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Is Volumizing Powder Bad For Hair?

by Gabbi

Haircare is a serious game. Not only do you have to formulate a washing and styling routine personally customized to your locks, but you have to find products that don’t compromise the health of your hair too. From hairsprays, styling mists, and serums – it’s a lot to keep track of!

Then there are products that are a little lesser known, like volumizing powders, which you may need to do a little bit more research on before introducing it to your routine. One of the biggest reasons why you may feel apprehensive about it is because of it being potentially damaging to your strands.

So, is volumizing powder bad for your hair? Volumizing powder is not bad for your hair, but it can potentially cause damage if it isn’t used correctly. You’ll need to be mindful about the active ingredients, when to wash it out, and your consistency of use to be rewarded with the best results possible. 

Here, we’ll break down the ins and outs of volumizing powder. By the end of the article, you’ll be an expert on using volumizing powder and maintaining the health of your hair- because they don’t need to be mutually exclusive!

What Is Volumizing Powder?

Volumizing powder is but one of the names that this hair care product goes by. You may have seen it marketed in stores or online as a “texturizing” or “mattifying” powder, but whichever one you pick up, you’re generally buying the same form of product. They’ll share the same ingredients and give you the same results. 

So, when you pick one of these products up, expect it to do all of the above: volumize, texturize, and mattify- regardless of what it’s named for.

Since it’s in a powder form, you’ll likely find it packaged in a shaker bottle- similar to a salt or pepper bottle, as it’s the easiest way to distribute the product onto your locks. If you were to pour the product directly onto your hand, you’ll notice that it’s a sticky, almost sand-like powder that’s finely ground.

That stickiness is due to the silica silylate in the product (which we’ll get into in a bit) and should not be confused with containing silicone. Hair products containing silicone actually increase the slip and shine of your locks- which is the opposite of what a volumizing powder will do!

The Main Ingredients In Volumizing Powder

All forms of volumizing powder will hold the same hero ingredients. We’ll break down each of them, telling you what they do, and even letting you know if they could be potentially damaging to your locks.

Silica Silylate

As previously mentioned, this is the agent in volumizing powder that gives the product its stickiness. The main purpose for its addition is to keep each individual ingredient from sticking together, making the powder more evenly dispersed throughout your hair. 

Thankfully, it’s safe for your hair and your body, so the chance of it damaging your hair is slim.

Tapioca Starch

You’ve probably seen this ingredient in some of your food products, but did you know that tapioca starch can actually work some miracles for your hair? Just like when it’s added in food, the addition of tapioca starch in volumizing powders is to thicken the formula, also thickening the look of your strands.

It’s safe for ingestion, of course, but it’s also safe for your hair (plus, it washes out easily too).

VP/VA Copolymer

This next ingredient is what does a lot of the transformative work on your roots. When applied, it almost mimics the results of dry shampoo, absorbing moisture and giving your hair a matte look. Without sweat and oils weighing your locks down, your hair can look extra bouncy and fluffy.

Be mindful of how much volumizing powder you put on your roots. This ingredient works well directly on hair but may cause some mild irritation to the skin if it comes in contact with it.

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate takes up the least percentage of the hero ingredients as it’s mainly used as a preservative, especially with the addition of ingredients like tapioca starch. This just ensures that your product lasts as long as possible.

Since there’s barely any of this product in the solution to begin with, you don’t have to worry about dealing with any adverse effects. However, it’s been researched that if you come in contact with this product at high enough amounts, it could potentially lead to organ damage.

What Do Volumizing Powders Do To Your Hair?

Once you apply a volumizing powder to your hair, the first things that you’ll notice is that:

  • Any greasiness will be controlled
  • Your hair will maintain its style for longer
  • It will keep the shape of your hair manageable
  • Your hair will be more volumized.

It’s important to use the least amount of product possible to get your desired results. Shake a bit of product out at a time, and take a minute to really work it in. If you need more, reapply sparingly. 

Short-Term Effects Of Use

If you accidentally overapply the product, or if you have a thinner, finer hair type (that a volumizing powder may weigh down), you may notice the following effects:

  • Your hair feeling clumpy
  • Your hair looking stringy
  • Your roots or the length of the hair looking dry and crispy
  • Darker strands may look ashen
  • Any existing greases or oils may be emphasized

For those who may have gone a bit heavy-handed when applying dry shampoo, you can expect the same type of ending result. Thankfully, these side effects aren’t permanent, and will be immediately reversed once you give your hair a good shampoo and conditioner

Long-Term Effects Of Use

Though safe, if you constantly over-apply the product, you may find yourself dealing with the long-term effects of volumizing powder:

  • Fried looking strands
  • Hair lacking silkiness
  • Mimicking look of keratin or protein overload
  • Frizziness

Volumizing powder can be a bit invasive when your hair is consistently exposed to it. It’s important to allow your hair to rest in between applications in order to maintain the health of your locks. It’s not meant to be used every single day, especially if the previous application hasn’t yet been washed out.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Volumizing Powder Everyday

Volumizing powder isn’t a hair product that’s used in your daily haircare routine. It’s a styling product, meaning it should only be used when you’re trying to emanate a certain style to hair, rather than a way to maintain the look of your hair every day. 

The powder has a very starchy feel, and while that works wonders if you’re looking to tease your locks, or are aiming for serious lift, it won’t work well with everyday styles like blowouts, braids, etc. The formula coats your strands, and since it’s a powder, it won’t let your hair breathe.

This can mean trouble throughout the day if you live in a hot or humid location, or if you have an oilier hair type. Why? Because powders/starches and oils do not mix well. Though your hair may look matte and smooth upon application, you may be greeted with a clumpy mess when the night is done.

The Best Application Method For Volumizing Powder

  • To Use Or Not To Use – Take a minute to really think about what style you want. If you’re going for lift, or if you need your hair to have a little bit more grip for a complex updo, a volumizing powder is totally viable! For other styles, consider other products.
  • Be Picky About Placement – To keep your roots looking product-free, but to maintain lift, don’t apply powder directly to your part line. Instead, section off an inch-down on either side of your part and place the powder there. You can also apply some powder to areas where you may have some hair loss to better cover those spots up.
  • Use Fingers To Style – With this kind of product, it’s best worked in with your fingers rather than with the precision of a brush. It’ll work the product in and give volume instead of smoothing it down.
  • Don’t Leave It In Too Long – Once you’ve applied the product, you can keep it in for up to 3 days before a wash is necessary. At that point, enough oil or build-up has occurred that your hair needs a little TLC to counter the drying effects of the powder.
  • Wash Thoroughly – When it comes time to shampoo- it’s best to double cleanse. This will ensure that all of the product, and any grease that was underneath the powder, have been effectively rinsed from your hair. Since this may be a bit drying for some locks, follow up with a good conditioner.
  • TLC – Since volumizing powder tends to strip the hydration and moisture from hair, we would recommend applying an intensive, hydrating hair mask to your strands (focusing on the roots/areas you applied the powder), and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well and follow up with hair oil for some added moisture. 

Here’s a great tutorial from The Hair Lounge By Angelina Schofield on YouTube.

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