March 1, 2020

How To Get (And Keep) Volume In Your Curly Hair

When it comes to curly hair, bigger is indeed better. Unfortunately for many curlies, it can be difficult to get volume in the right places. But fret not, any type of curly hair can be coaxed into displaying its beautiful natural volume without adding any sticky hairspray or sacrificing definition. We’ve got you covered with these five CG-friendly, tried and true methods to add more volume to your curly hair.  

how to get volume in curly hair

Clip Up Your Roots

Clipping up the roots of your hair as it dries gives your hair a great start to voluminous curls, especially for finer hair and curl patterns that lean towards wavy. When your hair is wet, the weight of the water pulls the roots downwards and flattens them against your scalp. Oftentimes all your hair needs is a little help when drying to guide the roots in the right direction (read: up) during the initial stages of drying to get that beautiful volume at the roots. Clipping is most commonly done with duckbill clips, but any similar type of clip works just as well – it all depends on what you’re most comfortable using. To clip up your roots for that curly hair volume boost:

  1. Start with wet hair, and apply your preferred styling product(s).
  2. Tilt your head to the side, and grab a small section of curls close to the root.
  3. Reach your opposite hand over your head, and slide the clip around the section of curls snugly against your scalp.
  4. Work your way around your head using the same technique, clipping up sections of hair where you want an extra boost of volume.

You can also use this method when refreshing curls between washes – just switch out a freshly washed head and styling products out for a spray bottle with your preferred curl refresher.

curly hair diffuser


Diffusing is one of the old school ways of getting extra volume in curly hair, but you need to know how to diffuse correctly for maximum volumizing effect. Diffusing is extra effective when done after a plop, and technique is everything.

Firstly, diffuse your hair upside down by tilting your body forward and bending at the waist. This guides your roots to dry in the correct position for maximum volume. Diffuse your hair in alternating sections starting from the crown, and keep the blow dryer on the lowest airflow setting to avoid frizz. Try to use the cool setting, but if you opt to use your blow dryer on a hotter setting make sure not to stay on one spot for too long to avoid damaging your hair.

When your hair is sufficiently dry (it doesn't have to be 100% dry, a few slightly damp curls is fine), turn the blow dryer to the coolest setting and cool your hair off in sections to set the curls.

Finally, with the blow dryer on the lowest and coolest setting, remove the diffuser attachment. With your hair still upside down, bring the blow dryer right up against your roots. Working in small sections where you want extra volume, blow dry just your roots and use your opposite hand to gently lift and massage the roots upwards with the pads of your fingers. Make sure the roots are dry before moving on to the next section.

how to get more volume in curly hair

Clarify Your Hair

Sometimes, even with the best care and a perfectly CG-friendly routine, your hair can get weighed down by buildup. There are two types of buildup: product buildup and hard water residue. Both of these can accumulate on your hair, especially at the roots, and cause limp curls that just can’t get any volume.

If you're experiencing product buildup you will need to use a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are used infrequently, approximately once a month or even less, as they can be drying for curly hair. Use clarifying shampoos only as needed to avoid dryness, and take your time to test how frequently you should use them on your hair.

With hard water buildup, you will need to use a chelating shampoo. Chelating shampoos break down deposits from hard water that have accumulated in your hair over time. Like clarifying shampoos, they should only be used as needed. For a more natural alternative, an apple cider vinegar rinse can also remove hard water buildup from your curls.

curly hair volume

Wash And Style Upside Down

You’ve probably noticed a theme here, but the volumizing effects of this simple method cannot be overstated: washing and styling your curls upside down will give your curls an instant volume boost. Just like diffusing upside down, washing and styling upside down lifts your roots upwards and gives your curls a head start (no pun intended) on drying correctly.

When rinsing your hair in the shower, do it with your head tilted forward and use a squishing motion to rinse out product. The same goes for styling – apply your styling products and finish styling upside down and with a few good squishes to get your curls springy and defined.  

add volume to curly hair

Get A Haircut

This is the number one method for getting more volume in curly hair. Curly hair requires different care, and that includes a good curly-specific haircut from an experienced curly hair stylist. In order to not be smooshed down by its own weight, curly hair needs to be cut correctly. If you find none of the above tips have helped you get the volume you want, visit an experienced curly hair stylist and explain where your hair is missing volume. A good stylist will be able to give your curls the right cut for their texture and density, and bring out the beautiful natural volume from your curly locks.


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