How Does Volumizing Shampoo Work

How does volumizing shampoo work

You look out the window and it’s raining. You ponder your options. Be late to work? Use an umbrella? Put a bag over your head? While many of these options seem a little extreme just because of some precipitation, if you have fine or thin hair, you’ve most likely been here. It’s not just rain either. You may spend an hour backcombing, styling, spraying, and doing anything you can to create the illusion of volume, but a little humidity, sweat, rain, etc. can ruin all of your efforts if you don’t pull out some new stops.

While you may spend forever styling your hair, you might be surprised to know that your styling should start in the shower. You’ve heard about shampoos that can help, but how does volumizing shampoo work?

How does volumizing shampoo work? While most shampoos and conditioners focus on leaving ingredients in the hair to build strength, shine, and smoothness, volumizing shampoos strive to create weightlessness and encourage hair to have lift away from the scalp while also including hydration. In order to create the illusion of volume, these shampoos leave certain ingredients out while also cleansing hair and controlling oils that can add weight.

So what exactly makes volumizing shampoos effective?

Traditional shampoos focus on not only cleansing hair, but they also add hydrating ingredients which can weigh hair down–not exactly what thin or fine haired people are looking for. While volumizing shampoos don’t actually thicken hair, they control oil which can weigh hair down and they also work to stiffen hair at the root to have it lift away from the scalp weightlessly–both of which can create volume.

There are countless ingredients used to emphasize volume in these specialized shampoos, but most volumizing shampoos contain surfactants which cleanse hair and control oil while limiting ingredients that can contribute to weight like shea butter or argan oil. Instead, in order to promote hydration, volumizing shampoos feature ingredients that are both weightless and hydrating.

NOTE: while it would be amazing if you could create volume with just a shampoo, remember that volumizing shampoo merely sets the stage for good styling. You should still follow up with other volumizing products for best results. More on these products later!

How do you use a volumizing shampoo?

Before pairing your volumizing shampoo with conditioner, create a lather with the shampoo in your palms and then massage it gently into the scalp. In addition, always read the directions on the label which may indicate the length of time it takes to activate the shampoo. Once you’ve lathered, simply rinse the shampoo completely and pair it with a coinciding volumizing conditioner. Often volumizing conditioners are sold side by side with volumizing shampoo.

Can I use volumizing shampoo everyday?

If you have thin or fine hair, you’re also more likely to have more hair, and unfortunately more oil releasing glands–fun, right? This means that the more often you wash your hair, the more your scalp is trying to replenish lost oil by creating even more. This results in weighted hair that lacks volume. It’s gross and it’s a fact.

Because of this, you may want to consider how often you shampoo. Shampooing every day may not be the best bet, but most experts agree that with fine or thin hair, you’ll want to wash at least daily or every other day to maintain volume and control oils which weigh hair down. However, if you can’t imagine going a day without shampoo, you can certainly use volumizing shampoo daily depending on the type you opt for.

What’s the difference between thickening and volumizing shampoo?

While many people use the words volumizing and thickening interchangeably, there is definitely a difference. Thickening shampoo goes to work on your strands by using additional proteins or collagen to coat the hair and make each strand look thicker. Women with hair loss or thinning hair often reach for these shampoos which sometimes also contain ingredients to promote hair growth.

On the other hand, volumizing shampoo is aimed at creating weightlessness–especially at the scalp area. It uses the hair you already have and encourages it to be lifted away from from the scalp to have more body and bounce while controlling oil. The goal is fuller hair that is also healthy and hydrated.

Does volumizing shampoo dry out your hair?

Yes, volumizing shampoos are a necessity for those of us with flat, lifeless hair, but unfortunately, they do have the ability to dry out your strands–depending on what kinds you reach for. The good news is that quality volumizing products shouldn’t do this. A good volumizing shampoo should contain ingredients to not only allow weightlessness to your hair, but also hydration–this can be a tricky combo, but it’s definitely possible!

Products boasting both hydration and volumizing contain a multitude of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, soy proteins, fatty acids, and even things like seaweed extract. These ingredients and others work to hydrate without weighing hair down. The good news is that you can find these and other similar ingredients promoting hydration even in drugstore brands. Just do your research before reaching for that wallet. Great volumizing shampoos can be both budget friendly and budget busting.

What are the best volumizing shampoos to use?

Think back to the goal of volumizing. You want something that both creates weightlessness as well as hydration. There are countless products on the market with countless ingredients and countless claims, but the following ingredients are used in conjunction and alone by many of the top volumizing shampoos recommended by experts.

Peppermint and plant extracts

Peppermint is often used for it’s ability to stand hair up and create the illusion of volume. When paired with plant extracts like avocado, this mixture can both create volume as well as healthy hydration. Other plant extracts include seaweed, flowers, and even fruit.

Ginger, ginseng and biotin

Ginger and ginseng are used to create texture and volume by stimulating the hair follicle while biotin is used to promote healthy growth and hydration. These ingredients create the ultimate volume and overall hair health when used together.

Pro-vitamin B5

This solo power booster has the ability to both hydrate and create body–win win! As a hemectant, it pulls environmental moisture into the hair encouraging healthy hydration; however, it is also shown to swell the hair shaft which creates overall thickness and body. Additionally, pro-vitamin B5 is easily found in drugstore shampoos that don’t break the bank.

Hyaluronic acid

You’ve no doubt seen this in skincare products popping up more and more, but it’s also a great ingredient for volumizing shampoo. Remember that much of volumizing shampoo is simply negating the ingredients that can create weight and additional oil in the hair. Hyaluronic acid is not only a great moisturizer, but it’s also weightless making it a great choice for volumizing products.

Rice, wheat, oat, and soy Proteins

Popular among many volumizing shampoos, proteins like rice, wheat, and oat are used to promote volume while soy proteins not only add moisture, but can also add thickening. Some products even use barley protein found in beer to promote volume! These proteins are very popular in volumizing products so they’re also easy to find.

Please note that these ingredients are merely skimming the surface of volumizing shampoos and you might see a mix-match of how these ingredients are utilized with others. Volumizing shampoo technology is still breaking into the market with new research everyday, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Are there any other products I can use to get more volume?

The short answer? Asolutely. In fact, a volumizing shampoo alone most likely will not create the results you want, but it does promote better volume when you style and add other products to your regime.

Before you even step out of the shower, you should be pairing your volumizing shampoo with a coinciding conditioner. This will further help hydration without weighing hair down.

Next, you should consider products to help set your style up for further volume. You don’t need a ton of products, but you should try a few to see what works best–experimentation goes a long way. Here are some products that are readily available to boost your volume.

Thickening sprays

Thickening spray adds texture to the hair without weighing it down. This texture not only allows individual strands to look fuller, but it also helps them become more separated giving your hair overall volume.


Mousse is a great product to apply while your hair is wet. Applying it to the roots and then blow drying will create ultimate volume that stays well all day. It’s also a weightless formula, so there’s plenty of room for error if you apply too much or too little.


There are many hairsprays that not only promote additional volume, but keep the volume you’ve already created long after you walk away from the mirror. Many hairsprays also combat annoying hair enemies like humidity and sweat. Gone are the days of perfecting your tresses only to have a little humidity destroy your efforts.

Volumizer cream

Volumizer cream is often an overlooked product because of it’s creamy nature that is similar to a lotion. It can be a little scary to add a heavy cream to already flat hair, but this cream is formulated to add texture during styling. It works best applied before blow drying to create big volume that is also soft and silky.

Yes, it’s a bummer you weren’t born with cascading locks gloating in youthful volume and bouncy body, but thankfully you can fake it with today’s technology. Yes, you’ll need to do a little more work, and possible some research on products, but you too can style your hair and walk into the world with confidence despite the weather or what your day holds. So smile at the rain and ignore the baking sun’s humidity. You got this volume thing down.

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