November 6, 2015

Hair Volume: How to Get More or Less

by Emilia Obiekea of 
Back when my hair was relaxed I liked to keep it as straight as possible. As soon as it would start to swell, the flat irons came out. Fast forward, 5+ years, I love my hair to be large and achieve maximum volume by the end of the week. We all have our preferences. Some love sleek others love fluff. No matter which way you's all about the volume. 

(image courtesy: istock)
What is hair volume anyway?
Hair volume is determined by the following elements:
  • Density: The amount of hair on your head determines the density/ thickness of your hair. There is not an exact expected number of strands per person. *Generally expected to be 100 thousand or so. The number of strands is largely due to genetics and can be impaired by health issues as well.
  • Strand Diameter: The size of width of individual strands.
  • Sebum: Natural sebum (oil) level on scalp and down the length of the hair. If hair is very oily the strands are prone to stick together. This can cause temporary loss of volume.
  • Lastly, general characteristics of the hair (hair types).
Read On!>>>
Hair volume is basically due to genetics and affected by weather and other factors. The amount of volume is reduced or encouraged by the use of hair products.

Types of Volume

There are generally 3 recognized types of volume. 

Low Volume
  • Hair is very lightweight
  • Tends to have a lot of flyaways
  • Strands are small in diameter
  • Usually the hair is straight/ lightly textured throughout
  • Can be difficult to curl/ maintain textured styles
Quick way to identify:
  • If the base of your ponytail is slender (dime size and under).
  • If you can easily see your scalp when your hair is soaking wet (without manipulation).
How to Increase Volume
  • Keeping your ends trimmed. 
  • Shorter hair styles. *Removing some length reduces the weight of the strands. This makes the hair to appear fuller.
  • Fluffing your roots.
  • Use products that increase volume/ "thicken" the hair.
  • Tip: When doing twist outs/ braid outs do not focus on the roots. Allow it to be puffy. This will give your style great volume from the roots down.*This is something I figured out during the 3 years I transitioned my hair from relaxed to natural. It really works.
Medium Volume
This is the most common type.
  •  Not thin but not thick in density
  • Doesn't get easily weighted down my many products
  • Can have some flyaways
Quick way to identify:
  • If the base of the ponytail is the approximately the width of a nickle. 
  • If you cannot see majority of your scalp through your hair when wet.
How to Maintain Current Volume
  • Use anti-humectant products or normal daily moisturizers.
  • Wonderful anti-humectant oils and butters are: mango butter, argan oil and jojoba oil. *Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax.
Large Volume
  •  Usually highly textured by (curls, waves, zig zags or afro) 
  • Density varies from average to very thick
  • Strands range from fine to thick
  • Can use regular to thick/ heavy products for leave ins and stylers.
Quick way to identify:
  • If the base of the ponytail is anything larger than a nickle
  • When your hair is wet you cannot see your scalp through your hair.
How to Decrease Volume
  • Use anti-humectant leave ins and stylers.
  • Avoid leave in products that are heavy with humectants and oils that behave as humectants. 
  • Joico Humidity Blocker spray is a nice product to use. Some have mixed reviews. It has been decent for me.
  • Tip: When styling the hair for a braid/ twist outs be sure to braid the roots first. Then continue to braid or begin twisting the length of the hair to your ends. This will minimize the puffiness at the roots and keep it sleek. The overall look of the style will be less fluffy and more defined. Gel or a style of choice can be applied to the roots. No need to be heavy-handed.
*Common humectants are glycerin, honey and agave nectar. A common oil that behaves as a humectant is castor oil. 
How to Maintain Volume

I adore big hair! The bigger the better IMO. 
  • The best way to maintain large volume hair is to use light weight products and oils. The heavier the product is the more volume will be lost.
  • If these ingredients are in the top 5 on a products ingredient list they may not be best for you (unless you have very dense hair): castor oil, olive oil, beeswax (most waxes).
  • Use products containing the following light to medium weight oils: apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, hempseed oil, jojoba oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. Daily Dew oil is a great combo of most of these listed carrier oils.

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