A Ridiculously Easy Way to Add Volume to Flat Hair


After a truly epic homemade pupusa recipe fail today (I’m officially leaving that one to the experts!) I decided to scrap a dinner post in favor of sharing a fantastic tip for adding tons of volume to otherwise flat hair via, what else, Pinterest.

I realize this is primarily a food blog, but hey, variety is the spice of life! Pun intended.

A Ridiculously Easy Way to Add Volume to Flat Hair:


(Pardon the fuzzy iPhone pic!)


I have the most ridiculous hair in the world (is it just me, or does every girl feel this way?!) Each hair is fine, but there’s lots of it, and my mane will hold a curl for approximitely 13 seconds before becoming flat and stringy. Therefore I can wear it straight, straight, or – wait for it – straight.

Because of my hair’s texture, it’s also really hard for me to achieve volume at the roots and crown of my head without a wicked teasing sesh and barrage of hairspray. It works, I suppose, but then I’m walking around with crusty hair all day, ya’ know?

Anyways, last week I was surfing Pinterest when I came across a post for giving straight hair, lasting volume. The post (which I can’t find now) was great, but a lot of the tips had to do with blow drying your hair upside down. This worked really well for the gal in the post, but I have wicked baby hairs and flyaways that stick straight up in the air all day if I blow my hair out upside down.

Still with me?

The moral of the story is, there was one tip in the post for achieving epic volume at the roots of your hair that I had never heard before, and was positively giddy to try.

The Tip:

Shampoo your hair with volumizing shampoo, then rinse clean like normal. Next, condition your entire head – roots to tips – with volumizing conditioner. Before you rinse the conditioner out, squeeze a bit of shampoo into your hands, then add a little water and work it into a lather. Work the lather into just your scalp, then rinse the shampoo and conditioner out. Blow dry and style like normal.

I am telling you, with no other changes made to my hair routine, I have gone from nearly no volume at the roots and crown of my head, to this (which is a lot of volume, for me!)


(Pardon the same fuzzy iPhone pic!)

I was leery about putting conditioner into my roots, because I’ve always heard it weighs hair down creating the dreaded flat-head effect, but from just this one, teeny-tiny change in my shower routine, my hair now has oomph like it’s never had before. Plus it lasts all day! I just had to share. :)

While we’re on the topic, I had some people ask what products I use on my hair after my last KCCI appearance. For shampoo & conditioner I use TRESemme’s 24 Hour Body Healthy Volume line, which is like, $2.50 for a giant bottle of each at Target.


After towel drying my hair, I work a pump of Pantene PRO V’s Split End Repair into the hair at the crown of my head, and onto the ends.


Lastly, I work in a squeeze of Pantene’s Triple Action Volume Mousse for Fine Hair into the roots at the crown of my head before blow drying.


Like I said – the mousse kind of gave me some volume on its own, but the simple conditioner all over + shampoo just at the roots tip really amps things up. So easy, right?!


Who knew it was so hard to take pictures of your own hair?! Meet creeper eyes, half-nose mcdoogle, and Cousin It.



Do you have “challenging” hair? What products and tips do you love?

I am obsessed with Aveda’s Air Control in the winter. It’s got that perfect Aveda smell, and completely takes care of the wicked static problem my fine hair experiences in the winter!

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  1. Dee 05.30.2012

    Not only do I have fine hair I have oily hair. It sucks!

  2. Lauren 05.30.2012

    I have been in love with Keratin products for my hair. It really does make such a huge difference.

    On a totally separate note…are you going to the HLS this year hun?

  3. Camiele 05.30.2012

    I have the exact opposite problem – I have too much volume! Oh, oh, and frizz. I have super long, thick, curls. If I do nothing but wash it, I have a big frizzy fro. But I’ve found that products for African American hair work great on it! I just had to learn to use a very small amount on my non-African hair otherwise it’s really greasy!

    • Tracy 05.30.2012

      I’m with you, crazy curly, thick hair! I am IN LOVE with the Redken straightening shampoo/conditioner. It helps calm stuff down and I can blow dry with a brush and it is straigh enough that I dont need to straighten if I dont need pin straight hair. It is a maroonish/purple bottle. Its kinda pricey but I buy it when liters are on sale at Ulta or other stores.

    • Lexi 05.30.2012

      Have either of you used Deva Curl products? I just started using them and they are awesome! Curly hair is definitely an art and I think Deva Curl finally has me mastering the art!

      • Noelle 05.31.2012

        Lexi, reading your comment was fate! My mom texted me the other day and said she had seen an add for Deva Curl products in the latest Oprah mag! I went on the website, but I’m always unsure about trying new products, especially expensive ones, because I have A TON of hair. And I mean A TON. It’s curly and ultra-thick, and is currently halfway down my back (straightened it almost touches the top of my pants!). All that hair constitutes having to use a boatload of hair products. I’m glad to hear you like Deva Curl…I’ll have to try it out! As a kid I hated my curls, but now I love them.

  4. Rebekah 05.30.2012

    Two summers ago when I left college, I started to bleach and dye my hair crazy colours every few months, sometimes every few weeks and it’s WRECKED my hair! I’ve dyed it a normal colour and treat it very nicely, but it’s still unruly and broken :( And now, after all that, I’m craving bright, crazy hair again!

    Thanks for the post, definitely trying this :)

    • Anesah Miller 10.07.2013

      Have you ever tried hair chalk? That way you could still have the bright crazy color hair but not damage it. Also, you never want to bleach hair that has already been bleached. Doing just once could damage it so much that it will just pull out like cotton. It happen to my sister just a few months ago.

  5. kelly 05.30.2012

    I have very CURLY hair and the more I mess with it the frizzier it gets. I put some product in it and leave it alone. Hate it…

  6. My hair is fine but there’s lots of it, like yours! My volume is “meh” but a big brush and a lot of muscle help. I like Ouidad for humidity proection, and dry shampoo works WONDERS for volume on fine, thin hair… have you tried that yet?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 05.30.2012

      I haven’t! I’m always too scared to try it – but maybe I’ll make the leap! :)

  7. Bree 05.30.2012

    I have naturally curly hair that is also unruly. I tend to wash it at night, sleep on it while it’s still a little damp and of course, tossed behind me so I’m not laying on it. I use a little mousse and a little gel, scrunch it – and voila, in the morning it usually looks pretty good. Usually..
    (incidentally my hubby and I love papusas too, and he has a good recipe for them!! I’m trying to get it out of him..)

  8. Carrie 05.30.2012

    What about that tool you blogged about once (maybe like a funny hairbrush or something?) Do you still use that too???

    • Iowa Girl Eats 05.30.2012

      I do use it if I’m going out and want a true “hairstyle” but I mostly used it when I had short hair!

  9. Melissa 05.30.2012

    As a hair stylist I suggest using a professional product from a SALON! Being in industry for 5 years it truly makes the difference. I love Pureology the best but Redken is a very very close second.

    It is a huge investment but with a high quality product you use a fraction of the amount for each wash and it ends up being only a small amount more in $$!

    I am definitely going to try the volume trick though! I have the same hair as you!

    PS: Don’t use pantene…..a huge hair no no!

    • Chelsea 05.30.2012

      Agreed! I’m also a stylist, and you never want to use Pantene, yes, it will make your hair shine…because it covers your cuticle in a thick wax, which equals very unpredictable hair coloring! Invest in professional products especially for shampoo and conditioner!

      • Samantha 03.05.2014

        You must not know much about ingredients. Pantene does not contain wax. I’m on the science side of things and all this salon product pushing is ridiculous. Most salon products ate loaded with silicones.

    • McKinzir 05.30.2012

      I would also highly suggest you stop using tresemme shampoo, but mainly the conditioner. It is a wax based product (if you don’t believe me, try heating it up on the stove…..it will harden once you let it cool) and over time will create a build up on your hair. This will make your already fine hair behave even more fine…another reason your hair likely doesn’t hold curl well. Sure, it makes your hair soft, but is killing any potential volume you could be getting by weighing it down. It’s cheap, but I agree that salon producrs really are best for your hair!

      I have very fine but also very thin hair, so I definitely feel your pain and will be trying this neat trick!

    • Carrie 05.31.2012

      Okay, what about the salon products at Target? You know, on the other side of the shampoo aisle. I use Sleek Look by Matrix. Is that any good?

      • Sarah 05.31.2012

        The only place you should buy salon products is in a professional salon!!! Places like Target, or other stores will find a palett of professional products somewhere, get a good deal, then dilute them before putting them on their shelves. Therefore you are paying a highprice for a diluted product. Lots of professional product brands are starting to require a signed agreement when purchased (by professionals) at a distributor that they will only be sold in a professional environment.

        • kate 05.31.2012

          salon professional products almost always say on the bottle that they are only meant to be purchased from a salon, so when they are in target/walmart. they are diverted products. most times they are contaminated, counterfeit, expired, etc. look at your matrix sleek.look from target for example… matrix completely redid that line and it’s no longer called “sleek.look” or even the same colored bottle. so that is really old product (if it’s in an orange bottle still.)

          • Carrie 06.01.2012

            WOW! So good to know! I won’t waste my money trying to get a deal from now on. Thanks!

  10. AC 05.30.2012

    If I don’t condition ALL of my hair, there’s no way a comb will go thru it… Root to tip every time! And if I even think about using one of those 2-in-1 products, it’s like I didn’t even use conditioner! UGH!

    • Kari 05.31.2012

      I’m with you! I have to “pick” the conditioner through my hair while I’m in the shower, or I would never get a comb through it afterwards.

  11. jennyv 05.30.2012

    Opposite… frizzy, curly, craaazy summer hair! I can’t do anything to stop the curls, so May – October, I generally go with the curls. I am always bugging other curly-haired girls about what they use for products.

  12. Emily 05.30.2012

    I have curly hair and it can either get frizzy or just doesn’t look right. I don’t really do much; I just put on a hat :P

  13. Emily 05.30.2012

    My hair is also pretty fine and frizzy. I’ve been trying Moroccan Oil products lately with a lot of success. It really keeps the frizz down!

  14. Stacey 05.30.2012

    Thanks for the variety I loved this post! I have exactly the same problem.

    If you decide to give pupusas another try I really liked this how to blog: http://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/2011/05/11/how-to-make-salvadorian-pupusas/

    I haven’t tried the farmer’s market version so no idea if it compares, but here’s the dough mix I used and I liked them:

    1 T EVOO
    1/4-1/2 t salt
    1 cup Masa
    1 c water

  15. Sarah 05.30.2012

    I have extremely thick, long hair. I spray a bit of the Johnson & Johnson “No Tears” detangling spray (yes, the kind little girls use) and some Kenra Leave-In Conditioner. It’s helped a lot to tame down my MASSIVE volume.

    Also, Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths Replenishing Mask is awesome. It works so much better than any other high-quality salon product that I’ve used. I try to use it once-to-twice a week. I’m one of those people that wash my hair every day during the week because it looks horrible at work if I don’t. I try to skip days on the weekends if I’m just hanging out.

    I used to be one of those people who thought “over the counter” shampoos and conditioners were horrible. I spent a lot of money on Aveda, etc and really feel that whatever works for you during your time of need (i.e. budget concerns, etc) is fine. I always wait for Ulta’s big sale on liters of shampoo/conditioner and stock up on Matrix (Biolage and their Smoothing line are my favorites). $15 a bottle for a liter? Yes, please! I try not to buy them any other time because I like to feel thrifty.

    Oh, and once a month… I put olive oil in my hair when it’s dry and let it soak for 20 minutes. Then I shampoo it extremely well. Make sure you really wash it out, otherwise your hair will be greasy the next day and you might be turned off by the process. I feel like it helps condition my scalp. :)

    I spent $6 at Wal-mart on Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum about two years ago. I also use this once a week or whenever I remember, too. Another great, inexpensive product.

    Sorry to ramble! I love talking hair products.

    (A body tip, just because I want to mention this: 100% Olive Oil soap — that I buy on Etsy from a lovely lady — is ahmazing. My skin hasn’t felt this good in, well, ever. I have super sensitive skin, so it’s just wonderful.)

    Happy Wednesday!

    • Ktlovespie 05.30.2012

      Wow, don’t know why that didn’t post…that was supposed to say I love homemade soap too. I have a friend with a soap business and she’s got me hooked. It’s the only thing I can wash with now.

    • Allison 06.01.2012

      I like olive oil based soaps as well and usually buy from DHCcare.com. They have a lot of olive-oil based facial products that are AWESOME for sensitive skin.

  16. jamie 05.30.2012

    I’m guessing you saw the same blog I did! It was from a blog called pink pistachio. I followed her tutorial step by step yesterday and it was Ahmazing! I too have flyaways, but the blowdrying was key. I am on day 2 now and still have tons of volume

  17. Julie 05.30.2012

    I have long, curly hair. For the most part, I’m grateful because (with the right prep), it’s easy for me to style. I believe in washing it at night (going super-heavy on the conditioner), sleeping on it slightly damp, piling it under my head while I sleep, and then scrunching with gel the following morning. But honestly, as any true “curly head” will tell you, working with slightly dirty hair actually works best for us. Very true!

  18. Girl, I hear ya on the straight, flat hair. Same thing here…very fine hair, but lots of it. Curls that last longer than, umm, 10 minutes are a miracle.

    I would have thought the same thing as you with the conditioner on the roots, but I think I’m gonna have to try this now. Ooooo, I’m giddy! :)

  19. Karen 05.30.2012

    Thanks for the tip, my hair is the same as you described and I can’t wait to try this!

  20. Kirsten 05.30.2012

    I have the same hair you do – really fine, tons of it & super straight! I am definitely going to try this tip. I’ll try just about anything to get some volume!

  21. I have the exact same hair – it doesn’t want to be anything but STRAIGHT. I need to try this tip!

  22. Dee 05.30.2012

    I have thick, wavy hair. I used to fight it as a teen, but I’ve grown to love it and work with it as an adult. I don’t wash it as often–usually every other day unless I’ve gotten in a workout–and I let it dry naturally. What a difference.
    One other thing–Wonder why hairdressers are always telling us not to use Pantene? One minute they’re admiring the condition of my hair and the next warning me off the “horrible” product I’m using. Hmmm, maybe because it works as well as those expensive salon products.

  23. I love that you use regular drugstore brands!

    I’ve tried Pureology, Aveda & Redken – along with ones from Ulta like Biolage – and find that they are not really any better for my hair. I do love the way Aveda smells though, so earthy, so I do sometimes use their purple conditioner, but for the most part I have switched back to drugstore. I am going to look into that Pantene Split End stuff. My hair is also very fine, yet very thick (lots of strands) and since I’m letting my hair grow out again I need to make sure it stays nice!

  24. kathy 05.30.2012

    My hair is exactly as you describe yours!! When I was in high school (a hundred years ago) I was so desperate to have my hair hold a curl that I would SLEEP IN ELECTRIC ROLLERS (which back then was akin to sleeping on a pillow made of metal spikes). I was insane. In homeroom I would forbid anyone from opening the windows as the humidity would cause my hair to go straight after I had spent hours in electric curlers. But no matter, within a short time, hair was flat and straight. I find it hard to believe that the method you describe here actually works but it is certainly worth a try!! Thanks.

  25. Stacey 05.30.2012

    Your hair looks great! My hair is just like yours, so I cannot wait to try this tomorrow.
    Have you ever tried Kenra setting spray to curl your hair? It is awesome! It protects your hair from the heat and helps the curl stay!

  26. Angie 05.30.2012

    As a salon professional in one on Des Moines top salons for over 13 years,I can tell you if you are using Pantene that could be part of your volume problem. It has the highest concentration of wax as any “drug” store product. Your hair may look good at first but over time that wax will build up and leave a heavy residue that most people don’t even realize is there it is very “flattening” for fine hair texture, and as a fine hair girl I totally understand your problem!

    • Lisa 08.20.2013

      That’s what clarifying shampoos are for.

    • Samantha 03.05.2014

      This is false. Where are you getting your information? Show me the wax ingredient.

  27. CJ 05.30.2012

    Your hair is def straight and fine, but it’s great that the straight style looks so nice on you!

    My lotsa straight, fine hair works best when I wash + condition (Aussie or Suave, usually), then use Aussie volumizing gel, then let it air dry in a giant pouf held by a claw clip on top (think sister-wife style). After 30-90 minutes of drying time, I blow it dry–usually upside down–and it has more oomph. Plus Aussie Sydney Smooth hairspray to keep it in place without too much crunch.

    Can’t wait to try the detox salad from yesterday. Yum!

  28. Chris Hoebelheinrich 05.30.2012

    Love Kenra Platinum line for color treated hair. Feel like my color stays fresher looking a bit longer. Thick curly hair for me so just keep it short and I don’t have fuss with it too much. My favorite product is the Kenra Platinum Texturizing Taffy…it’s bright lavender-Fun! Adds definition to my curls & smells great :-)

  29. Christina Morrison 05.30.2012

    At my last haircut, my stylist introduced me to a crazy product called “Resurrection Dust” by Label M – just a sprinkle under a few sections of hair creates all sorts of funky volume. [I felt like Bill Nye the Science Guy should be there.] Throughout the day (or the next day), you can re-scrunch at the roots to bring it right back. At almost $30 for a teeny tiny jar, I couldn’t bare to buy it… but I think I will take the plunge soon!



  30. Jenny 05.30.2012

    I have curly hair, but it’s fine and I have a lot of it. I use something called sebastian potion 9. I just come it through and let my hair air dry. It works great every single time. Of course, I think it’s being discontinued because I have problems finding it in stores. I can still get it at ulta, or I buy it on amazon.

  31. Anna 05.30.2012

    I have super flat hair too but have always heard ‘don’t condition your roots’…I’ll give this a try though. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I have the same exact hair that you do! To get some body, I’ll tease the crown a tad and use hairspray. I’m definitely going to try your trick though. One Question: Do you air dry or blow dry?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 05.30.2012

      I blow dry. If I air dry, my hair just sticks straight against my head like a helmet :(

  33. Ktlovespie 05.30.2012

    Sigh. I have super thick, long, wavy hair. Not nice waves either. I’ve found hairs that have curled up on themselves or ones that look similar in texture to African American hair. I’m completely hairstyling inept so I usually just toss it in a braid.

    I use Aveeno shampoo and conditioner. It doesn’t wow me, but I hate going to the store and having to pick from the hundreds upon hundreds of shampoos. Anyone have any recommendtions? Has anyone ever tried the baking soda shampoo/ACV rinse method?

  34. Courtney 05.30.2012

    I love that shampoo and conditioner too! The price isn’t too shabby either :)

  35. ErinJMT 05.30.2012

    Tresemme dry shampoo changed my world. It’s amazing for volumized roots without backcombing, and if I spray a fine mist of it all over my clean hair before I curl it holds the style so much longer. There’s also a product called Dust It that my stylist uses for my sad flat hair – it’s a little pricey (you can get it at Ulta) but it is awesome.

  36. Addy Rae 05.30.2012

    My hair is super thick and super fine at the same time, so I know your pain! Thank you so much for sharing.

  37. Sarah 05.31.2012

    I have tons of baby fine straight hair. The only thing i have found works for me, in addition to the blow drying upside down, is Redkin Wool Shake 08 Gel-Slush Texturizer. You put it on your roots and then either leave it be, or if you dry your hair afterwards, it softens up but still holds. Pretty awesome.

  38. Mimi Valenti 05.31.2012

    I’m laughing because as I was reading your post about flat hair I’m trying to flatten mine out. I went for a haircut today and the hairdresser always poofs it up. I have too much hair and it’s course so in the blink of an eye it’s well…poofed big time. Ah we are never happy with what we have, are we?

  39. emmi 05.31.2012

    ooh i need to try this, my hair is exactly like yours thanks for the tip :)

  40. Leanne 05.31.2012

    Haha you really made me laugh with this one! Not because of the topic, but how you put it :D I must say I’m blessed with volume, but this trick is awesome! Your hair looks great :) One of my friends has very ‘flat’ hair, so she’ll love this, I’ll make sure to tell her!

  41. Jane 05.31.2012

    What a great trick. Can’t wait to try this. I have fine hair with a little bit of wave, enough to hold a curl (at least on one side). I have been using Herbal Essences Slightly Tousled Shampoo, Conditioner and Mousse for awhile, because it’s just enough for my little bit of wave. I also use Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray. Pricey, but it lasts a LONG time. AND I use a round brush dryer. I think it’s Conair (from Target) basically a round brush on the end of a hair dryer, because I am apparently one of the only people who is not coordinated enough to use a round brush while I’m blow drying…. :)

  42. Bethany 05.31.2012

    My mom has super straight hair that she perms so that it will look like mine… curly and ridiculous. I would KILL for straight flat brown hair over my frizzy poofy red hair.

    HOWEVER… I’m psyched that Disney/Pixar has decided to use a frizzy redhead in their new movie… It warms my heart :-)

  43. I have the same hair type… so annoying. When I’m in weddings I have to have each curl individually bobby pinned since they won’t hold. I do condition most of my head because honestly, nothing has helped in the past, so I may as well have well conditioned hair! I’ve never thought to add a bit more shampoo to the roots before rinsing out the conditioner. I’ll definitely be trying that tonight! Unfortunately I rarely blow-dry my hair. It’s so fine it breaks just looking at a blow dryer!

    • Oh, and to add – I’ve tried drugstore shampoos/conditioners as well as salon recommended stuff. Normally I can’t tell a difference. (Except, Pantene Pro-V and Dove make my hair very waxy and almost oily)

      • Allison 06.01.2012

        Re – the drug store brands, I completely agree. I have had the same probs with Dove and Pantene. Garnier works great though.

  44. Shawna 05.31.2012

    I have the same type of hair, fine and lots of it. I have tried everything and just 2 months ago discovered a product that has given me Brigitte Bardot volume! It’s Bumble & Bumble Brown Powder, it is a dry shampoo that gives an insane amount of volume. I am addicted. It’s pricey but worth every single penny. I can go 3 days without washing my hair and it is full of volume and definitely not greasy looking. You can buy this at Bella Salon at Valley West Mall.

  45. Ann 05.31.2012

    My friend and I recently discovered this wand that will make any type of hair hold a curl. It is only 30 bucks too!


  46. Jen 05.31.2012

    eek! I NEED to try this trick pronto! And maybe try the shampoo you use. I have lots of fine hair too. I want it to look lush and full. I hate when it looks weighed down and stringy.

  47. Calee (@chimes) 05.31.2012

    That’s an awesome tip! I’m sure it would work for people who get greasy easy as well.

    My favorite volumizing product is Kevin Murphy’s texture master. You should try it! They sell it at Moda Salon in Des Moines. (used to be Halo)

    • Allison 06.01.2012

      I agree the Kevin Murphy styling products are great. Salon Revolution in the east village area of Des Moines sells the full line of Kevin Murphy products.

  48. Mellissa 05.31.2012

    I am trying this tomorrow, I have very fine blonde hair that I really struggle to get volume on. I have found that Aveeno Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner work great, along with Redken Guts Volumizing Root Spray are fantastic.

  49. Alison 05.31.2012

    I have curly hair that is a pain!! If someone were to see the amount of hair products I use everyday I would considered obsessed! I completely agree on using only Salon products, it makes a huge difference. After many years I finally feel that I have a handle on my once very uncontrolable hair. I use mostly Redkin products, love them!!

  50. Sarah W 05.31.2012

    Just saw this on pinterest too… maybe this is the site you saw it on? Thanks for sharing.

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