Body-Building Tips for Hair (2)

Long hair with a body wave
Photo: C12/Shutterstock
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Effective Additives: If you just want to add a little body to your hair, without a lot of mess and hassle, 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 spray 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 regular hair product weighs down your hair, you can even use witch hazel alone. It may make roller styles more challenging to wrap, but with a bit of practice, you'll be good. The witch hazel helps to evaporate the excess oil in the hair, and will increase 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 enlarge 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.
Perms and Body Waves: In some cases, the lack of body in the hair is more pronounced and the hair needs significant restructuring to add body. Many women find that getting a perm or a body wave is the best solution in this situation.
The perm could be done as part of a style choice, such as a woman who often likes to wear her hair in a curly style choosing to go ahead and get a spiral-wrapped perm. She can always straighten the hair with blow-drying and/or the use of a flat iron as desired.
There's little need to worry about the kinds of hair horror stories from your mother's and grandmother's days, because advances in hair chemistry have produced much safer and gentler perm formulas, including at-home perm kits that are self-timing for those women who prefer to do it themselves. The only downside to choosing to include a permanent-based style is the cost of maintaining the style - typically every six to twelve weeks.
A body wave is essentially a permanent wave that is wrapped using the largest perm rods possible for the length of the hair being permed. The goal of the body wave isn't to add a specific wave pattern, but rather to add structure and substance to the hair, enabling it to better hold a style.
There are even perm formulas available today that contain an additional "restructuring" step where a protein-rich solution is applied and allowed to saturate the hair while the cuticle layer is opened. These "protein-restructuring perms" make excellent products for performing body waves and can result in hair that is in better condition than before it was permed. Body waves also require less maintenance, needing to be repeated much less frequently than traditional perms.
Tips for more hair strength
So, if you feel that your hair lacks body, there's no need to accept it as simply the whim of genetics. There are many options available to improve the body in your hair, from simple grooming tips to restructuring treatments. You can have the hair you've always wanted.
See also:
How a perm works
Quick fixes for common hair problems
Household tips for a beautiful you