Young Asian woman with bouncy hair winking at the camera.

Any shampoo ad will tell you that bounce and volume are some of the hallmarks of great hair, but is this accurate at all? Flat hair, often depicted as an undesirable quality that must be avoided at all costs, is not always damaged. However, it does look more drab than fab. If your flat hair is bothering you, addressing these issues can help.

Oil and Sweat Buildup

The primary cause of flat hair is oil. Your scalp has sebaceous glands that secrete to keep your locks soft and smooth. They can go into overdrive if your scalp needs extra hydration, producing more oil than usual. Sweat a lot? This can escalate the process and help oil travel down your strands much faster. 

Meanwhile, some are genetically predisposed to having an oily scalp. This may mean washing your hair more often, especially in this . You can also rinse your hair with water on no-wash days and or refresh your roots with a dry shampoo.

Thick Hair Products

Using the wrong products can also lead to flat hair. If you have fine strands, try using lightweight cleansing and styling products that won’t weigh them down. Use water-based sprays and gels and avoid oily textures that will make your locks the opposite of fresh.

On heavy styling days, wash your hair with a to prevent product buildup on your scalp (and pillows). Use Dove Botanical Silicone Free Shampoo for Fresh Hair Clarify and Dove Botanical Silicone Free Conditioner for Fresh Hair Clarify. These gently deep-cleanse and refresh your scalp and strands without stripping them of natural oils.

Touching Your Hair Too Much

Are you a hairflipper? Do you primp your locks throughout the day? You may want to go easy on these habits to avoid flat hair. Sure, tossing your hair to one side may result in temporary volume, but as you do that, your hands transfer more oils and sweat onto your strands, making them even heavier. Try wearing a to keep your hair in place.

A Thinning Hair Part

If you haven’t changed your hair part since the early aughts, you may notice a bit of thinning and widening in the area. This can be the result of frequent brushing and styling, scalp issues like dandruff, or good old aging. A quick fix would be , but you still need to address any scalp issues that may be thinning your locks. Talk to your dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Lack of Nutrients

Has your diet been poor or inconsistent lately? Dull, flat hair could be a sign that you're not getting enough nutrients. The best way to find out is by consulting a doctor or nutritionist about having a balanced diet that will support your body’s needs. Like with exercise, you can’t target a specific outcome, such as “eating for hair growth.” But you can learn to nourish your body and adjust your lifestyle for overall health.

A Heavy Hairstyle

Hair that’s too long and thick can look heavy and flat, even when it’s not oily. Ask your stylist for a layered cut that will add movement to your strands. If you want to take this lightness to the next level, ask for face-framing highlights.

In addition, use a gentle touch when styling your hair at home. Repeated friction and pulling in the same area can thin your locks. You could also try upward or upside down for volume. If you’re using a flat iron, start pressing an inch from your hair roots, or glide the iron in the opposite direction of your hair part.

Addressing the culprits above can take your flat hair to – literally – new heights. Just make sure to talk to your doctor if you suspect more serious, underlying issues.