My favorite products for huge, volumized hair

04
11

When I cut my hair into an a-line bob in high school, not only was it the start of my “signature” haircut that lived on for many, many years but it was also the beginning of ENORMOUS hair. Massive volume was high on my list, so my hair was often sprayed to death with hairspray.

In hindsight, I totally overdid it. But hey, what can you do except look back, laugh, and agree with the few brave souls that gently suggested that I should slowly step away from the can of hairspray.

Since then, my hair has changed through the years, and I’ve chilled out on the hairspray a bit. I still use hairspray daily, but I’ve decided to let my hair look like hair (instead of like a wig) and it’s much more flattering and realistic.

But I’ll never quit loving volumized, full hair and wanted to round up my favorite products for maximum volume!

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

The products in this round up that I’ve used the longest are Aquage Uplifting Foam and Kenra Volume 25 hairspray. I’ve been using both since high school and their performance cannot be beat. But over the years, I’ve tried lots of other products and wanted to include a variety in here for those of you with different hair types!

Newest to me is the Kenra Dry Volume Boost. It’s similar to Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast, but it leaves a bit more texture behind. I’m able to get more volume out of the Kenra product, but it doesn’t offer the cleaner, lighter feeling that the Living Proof product does.

My go-to volumizing and texturizing shampoo is Redken Beach Envy Volume. The conditioner doesn’t cut it for me, but the shampoo is great. I typically use Pureology Hydrate Conditioner with this shampoo.

On one of my trips to NYC this winter, I ran out of my Kenra Volume 25 hairspray so I picked up Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play at Target. I was pretty impressed with the hold and flexibility it offered. I’m happy to have a back-up option if there’s a time that I can’t get my hands on Kenra!

The Living Proof Full Shampoo is a great light shampoo for fine or thin hair. It will definitely add volume, and the conditioner is a good pair as long as you don’t need a ton of hydration like I do (my hair is quite dry).

The last two products in the round up are a texturizing powder, that you sprinkle in at your root area for seriously intense lift and thickness, and a spray for damp hair that will add volume as you blow dry. Both are great for fine hair, but you may find the powder to be a bit too heavy if your hair is already heavy or thick.

Do you have a tried and true volumizing product? Share it in the comments! I’m always looking to try out new things! 

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Comments (85)

  1. Allie says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I really like the Aveda volumizing foam. It offers some lift without making my hair sticky. I’m also a fan of old fashioned Velcro rollers when I’m doing a blowout – they add great extra lift! I need to finally dry the living proof texturizing volume blast, I’ve heard so many great things! xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

    • JC says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      I use Velcro rollers too for long lasting volume. Love the Living Proof-shake with each spray, direct it to underside of the hair, it is buildable so start with just a little first.

    • G says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      Yes! I pop in a few Velcro rollers on the crown of my head, spray them with a light mist of hair spray, hit ’em with the blow dryer for a few secs, then remove them. Instant volume!

    • Lynda says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      Totally agree with the velcro rollers! Two at the top of my head, a little hairspray while I finish up my make up, and instant volume!

  2. Christa F says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    You should try O&M Rootalicious and Morrocean Oil Root Boost. My clients buy Rootalicious like crazy and MO is a close second!!

  3. Amy says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’ve tried the Aquage uplifting foam and I find it’s very heavy at the root. It leaves feeling like I have a lot of product in my hair. I know you have said it’s very light but also gives a lot of volume. Maybe I’m using to much. Do you just spray one line?

    • JC says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      I had the same experience-I think my hair is too fine for it. Same with Kenra 25.

    • Rebekah says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      Kate did a very helpful blow dry video a few years ago showing how she applies Aquage. It’s quite a bit of product, but I don’t think she minds the feeling of product in her hair.

      http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2012/03/my-blow-dry-method/

    • Stacey says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      I have the same problem. Whenever I buy the expensive hair products, I feel like I need to wash it that night. I always try to wash it every other day, but with all the products in my hair, I have to wash it every day (I have dry hair, not oily, so it doesn’t feel greasy, just “dirty”. Maybe I am using too much although I feel like I use little.

    • Kate says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      No I spray a few lines of the product around my root area. In order for it to work really well you may need to adjust to the feeling of some product at your roots. If you don’t like that, try using a wet spray for some extra volume instead of a foam like Aquage Uplifting Foam.

  4. Stephanie says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I have a lot of long, fine hair and I desperately crave volume! A few years ago I started using a uplifting foam that’s a local salon brand and it was a game changer. I recently ran out and instead of repurchasing I bought the Aquage as so many people rave about it. I’ve used it a handful of times now and although it seems like basically the same thing as the salon brand (a targeted spray foam, for all I know it’s the same product under a private label! I don’t know!) I have been so disappointed in the performance! Whereas with the old stuff I got some serious oomph and noticeable texture at my crown, when I use the Aquage I do not get that. I basically get a teeny tiny barely noticeable boost in volume (and that’s being generous) but I can feel some product there. It’s almost an overly moisturized feel (although it doesn’t seem to make my hair greasy). I’ve tried adding more Aquage and I went back and rewatched videos of you using it to make sure I’m applying it correctly (I am, and it’s applied the same as what I’m used to). What gives? Why doesn’t it work for my hair? Even though I have a lot of hair it is fine so it usually responds pretty well to product and I’m putting plenty in there. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if there’s something wrong with the can of Aquage that I got! Haha. Does it sometimes not work for people? I feel like the only one! If I don’t want to rebuy the local salon brand stuff should I try another volumizing foam instead?

    • Kelly says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      Thank goodness! I thought I was the only one that experienced this with that Aquage Uplifting Foam. My hair feesl sticky, dirty and heavy when I use it. I don’t notice any volume and my head itches like crazy when I use it.
      I have been using some Dry Bar products for volume and am really liking them. I guess we are all different.

      • Amy says
        Posted April 11, 2018

        Yes, mine feels very sticky!

        • Stephanie says
          Posted April 11, 2018

          Oh my gosh, you guys! I’m so glad I posted this and that you’ve had similar experiences. I really thought I was crazy because I’ve read SO many raves about this product! Guess it’s just not a good fit for me. So weird because I’ve never had my hair just not respond properly to a product before! I’ll check out Dry Bar. Thanks for the suggestion!

          • Stephanie says
            Posted April 11, 2018

            P.S. I love the Living Proof Dry Volume Blast that you recommended , Kate! Game changer for me! I’ve been using it for a while now, probably since shortly after you first reviewed it. Makes a huge difference when I curl my hair to maintaining volumized curls! Thanks!

      • Tammy says
        Posted April 11, 2018

        Aquage also sells an “uplifting foam” product. Here’s the description: This light hold, weightless volume-building foam adds body and bounce to lifeless hair.

        I have thin-fine hair and I think this product would work best for my hair.
        https://www.ulta.com/uplifting-foam?productId=xlsImpprod15941177

        • Amy says
          Posted April 11, 2018

          Tammy, I believe you are reading the description of the Aquage product Kate is talking about! 🙂

    • Stacey says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      What product did you use that you loved?

    • Kimberley says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      Nope you are not crazy, I have the same problem with the Aquage & my fine hair. I too watched application video, I have tried more & tried less but it leaves my hair heavy with a moisturized greasy feeling & an itchy scalp with zero volume. I even bought a couple of travel sized cans thinking that maybe there was something wrong with the can I bought, lol.. I would love to find my “game changer” volume product for my fine finicky hair….

  5. Polly says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’ve been using the Bumble and Bumble Surf foam spray at the recommendation of my stylist. I like that it adds some grit to my hair to hold the volume. I also use the bumble and bumble thickening spray.

  6. JC says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Great post!!!! My hair is thin and fine and the Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast has been a game changer. Other products seem to weigh it down but this works wonders. Also like Redken root lift.

    Thanks for the shampoo recs-can’t wait to try!

  7. Rena says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I see I urgently need these products 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  8. Posted April 11, 2018

    This is going to be so helpful! Will have to get the bulk of these products online since they don’t retail where I live in Hong Kong, but it’ll be worth it. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  9. Jenny says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I always love your hair. I bought the Babyliss curling iron that you love but I haven’t had the guts to try it yet. Considering trying the Redken All Soft Mega hoping for the softness I want for my hair. Have you tried it or heard anything about it?

    • Kate says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      I’ve tried the original All Soft but not the new version! And try that iron!

  10. Mandy says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    LOVE LOVE LOVE MONAT!! I will never use another hair product again. My hair has so much life, soft, and so much shine to it! The fact that these products are non-toxic also another big reason for me.

  11. Katarina says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I have just tried a couple of products that are great for volume…
    1. Living Proof Full Thickening Cream
    https://m.sephora.com/product/full-thickening-cream-P254603?icid2=skugrid

    2. Ion Volumizing Root Lift
    https://www.sallybeauty.com/ion-volumizng-root-lift/SBS-302404.html?list=Search_Results#q=Ion%2Bvolumizing&start=1

  12. Kylie says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I struggle with the Aquage Root Uplifting Foam. I feel like my roots just get “crunchy”. Am I doing something wrong? I would love to have more volume, especially at my roots!

  13. Amanda says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I cut my hair in a short bob after having super long hair for years. I curl it with my straightener each day and was excited to get the Kenra Volume 25. Womp womp. Such a disappointment 🙁 It has zero hold for me. My curls/wave are gone within a couple of hours and my hair is sticky and gross feeling. Just proves that we all have to find what’s best for our hair! Thank you for all the recommendations!

  14. Faith says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I watched one of your blow drying tutorials recently and I have to say one little tip in there has been a game changer! I have A LOT of hair and I have had the aquage uplifting foam for quite a while thanks to you! 🙂 I wasn’t using it because for me it doesn’t really add too much noticeable volume– my hair is pretty heavy… in that video you talked about using aquage to lift your roots off your scalp so they don’t get as oily. And I have done that the last two times I have washed my hair and I am using sooooo much less dry shampoo between washes and getting an extra day. I hardly have any oil in my hair which is so surprising! Thanks for this tip and letting this mom get more sleep because she isn’t having to wash and blow dry her unruly mane as much!

  15. Sheila says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’m loving Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray!! Great root lifter . Not too heavy and doesn’t make hair crunchy!

  16. Posted April 11, 2018

    I as well cannot leave home without some big hair. I love the Kenra 13 for when I backcomb just to give me a little hold. I used to love the Kenra Styling Creme to give my fine hair a little texture and hold, they’ve since discontinued the creme and I have yet to find a similar product. I love the Sebastian Dry Clean only dry shampoo, doesn’t leave my hair white or greasy looking. I usually finish off my hair with Shaper Plus Hairspray, I like that I can layer it for a firmer hold without feeling like a helmet head. I love your blog and just home real and down to earth you are. Keep up the great work!

  17. Veronica Coleman says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Per your advise I started using the Aquage Uplifting Foam. Love, love, love it!!!! A little bit goes a long way with my hair.
    Thanks for the all your helpful tips!! Really enjoy your blog!
    Praying for a safe homecoming for baby!!

  18. Carol says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Your hair is so beautiful!
    I have a lot of thick hair but it pulls my style down. I see yours is quite feathery towards the bottom. If I want to achieve your same look what should I tell a stylist?
    I have severe stylist phobia! I’ve been burned figuratively and literally. I’ve since taken to cutting my own hair but of course, I can’t get the look I want on my own.
    Any tips for finding the perfect stylist?

    • Wendy says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      Would love to know how to explain Kate’s cut to my stylist as well. Sometimes the customer (me) has a hard time explaining what I want in Stylist lingo.

  19. Petra says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Curious as to what your favorite dry shampoo is? I have fine hair and am having a hard time finding one that I love – I’ve been using Baptiste but I don’t think it works that well for me hair.

  20. Emily says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Love the Kenra hairspray! I’ve recently started using the Aquage Uplifting Foam too, and I’ve seen good results from that as well. Thank you for your suggestions!

  21. Lynda says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    What color is your lipstick?!

    • liz says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      Agreed. You look so fabulous here. I would like to know the brand/color of lipstick too!

    • Kate says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      It’s this lipstick in “peche” https://rstyle.me/n/c287bum8f6 (looks warmer in person!)

  22. Erika says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Thank you for the recommendations. I LOVE the lipstick color you are wearing. What brand/color is it? Thanks!

  23. Rebecca says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I was hoping for a high school photo illustrating the huge hair! 😉

  24. Paula Travis says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’ve recently tried Verb Sea Texture Spray and I love it!! Also using the Living Proof Dry Shampoo but really like the Verb better!

  25. Shannon says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    How do you get this beautiful loose curl??? I have a curling wand and iron as well as flat iron..i cant seem to manage this look..
    Also how would you describe the cut and color of your hair??
    I love that red lipstick..what color is it..i am very simular to your coloring…you look amazing

  26. Eva says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    That big sexy hair powder play works so well on my braids – I love it! I just don’t care for the smell or how sticky it is, but boy does it work! Thanks for the tips!

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  27. Amanda says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I had so much hair that used to be back combed and sprayed, I was a walking fire hazard!! I do struggle with volume because my hair is heavy, but find Sacha Juan volumizing spray is fabulous, also Matrix Mega Dust. Please post some photos of your College hair xx.

  28. Erinn says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I am a fan of anything that can give my super fine hair a bit of volume! For someone who doesn’t have the time (or skills) to style my hair everyday, any product that I can use on the go is perfect for me. I’ve had a lot of success with salt sprays!

  29. Emily H says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Thank you for this post! My hair is super fine and it gets greasy really easily since it’s just so close to my scalp all the time. I’ve just ordered the Aquage foam and I’m excited to try it.

    I use the Big Sexy Hair powder play and it’s probably my favorite hair product — it’s one of the only things I’ve found that gives me volume that sticks around for more than an hour or two. My hair definitely feels a little sticky after, but it looks good even on day 2.

    I’ll definitely check out these shampoo recommendations, too!

  30. Charlotte says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I have Big Sexy Hair’s Powder Play but I really have no clue how to apply it, when to apply it, what to do after.

  31. Jaime Ciavarri says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Hi!! Thank you for this post!! Love it! Just wondering if you ever tried Monat products? Or what you think about them? I am trying to grow my hair long and it keeps breaking. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

  32. Marty says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Last week you posted on IG Stories about a loose powder that left lots of fallout on your shirt. I didn’t know that was a sign of a cheap drugstore powder (what I use) I thought I was just a messy makeup do-er! When you do a post re-capping those drugstore products please offer alternatives! I’ll buy more investment-type makeup, just not sure what to buy. I love BB creams because I don’t feel I need a ton of coverage, but felt they left me feeling tacky so I added a finishing powder over top.

  33. Margarita babenko says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Can you do tutorial what best way to use those above ur fav products

  34. Ashlee says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Big Sexy also makes a Powder Play Light that I prefer for my fine hair. Gets the job done but not so “product feeling “.

    • Jessica says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      Thank you! I’ll definitely check the Light out. I do love the look I get from Powder Play but not the feeling of the product in my hair.

  35. Jessica says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Ok, what about post party hair thinning? Do you experience this after your pregnancies? Has your hair grown back normally afterward, and how long did it take? I’ve had four, and my last baby just turned one. It seems like the hair loss was much more this time and I’m trying to get the most volume I can to make up for it.

  36. Parrish says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’ve used the Aquage Uplifting Foam and find that it makes my hair almost crunchy at the roots. Am I using too much?

  37. Barbara says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Hi Kate! Can you do a tutorial on your look today? Makeup and hair!!! You look gorgeous!
    Thanks!!!

  38. Alison says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Three new favorites for me – all Joico products. Hair Shake Liquid -to-Powder Texturizer, Body Shake Texturizing Finisher., and Flip Turn Volumizing Finishing Spray.

  39. Kristi Bell says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Ok so my hair has body and is thick but I prefer it straight but I need volume cause it sticks flat to my head. Can you tell me how to use the aquage.

  40. Kayla McBrayer says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    Hey! I love Aquage Uplifting Foam and Kenra 25 Hairspray. I have been using it since I began reading your blog in college. I do have a question though. How do you keep the Kenra hairspray from clogging? Every can I have purchased cloggs up and messes up the flow of the spray. Any solutions to this problem?

    • Jessica says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      same thing here, drives me crazy! I try rinsing it with water after each use and it helps a little bit.

  41. Kristin says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I recently tried Nioxin Diamax Advanced Thickening Xtrafusion Treatment at my salon. I was shocked by the lift I got. Anyone else ever use this product long term? It’s about $25 on Amazon and I bet would go a long way (of course salon wants to charge about $50).

  42. Vicki says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I love square uplifting foam! I think it works great with sausage thickening spray gel. I also love Kendra dry texture spray. It holds the volume but is movable, very helpful with teasing too.

    • Natalie says
      Posted April 11, 2018

      ‘Sausage thickening spray gel’! 😂😂😂 Oh autocorrect!

  43. Sarah says
    Posted April 11, 2018

    I’ve got so many volume products I love!! My go to products currently are bed head big head volume foam & full of it hairspray.. sfactor body booster & sfactor vivacious hair spray..body booster can be used on wet & dry hair which is amazing!! Bedhead joyride is a powder texture balm which is amazing for adding texture especially when used with body boost!!I always follow up with bed head oh bee hive after I’ve styled for extra volume & texture!!

  44. Heather Marks says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    Aveda Hair Potion!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!

  45. Anna Lena says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    Is there a way to add volume to your hair by using the right products and NOT making your scalp all dirty and sticky? Will these prodcuts keep the hair and scalp feeling clean?
    I try to only wash my hair once or twice a week. I have fine hair but SO much of it that washing and styling my hair takes me hours! But because I have so much hair it gets really heavy and flat within a few hours after washing.
    Do you have any advice for that?

  46. Olivia says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    Thanks for the tips. would’ve been so useful when I had short hair ahh!
    http://www.oliviaschueller.com

  47. Lynda says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    OK, I have baby fine hair and LOVE big hair with lots of volume! I love Oribe mousse: https://www.oribe.com/grandiose-hair-plumping-mousse-retail.html Best product I’ve found so far. Just be careful you don’t use to much!! Other tips: round brushing as I blow dry, and then 2 velcro rollers on the top of my head while I finish my make up. Give a spritz of hairspray and hit with the blow dryer a few times. Great volume!

  48. Fay says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    Would texturizing powder be used in place of Aquage or in addition to?

    • Kate says
      Posted April 12, 2018

      You could do either, but using each individually will prevent your hair from feeling TOO heavy with product!

  49. Denita says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    Can you come to Kansas City and teach me how to get that exact hair style? I’m almost always straight hair, don’t care, not gonna do anything with it…but occasionally I would love to have that curl w/ that volume or close to it (and it stay for more than a couple hours – more likely now after having a kid than it ever was when I was younger) That curl is perfection.

  50. Sabrina says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    I would love a post on exactly *why* and *how* you use hair spray. The more specifics the better, please!

  51. Jessica says
    Posted April 12, 2018

    I find AG Big Wigg works better for my hair than the Aquage uplifting foam. The Aquage is still pretty good, and I like that it comes in a travel size so I use it when I go away somewhere, but I definitely get more volume with AG.

  52. Amy says
    Posted April 15, 2018

    I’m absolutely loving the Kenra thickening mousse! And I can also see a big difference using the Kenra thickening conditioner. It’s a nice moisturizing conditioner, but it makes my hair feel thicker even while I’m still in the shower!

  53. Amy says
    Posted April 15, 2018

    I love all of these products and have tried a few to get volume. I don’t get very good results because I don’t think I’m drying my hair (especially on the top to get lift) correctly to get lift. What do you suggest to get maximum lift at roots near top of head? Thanks so much!

  54. Millie says
    Posted April 15, 2018

    Kate,

    Do you still recommend the Amika spray for volume or has it been replaced by these current favorites? I have fine, thin hair. Thanks!

  55. Trude says
    Posted April 15, 2018

    I can’t go without Aveda’s volumizing tonic. It’s a spray for wet hair, and every time I think I can go without I’m quickly reminded by my flat hair staring back at me in the mirror. 😉 I use it whether I let my hair air dry curly or blow it out. Thanks for these recommendations!

  56. kiesha says
    Posted April 17, 2018

    good post, but what I really want to know is the best heat protector to use when straightening hair,, any suggestions??

  57. Kelsey says
    Posted April 17, 2018

    Okay, you CANNOT walk down memory hair lane like that without photographic evidence!!!!!!

  58. Martha Peyton Cameron says
    Posted April 19, 2018

    Hi Kate! I’m planning to go more blonde and would love to know what color your blonde is. My stylist uses Redken products. I saw the toner you use in one of your posts, but not actual highlight color. Love your blog-thanks in advance!

    • Kate says
      Posted April 20, 2018

      I just use lightener for my highlights!

  59. Melissa says
    Posted April 20, 2018

    Hi Kate,

    I have combo hair – oily roots, and dry ends. I’m currently trying the new L’Oreal Hair Expert in Extraordinary Clay & I’m really liking it so far. My problem is that I would like a product that doesn’t leave too much oil in my hair – I feel as if even salt/texturing spray can leave it feeling extremely oily!

    Do you have any recommendations? I just would like something that leaves some texture (I wear my hair in beach waves most of the time) with buildable volume (small amount for just a little oomph for work, larger amount for nights out for major impact). Do you have any suggestions? I’m desperate & going broke from buying so many products that have only let me down!!!!

    Many many thanks,
    Melissa