So many women we meet – of all ages, but particularly after mid-life – want a bit of a-va-volume. Not necessarily 80s-style ‘big hair’, but bigger hair and more of what they’ve got, basically. Once upon a time, that meant reaching for a stiff mousse – but the advent of root sprays and volume-boosting mists (as well as scalp treatments to nurture thicker growth) have revolutionised the hair world. We trialled many different formats of product for this section – and all the winners (scroll down to ensure you read about ALL of the great ones) exceeded our expectations.
GOLD AWARD SHOW Lux Volumising Mist
SHOW Beauty was founded by the glamorous society figure Tamara Ecclestone – and the packaging is definitely the hair world’s most glam and glitzy, with its sheeny-shiny metallic, blingtastic packaging. But this range really isn’t just about ‘show’; within that show-stopping packaging you’ll find high-performance products like this winning Volumising mist, which should be spritzed onto damp hair and worked from root to tip before drying for a natural, brushable finish with a definite ‘oomph’ factor. Polymers lift the hair from the root, with wheat protein and essential acids, vitamin E, aloe vera and argan oil to add gloss and control free radicals, reducing fading of colour-treated hair. Other shine-boosting (and gorgeously fragrant) ingredients include lavender, mango, kiwi, lychee and ginger lily.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This was easy to work through my hair, gave a nice shine and added volume and fullness that lasted for five to six hours. It was also more manageable and it’s very good that this product has a defrizz factor as this is one of my main concerns. My hair stayed in place all day. I love the packaging and the whole style. A very luxurious product’ • ‘It is extremely easy to evenly distribute the mist through my hair. The volumising mist made my hair very glossy and healthy looking. It added tons and tons of volume, which lasted until well into the next day. My hair felt voluminous, soft and shiny and didn't become frizzy. The volume and gloss lasted until I washed my hair. This is better than my usual high end products’ • ‘My hair is fine and limp. This product is truly amazing. My hair is full and shiny and looks and feels very thick. I don't need any additional products on my hair, I use about 4-5 sprays of product, blow-dry my hair and that's it. The bottle looks very expensive and luxurious, it shouldn’t matter really but for me it does. I much rather spend a little more money to have a posh looking bottle on my dresser’ • ‘I would buy this product because it gave my thin fine hair lots of volume, which lasted all day. The de-frizz factor was good too. This is a lot better than my usual product. It promises flawless all day fullness and shine and it lived up the claims and more. Yes, yes, yes I would buy it! I felt like I was back in the eighties but didn’t have to use a full can of hairspray to achieve it, just this pretty shiny can’ • ‘Extremely easy to work through my hair. I sprayed and then ruffled my hair before blowing. My hair was glossier than usual after blow-drying. It gave my hair great volume. Whether I do it myself, or my hairdresser does, I am always in search of 'big' hair. It’s excellent at keeping frizz under control. I was extremely pleased with the result. And over time my hair has increased into volume, become softer and shinier, and looks all round healthier. I was very surprised that it surpassed my usual product, which I think does a great job.’
£35 for 150ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD (JOINT) Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir
Viviscal is a renowned and clinically-researched hair growth supplement – market leader for 25 years. (We know many women troubled by hair loss who are devoted to it.) Over time, the brand’s moved into products to sit alongside the supplement, offering a wide range of treatments, shampoos, conditioners and volume-boosting products. This is actually a leave-in serum – weightless and specifically designed to leave hair looking fuller, thicker and shiny with it, blended with biotin, keratin and zinc to promote healthy-looking hair growth, plus their proprietary complex – something called Ana:Tel, formulated to stimulate hair growth. Add two or three pumps (depending on length) to the palm of the hand and smooth through damp hair, or use it as a styling aid on hair that may have gone flat between washes, they recommend.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘The product claims to give “thicker, fuller, gorgeous looking hair” and did exactly what it claims. It also made my hair do what I wanted it to do: I only ask it to sit nicely in a straight bob every day but you would think I had asked it to walk on a tightrope across the Thames, holding a glass of red wine in one hand and a kitten in the other, the fuss it makes...’ • ‘My hairdresser used this to set my hair. She made a note of its name as she liked the end effect as much as I did. I have very fine hair and love to add volume to it as a style falls very quickly. I usually wash my hair two/three times a week; the first time I used this it lasted a week – very unusual but very welcome. Even after rain my hair seemed to be thicker, smoother and very shiny once dry. I’d definitely buy it’ • ‘For the first time in my life I look like I have thick hair! It also gave my fine, flyaway hair high shine, and made it super-manageable – plus it totally de-frizzes hair, so it's sleek and super soft. Because it’s not flat, oily or lank, it doesn't need washing as often. Wow! Love this product. Another benefit is that my hair is much stronger after regular use, with less coming out when brushing. I usually lose quite a lot when brushing but I have only found a couple of hairs caught on the brush. I had been quite worried about hair loss so this is an unexpected bonus’ • ‘Fab product. I use after washing and also between shampoos, and only need one or two drops on my dry frizzy thin hair. Immediate improvement, hair appears thicker with more volume, is easier to stay and comb through, and no frizz! Works equally well on dry or damp hair’ • ‘I was really surprised by how good this product was. I usually apply loads of different volumising products. This achieved thicker, fuller looking hair, with just the right amount of gloss. It lasted the whole day (I wash my hair every day)’ • ‘My hair felt and looked much thicker and it stood up to straightening better than usual and manageability was much improved. My hair pretty much stayed where I put it, which is unusual!’
£19.99 for 50ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD (JOINT) Philip Kingsley Maximiser
The late Philip Kingsley really brought trichology out of the shadows, formulating so many products that are now hair icons. (His beloved daughter Anabel, also a trichologist, now capably heads up the Kingsley empire, powering it forward.) This is one of those icons: a volumising spray for limp, fine and flyaway hair to provide body. You’d usually spritz onto the roots of wet hair for lift, or through mid-lengths and ends for overall fullness, but it can also be used on dry hair as a setting lotion. The formula also happens to be anti-humidity and weatherproof, providing UV protection, too – so whatever the weather throws at us, then, an ace volume-boosting choice.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This promises to maximise volume and body - it does 100 per cent. It's fabulous. Very easy to apply; you direct the spray nozzle right on to the roots. It combed through like a detangler. My hair was at least double the volume of my normal blow-dry. I actually had to tame it with a little serum as I looked like a 60s beauty queen. The volume last until I washed it again, more than 36 hours on one occasion. I didn't notice any immediate improvement to manageability but the following morning I didn't have ‘bed hair’ like I normally do, which I was ecstatic at. I usually wake up with a bird’s nest on top of my head but after using this I didn't’ • ‘It really did appear to tame my frizz, I always have to straighten my hair with a straightening irons which can take up to 20 minutes as I have long hair but I honestly straightened my hair in half the time as it appeared to blow-dry a lot straighter and tamed than usual. It also contains a UV protector so I took it on my holidays and boy did it do the trick - my ombre did not change colour with the sun or chlorine’ • ‘A lovely product. It was very easy to work through. I lifted the roots of my hair whilst damp and sprayed. There was a lovely gloss with no greasiness. There was noticeable volume to my hair, which gave it great movement. The volume lasted for a few hours. I have very little frizz anyway but my hair did look glossier and there was no sign of any frizz’ • ‘My fine blonde hair definitely looked thicker and very shiny, also much easier to manage. The results lasted until my next hair wash, three days later. I have already bought more’ • ‘This gave my very dull frizzy limp hair lots more volume, which lasted all day. My style stayed in place and frizz was not a problem. My hair was shinier, healthier and more manageable. I love Philip Kingsley products; they always deliver what they say’ • ‘It definitely gave more volume. I particularly need lift at the roots so I did spray more in that area and it works great; definitely gives my hair the va-va-voom effect as I have had a lot of compliments.’
£16.50 for 125ml - click to buy
BRONZE (JOINT) and BEST NATURAL AWARD Aveda Thickening Tonic
Longstanding haircare favourites with Beauty Bible testers over the years, this wonderfully fragrant winner has that glorious Aveda-ish scent, to up the pleasure factor as you use this fine-nozzled spritz on hair-booster. Potent botanicals include organic amla fruit, together with wheat extract for thickening, a corn-derived ingredient to help hold the style – and the formula is 97% natural overall. (We love that Aveda call their range ‘people-tested’, by the way.)
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This thickening tonic is a brilliant product for anyone who wants an additional 'swish' to their hair. It worked for me and I felt that there was a discernible difference to my Aveda hair compared with my non-Aveda hair. The small size bottle is easy to take away on holiday too’ • ‘This was easy to work through hair with my fingertips after spraying it on the roots. It improved the volume, which I appreciated as I didn't have to spend so much time drying it with my head upside down – which makes me feel dizzy. The volume lasted until my next wash, which was a nice surprise’ • ‘My hair felt and looked thicker and that lasted until the next wash. It wasn't as flyaway so easier to style. I really like this and it is better than other thickening products I have used. I think over time my hair is feeling thicker. My hair can feel really greasy from products but that didn't happen at all with this’ • ‘This spray is so easy to use and gives incredible volume without weighing my hair down. Hair looks glossy and healthy, and shows signs of being smoother. The effects are drastically better than previous products. Plus it makes my hair easy to style. It’s perfect for a night out, as I don’t have to worry about my hair flopping’ • ‘This made my hair thicker and smoother, with less frizz. The sprayer is good too. I would buy this.’
£21 for 100ml - click to buy
BRONZE (JOINT) and BEAUTY STEAL AWARD Percy & Reed Bountifully Bouncy Volumising Mousse
One of Jo’s go-to hair mousses (she’s mousse-mad, Jo is), this is created by the hip and award-winning London hairdressing duo – Paul ‘Percy’ Percival and Adam Reed – whose whimsically-packaged hair creations consistently impress our testers. If you ever felt that mousse could be stiff and sticky, crispy or drying, just check this creamy-textured creation out; it feels airy when hair is dry, giving a wonderful shiny, natural look. Polymers add body and volume, shielding against the elements, too. (Though we’d definitely still pack an umbrella.) A 50ml travel size is priced around a fiver – we call that a total steal.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘My fine flat hair did look thicker, with definitely more volume at the roots, which lasted most of the day. It also made my hair less frizzy. It’s much better than my usual product, however I did have to wash my hair more often’ • ‘It was very easy to work this lightweight product through my fine hair and I was impressed with the added volume, which lasted through the day. It made my hair look shiny not greasy’ • ‘This promised to give lift and shine, which it did. It’s great for giving your hair a boost when it needs root lift. I loved the smell’ • ‘This gave my hair added volume with a believable natural gloss. I dried my hair around 6.30am and my hair was still semi-volumised 12 hours later when I got home from work’ • ‘This thick creamy mousse gave my hair lots of extra volume, which lasted about four hours. However, it had more build up than my usual styling products.’
£12.50 for 200ml - click to buy