If you're like me, you've heard the term 'body' applied to hair for as long as you can remember,
but you're not quite sure what it means. I didn't actually learn what 'body' was as it applies to hair until cosmetology school.
It's one of those terms that at the same time are both simple and difficult to explain because it relates to other hair terms and attributes.
Body refers to the strength and substance of the hair and its ability to hold a style.
It has a strong correlation to elasticity, but doesn't just measure the hair's resistance to breakage or ability to hold curl.
It refers to the hair's texture, but doesn't just mean the diameter of the individual strands. 'Body' doesn't necessarily
have a bearing on the hair's wave pattern, but hair with a strong wave pattern generally has a lot of body. Think of body as an
overall evaluation of these factors as they relate to one another.
Signs That Hair Lacks Body:
- The hair is hard to curl.
- Even small amounts of styling product weigh the hair down.
- Your hairstyles go 'flat' within one-to-two hours of styling.
- Un-styled hair appears lank and limp.
I'm sure many of you see these signs and recognize that you have some problems with the amount of body in your hair. You now ask the
question, "How do I get more body?" Here are some tips.
Tips for Building Body:
Keep It Clean: Just because your hair lacks body doesn't mean that it is dirty, but dirty hair can certainly aggravate
the problems of hair that lacks body. It becomes especially important if your hair tends to be oily or if you sweat a lot. Look for
shampoos that are formulated to add body and fullness to the hair, and conditioners that are formulated to be light and not weigh the hair down.
Two-in-one shampoo / conditioner products can be great for this purpose, but you may have to
'shop around' to find the right one for you. Otherwise, select a shampoo that is formulated to add body and try a leave-in conditioner
in lieu of a regular rinse-through. Leave-in conditioners tend to be lighter and less likely to weigh-down the hair.
Effective Additives: If you just want to add a little body to your hair, without a lot of muss and fuss, try witch
hazel as an extra setting / styling lotion. Be sure, however, to select a witch hazel solution without alcohol. Just put the witch hazel
in a sprayer bottle and apply it liberally to your hair. Allow the witch hazel to sit on the hair for about 5-10 minutes and then
style as you normally would. If you feel your normal hair product weighs down your hair, you can even use the witch hazel alone.
It may make roller styles more difficult to wrap, but with a little practice, you'll be fine. The witch hazel helps to evaporate
the excess oil in the hair, and will increase the circulation in the scalp, which helps to balance oil and sweat production.
Protein Packs: Another good way to add body to hair in need is through deep-conditioning and restructuring
treatments called protein packs. These treatments are formulated to penetrate the hair's cuticle layer and allow the proteins
in the treatment to be absorbed into the cortex, strengthening the hair and giving it more substance. Protein packs can improve
the hair's elasticity, and in some cases even enlarges the individual hairs for a limited time due to the swelling. Protein packs
should generally be applied once a month, or as needed to keep the hair strong.