Fashion Updates

Beauty: hair thickeners

Photograph of Sali Hughes
‘As someone with annoyingly thin hair, I have a vested interest in anything that makes things look a little less puny up top.’ Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

I receive heaps of emails from men and women asking about treatments for thinning hair and, as someone with abundant but annoyingly thin hair myself, I have a vested interest in finding anything that makes things look a little less puny up top. My disappointing but unsurprising opinion is that nothing works to prevent or halt alopecia or natural male hair loss, despite whatever the packaging and advertising claim. Save your money.

More happily, I have found that some products (Swell and L’Oréal Fibrology, for instance) can work very well at thickening what’s still present, whether by temporarily bulking up individual strands with proteins or silicone, or by retaining each hair for longer in the natural shedding cycle (this is how eyelash growth serums work, too, and why pregnant women often say their hair feels so much thicker in the second and third trimesters). But even then, one must take regular breaks to clear a flaky scalp or product buildup. So, when testing Full Potential, Bumble & bumble’s first foray into treatment products, my expectations were only tentatively optimistic. This is a three-part, unisex system – shampoo, conditioner, treatment “booster” spray (a tester kit of all three costs £25) – that claims to increase hair retention and reduce hair loss caused by breakage (not baldness; they’re wisely making no such claims) by 46%, resulting in thicker-looking, fuller hair.

Most importantly, my hair is noticeably fuller. I mean really, truly – it’s bigger. It’s much easier to style, too: there’s no flop, droop or fluff, and shapes hold better for longer. For the first time in memory, I’m not using it as a placeholder until something better comes along. Aside from price and a terrible taste when stray suds veer into my mouth, I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.