The desire for fuller, thicker hair has women all over the country scouring bathroom cabinets, drugstore aisles, and even doctors' offices hoping to hit pay dirt. It can be overwhelming, thanks in part to the many root-lifters, thickening shampoos, circulation-boosting exfoliators, and scalp elixirs on the market, each promising to help hair grow in faster and fuller. How to choose? And what products if any will actually work? Here, we get to the root of the issue.
It's in the Genes
Like your height, body build, and eye color, the structure of your hair and its shade are hereditary. The diameter of the hair, its density, shape, and texture are also primarily inherited and pretty much set for life. However, if you go through a hormone-altering event such as childbirth your hair cycle (meaning the growth and shedding of hair strands) and even its outward appearance could change.
Failure to Launch
If you have straight hair, achieving lift can be very challenging. It's a beautiful dilemma, since strands that are gorgeously shiny and smooth lie flat on top of each other and often lack body. Thin, straight hair can also quickly become oily at the roots, which prompts daily shampooing. And overwashing hair is you guessed it! also deflating.
Wavy- and curly-haired chicas crave thick locks too. And lift is often needed at the roots, as curls can weigh down strands. Unfortunately, volumizing products often contain drying alcohols; this is especially problematic for curly and wavy hair types, which are naturally more dry and fragile.
What a Tease!
Traditional methods used to create the appearance of thicker hair have primarily centered on roughing up the texture of strands. Popularized in the '80s, the concept of teasing has you scrunching and knotting strands so they rise up off the surface of your head. Instant volume! The chemical process of dyeing hair also roughs up the cuticle, or surface, making locks look fatter. Layers of product, like hair spray, can be added to produce a thickening film around hairs. But these methods, while creating the appearance of volume, don't make for the smoothest, shiniest, or most touchable results. In fact, hair can become downright damaged.
Saved by the Swell
So, is there any way to make hair grow in thicker? Most experts agree the answer, at this point, is no. The truth is most oils, tonics, and exfoliating solutions meant to be rubbed onto the scalp to promote hair growth never reach strands at their follicle roots; they can't really help hair grow in thicker or faster. There are, however, ingredients that can help hair grow in stronger, which can lessen breakage and help strands become healthier. And now there are new products that will beef up strands outside the scalp.
Living Proof, the company behind the groundbreaking product No Frizz, has created Full Thickening Cream based on its discovery of Poly Beta Amino Ester-1 (can you tell the brand is run in part by MIT professors?). David Puerta, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, worked on this innovation as the principal scientist for Living Proof. "The large majority of thickening products today 'glue' hair fibers together with resins," he explains, "giving the temporary appearance of volume, but not necessarily the feel of thicker hair." So instead of that procedure, this new polymer material lies on strands and provides a flexible layer that makes hair look and feel thicker. And it isn't sticky or brittle to the touch.
Other brands have also pursued smoother roads to volume. Sebastian Professional has released its new Volupt Collection of shampoo, conditioner, and spray, which uses polymer particles Sipernate and Microthene to cushion the space between hairs, creating uplifting volume without the crunch.
Ladies, can we hear a hallelujah?