Big hair continues to reign supreme in 2012. But you don't need to have Cheryl's stylist on speed-dial to get the look, thanks to the latest products and insider tricks

Description: Sexy Big hair 1

What do we want? Big and bouncy! When do we want it? Now! So says a recent study that found volumised hair was at the top of the wish list for 80% of women, beating style, length and celeb copycat looks to the number one spot. And it's hardly surprising. Full locks say healthy, sexy and, even when they're groomed to perfection, ensure heads turn. But what if you're not blessed with gravity-defying hair and your mane is, well, limp? We asked some of the UK's leading hair stylists to reveal their secrets.


For towering style, your hairdresser is the first port of call. For while the latest high-tech hair-boosting products and styling techniques can work wonders, it's harder when your style s too long, heavy or feathery.

'Simply having your hair shorter can often add instant volume,' says Giles Robinson, senior stylist at John Frieda. "This is because, as hair gets longer, it also becomes heavier, robbing your style of its natural oomph.' Also, regular cuts (every six to eight weeks, ladies) to maintain shape and get rid of those damaged bits at the end are essential. Hair super-fine? Ask for a blunt cut to maximise volume (the solid edge makes your hair appear thicker) and avoid going OTT on the layers, as they make fine hair look stringy, although a few face framing ones can add shape and movement.

'I like to create invisible layers by slicing the hair through,' says George Northwood, stylist at London's Josh Wood Atelier. "They're much finer than normal layers so they're only detectable when your hair moves and the delicate layers are great at adding natural body and texture.' If you're having some cut into the front section of your hair, don't go higher than chin level (it's less flattering and difficult to style) and ask for them to be cut in randomly to create the most natural, fuller-hair effect. Symmetrically placed layers scream Jennifer Aniston's 'Rachel' cut, circa Friends 1995.


Description: Sexy Big hair 2

Oh yes, even your colour can make a huge difference to how volumised your hair looks. 'It seriously affects the appearance of your hair's texture and thickness' says colour expert Lisa Shepherd. 'OK, so it won't actually make it thicker, but colour does roughen the hair shaft, making it feel thicker and creating the illusion of fuller hair.' Your chosen hue is important, too.'[ almost always recommend adding in a few highlights or lowlights to give a multi-tonal effect to the hair, especially if you've never had colour before, as it immediately gives your style more depth,' she adds. Do see a professional colourist to get the best effect; if you're having highlights it's likely you'll need to have your hair bleached, which, if not done correctly, could make your hair look and feel weaker.


Every hair stylist has a host of volume- boosting tricks up their sleeve to add body to fine hair, texture to short, and weightlessness to heavy hair. And they're actually quite simple to do yourself.

To start with, arm yourself with the right products - you'll need light formulas that help eliminate excess oil at the roots, as this is where you want to be creating volume and lift. Every stylist we talked to wouldn't be without volumising mousse - it's vital in creating texture and body because, as your hair dries, the ingredients coat and then thicken individual hairs (rather than binding them like hairspray does).

'Apply a golfball-sized amount {if you have medium to long hair, less if it's shorter) all over to towel-dried hair and begin by blow- drying your roots first with your dryer on a low heat and speed,' says Ghd's creative director and session stylist, Kenna. 'When your style is about 80% dry, flip your head upside down and continue drying with your fingers, letting gravity help you build volume until your hair is close to dry.'

Next, arm yourself with a round brush, which helps to lock in extra volume. Lifting sections of your hair, wrap around the brush, roll up to your scalp and hold in place for a few seconds while blasting with your hairdryer. 'Once you're done, switch the dryer to a cool setting for a few seconds to help fix it in place and finish by tipping your head over once more and spritzing some hairspray at your roots,' adds Kenna. Keep a mini spray in your handbag for a fast root-boosting fix during the day.


Never underestimate the importance of choosing the right shampoo and conditioner for your desired style. Get this wrong and the cut, blow-drying and styling won't be nearly as effective. So what should you go for? 'It's best to avoid shampoos containing silicone, which can soften your hair,' advises Paul Windle, stylist at top London salon Windle & Moodie. 'Instead, choose simple shampoos containing body-building ingredients like wheat protein and pro-vitamin B5, which binds onto the hair shaft, making it look thicker.'

Any shampoos with the words 'conditioning,' 'creamy,' and 'rich,' on the bottle should be avoided - conditioning shampoos in general make the hair softer in texture, which is great if you have lots of it but not so good if you want to build oomph. That doesn't mean, however, that you should skip the conditioner - just be careful how you use it. A 10p-sized amount is enough, even for longer hair and (this is key) you should run it through the ends only. And always rinse hair thoroughly in warm water to get rid of excess product - it takes at least a minute to get your hair squeaky clean, so don't rush your rinse. 'If you don't want to wash your hair every day, a leave-in conditioning spray is a good, lighter alternative,' adds Paul.

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