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blue_eyes
April 21st, 2014, 09:09 AM
I've read a lot of stuff about using dye to make hair appear thicker. I've got really thin (not thinning), fine, you-couldn't-get-it-straighter-if-you-tried hair. I've struggled to gain volume/hold a curl/keep my hair from looking flat all my life haha. I was looking into using hair color to give it a thicker appearance but I haven't been able to find anything conclusive.

I read one site that suggested using very dark colors, like black or a very rich dark brown, to make hair appear thicker. I've also read that just dyeing your hair at all will make your hair a little thicker (by coating the strands or something like that), and thus if you want to go lighter, with bleach, it will actually make thin hair even thinner looking (therefore you should dye your hair after bleaching). I've also read that your hair can be any color, and you can just use highlights & lowlights to make it appear thicker.

Does anyone know what's actually true in all this? I'm confused because nothing I read says the same thing. One site says to dye all your hair one dark, uniform color to make it look thick, another says not to use one color because it'll look flat & thin (and thus highlights & lowlights should be used to create dimension/depth). I don't know what to believe.

Rosetta
April 21st, 2014, 09:45 AM
Hmm, to my knowledge any peroxide-based dye, including bleach, makes hair feel thicker because it swells/opens the cuticle. Henna on the other hand coats the strands, and it definitely makes hair feel thicker. Deposit-only (temporary) dyes also coat the cuticle, as far as I know, but they've never made my hair feel thicker, on the contrary; the first two (peroxide dyes and henna) have. (I have fine hair too :))

Anje
April 21st, 2014, 09:59 AM
There's an obvious problem with dyeing light hair dark to make it look thicker, and that's root growth. When you get roots, it's going to make it look like you've got a widening part, which seems counterproductive. (Bleaching, on the other hand, will cause some damage and if you're unlucky will cause your hair to break off, actually thinning it!)

In my observation, a lot of people with super-straight hair that's considerably thicker than mine (which is pretty average as far as the population goes) perceive it as very thin. I don't know what yours is, but it could be that your sleek hair just lies flat against itself instead of fluffing out at all. It is probably worth grabbing a measuring tape and actually finding the circumference of your ponytail right near the base -- you might be surprised to find that it's not teeny.

For volume... if you want to try something, there are a few herbal treatments that will boost volume for at least a couple weeks. Senna (commonly called Cassia obovata) is the first that comes to mind. It has a light yellowish dye to it which doesn't really show up on hair that isn't gray or light ashy blond. Sedr might also plump hair without any color at all. Henna also thickens, but it's a bright permanent orangey-red that shouldn't be entered into lightly.

ExpectoPatronum
April 21st, 2014, 11:04 AM
Personally, I don't feel dyeing hair is the best way to achieve thicker looking hair, especially if you have to do a drastic color to see results. In the end, dyeing hair isn't good for it. I do dye mine a dark brown - black, and it takes a lot of work to keep my hair healthy. The roots are also a pain, especially when your hair grows fast. Having dyed my hair, I can't say I've noticed much in terms of volume, but then again my hair isn't exactly flat to begin with.

I feel there are other things that could help boost volume that are better for the hair than dyeing it. You could try putting it in multiple french/dutch braids when it's damp and letting it dry, or let it dry in a bun or two. While your hair might not hold the curl or wave, you might still get some volume. You could also try cassia like Anje suggested.

blue_eyes
April 21st, 2014, 11:15 AM
Hmm, to my knowledge any peroxide-based dye, including bleach, makes hair feel thicker because it swells/opens the cuticle. Henna on the other hand coats the strands, and it definitely makes hair feel thicker. Deposit-only (temporary) dyes also coat the cuticle, as far as I know, but they've never made my hair feel thicker, on the contrary; the first two (peroxide dyes and henna) have. (I have fine hair too :))

I had wondered about this too. I remember the first stylist I ever went to made a comment that chemicals will "kill hair a little bit" (her words lol) and thus after using some dye my hair would feel a little thicker & hold style a little better.


There's an obvious problem with dyeing light hair dark to make it look thicker, and that's root growth. When you get roots, it's going to make it look like you've got a widening part, which seems counterproductive. (Bleaching, on the other hand, will cause some damage and if you're unlucky will cause your hair to break off, actually thinning it!)

In my observation, a lot of people with super-straight hair that's considerably thicker than mine (which is pretty average as far as the population goes) perceive it as very thin. I don't know what yours is, but it could be that your sleek hair just lies flat against itself instead of fluffing out at all. It is probably worth grabbing a measuring tape and actually finding the circumference of your ponytail right near the base -- you might be surprised to find that it's not teeny.

For volume... if you want to try something, there are a few herbal treatments that will boost volume for at least a couple weeks. Senna (commonly called Cassia obovata) is the first that comes to mind. It has a light yellowish dye to it which doesn't really show up on hair that isn't gray or light ashy blond. Sedr might also plump hair without any color at all. Henna also thickens, but it's a bright permanent orangey-red that shouldn't be entered into lightly.

My hair definitely lies flat against itself, I hadn't really thought about this until you mentioned it. I've got no volume at the roots whatsoever, and it's generally very limp and lifeless. I tried measuring my ponytail circumference as you suggested; its about 1.5-2 inches depending on how tightly I compact it.

I had been dyeing my hair very dark up until 8 months ago, and as my natural hair has been growing out I've begun to encounter this issue of it being flat/lifeless again. I don't have an issue with coloring my hair, I gave it up only because my hair had been damaged by bad practices from my pre-LHC days. I think if I were to do it again I'd be able to maintain it's health far better. I guess I just don't know what coloring techniques to use to create an illusion of volume.

I may give your suggestions a shot and see how it goes before I do anything else. It's worth a try! :)

snuflan
April 21st, 2014, 11:23 AM
I think that, when the hair is dyed, it "fluffs up" a little because of the damage (no dye is damage free except natural dyes..). So even if it's just a little damaged that could still boost the volume a bit, I think.

meteor
April 21st, 2014, 12:03 PM
Bleach and dye open hair cuticle and roughen it up. This certainly creates frizz (due to damage) which can be easily mistaken for volume. Every time I had highlights done, I felt my hair getting "thicker" in hairdresser's chair. Basically, it will become porous/damaged and won't be as silky and slippery smooth.
Strategically placed, "barely there" highlights/lowlights do add some visual effect of volume.

However, I would really caution against using bleach/dye for that, because it's counterproductive in the LONG TERM. Hair can only get thinner with chemical damage like that. Read this: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=118382. It's full of accounts of how LHC-ers had new bangs appearing on their heads and their ponytail circumferences increasing dramatically after stopping dye and heat damage.

The alternative solution would be "neutral" henna - i.e. cassia/senna. It won't change your color like ultra-permanent high-maintenance henna, but will give you most of its conditioning, strengthening, volumizing benefits.
Also, use hydrolyzed proteins in your products as long as your hair tolerates them well. Volumizing products tend to have more hydrolyzed proteins, but always read the ingredients. A DIY protein treatment like gelatin treatment (http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2012/07/gelatin-hair-protein-treatment-faqs.html) or, if you are vegetarian/vegan, beer treatment (http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2012/04/what-cookin-vegetarian-protein.html) can really help too!

Since hair density is genetic and there isn't much we can do about it, styling is really critical to making hair more voluminous. Comb/brush your hair upside down. Use high buns and tight French/Dutch braids for creating some volume overnight. Look on Youtube for how to do this for maximum volume at the roots.

And join the Thin & Fine hair thread on the LHC - there are lots of tips there!

Good luck! :)

xoChesleyy
April 21st, 2014, 06:05 PM
Hmm, to my knowledge any peroxide-based dye, including bleach, makes hair feel thicker because it swells/opens the cuticle. Henna on the other hand coats the strands, and it definitely makes hair feel thicker. Deposit-only (temporary) dyes also coat the cuticle, as far as I know, but they've never made my hair feel thicker, on the contrary; the first two (peroxide dyes and henna) have. (I have fine hair too :))

I have heard this as well. However, when I bleached my hair it actually looked very thin. I believe this was because of the breakage and hair fall that my hair was experiencing due to the harsh chemicals. From my personal experience, my hair looks much thicker with my dark hair.. But I don't feel as this is solely a result from the darker hair color, I believe it is also a result of quitting the bleach/dying. (Hair fall/thinning problem solved.) As ExpectoPatronum said, I don't think dying hair to achieve the more thick look is the best idea, either. Of course.. Henna and non-chemical dyes are the exception. (:

Emichiee
April 21st, 2014, 07:12 PM
My hair appears thicker undyed. Hair dye and even henna always gave it even more of a slip, which also sadly caused it to be a bit too sleek, too compressed and too stringy. My natural hair color seems fluffier and lighter, and even though my hair is MUCH thinner than it was before all the hair loss episodes, it appears thicker or the same thickness. And I don't mean the ends, because that is more a matter of trimming and taper, I just mean the volume and how it falls overall.

Hair stylist wisdom is to bleach hair so the cuticle will be roughed up a bit ;), but that isn't all too great for hair health. I would avoid cones and other very heavy conditioners though, which can really weigh your hair down.

blue_eyes
April 21st, 2014, 07:18 PM
I feel a little 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' in this situation. I remember having long virgin hair, and although it was healthy it was extremely thin & flat. I tried a bunch of different things to get volume, like mousse, blow-drying my hair upside down, sleeping with braids, etc. Nothing would last for more than a half hour at the most. Then I began dyeing it and I did get more volume/hold, but I have also had to deal with damage & breakage. Both have their pros and cons. Of course I don't want breakage when I'm trying to achieve long hair, but I also don't want long hair that looks very flat and lifeless. I have no love lost for my natural color, so if I could keep dyeing it with little damage I'd be happy to do so. But I will admit, these "warnings" of long-term dye damage do scare me. I'm already trying to get rid of damage that I got by experimenting on my hair with heat & chemicals, and I don't want to be dealing with that for the rest of my life.

Stiria
April 22nd, 2014, 11:27 AM
I agree with meteor, cassia might help. I have never tried it myself though, but I plan to. There's a thread here somewhere with lots of good information.
If you decide to dye your hair chemically I suggest you look into coconut oil. Many people, myself included, finds that it helps reduce the damage.

meteor
April 22nd, 2014, 11:45 AM
Yes, there's a great thread on cassia obovata: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=406
and on limiting damage from bleach/dye with heavy coconut oiling pre-bleach: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=10495
Oiling won't prevent dye uptake or bleach lift, some report a more intense color. It limits damage a lot, but doesn't eliminate it.

ErinLeigh
April 22nd, 2014, 12:34 PM
blue_eyes don't stress. It wont be long and flat and lifeless. There are so many tips on here and youtube for getting curls, waves, volume etc on straight fine hair that I think you will be ok. It could be very different this time around.
If you truly hate your color, you could always use deposit only dye to brighten it. Maybe just the extreme colors like black and bleach blonde were causing issue with the cycle of coloring dark then trying to lift it..but semi permanent color could be just enough to give you some depth you are seeking. Another option could be to leave the natural color and do just a few face framing pieces. Gives brightness around face but doesn't damage rest of hair. You have so many great options it is going to be fine. :)