beauty

“Every thickening tip and trick I've learned from being cursed with thin, lank hair.”

It’s a unique form of cruelty to have sisters with thick, luscious hair when your own is hopelessly mediocre.

Some people tell me I’m lucky to have fine hair – hair that has little life, and very little oomph – because it’s “so low maintenance”. I call those people liars.

If you’re rolling your eyes from underneath a glorious mane of curls right now, let me tell you: being shunned to a life of thin hair isn’t fun. I long for volume and bounce and a bit of frivolity. I’ll settle for anything other than lacklustre-and-straight-with-a-hint-of-kinky-waves, really.

One upside is that this (totally first world) situation has taught me to be creative. To learn the tricks of the hair trade, if you will, in how to fool passersby that there are more than 88 strands of hair on my head.

These are the best thickening hacks I’ve picked up over the years.

Reverse washing

It sounds like something you’d do in the laundry, but reverse washing really just means swapping the order of shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair.

Because fine hair can be weighed down by conditioning treatments and moisturisers – causing it to look oily and lank – going in with conditioner first, then the shampoo second, will leave it feeling light and bouncy.

The trick is to lather your hair with conditioner; so massage it into the tips and the scalp, before applying the shampoo to just your roots. Your hair might feel coarse and stiff when you hop out of the shower, but you’ll see what I mean after you give it a blow dry. Volume galore. Halle-bloody- lujah.

While I wouldn’t recommend reversing washing every time you reach for the shampoo – you don’t want to dry your hair out – once every couple of weeks will give it that much needed zhush.

Brands like Tresemme have their own lines specifically formulated for reverse washing, but I get the same results with my regular products.

Thickening hairspray

Thank goodness more brands are starting to acknowledge the struggles of us fine-haired folks. Bumble & Bumble’s thickening hairspray, which you can pick up from Mecca for $44, has been a godsend. Spray in sections to damp hair before going in with your hairdryer and styling tools, and you’ll notice a beautiful difference to how your hair looks and feels.

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Watch: Hairdressers: Translated.

Not too wet, not too dry

It took me precisely 24 years on this planet to learn that women like me should rarely (if ever) completely dry their hair with a hairdryer.

Really, fine-haired folks should err on the side of caution and cool their jets when their hair is 90 per cent dry. At this point, it’s best to employ the cool air function, and give the head a once over to seal the cuticles.

This is due to thin hair often being weaker, leaving it more prone to heat damage if you blast away for too long.

Spiral hair ties

If you have thin hair and wear it up regularly like I do, you probably also have breakage right around the area your ponytail sits. I’m no mathematician (I still struggle with BODMAS) but I do understand more breakage = less volume.

Spiral or coil hair ties come in a range of colours – all of mine are clear or black – and are like a hug for your hair. They don’t stretch out, break, leave kinks, or betray you. They’re nifty little guys that always do their job, and will leave you with healthier hair in the long run.

Shorter is better

It can be hard to admit at first, but it’s true: if you’ve got thin hair, chop it off into a lob or bob.

Deep breaths, it’s okay. We’re all friends here, and we all know that length is never going to translate to thickness. Take a moment of silence. Say goodbye to seven years of trying really, really hard to make it happen. The battle is over.

Asking your hairdresser for a cut that grazes your shoulders will add body to your hair. Even better? Request lightly tapered ends that can be tousled and vamped up.

I’ve had many regrets in my twenties. Listening to my hairdresser and chopping my hair off will never be one of them.

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