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Flat, lifeless hair can leave you looking tired, but adding a little volume can add lift and life to those straight tresses. With the right styling products, tools and techniques, you can pump up the volume without having to spend hours in the salon. Your hair will look full, healthy and as sassy as if you've just spent hours preparing to walk a Hollywood red carpet.
Start your beautiful-hair routine from the inside out with proper nutrition. Although vitamins won't automatically make your hair thicker, a diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can turn your hair from drab to fab, Paradi Mirmirani, a Vallejo, California, dermatologist tells "Redbook." Add some salmon, dark green vegetables, nuts, eggs and low-fat dairy products to your menu, or at the very least, take a a good multivitamin or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
Get a layered 'do to add instant volume. Long layers at sharp angles that blend in with the rest of your hairstyle will prevent the droopies without the choppy look short layers have. Lose some length, too, to create bouncier tresses that are springy and not weighed down. Ask your stylist to cut with scissors rather than a razor to banish frizz.
Start creating your big hair in the shower, with a volume-boosting shampoo. Look for one that contains niacin, which makes your hair visibly fuller-looking, and wheat protein, which can double each hair strand in size, says Lisa Chiccine of the Lisa Chiccine Salon in New York City. Follow it up with a light-weight volumizing conditioner formulated for thin hair. Only wash a few times a week, because overwashing can leave your hair limp. If you have to wash your hair daily, apply products only to the ends.
Use a thickening, or volumizing, spray or cream on your hair while it's still damp to add texture. Blow-dry your hair, lifting a three-inch section away from your crown with a large round brush, and point the dryer nozzle under the section for a few seconds. Then move on to the next section. To finish, while your hair is still slightly damp, flip your head upside-down and spray a light-hold root-lifting hair spray to lock in fullness. But make sure it's an aerosol hair spray, because it dries much faster than non-aerosol formulas.
Tease your hair when it's completely dry with a fine-tooth comb. Starting closest to your head, drag the comb halfway up your strands down to your scalp, creating a cushion of hair at the base and smoother hair at the ends. Don't worry if your hair looks too teased at first, as it will settle down in a few minutes. If you find your hair has too much volume after teasing, use the paddle brush to flatten it out a little more.
Finish with more spritzes of hair spray to the roots only when you've teased all sections. Don't use too much spray; which can cause your hair to droop.
Add some hair color, since dyeing hair fattens up strands for an overall volume boost.
Instead of teasing, you can also use hot rollers after your hair has dried to add volume and soft curl.
Bring a small comb with you during the day for spot-teasing if your hair begins to droop.
Be gentle with your teasing. If it's too vigorous, is can lead to hair breakage.