Thick, healthy, luxurious hair worthy of a L’Oréal advert is what many women dream of, but it can be a never-ending struggle to try to make fine, limp hair look big and fabulous.
Age, environment and over-styling can all contribute to thinning hair, so these hairdressers have let us in on a few secrets.
1. Your health
Trichologist Iain Sallis says: “Make sure you are not suffering from any types of vitamin or mineral deficiencies. If you feel physically tired and have reason to question your health, visit your GP for a full MOT. Lowered levels of minerals such as iron and zinc can have a detrimental effect to your hair growth and the thickness of your hair.”
2. Your diet
Sara G Allison, also a trichologist, says: “The most important factor for retaining healthy hair is of course a healthy diet. Essential omega 3, vitamins and minerals are all vital to ensure good hair health.”
While Sallis adds: “Eat lots of protein! Studies have shown that when sheep and goats were given a high dose supplement of sulphur rich amino acids they produced almost twice the amount of wool at twice the thickness compared to the control group of the same flock who did not have the supplement.
"Now, I understand we are not sheep, but the theory is sound. So if you want to maximise your hair growth and thickness potential, then start eating lots of good quality red meat, oily fish and plenty of nuts.”
3. Hair cuts
Hairdresser Anne Veck says: “Getting the ends cut every 6-8 weeks will help hair maintain its thickness, leaving the ends looking fuller and healthier. Having a regular trim can also help hair grow healthier.”
4. Your scalp
Toby Cobbledick, Nanogen hair expert and biochemist, says: “Scalp health is the most important element towards achieving thicker and faster growing hair.
"Wake up the hair with a daily scalp massage to stimulate hair follicles and increase thicker growth. Apply aloe vera which is high in vitamins and minerals to the scalp.”
Allison says: “Many people believe that daily washing can be detrimental but this is not true. Washing your hair every other day keeps your follicles and hair free of debris, bacteria and pollution. What you should avoid is using excessive heat when styling hair and this can be very damaging and cause breakage."
Veck adds: “It is so important to really massage the shampoo into your hair as this will stimulate blood flow.”
Katie Hamburger, stylist at Regis Salon, says: “For hair that is full of volume and life, start by keeping your hair in great condition. Apply a light nourishing conditioner to the ends only so the strands aren’t weighed down by any extra product. If you feel your hair getting dry, use a hair mask once a week to moisturise the ends.”
Anne Veck says: “When blowdrying hair it is a good idea to tip your head upside down. This will give a natural lift to your roots. To really boost your roots you could add a mousse or spritz some thickening spray when the hair is 80% dry.”
Lisa Farrall, from the London Hair Academy, suggests: “Start at the roots of your hair to create volume, once the roots are lifted the rest of the hair will follow and last. Using a classic vent brush on the roots will allow the air to circulate and pass through your roots cooling down in the process, hair sets when it’s cool so it’s important to heat it up and give a little time to cool down, just like a good workout.”
But Sallis warns against using too much heat: “Much of the reason why hair ‘does not grow’ or is fine and limp is due to the ends becoming over processed and snapping off due to repetitive straighteners use (and constant bleaching of the hair). So look after the ends as well as what’s inside.”
Session stylist, Stephen Low, from Neville Hair & Beauty, says: “Try a little back brushing at the root, diffuse dry it, and then brush out. This will create a slight fluffy texture at the roots, but will hold the volume. Spray to set.”