Sign up for our daily newsletter


Best hair thickening products: We pick the best shampoos, conditioners and treatments

Caroline Preece Kate Hilpern
18 Jun 2021

Looking to get the best from flyaway hair? These are our favourite products to inject strength, body and volume into your locks

Naturally thick, voluminous locks are what most of us dream about. According to recent research, 56% of women say that lack of volume is their biggest hair disappointment, with women over 45 feeling it the most. But don’t despair: there are seemingly infinite products aimed at giving hair that desired look. In fact, sales of volumising hair products are now worth a whopping £80 million.

So, if you’re looking for a product that will add volume and strength to flat, fine or thinning hair, look no further – we’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff to bring you the best of what’s on the market right now. From shampoos and conditioners to leave-in lotions and gels, we’ve covered them all. Scroll down to our buying guide to discover what you should consider before you buy and then on for our top suggestions.

Best hair thickening products: At a glance

How to choose the right hair thickening products for you

What causes limp, flat and thinning hair?

Everything from stress to poor diet, from ageing to nature’s gift to you, according to experts. Your thyroid, a lack of iron and your genetic predisposition can also determine hair scalp and quality.

Do hair thickening products really work?

Well, despite manufacturers’ promises, there isn’t a product on the market to promote hair growth. However, there are formulas designed to prevent further hair loss and to improve your scalp's condition, which can encourage hair growth. There's also a great selection of products to thicken or keep hair healthy, with many people now relying on thickening products to boost the texture of their hair.

Should you avoid certain hair products if you want your hair to look thicker?

It’s important to be aware of what your hair products contain. Avoid any formulas designed to make hair look shimmery, as well as those with silicones, conditioning or pearlising agents (often found in shampoos and conditioners with no sulphates). These will make hair limp.

What kind of hair thickening products are available?

Most of our recommendations are shampoos. This is because they can achieve the best results for making hair look thicker. But there are also some great conditioners available too, as well as sprays, oils and even mousses to give the desired effect.

Can people with naturally thicker hair also benefit from these products?

Yes. As the day goes on, particles in the environment are likely to make hair greasier and flatter. Volumising products can be great for giving all hair types that extra lift.

Can anything else help?

Experts say a good haircut can work as well to revive thinning hair as the products you use. If your hair is long then the extra weight on the ends is likely to drag hair down, leaving it looking flat at the scalp. A shorter style will have the opposite effect. A well-maintained, blunted edge helps keep the weight at the ends and makes your hair look fuller and healthier. Also, blow-dry hair away from the direction in which you want it to sit to encourage volume right down to the root.

READ NEXT: Best products for curly hair

The best hair thickening products to buy

1. Nexxus Diametress Shampoo: The best shampoo for making hair stronger and fuller

Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon

This protein-rich volumising shampoo will make locks stronger and give them a noticeably fuller look, even if your hair is particularly delicate to begin with. It works well to get rid of hair static too – a common problem with finer hair.

Many people say they’d tried numerous products before finally landing on this one, which they’ve then stuck with. And we can see why – it smells great and leaves hair fresh for several days; it lifts hair from the roots in a way other shampoos simply don’t. Don’t go mad with it, though: you won’t need much to get great results.

Key specs – Product type: Shampoo; Quantity: 400ml

2. Paul Mitchell Lemon Sage Conditioner: The best conditioner for thicker locks

Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

Lots of hairdressers warn those with lifeless-looking hair to avoid rich conditioners as they can weigh down fine hair and make it look even limper than it already does. However, this creamy, zesty conditioner from Paul Mitchell hydrates dry ends and leaves the rest of the hair full of body too.

A firm favourite among hairstylists and beauty editors, it also strengthens locks and boosts shine. The product’s scent stays with hair all day too, leaving it smelling lovely and fresh. You don’t need much of it, so the bottle should last you a while.

Key specs – Product type: Shampoo; Quantity: 300ml

3. ArtNaturals Argan Oil Shampoo for Hair Regrowth: The best shampoo for hair regrowth

Price: £59 | Buy now from Amazon

One of the most common reasons for hair loss is a hormone called DHT, which restricts blood supply to hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. This organic, creamy shampoo contains DHT blockers, along with strengthening antioxidants and proteins, to help prevent hair from falling out in the future.

In addition, it makes your hair look fuller. Containing argan oil, aloe vera, white willow bark, burdock root, rosemary, thyme and other ingredients that stimulate hair growth, it works to give you a healthy scalp and it really does add more volume to thinning hair.

Popular among women who have hit the menopause – a time when hair thinning is common – it’s completely natural and vegan-friendly. You don’t need much, which means the bottle will last for some time, plus and there’s a great matching conditioner too.

Key specs – Product type: Shampoo; Quantity: 473ml

4. Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray: The best spray

Price: £36 | Buy now from Amazon

No time to wash hair with a thickening shampoo before a night out, but want to get rid of that flyaway look? Simply spritz this onto dry hair and ruffle up with your hands for instant volume. There’s no nasty residue, nor does it make your hair look greasy, dull, heavy or flat – all common problems with other hair thickening sprays. You can use the formula on wet hair – in fact, you’ll get extra thermal protection if you do.

It doesn’t smell all that lovely, but in our opinion, that’s well worth the compromise for gloriously full locks with minimum effort.

Key specs – Product type: Thickening spray; Quantity: 200ml

5. Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo: The best dry shampoo 

Price: £20 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Dry shampoo is a great way of sprucing up a blow-dry that hasn’t lasted quite as long as you’d hoped for. Philip Kingsley's One More Day dry shampoo goes one step further than keeping hair looking fresh and gives it enough body and volume to make it seem you've just been to the salon.

The solution contains rice starch that helps to texturise and thicken hair, at the same time as removing oils, dirty and irritation of the scalp. Also in the range is the Body Building shampoo and conditioner, Maximiser spray and more.

Key specs – Product type: Dry shampoo; Quantity: 200ml

Buy now from Cult Beauty

6. Swiss Clinic Hair Renewal Serum: The best renewal serum for thinning hair

Price: £59 | Buy now from Face the Future

If you’re male or female and have thinning hair, this may just become your new best friend. Describing itself as a unique hair growth reactivator complex, put simply this product includes active ingredients that treat the hair both in the growth stages (anagen and catagen) as well as the resting phase (telogen), so that hair loss is reduced and growth is stimulated in the resting hair follicles.

You apply the oil-like solution via the dropper and massage it into the scalp daily. This one is a marathon, not a sprint, taking at least four months before you see any results. And refrain from piling it on as (a) it’s expensive and (b) your hair will look greasy.

Key specs – Product type: Thickening cream; Quantity: 150ml

Buy now from Face the Future

7. Aveda Thickening Tonic: The best blow-dry lotion

Price: £22 | Buy now from John Lewis

This blow-dry lotion’s ingredients include wheat proteins and natural plant gums to add bulk to hair and give it a significantly thicker texture. Try blow-drying locks with and without it and you’ll be certain to notice a difference; plus it works from the roots right to the tips.

It comes in a compact pot, which you’ll be able to throw into a bag anywhere you go. It’s from a well-respected brand too: Aveda has been going since 1978, producing everything from skincare, makeup and hair products, with a focus on natural plant extracts.

Key specs – Product type: Blow-dry lotion; Quantity: 100ml

8. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse: The best hair thickening mousse

Price: £23 | Buy now from Marks & Spencer

Use this mousse on damp hair before styling for instant lightweight hold, bounce and shape – minus the nasty stickiness and crunchy feeling that mousses can leave you with once they’ve dried. In fact, it leaves your hair feeling surprisingly soft, and promises to keep it hydrated too.

That said, you need only a tiny bit to achieve your look – and for it to last all day. From a brand that’s made serious headway (sorry, couldn’t resist) in the world of hair thickening, Bumble and Bumble have actually been around in salons for more than 30 years. Also try the brand’s thickening dry-spun finish spray, which adds volume without stickiness or lingering smells.

Key specs – Product type: Mousse; Quantity: 143g

9. Windle and Moodie Thickening Cream: The best thickening cream to volumise hair

Price: £15 | Buy now from John Lewis

Those with fine and flyaway hair have plenty to thank this Covent Garden-based stylist for. It's come up with some cracking products to breathe life back into your barnet. Designed to be applied to the roots of wet hair, this hair thickening cream can be used on all hair types and does a wonderful job of transforming hair, leaving it looking thicker and better styled. As with most of the other products in this roundup, be sparing – a little goes a long way, especially if you scrunch-dry locks as you use the hairdryer.

Key specs – Product type: Thickening cream; Quantity: 150ml

9. L’Oreal Paris Elvive Fibrology Fine Hair Thickening Shampoo: The best value hair thickening shampoo

Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots

This plumps up hair right from the scalp to give instant results, especially when used with the conditioner in the same range. Unlike many other similar shampoos, it isn’t doesn’t leave hair feeling sticky or brittle. Instead, your locks will be lovely and soft – we could easily run fingers through our hair without it getting stuck in knots or becoming instantly limp.

And don’t assume the cheap price equates to a substandard formula – in blind tests, this Fibrology shampoo performed as well as some shampoos many times the price. It lathers up beautifully, smells divine and, most importantly, adds serious body that lasts throughout the day.

Key specs – Product type: Shampoo; Quantity: 400ml

10. Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Shampoo: The best overall thickening shampoo, if used with the conditioner

Price: £6 | Buy now from Boots

If you’re at the point that your lifeless-looking locks always end up in a ponytail, this shampoo will prove life-changing. Best used with the conditioner for maximum effect, you’ll be seriously impressed with the results. It feels and smells far more expensive than it is, and those with the finest, most limp hair say that on using this formula they have been able to wear their hair down again for the first time in years. It lifts hair from the roots to give it a thicker look right to the ends, with no frizziness in sight.

Key specs – Product type: Shampoo; Quantity: 250ml

11. Kiehl’s Rice & Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse: The best conditioner for thin hair

Price: £20 | Buy now from Kiehl's

You use this like any other conditioner after shampooing, but it’s far superior to others as it moisturises the hair to give it body rather than weighing it down. In turn, this makes your hair more manageable and easier to style, as well as making it look noticeably more voluminous. It acts as a great detangler and helps prevent split-ends too, which can make thin hair look even worse. Try it with the shampoo for added volume. It smells gorgeous and feels like a real treat for the hair.

Key specs – Product type: Conditioning rinse; Quantity: 200ml

Read more

Best Buys