Big Hair on a Not-So-Big Budget

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Whether you’re looking to add a little poof to your everyday pony or want a huge up-do for prom season, all the tools and products you need to get Texas-sized hair are just a click away.

VO5 styling mousseInject some oomph into freshly washed hair with a volumizing mousse. Two to three root-to-tip applications of VO5 Salon Series™ Perfect Hold Styling Mousse ($4, get a $1-off coupon now) to damp, towel-dried hair will leave you with plumped strands that are ready to go big.

Getting a Bardot-worthy bouffant is going to require some teasing (also known as back-combing), and finding out which comb will fluff your hair to perfection takes trial and error. Back-combing purists swear that the best beehives are obtained by using simple plastic combs, like this one available at Sally for $1.29. In my experience, they can rat hair a tad too tightly, making teased sections a literal pain to brush out. Alternatively, this boar bristle teasing brush by Conair ($5) costs a fraction of the salon version and works like a dream.

My teasing comb of choice is the good old-fashioned pik ($2). For my long locks, pik-style combs give tons of long-lasting height that’s still loose enough to brush out at the end of the night. (Piks are also useful for lifting up flattened sections of updos)

batiste plumping powderIf you’re starting with second-day or dry hair, give it a boost with a dry root plumper. Lightweight Batiste XXL Plumping Powder ($9) absorbs oil, product build-up and dirt, while adding loads of volume. A little goes a long way, so this is one investment that’ll last.

Once you’ve found a comb that works, it’s time to tease. Lightly spritz (don’t soak) small sections (one-two inches in width) of hair with a volumizing, flexible hairspray before putting a comb to it. TRESemme 24-Hour Body Finishing Spray ($5) provides a solid grip without weighing hair down. I also love that it maintains an even and consistent spray no matter what angle I’m holding the can—that’s definitely a feature a lot of drugstore hair sprays don’t have.

hair pik finishing spray sonia kashuk brushOnce you’ve finished teasing, the odds are good you’ll look like a crazy wildebeest. Don’t panic because this is normal. We’re not done yet. Smooth the top layer of hair over the backcombed part with a paddle-shaped bristle brush. I can’t imagine life without my Sonia Kashuk Tools Small Hair Brush ($12.59), aka the Target dupe to ultra-expensive Mason Pearson brushes. A gentle-handed smoothing with this baby tames the crazy without flattening hard-earned volume. What you do after that is up to you!

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meghan-mcandrewsEditor by day and the voice of High Plains Thrifter by night, Meghan McAndrews is known for her weekly nacho night get-togethers and ongoing commitment to bringing big hair back. In her free time, she can be found scouring church-basement rummage sales, cooking in her kitchen or daubing it up at the bingo hall.

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