By Ashley Peters
Pump up the volume because you know how that old phrase goes…”The bigger the hair the closer to God”. While volume gives some all the feels the logistics are something else. Let’s walk through what it really takes to get larger than life hair and how that works into your vegan life.
Firstly you have your own natural hair. With the right techniques of intentional teasing, dry shampoo, texture spray, hairspray and pieces pinned in place volume with your own hair is certainly possible. How much volume and how much hair is left for the rest of the hairstyle is another thing. The biggest factor is how much raw material (your hair) are you working with. There’s only so far you can tease hair before it gets ratty and you don’t want all the volume with nothing left for the style. Also beyond the quantity of your natural hair some textures naturally hold volume and teasing better than others. Coarser hair with always have an easier time obtaining and retaining volume than finer hair. So whether you have limited raw materials or the fabric of your hair has limitations there are ways to still get the volume.
There’s extensions which I personally think is an interesting topic within the vegan world. From purely a hair perspective hair extensions are a marvelous thing. They add infinitely more raw material opening the door to endless possibilities in both volume and length for hairstyles both up and down. There are precautions to have though. First and foremost as a vegan be aware any extensions that have a blend of yak hair. Lower quality hair extensions will blend yak hair with other materials (such as human hair or synthetics) because it responds like human hair and this allows the manufacture to keep their costs down while diluting the product. This leads into the next option of real human hair extensions. Human hair extensions come from real people from a variety of individuals across the globe in a myriad of methods . All of this opens the door to a complex conversation of its ethics. In some places hair is stolen from temples where individuals have offered it as a devotion but there are also temples that gather that said hair and receive money for it that they put back into maintaining the temple. There are programs where you can send in your locks or facilities to have it harvested all with compensation. Like I said it’s a strange world with a potentially dark underbelly. Now that I’ve made you severely skeptical of hair extensions I promise you there’s a way to have them while still maintaining your ethics. First only buy 100% remmy hair. This means all the hair is going in the same direction and because of that it means it hasn’t been swept up from the floor of somewhere (like a temple). Also only buy from companies that adhere to a code of ethics. This systemic problem within the hair extension world is something the hair industry is adamantly fighting . Some such companies include Luxe Hair, Hair Comes The Bride and HairTalk. If you aren’t sure where a company’s hair comes from reach out and ask. They should be eagerly transparent.
Let’s address the aspect of synthetic extensions because I’m sure in your perusing the inter webs you will come across them. Likely it will be on amazon for a killer deal of $30 or something like such. Well there’s a reason it’s $30… it’s synthetic! When the word synthetic is used it means plastic. Honestly synthetic extensions have their place but there are some serious do’s and don’ts . Do NOT use them for down or half down hairstyles or a high pony. Typically they are chemically pre-curled or straightened and you can not change that curl pattern. It will damage them, and leave everything smelling like burnt plastic. Typically they are shinier then real hair and while you can dull the shine with texture spray if it’s all down I’d bet at least half your guests will at least feel like something is “off” and assume extensions. Finally they can’t be colored so if they don’t match your hair perfectly there’s nothing you can do about it. Remmy (100% human) can be colored to match your hair exactly. So what are they good for? Styles that need more hair volume internally such as big buns, updos and even some braids can use this option. They are internal or intertwined so much with your own hair they aren’t seen. They can add that density of more hair even without being visible.
If you don’t want to go down the path of hair extensions but still want more volume than your hair can provide there’s a final option: a hair poof or padding. You’ve likely seen the sock buns . Essentially it’s a dense fabric (typically a netting) that goes into the center of the bun and you can build the style around it. Clearly this limits its use to updos only but it’s an easy, cost effect option if the criteria fits. You can also make your own with synthetic extensions to give more variety of shapes to fit more specific and unique needs. You can read exactly how to make your own here.
There’s so many possibilities of hairstyles available as long as you realize what it take to make that happen. While I love gazing at gorgeous do’s; logistics matter and unfortunately too few people are talking about it. Now you know what goes into all that volume. Questions? Reach out and I will do all I can’t to make sure you get what you need to achieve that dream look.
Ashley Peters is an American based hairstylist, author and business owner. While many of her brides are stateside she is available for destination weddings worldwide. She is passionate about animal advocacy, connecting through travel, art and always learning something new. When her hands aren’t in hair you’ll find her on a hiking trail, with a good book or off on a crazy adventure with her husband, pups and soy vanilla latte in hand. Read Ashley’s articles