What is a Root Lifter?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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The days of teasing, ratting and backcombing lifeless hair or wearing a wig or extensions to have a full head of hair are long gone. A relatively new hair care product, root lifter, gives even the limpest hair some volume to support a hairstyle. Almost all major hair care lines offer a root lifting product, but it may not actually be called a root lifter. Some other names they may indicate a root lifter are root boost, root booster, and volumizing spray, lotion or tonic.

The primary ingredient in most root boosters and volumizing products is polyvinylpyrrolidone/vinyl acetate (VP/VA) copolymer. VP/VA copolymer helps achieve volume in hairstyles by keeping the hair from absorbing moisture, which would weigh it down and cause it to go flat. Volumizing products that provide extra hold will also have other major ingredients. The collective result of the ingredient list will differ depending on the consistency of the hair care product.


Regardless of the consistency of the chosen product, the styling process will be similar. Aside from root lifting hairsprays that are applied on dry hair, most other root lifting products should be applied on damp to wet hair. The product should be sprayed or massaged in the hair at the roots depending on whether it is in liquid, mouse or gel form. Some people prefer to use root boost only in their crown area to obtain more height in their hairstyle, while others use root boost all over their head to achieve all over volume. Most root lifters require heat activation to achieve the most volume.

After applying product to the desired location on the scalp, the best results use the help of gravity. Flipping the head over and completely blow-drying the hair at the roots will volumize the area applied with root lifter. For even better results, blow-drying should be done with a concentrator nozzle, which allows an individual to directly aim at the root areas where lifter was applied. Root lifter applied to short hair will create soft spiked hair, while medium to long hair will be somewhat to completely lifted at the roots.

It is important to note that although root lifter may be used on extra curly or coarse hair, it probably will not give it much more volume than normal and blow-drying will cause unwanted frizz. Additionally, really long hair without layers is very heavy and even blow-drying roots with root booster may not cause very much lifting action. Root lifter works best on short to medium hair and the short to medium layers in long hair.


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