What are Hair Thickening or Volumizing Products and How Do They Work?

What are Hair Thickening or Volumizing Products and How Do They Work?

Posted by Lisa C. on

Curlsmith recently released their new Full Body Thickening Lotion with some really exceptional reviews.  With this came the question: "How do these products work?"

How Does a Volumizing Product Work?

Volumizing or thickening products can work in a few ways, usually by providing grit, texture, or hold to the hair to add lift. In the case of Curlsmith's new Full Body Thickening Lotion, it includes an ingredient with a structure that changes as it dries, allowing space to form between the hairs to create volume. 

Why Would I Want to Use a Volumizing Product?

If your roots or curls fall flat as your hair dries, or as you get further away from wash day, a volumizing product can help bring some of that body back to your curls. Fine haired curlies may also appreciate the extra boost on wash day as part of their styling routine.

volumized curls

Curlsmith Full Body Thickening Lotion

Results of up to 68% thicker-looking hair have been documented with the Curlsmith Full Body Thickening Lotion!

This product is for all hair types but will be best for fine waves and curls.  It is lightweight and not meant for hold so you can use this with a harder holding product over it.

When using Full Body Thickening Lotion, we recommend that you apply it with the praying hands method. This means smoothing it over from mid length to the ends.  Then flip your head upside down and gently scrunch to bring your curls/waves back.  Air dry or diffuse as usual.  

Other Volumizing Product Recommendations

There’s also a product from Ouidad that is formulated to do something similar.  This is the Curl Shaper Take Shape Plumping + Defining Cream.  This lightweight cream builds body and gives volume, resulting in soft natural curls and waves.  Compared to the above product from Curlsmith, it is a thicker solution.  It is designed for coarser textures but like any product, I always say you won’t know unless you try it.  For finer hair you can always use less and/or dilute the product slightly.

Ouidad recommend their rake and shake method: take sections of hair and rake a small amount in and then smooth that section down with your fingertips.  Finish by shaking that clump holding the end to let the wave/curl return. Again air dry or diffuse as usual.  I would say you can try both techniques or your usual one with any product and have fun experimenting!

Inahsi Natural’s Define and Shine Volumizing Foam is fragrance-free, making it  our only foam without scent.  It also has rice protein to help fill in the chips and cracks in damaged hair.  It will give a medium hold and is great for use on refresh.

If you haven’t tried the Evolvh brand yet they have an amazing foam, the InstaVolume Volumizing Mousse,  that thickens and gives volume, definition, and hold. 

One of my go to products has been Innersense I Create Volume.  This is a liquid-y clear lotion that is organic, low scent and good for all hair types. According to Innersense, in this formula Honey and Aloe Vera lift roots and boost volume, and Rice Amino Acids and Eucalyptus create fullness and expansion while adding shine. 

Dry Shampoos for Volume

Outside of the many products we have that give volume and temporarily increase the thickness of your hair, you can always use a dry shampoo or a salt spray to bring back that oomph to your hair on day 2+.

The Volumizing Dry Shampoo from Hair Dance is a fave in the community and is reasonably priced. This dry shampoo is a powder that needs to be worked in at the roots.

Boucleme makes a Foaming Dry Shampoo that builds volume and creates texture without any drying alcohols.  It starts as a wet foam but dries to a powder to absorb oil and contains two mint oils which can be soothing to the scalp.

(Salt) Sprays for Volume

The salt and Irish moss in Original Moxie's Sweet Poof Volumizing Spray is also great for texture, hold, and strength. This is a great alternative to hair spray.

How Else Can I Add Volume?

AG Hair's paste called Dry Lift will add volume to any hair.  Keep in mind to only use a pea size and emulsify it between your hands.  Press it towards your roots and yes you can run it though your hair just remember it will leave a bit of a gritty feeling. This is what is providing the texture and lift to flat hair.

Another great way to add volume during wash day is by diffusing or by clipping your roots using clips like the Curl Keeper Roller Jaw Clamps. You can use these techniques with volumizing products for even more lift. 


In summary, styling products that provide thickening/volume are designed to stay on your hair and build up without weighing your hair down (weighed down hair is not voluminous!).  They are washed out when you use a shampoo with cleansing ingredients. We have a myriad of products that are geared towards creating volume and they run from serums to gels to foams.  I have reviewed a few but remember you can always contact us at products@curlwarehouse.com for a personalized recommendation.

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