Pump up the volume

JULIA TEEN
Last updated 14:15 17/04/2013
Jen Atkin
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BIG HAIR: Jen Atkin, hair stylist to the stars, shares her tips for giving fine hair a boost. She counts Sofia Vergara as a client, so she knows what she's talking about.

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Let's just face the facts: thick, luscious hair is always going to be in. Cleopatra has always been depicted with bodacious, full hair; Brigitte Bardot traded off hers, and things aren't any different today. 

The Victoria's Secret angels might pout their glossy lips in classic duck-face "seduction pose", but it's their flowing, Botticelli-esque hair that's the cherry on top of the sexiness sundae.

Sure, most celebs do rely on wefts of extensions to be sewn onto their scalps every week, but they also count on clever hairstylist trickery to give the illusion of fuller, thicker, stronger manes.

"There are really easy ways to make fine hair considerably appear thicker," says in-demand LA hairstylist: Jen Atkin who is responsible for the red carpet hair for actresses Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara and Minka Kelly as well as Khloe Kardashian.

According to her, it's all about a strong, blunt cut.  "Over layering is the biggest mistake you can make.  Thin hair needs a solid structure," she explains.  "Layers can be cut in later, but not until you have enough density past the midsection to support the shape."

However, don't fall into the trap of over-cutting, counters Atkin. "Pull back on trimming to every three months to give your hair growth cycle time to reset, otherwise you'll be stuck with the same hair forever."  

It's a controversial point, but one which trichologist (a branch of dermatology that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp) Philip Kingsley backs up on his blog. "Many women go to the hairdressers every 6-8 weeks to get their hair trimmed. In 8 weeks, your hair will grow approximately one inch. Therefore, if you are cutting off 1 inch of hair (or more) every 2 months, your hair will remain the same length," he writes. 

When styling, Atkin suggests adopting a side part to give more fullness to the front of your face, rather than a symmetrical centre part, which sits flat around your face. "It is important to keep the ends of your hair in good shape, but if you want length, either have your hair cut less often or only ask for a minimal amount to be taken off. Furthermore, if you take better care of your hair on a daily basis, you will also need to get trims less often."

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And get hold of the right type of brush - radial brushes are the devil on fine hair, as they heat up too much in the metallic centre, which causes breakage in brittle strands.  Instead, Atkin suggests natural boar bristle paddle or round brushes that give volume while maintaining shine.

But let's all get in on a secret that hairstylists do - most of the time without us noticing... they colour block. 

Good colour technicians have clever tactics of pairing high and low lights of blonde, brunette and darker shades in different panels of the hair to give the illusion of more fullness.

In between salon visits, pay a visit to the health store.  Fish oil's omega 3 fatty acids work to increase circulation to the scalp, decreasing hair shedding and nourishes hair follicles for stronger and shinier strands. 

Naturally occurring mineral Silica can also be taken as a supplement, which works to replenish the body's own supply and revitalize dull, fine hair.

- FFX Aus

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