Tales from the Hair Chair
Va-va-voom Volume! Volumizing products

Volumizing products are probably the most misused products out there. So often I hear “I bought X product and I didn’t like it. It didn’t do anything.” Creating volume is totally the work of your styling ability. Products just assist in hold. Although volume adding product can be used to hold a style roots to end the most important part of volume is created at the root.

Volumizing products can be mousses, sprays or creams. They are once again applied wet. After showering towel dry by squeezing and patting excess water. DO NOT RUB THE TOWEL ON YOUR HAIR! This roughens the cuticle and tangles. If you’re using a mousse or cream apply the product into your hand. Rub your hands together to distribute it evenly. Pat the product on your scalp and rub your fingers into the roots. Distribute the rest by running your hands down your hair shaft. If you’re using a spray lift your hair and spray product into the roots. Comb through.

Now again we begin to blow dry. This is the most important part. If you blow dry your hair down it’s going to lay flat. You have to create volume with how you blow dry. To do this you’ll need a round brush and a blow dryer with a nozzle. I prefer a natural bristle brush. They tend to really grab and smooth the sections best.

If you didn’t read my last blog I’ll do a quick overview here on how to blow dry. Start by quickly drying the hair without the nozzle moving the dryer back and forth over the hair and lifting hair at the root. When the hair is mostly dry/ slightly damp add the nozzle and pick up the brush. Take horizontal 1” sections starting above the ear and working to the top of the head. With your blow dryer in one hand and brush in the other pick up the section with the blow dryer hand and place the brush under the section at the root. Now this is where you create your volume. The nozzle should follow the brush pointing AWAY from the root. The more volume you want the higher toward the ceiling you lift that section. When you get to the ends grab that section and do it again until the section is dry. (This is why hairstylists use higher power blow dryers. They work faster and save your arms. It’s worth it to spend the extra money and buy a better quality dryer. I swear by Elchem. I have used nothing but them for 14 years.)

Working with the back of the head takes practice. I suggest parting the back down the middle to make those sections easier to manage.

And as always here’s my favorites in the world of Volume:

Kevin Murphy - Anti Gravity (by far my all time favorite right now)

Redkin - Root Boost

Bumble and Bumble - Thickening Cream

Practice this and in time you’ll have barbarella style volume!

Good Shampoo and Conditioner & The haunting of Pantene

I have a personal problem with Pantene. Pantene has been messing with me since my very first salon job as an assistant in a middle class suburb of Detroit. People there thought they were treating themselves by purchasing the most expensive drug store brand they could find. Client after client showed up with their fried out waxy pantene coated hair. I had to clarify every single one of them.

I’ve felt like a parrot with this speech in the salon. I HATE store bought products. Here’s my speech:

Store bought shampoos and conditioners are made by companies that make things such as floor wax and toilet bowl cleaner. Even the herbal, ‘healthy’, and organic ones are not made by people that study hair. Sure they may make your hair feel clean and not tangley. So why not just save your money and use them? Most of what I see in clients that aren’t using a professional salon brand is that they are dry dry dry! And just because your shampoo says professional on it doesn’t mean it is. Store bought shampoos are like detergents. They can be very abrasive and drying.

The major problem with being cheap about your products lays in conditioners. Aside from just plain not being moisturizing enough they use waxes and oils that just coat your hair. That may seem all fine and good when you rinse your hair and it feels slick and easy to comb through. But that doesn’t mean it’s conditioned. What’s happening is you are sealing your hair off from any nutrients and moisture. Over time using these products your hair becomes more dry and brittle. Ever notice when you get in the shower and it takes a few minutes of the water running on it before it really feels wet. Yeah, coated!

So what should you get that won’t break your budget?

Well first of all since you are used to using crappy product you’ve probably been using too much. Professional brands tend to have a thicker richer lather and go a bit further. Be smart about choosing your shampoo. Buy stuff that is for your hair type. (thick, coarse, dry, fine, colored ect) Most brands have something that will fit into any of those combinations. If you are someone that wants organic there are a ton of brands out there that are now that are fantastic. (Kevin Murphy and ABBA are my two favorites right now) If organic doesn’t matter but price does there are some brands that are on the more cost sensitive side. They are not as cheap as store bought but they also won’t leave your hair feeling like tinsel. (Try Redken, Bed Head, or MOP)
If money is no object and you want to be completely spoiled try Kerastase, l’oreal serie, Rene Furterer, or Phytologie.

Remember that advertisements are designed to get you to buy things. I’ve worked on photo shoots and lighting and photo retouching gives hair completely unrealistic expectations. Those people have fantastic advertising teams.

About a month after quiting the pantene infested salon I was at an outdoor festival. Some lovely people were handing out sample bags of Pantene shampoos and conditioner. I politely declined. Later in that day I had run into the best friend of an x-boyfriend. We were having a lovely conversation when just then some stranger thought it would be funny to throw one of those little satin pouched Pantene bombs into the crowd of people and directly into my face. I blinked for a second not knowing what had just happened and glanced at the ground to find…. clenching my fist and shaking them at the heavens I screamed “CURSE YOU PANTENE!” The old acquaintance stepped slowly away from me. I’m sure in fear about my mental stability. To this day every time a client says they “just use pantene” it feels like to me that they just hit me in the face.