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“You don’t have extensions?!” is a surprising exclamation I receive at least once a week. And, while I did have bonded extensions the summer after I graduated from college (never again), I haven’t worn them since. (Unless it’s temporary or for a story, mind you.)

Now, there are a few, very valid reasons for people’s unabashed surprise when they discover all of my hair is real. First, I’ve been highlighting and/or bleaching the heck out of it for about 20 years. Second, I’ve had my fair share of disasters that have significantly damaged the integrity of my hair. Third, although I have a lot of hair, it’s naturally super fine. And four, according to every single stylist I encounter, it’s practically impossible to have the length and lightness of my hair simultaneously. (Apparently, I’m an anomaly.)

But my hair didn’t always look like this (it used to be shoulder-length, ultra-dry, and V thin and stringy due to breakage), and I attribute its dramatic transformation to a couple of key practices like less heat styling, an amazing colorist who prioritizes the health and integrity of my hair above all else, a healthy and balanced diet, regular trims, and last but not least, volumizing shampoos and conditioners.

Interestingly, I’ve found that volumizing shampoos and conditioners, more so than any other volume-boosting styling products, help the most in the thickening department. (Plus, I’m lazy, so if I can get the most volumizing bang for my buck whilst in the shower and not via a million other products post-wash), I’m 100% in.

Below are 13 of the best shampoos and conditioners that encourage instant and long-term volume and get my seal of approval. Keep scrolling!

This is the best volumizing shampoo and conditioner you can pick up at the drugstore, and you’ll feel the effects the second you get out of the shower and your hair starts to dry. I discovered the duo in a pinch while traveling (I’d forgotten to pack my much spendier go-to’s and needed something budget-friendly and effective), and have never gone back. Both the shampoo and conditioner are strategically infused with collagen—a crucial building block for healthy hair—plus extra credit hits of biotin and hydrolyzed wheat protein. 

This sulfate-free volumizing duo recently received Violet Grey’s very covetable seal of approval, so you already know it has to be mind-blowingly good. Hyper-branched polymers and hydrolyzed pea peptides add instant volume to thin, fragile hair without stripping or causing dryness. And, because thick, healthy hair starts at the scalp, you also get a helpful dose of exfoliating BHAs which pave the way for optimal (and fast!) hair growth. 

This lesser-known shampoo and conditioner from Love Planet and Beauty just so happens to be one of the most popular volumizing solutions on Amazon, with nearly 4000 reviews and a solid, 4.4/5 star average rating. Blame it on the thickening, shine-inducing, and hyper-moisturizing trifecta of coconut water, mimosa flower, and coconut oil. 

I never loved an organic shampoo and conditioner until I discovered Rahua’s truly magical formulations that are not only supremely natural and beautifully crafted, but completely life-changing when it comes to the status of your hair. All of their shampoo and conditioners are superb, but if it’s next-level volume and body you’re after, reach for this twosome. Thanks to green tea antioxidants, citrus juices. lemongrass, omega 9-rich oils, lavender, and eucalyptus, your hair will never feel cleaner or bouncier. Plus, it smells intoxicatingly good. (Like as spa!)

Christophe Robin’s rose-infused volumizing shampoo and conditioner is an OG in the industry and the fact that it’s still a number one player in the volume category speaks to its no-B.S. efficacy. Stylists love it, celebrities love it, and beauty editors love it. I recently got a blowout and had the most insane bounce and movement but was confused because the stylist hadn’t added any other styling products (aside from a heat protectant) post-wash. When I asked what shampoo and conditioner they used (and I should have known thanks to its delicate, iconic scent) they revealed it was this one. Obviously, I should have known!

I love a multi-tasking beauty MVP, and this is my number one formula when my fine strands need a thorough wash, TLC, and a boost of volume and body. The scent is lovely—cardamom, pineapple, tangerine, lavender, bamboo, and blonde woods—but it’s the sneaky strategic hit of biotin, saw palmetto berry extract, and Pro Vitamin B5 that really makes this duo stand out against the competition. Plus, thanks to the added perk of coconut oil, you don’t have to sacrifice luster and hydration.

Me and all of my thin-haired co-workers agree that his volumizing shampoo and conditioner from Virtue is one of the best thickening couples of all time. Unlike a lot of volume shampoos and conditioners, this twosome excels at everything. Yes, it makes your hair feel about twice as thick, but it also does an expert job of cleaning, hydrating, and leaving colored hair perfectly pristine. The expert lineup of ingredients includes pink pomelo (which is rich in vitamin A, C, B1, and zinc) in addition to hydrolyzed quinoa and the brand’s signature hero, Alpha Keratin 60ku—a whole, human keratin protein that’s completely unique to the brand and the hair industry in general. 

Let me preface this by saying that hundreds of five-star ratings are extremely rare in the realm of beauty, especially tricky categories like shampoo and conditioner. However, this volumizing and thickening formula from BondiBoost has accomplished it! It’s gentle, vegan, and an all-star lineup up biotin, amaranth extract, and ceramides help cleanse, volumize, strengthen, and nourish so that every last strand is expanded for an overall *incredibly* thicker-looking result.

Celebrity beauty lines are often disappointing, but Jonathan Van Ness kicked it out of the damn park with their namesake haircare line. (I’ve not tried nor heard about one weak link within the entire collection!) I love that this sulfate-free shampoo has a luxurious lather, and the innovative blend of ingredients like hair follicule-stimulating caffeine, strengthening squalane, plus soothing and hydrating aloe nixes buildup sans stripping while re-upping shine, body, bounce, and instantly visible fullness. 

I was actually in college the first time I tried (and quickly fell in love with) these O.G. cult favorites from Living Proof. Since then, I’ve definitely been around the block in terms of how many formulas I’ve cheated on them with, but whenever I come crawling back, I wonder why I ever strayed. This shampoo and conditioner features the brand’s Proprietary Amino Cleansing Complex, which effortlessly cleanses the hair while warding off breakage and styling-induced damage. The addition of phytantriol also preserves hair color, and the shine, body, and bounce you get is pretty unparalleled. 

Verb is one of the most affordably priced yet effectively formulated brands your mane money can buy. Normally, I go for its hydrating shampoo and conditioner, but for special occasions or when my strands have just been feeling kind of meh, I use this volumizing pair. Sometimes I have issues with volume-boosting formulas drying my hair out or resulting in a tangly mess as soon as I step out of the shower, but the brand’s expert mix of glycerin, hydrolized soy protein, Pro-Vitamin B5, and sunflower seed extract has yet to do me wrong, leaving my hair looking thicker AND healthier. 

Perky packaging aside, this shampoo and conditioner from Amika does serious work on limp, dirty strands and will forever be a staple in my shower. Hair looks and feels thicker; is thoroughly cleansed of every last inch of oil or buildup; and is weightless, bouncy, and infused with long-term health and length-building benefits thanks to sea buckthorn, hydrolyzed rice and vegetable proteins, and the brand’s trademark Redensyl Complex, which features Larix Europaea Wood Extract and Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

I’ve heard so many editors and stylists wax poetic about Jen Atkin’s line of cult-loved haircare, but it wasn’t until a fellow fine-haired gal, Sydney Sweeney, told me she loved it, that I gave it a shot, myself. This volumizing shampoo and conditioner for fine hair not only boosts volume and body, but the key mix of biotin, chia seed oil and hydrolyzed keratin also tag team to strengthen, hydrate, thicken, and impart lots of light-reflecting luster. 

Up next, The Wolf Cut Is On Track to Be 2022’s Defining Haircut—5 Tips for Doing It Right

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