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8 best hair volumising products for full and bouncy locks

Go big or go home with our top picks, from nourishing formulas to sprays for styling on-the-go

Anna Samson
Friday 17 December 2021 10:13 GMT
The winning elixirs delivered thicker, healthier looking hair without stickiness or added weight
The winning elixirs delivered thicker, healthier looking hair without stickiness or added weight (The Independent)

There are many reasons why hair can look a little on the flat side. It might be that it is just naturally fine due to genetics, or maybe it’s been damaged by colour and styling. Or, it could have thinned out thanks to hormones, ageing, or even stress.

Tresses can be thinner just at the ends, sparse at the roots, or it might just be looking a bit lacklustre and flat all over. Additionally, some styles and up-dos just look better when the hair has been plumped up a little, and require a helping hand to achieve these new heights.

Luckily, we no longer need to backcomb our locks to get the extra volume you want. The key is understanding which products are most effective for each of our individual hair needs. Investing in effective, targeted products can lift or bulk up the hair, giving it a much-needed boost.

With innovative volumising cleansers, conditioners, sprays and mousses out there, there are plenty of options to choose from. And, by creating a strong haircare routine that prioritises volume, it’s possible to attain thicker, healthy-looking hair.

How we tested

Each of the products had their own individual instructions for use, and we followed the recommended steps on either wet or dry hair. Products that impressed us the most helped to promote volume, lift and body. It was important that this was achieved while maintaining the hair’s natural feel, without any stickiness. We also wanted formulas that didn’t overload the hair, damage it or weigh it down. We tried them on long, highlighted hair that can feel thin due to colour damage, especially towards the ends. Here’s what we found…

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The best volumising products for 2021 are:

  • Best overall volumising product – Amika plus size perfect body mousse: £20, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best for fine hair – ghd pick me up root spray: £18, Johnlewis.com
  • Best for long-lasting hold – L’Oreal Paris elnett very volume hairspray: £5, Boots.com
  • Best for damaged hair – Maria Nila pure volume masque: £24.24, Sallybeauty.co.uk
  • Best for quick volume – JOICO hair shake, £16.81, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best low-waste product – Aussie Koality volume mate! vegan solid shampoo bar: £9.99, Boots.com
  • Best conditioner – Philip Kingsley body building weightless conditioner, £14.99, Justmylook.com
  • Best for everyday luxury – Michael Van Clarke thicker quicker volumising blowdry spray: £19.50, Nichebeauty.com

Amika plus size perfect body mousse

Amika plus size perfect body mousse, 252ml indybest.jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Mousses sometimes get a bad rep and have struggled to shake off their association with 1980s perms. However, modern formulas are an important tool in any volumising hair routine, and this gem from cult Brooklyn brand Amika offers plenty of body without a hint of crispiness.

It’s rare to find a product that suits so many hair types, but this versatile mousse would suit almost anyone looking for a hit of volume. First, we tried it on wet hair, scrunching it through our lengths and leaving it to dry naturally. The result was defined waves that felt thick without being frizzy. The next time we used it, we spread the mousse through wet hair and blow-dried it straight, creating a smooth style that looked healthy and glossy.

Although not cheap, you don’t need a huge amount of mousse to get results, and the sweet vanilla scent lasts all day, adding an air of luxury. Plus, the pretty patterned packaging that adds a pop of colour to your dressing table doesn’t hurt either.

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ghd pick me up root spray

ghd pick me up root spray, 100ml indybest.jpg

Best: For fine hair

Rating: 8/10

As you might expect, ghd’s range of styling products are a great companion to heated styling tools, and we loved this easy to use root spray. It’s the ideal prepping product to use on limp hair before blow-drying, and protects the hair from heat while providing a boost at the roots.

We sprayed it all over our roots while our hair was clean and damp, and tipped our head forward as we blasted it with a hairdryer. For even better results, we would recommend using a round brush to pull up your roots as you dry. It’s a bit of a workout for your arm, but the voluminous result will be worth it.

The shorter and finer your hair is, the more effective this product will be, as the hair is lighter and more responsive to being shaped upwards. However, the effect on longer hair is still noticeable, with the added bonus of reducing damage while you style.

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L’Oreal Paris elnett very volume hairspray

L'Oreal Paris elnett very volume hairspray, 400ml indybest.jpg

Best: For long-lasting hold

Rating: 9/10

Some products are classics for a reason, and this hairspray more than lives up to its stellar reputation. The famous golden can was first created in 1960, and has been a helping hand for both professional and amateur hairstylists ever since.

This edition focuses on volume, and promises up to 24 hours of hold. We tested it in the morning, and found that the super fine mist of product made it easy to ensure even coverage of our up-do. Our hair stayed in place without feeling hard or looking too rigid, and it still maintained its natural texture and movement.

At the end of the day, our hair was still standing pretty tall and was much less frizzy than it usually would be by evening. A quick brush removed the product, leaving hardly a hint of residue. And, at only £5, it’s an affordable buy that’s well-loved for a reason.

  1.  £5 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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Maria Nila pure volume masque

Maria Nila pure volume masque, 250ml indybest.jpg

Best: For damaged hair

Rating: 9/10

Using a deep conditioning hair mask might seem counterintuitive when you’re on the hunt for volume, but the truth is that the healthier your hair is, the thicker it will look.

This decadent formula from Swedish favourite Maria Nila is not only packed with hydrating ingredients like vitamin B2, but it is also vegan and colour-safe. It doesn’t include any sulphates or parabens, and instead protects the hair against damaging UV rays and free radicals.

We applied it to our hair after shampooing, and left it to work its magic for a few minutes. Once time was up, we rinsed it thoroughly, and carried on with our hair routine. Unlike some moisturising treatments, we found that this mask didn’t overload the hair. Instead we were left with soft strands that felt plump and full of life, without being weighed down – the perfect foundation for creating a wonderfully voluminous look.

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Joico hair shake

Joico hair shake, 150ml  indybest.jpg

Best: For quick volume

Rating: 9/10

This clever product is ideal for keeping in your desk drawer or handbag for an instant lift whenever your hair starts to fall flat. The innovative spray to powder formula makes it super easy to apply – we just gave the bottle a good shake and spritzed it all over our hair before giving it a quick zhoosh with our hands. And, if there’s a specific area you want to focus on then it’s easy to target the product.

Once applied, the liquid magically transforms into a powder. We loved using this formula on our wavy hair to add a bit of grit for an effortlessly cool, undone kind of look. It also worked well as an alternative to backcombing when we wanted to create some grip and extra height in seconds, helping our updos to stay in place for longer. And, as an added bonus, Joico has infused the spray with anti-pollution technology, to help protect your hair from environmental wear and tear.

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Aussie koality volume mate! vegan solid shampoo bar

Aussie koality volume mate! vegan solid shampoo bar, 85g indybest.jpg

Best: Low-waste product

Rating: 9/10

Most of us are trying to be a little bit greener, and this shampoo bar from Aussie offers an alternative to plastic bottles. This cute koala-shaped cleanser foams up as you wash your hair, and comes with a small rope so you can hang it up to dry it off after use. It lasts for the same amount of washes as two bottles of shampoo, and the cardboard packaging it comes in is recyclable. Plus, the formula is vegan and cruelty free as certified by Peta – so it’s a truly eco option.

While some solid shampoos can be quite drying on the hair, this one keeps hair feeling hydrated and supple. It foams up well and cleanses the hair without stripping away moisture, and importantly helps the hair to feel weightless and full of life. We think it makes the ideal foundation for a hair routine that focuses on volume, and leaves strands feeling fuller and ready for styling.

  1.  £9 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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Philip Kingsley body building weightless conditioner

Philip Kingsley body building weightless conditioner, 200ml indybest.jpg

Best: Conditioner

Rating: 8/10

The Philip Kingsley brand is known for its expert solutions for hair concerns, and scientific approach to haircare. This conditioner has been carefully crafted to help hair feel thicker, while still adding a healthy dose of hydration. The ultra-lightweight formula contains wheat protein to plump and strengthen individual hairs.

We applied the conditioner after cleansing, and left it to soak in for a few minutes before rinsing off. We noticed that our hair felt lighter than usual, and stayed in place well after styling. It didn’t feel at all greasy and, in fact, our locks had a bit of bounce. This product would work best for finer or shorter hair that doesn’t require deep conditioning – if your tresses are damaged or very dry, you might need to look for something a little stronger.

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Michael Van Clarke thicker quicker volumising blowdry spray

Michael Van Clarke thicker quicker volumising blowdry spray, 100ml indybest.jpg

Best: For everyday luxury

Rating: 8/10

The eponymous Michael Van Clarke heads up a luxury salon in west London, and has put his expert knowledge to good use with his haircare range that focuses on promoting hair health.

This multi-tasking blow-dry spray is a great primer for those craving more voluminous styles. Formulated with cashmere proteins, it works deep within the hair shaft, strengthening and plumping each strand from the inside. We sprayed it through our hair and combed it through before drying with a hairdryer and styling. The spray applicator made it easy to cover every strand, and there was not even a hint of heaviness or stickiness.

We found that our hair was left feeling healthy and voluminous, and we were able to run our hands through it without feeling like there was any product in it at all. For a quick way to add some extra body into your hairstyling routine, you can’t go wrong by starting your morning with a few spritzes of this hero product.

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Verdict: Best hair volumizers

Amika’s plus size perfect body mousse is a powerful volumiser that adds bulk without compromising on softness. Those looking for a quick fix will love the Joico hair shake, which adds texture and grip in seconds, while the L’Oreal Paris elnett very volume hairspray is a budget-friendly buy that deserves its reputation as one of the best hairsprays out there.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on haircare and make-up, try the links below:

Locks looking a little lacklustre? Try the best hot brushes for styling volumising and straightening

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