InStyle December 14, 2022



The 10 Best Drugstore Volumizing Hair Products of 2022


Sexy Hair Big Sexy Powder Play Volumizing Powder adds instant body and long-lasting lift.

Throughout the last year, I have been on a personal beauty journey. This journey has involved finding the right skincare routine for my complexion (for me, less is always more), addressing signs of aging before they start (Botox is my best friend), and figuring out how to manage my fine, flat hair. As someone with fine hair, bouncy blowouts and luscious waves have always seemed somewhat unattainable. For starters, my roots tend to fall flat no matter how much I tease them. On top of that, my hair can barely hold a curl for over an hour. And, to add fuel to the fire, my strands can often become weighed down and oily. So, in an attempt to address each one of these issues, I made it my mission to find products that would add volume – and essentially life – to my hair.

Naturally, the first place I looked was the drugstore. Contrary to popular belief, most drugstore hair products are extremely effective. While some people are wary of the low price points, some of these items have the ability to offer salon-quality results at home. To find the best drugstore volumizing hair products, I did the dirty work, uncovering the bestselling brands and top-rated products that amp up hair from roots to ends. From mousses and finishers to shampoos and conditioners, these affordable finds work overtime to give hair the volume it deserves. Ultimately, Sexy Hair Big Sexy Powder Play Volumizing Powder secured the best overall spot due to its ability to add noticeable volume in seconds. Plus, the powder itself is weightless, odorless, and colorless, meaning it will practically blend into your scalp – no matter what hair type or texture you have.

From TikTok-famous finds to celebrity hairstylists’ must-haves, keep reading for the best volumizing drugstore hair products. 

Best Overall
Sexy Hair Big Sexy Powder Play Volumizing Powder

What We Love: This colorless, odorless powder volumizes hair on the spot and creates long-lasting lift.

What We Don’t Love: If you don’t immediately massage this powder into your scalp after applying it, it might become sticky.

If you want big sexy hair, there’s one brand that’ll give you all that and then some: Sexy Hair itself. This top-rated drugstore brand has been trusted for years by beauty experts and hairstylists alike, thanks to its effective products and affordable price points. In terms of the brand’s TikTok-famous volumizing powder (which has racked up more than 121 million views and counting), this product is a bestseller for a reason. 

First, this weightless powder works instantly (and we mean instantly) to add volume to hair. All you have to do is section your hair at the root, apply the powder where you want it, and massage it into your scalp for a few seconds — then voilà! Your strands will be lifted and bouncy for hours on end.

On top of the easy, mess-free application, this lightweight powder is made with an innovative formula that liquefies when it hits the scalp. Because of this, the white powder instantaneously turns into a clear substance. This means you don’t have to worry about your roots turning white, which some powders and dry shampoos tend to do. As for an added bonus, a little powder goes a long way, so although the container might look small at first glance, this product will last for months.

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 0.53 oz | Format: Powder | Scented: No

Best Volumizing Mousse
Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Conditioning Foam

What We Love: This mousse conditions hair and adds noticeable shine. 

What We Don’t Love: The foam can be watery if you don’t shake it well enough before use.

If you’re looking for a volumizing mousse that offers long-lasting hold, Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Conditioning Foam is just the thing you need. It’s made with a lightweight, coconut-scented formula that adds volume to the roots as well as all the way down to the ends. On top of that, this foam also conditions strands from the inside out, thanks to its inclusion of emollients, which help to smooth the hair's surface while also taming frizz. According to celebrity barber Darrl "Dee" Robert Jr., this flexible foam “reduces flyaways and adds a beautifully balanced shine” to all hair types. What we love most about this product is that it offers an easy-to-manage, flexible hold that keeps strands right where you want them. Be sure to shake it up for at least three seconds before using, though — otherwise the product comes out a bit watery. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Size: 16.9 oz | Format: Mousse | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Blow Dry Cream
Nexxus Weightless Style Smooth & Full Blow Dry Balm Volumizing Hair Cream

What We Love: This blow-dry cream doubles as a heat protectant.

What We Don’t Love: The formula is thin, which means it tends to come out of the bottle quickly.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the blow dryer is one of my best friends when it comes to achieving volumized hair. While I used to stray away from using a blow dryer because I didn’t want to further damage my already thin hair, I found that air drying it left me with flat, lackluster strands. Luckily, I stumbled upon this Nexxus cream a few months ago, and it has quickly become one of my holy grail products.

For starters, this balm is extremely lightweight, which means it doesn’t weigh down my hair. The formula itself is almost milky, which makes it easy to warm up in my hands before I apply it to my mane. Plus, it can be used on wet or dry hair, so if I’m having a bad hair day, I like to apply this directly to my hair and then quickly blow dry it to amp up the volume. As an added bonus, this cream protects hair from heat so you don’t have to apply a separate thermal spray. 

Ultimately, I’ve noticed that this product has made my hair look fuller and healthier. It has also made my curls last longer since it helps to keep styles in place. On top of that, it works well with all hair types – especially curly hair since it helps tame frizz. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Size: 6 oz | Format: Cream | Scented: No

Best Volumizing Texturizing Spray 
TIGI Bed Head Queen For a Day Thickening Spray

What We Love: This lightweight spray adds long-lasting body and lift to thin hair.

What We Don’t Love: This product is not suitable for thick, curly hair.

Take your hair to new heights with this texturizing spray. With just one spritz, you’ll notice that strands are fuller and thicker than before, thanks to the addition of palm kernel glycerides in the formula, which help to create volume and texture. This thickening spray also provides a moderate hold on hair, which means you’ll be able to enjoy volume for days on end. To make things even better, the Bed Head favorite also conditions, smooths, and moisturizes hair since it’s made with triglycerides that create a barrier on the hair's surface, thus decreasing moisture loss. 

For best results, use this spray on fine to medium hair. It’s recommended to apply this to wet hair at the roots and then blow dry to achieve the most noticeable lift. According to master hairstylist and founder of Yvey Salon, Yvey Valcin, “Queen For a Day by Bed Head is where it’s at — it is one of my absolute favorite products to apply when doing a blowout. It leaves hair looking voluminous and elegant with a flexible hold.”

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 10.5 oz | Format: Spray | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Shampoo
Davines Volu Volume Enhancing Shampoo

What We Love: This shampoo gently cleanses hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

What We Don’t Love: The scent leaves little to be desired.

My fine, thin hair finally met its match when I started using the Davines Volu Volume Shampoo. After just one wash, I noticed that my hair was instantly volumized and lifted. Since I prefer to wash my hair every three to four days, this shampoo is my go-to because it adds a long-lasting, natural-looking fullness. What I love most about this product is that it deeply cleanses my scalp and removes product build-up. (Usually, when I use shampoos that clarify, my strands become even more limp and hard to manage.) Plus, it works overtime to boost volume and body while also adding shine. Most notably, this shampoo’s effective formula lifts hair strands from the base, which helps to provide overall fullness. Not to mention, this product is packed in 100 percent recyclable material. If I could change one thing it would be the scent — there’s nothing really noteworthy about it, but it doesn’t add to the overall experience. 

Price at time of publish: $23

Size: 8.45 oz | Format: Shampoo | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Conditioner
Herbal Essences bio:renew White Grapefruit & Mint Volumizing Conditioner

What We Love: This plant-based product is made with real botanicals that help soften and hydrate hair.

What We Don’t Love: The formula is a bit thin for a conditioner, so you might have to use more than usual.

Turn your shower into a blissful escape with this dreamy conditioner. Made with grapefruit extract, peppermint oil, and aloe leaf juice, this plant-based product will breathe new life into flat hair. What makes this conditioner stand out from others is that it’s pH-balanced, which means it works with your scalp to ensure strands are not weighed down. This helps create healthy, bouncy volume starting at the roots. 

Aside from the volume-enhancing benefits, this conditioner has a fresh scent with notes of freshly-squeezed grapefruit and refreshing mint. As an added bonus, the affordable find is also free from parabens and colorants, and it’s packed in recycled plastic. 

It’s worth noting that this formula has a thinner consistency than traditional conditioners, so you might find yourself using more product than you usually would. Luckily, it’ under 10 bucks, so you can easily stock up if you need to.

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 13.5 oz | Format: Conditioner | Scented: Yes

Best Powder
Kristin Ess Loose Styling Powder

What We Love: This powder gives hair buildable texture that helps hold styles in place.

What We Don’t Love: A lot of powder can come out of the pump, so be sure to only lightly spray it.

Kristin Ess knows a thing or two about hair care. The celebrity hairstylist and colorist has over two decades of experience in the beauty industry, working with big names including ​Kelsea Ballerini, Lucy Hale, and Lauren Conrad. In 2017, Ess took her knowledge to the next level, launching a line of affordable haircare and styling products. Since then, items from her collection have become a mainstay in my routine. 

My favorite thing from Kristin Ess’ selection is hands down the Texture Loose Styling Powder. This powder is incredible at creating texture in my hair since it adds a little bit of grit to strands. This is ideal for when I curl my hair because the texture it adds helps my hair hold the style for longer. One thing I particularly like is that while this powder comes out white, it doesn’t leave behind any residue after I massage it into my roots. Plus, this product works on all hair types and textures (not just fine hair).

Both this powder and our best overall pick from Big SexyHair have exemplary formulas, and the main difference between the two comes down to application method — it’s worth noting that because of how the Kristin Ess pump is designed a lot of powder can come out at once, so just be aware to lightly press the pump the first time you use it. (The Big Sexy powder provides a more precise application.) If you accidentally spray too much powder in your hair, though, a quick brush-through with a wide-tooth comb will help to evenly distribute it. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Size: 1 oz | Format: Powder | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Root Spray
Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus Humidity Resistant Volumizing Spray Mousse

What We Love: This root spray provides long-lasting volume and fullness for up to 48 hours.

What We Don’t Love: If you use too much it can make hair feel sticky.

“Volumizing hair products can be a struggle for many,” says Valcin. “As a professional in the industry, I always use my expertise to find the best possible products out there — and the best drugstore root lifter spray I’ve come across is Root Pump Plus by Big SexyHair. My clients love it — it really gives phenomenal volume with a long-lasting hold.” 

What gives this product a spot on our list is its ability to work with all hair textures to create natural fullness. Fine, medium, thick, and coarse hair can enjoy root-lifting effects – no matter how thin or heavy strands are. Aside from adding major volume, this versatile product also acts as a heat protectant, keeping hair safe from temperatures of up to 450 degrees. Not to mention, the formula offers humidity resistance for up to 72 hours (read: no more frizz).

To make the most of this product, shake well before using and apply to damp hair at the scalp and mid-shaft areas. “The best way to apply it is on horizontal partings throughout the scalp to obtain maximum desired lift,” explains Valcin. “I love it because it’s not messy to work with and the texture you gain after using it doesn’t look cosmetic.” Be sure not to use too much, though, as excess amounts of this product can make hair feel sticky. 

Price at time of publish: $18

Size: 10 oz | Format: Mousse | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Finishing Spray
CHI Magnified Volume Finishing Spray

What We Love: This spray gives hair major body without feeling stiff or sticky.

What We Don’t Love: The scent can be strong if you use too much.

If you’re looking for a lightweight finishing spray that adds volume and provides hair with a medium hold, allow us to introduce you to the CHI Magnified Volume Finishing Spray. This hairstylist-loved product is made with proteins that work to create body all over hair. Plus, it helps hold hair styles so you can enjoy full-bodied volume for hours. On top of that, it’s humidity-resistant so your strands won’t get frizzy. The best part: It leaves hair with a subtle glossy shine.

“I like to complete my style with this,” explains Valcin. “Unlike some other finishing sprays, it doesn’t make the hair look stiff – it makes the desired style last longer while still having movement. The fragrance is very pleasant, and I like that it’s paraben-free – no need to worry about over-drying the hair with this one.”

Price at time of publish: $15

Size: 12 oz | Format: Spray | Scented: Yes

Best Volumizing Hair Spray 
Kenra Professional Volume Spray 25

What We Love: This strong hair spray can hold hairstyles for up to 120 hours.

What We Don’t Love: It’s made with alcohol so it can dry out hair.

Finding a volumizing hair spray that doesn’t make strands gritty or crunchy is no easy feat. Luckily, Kenra Volume Spray 25 adds body without the mess. It leaves hair looking natural and glossy while also providing enough hold to make any style last all day. (Although this hair spray provides a strong hold, strands can still be flexible if it’s used in moderation.) Additionally, this cruelty-free hair spray can protect your hair from winds up to 25 miles per hour (when we say it has a strong hold, we mean it has a strong hold), and it’s humidity resistant, meaning it will keep your hair from going flat in muggy weather. As for the most impressive part: This hair spray can hold hairstyles for up to 120 hours. Pro tip: To really build volume, we suggest adding spritzes between layers (if you have them) and at the roots.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 10 oz | Format: Spray | Scented: Yes

What to Keep in Mind


When choosing a volumizing product, be sure to get one that contains ingredients that actively work to thicken and plump hair. These can be different from item to item (for example, the ingredients in a volumizing hair spray might be different than those in a volumizing conditioner), but they generally tend to include polymers, biotin, and collagen. You might also notice other ingredients such as amaranth extract, which acts as a natural hair strengthener, or zeolite and silk powder, which provide texture and volume to hair.

Product Type

There are four main types of volumizing hair products: Powders, sprays, mousses, and creams. If you need a quick volume fix before heading out, powders and sprays are ideal because they can be applied directly to dry hair. To apply a powder (such as Kristin Ess Working Texture Loose Styling Powder), simply section your hair at the root and massage the formula into your scalp. 

In terms of sprays, there are also four main types: Root sprays (like Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus Humidity Resistant Volumizing Spray Mousse), texturizing sprays (like TIGI Bed Head Queen For a Day Thickening Spray), hair sprays (like Kenra Volume Spray 25), and finishing sprays (like CHI Magnified Volume Finishing Spray). Root sprays – as the name implies – should be applied to the root (in the same way powders are). As for texturizing sprays, these can be applied to any part of the hair (from the roots to the ends). Hair sprays and finishing sprays can be applied all over dry hair.

On the other hand, when it comes to mousses and creams, these products should be applied to wet, towel-dried hair. Mousses (such as Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Conditioning Foam) should be applied to the root of the hair, while creams (like Nexxus Weightless Style Smooth & Full Blow Dry Balm Volumizing Hair Cream) should be applied to the middle or ends of hair. From there, both products work best if they are blown out with a hair dryer.

Product Buildup

Because many volumizing products are applied to roots, it’s important to ensure you’re efficiently cleansing your scalp about once a week. On top of that, volumizing products can also add texture and grit to hair, which can weigh it down over time. These two factors can lead to product buildup in the hair, which can ultimately make strands look and feel dirty. Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this: Clarifying shampoo. Use a clarifying shampoo when you notice your hair needs a deeper cleanse. This type of shampoo breaks down oils and old products that have not been properly washed out of hair. After using a clarifying shampoo, you’ll notice that hair might even be a bit lifted, which will help when you’re applying volumizing products.

Your Questions, Answered

What types of hair products provide the most volume?

Hair products that offer the most volume include thickening shampoos and conditioners, plumping mousses and sprays, and lifting powders and texturizers. These products work by clinging to hair strands to make them fuller and more lifted. A perfect example of a product that provides maximum volume to hair is our best overall pick, SexyHair Big Sexy Powder Play Volumizing Powder. This powder adds texture to hair, ultimately lifting hair strands at the root. 

And, while products alone can provide volume, there are also tools you can use to give hair extra oomph. According to Robert, you can use “rollers, blow dryers, and round brushes coupled with products to create long-lasting memory and lift at the roots.” These tools will help to create voluminous, luscious styles. 

Additionally, applying products correctly to hair also makes a huge difference when it comes to achieving volume. According to Leigh Hardges, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, “mousses in wet hair before blow dry styling are my favorite for infusing volume.” When you apply a mousse (like Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Conditioning Foam) to wet hair, the ingredients are able to work with the water droplets in the hair to create lift, volume, and hold. On the other hand, when mousses are applied to dry hair, they can often weigh hair down and make it stiff and crunchy. To avoid this, be sure you’re following the instructions on your product to achieve the best results.

Can you add volume to hair without using products?

If you don’t want to use volumizing products, there are a few other ways to achieve body in hair. According to Roberts, you can do so “by means of using dry roller sets, dry pin curls, backcombing, and over-directing hair during the blow drying process.” You can also use a round brush or a diffuser. “Additionally, there are different types of extensions that can be placed easily at the root to maximize both texture and volume,” notes Valcin.

What are the best volumizers for thinning hair?

As someone with thin hair, I have found that the best volumizers include the Nexxus Weightless Style Smooth & Full Blow Dry Balm Volumizing Hair Cream, the TIGI Bed Head Queen For a Day Thickening Spray, the Davines Volu Volume Enhancing Shampoo, and the Big SexyHair Root Pump Plus Humidity Resistant Volumizing Spray Mousse. These products don’t weigh down my hair and add instant fullness. Additionally, they can be used on their own or together, depending on how much volume you are looking to achieve.

In terms of thinning hair, I would also recommend using a thickening powder (like the Sexy Hair Big Sexy Powder Play Volumizing Powder or the Kristin Ess Working Texture Loose Styling Powder) daily since these will add long-lasting lift to roots. Plus, since thin hair can get greasy more quickly than thick hair, powders can help to absorb oil. This means your style will last longer and you won't have to wash your hair as frequently.

Why Shop With Us

Lauren Harano has over six years of experience in the beauty industry, previously holding editorial positions at Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, POPSUGAR, and NBCUniversal; and writing beauty pieces for InStyle since August 2022. She is knowledgeable about hair care, skincare, makeup, and more, and has tested countless volumizing hair products during her career. For this article, Lauren interviewed three hair experts: celebrity barber Darrl "Dee" Robert Jr.; master stylist and founder of Yvey Salon Yvey Valcin; and Leigh Hardges, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. Each expert shared their expertise on the best volumizing hair products for all hair types and textures. Additionally, Lauren used her own knowledge of volumizing products to curate the list and narrow down the top-rated products on the market.