Big-coiffed divas like Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker know that voluminous hair has the power to transform your style and pull attention toward your face. Poofy tresses remain an elusive hairstyling goal for many fine- or long-stranded maidens, but don't think of it as a lost cause. Thinner hair requires more time and styling products, while long or think hair demands a little careful planning.The poofy look works best on hair that hits to at least the chin so that you have plenty of material to tease into a frenzy.
Creating an ostentatiously poofy style starts in the shower. Apply a volumizing shampoo from roots to tips and rinse it out with cool water. Follow up with a volumizing conditioner, focusing the product on the bottom half of your strands.
Avoid applying conditioner to the scalp area to produce more lift and volume since conditioners tend to weigh roots down. Rinse out the conditioner thoroughly. Volumizing products are especially designed to keep hair light and easy to work with after the shower.
Mousse and Dry
Towel-dry your tresses. Apply a handful of light, flexible mousse to your hair, making sure you hit your strands from top to bottom. If you have fine hair, apply mousse to the bottom half of your strands, then follow up with a root-lifting tonic to encourage the poofy look.
Flip your hair over after applying the volumizing products. Blow-dry your mane with the dryer set on medium heat and low air. Attach a diffuser if you have one. Scrunch your strand towards your scalp as you dry to encourage poofy volume. Keep working with the hair until it is virtually dry.
Separate 1-inch sections of hair from the crown of your head. Wrap these sections around 2-inch rollers, wrapping the tresses away from your face. This step adds volume to your roots, especially if you have fine hair. Let the rollers set for about 15 minutes. Spritz with a lightweight hairspray if you need a little extra hold.
Release the rollers gently and tousle your locks to loosen up the curly shape and create that glorious poofy effect.
After washing, drying and lifting at the roots, your hair is ready for the final step in creating lasting, poofy volume -- back-brushing, also known as teasing. Opt for a flat-backed brush instead of a fine-tooth comb for less damaging, more effective volume creation.
Separate a 2-inch section of hair at the crown of your head and hold up the section near the tips with one hand. With the other hand gently back-brush the locks using quick, short strokes moving toward the scalp. Repeat this process on as many sections as you need to create a poofy shock of hair.
Only back-brush a few times on each section and tease the very top layer of hair very lightly for a smoother finish. Once you have teased your locks, run your fingers over the tousled sections lightly to smooth any runaway hairs and to settle the sections into a natural pattern on your head.
Spritz your coif with a light-formula hairspray. Avoid applying too much product to your hair -- this can weigh your locks down and ultimately undo the volume.
Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.