product to strengthen so it will hold up. You don't want to use too much product on the rest of your hair, as it will serve to make the ends it heavier, weighing it down and decreasing the volume.

To apply your mousse or gel, take a small amount of the product in your palm, and part your hair with a comb. Dip a finger in the product and rub it along the part, into the roots. Part your hair again, approximately an inch over, and rub more along the root line. Repeat this, going from one side of your hair to the other. Then, take a comb and comb it through your hair to spread it evenly. This will keep the bulk of the product on the roots of the hair.

In order to gain the maximum volume by blow drying, it helps to have a good brush. The best brush to use is a large, round brush with vents to allow the air to flow through. Metal brushes are best, as they retain the heat of the drier which helps increase the volume.

Your blow drier should be set on high heat. More heat will create more volume. Unfortunately, heat can also serve to damage and dry out your hair. You can help decrease the damaging effects of the heat by constantly keeping your drier in motion, rather than focusing on a single place at a time. With that technique and a good conditioner, you can help keep heat damage to a minimum.

The angle you hold your drier is of the utmost importance to obtain high volume. Angle your drier so that you are blowing up at the roots and towards the ends of the hair. Blowing down onto the roots will only be counter-productive and cause flat pockets.

If you are able to bend over and hang your head down so your hair is hanging down toward the floor, you should do so. This is much easier and more effective than trying to hold your hair up with a brush. Simply brush through as you wave the drier at the roots. Dry all of the roots first, and work your way down toward the ends of your hair until completely dry. Then flip your hair over and style gently.

If you are unable to bend over like that, then part your hair into sections. Use your brush to lift up one section at a time, holding it in a direction that it grows out, perpendicular to the scalp. Start by drying the roots of each section, then working down to the tips. When a section is dry, start on another section. When done, run your fingers through it and style gently as usual.

With these techniques, you will create a lift at the roots that will give your hair more volume, making it look much fuller than it may naturally be.