We Tested Hair Products Claiming to Give Southern Belle Volume–Here are the Results
Did Drybar's volumizing line stack up as high as Mama's hair…er, expectations?
There aren't many things that can boost confidence like a good blowout, and that's why Drybar founder Alli Webb is a genius. If you haven't heard of it, Drybar is a franchise of salons that's making blowouts easier and more affordable than ever. Everyone loves a good blowout, but you don't need a haircut often enough to get straight-from-the-salon hair just for fun. Enter: Drybar.
Although there aren't Drybar locations in every Southern state (including our home base, Alabama…hint, hint, Alli), it has a line of products and tools to help you achieve a Drybar blowout look at home. Drybar's products are available to purchase on the Drybar website and at Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, and Bloomingdale's.
Like any smart beauty brand in the age of social media, Drybar's products are, well, really cute. Their minimalist design, pretty pastel colors, and recognizable logo make the products desirable to buy and, of course, snap a picture of. I had checked out Drybar before, but since there wasn't a location near me, I shrugged it off. That is until I saw a recently updated launch from the brand, a line of products called Southern Belle. Obviously, I was intrigued.
The Southern Belle line is, unsurprisingly, all about volume. But did the products deliver true Southern volume? I enlisted the help of a big-hair expert, my own mama, to decide.
The Southern Belle line consists of volume-boosting shampoo, conditioner, mousse, and root lifter. There's also a teasing brush called the Texas Tease that Drybar suggests using with the products. I tested out the products together and separately over a few weeks to see what works. My mom and I happened to have a beach trip planned the weekend after the Southern Belle line landed on my desk, so she tried them out for a few days, too.
Since it's the only tool in the brand's volumizing category, we'll talk about the Texas Tease brush first. While $18 is a splurge for a teasing brush, if you use one often, this is definitely worth it. It's a bristle brush rather than a comb and honey it works. The tapered tip of the brush is good for separating and parting hair, and the soft bristles are perfect for smoothing your final look once you're done teasing. If you want a teasing brush that seriously gets the job done, pass up the drugstore versions and go to the Texas Tease.
Before we move on to the products, there's something we need to discuss—their scent. Scents are truly subjective, which is why you can't handle your grandmother's perfume but she hasn't strayed from her 50-year devotion to it. Whether or not you're a fan of the Southern Belle line's scent, it's strong and it lasts. Considering Southern women never leave home without spritzing on a healthy amount of their signature perfume, this makes sense. Personally, the smell wasn't my favorite. I prefer a lighter, more natural smell, and the Southern Belle products were too musky for my taste. If you like a muskier scent, good news: The scent of these products really lasts, which is impressive for hair products. I always smell shampoo or conditioner before purchasing, but the scent never sticks around long. The Southern Belle products' scent has major holding power. My mom wasn't as opposed to the smell as me, but she did say it was strong. If you scroll through online reviews, people seem to either absolutely love or absolutely hate the smell, which brings back my first point: Scents are subjective, so don't rule out a product because someone said the scent wasn't their next signature. Try it out for yourself—you might be the next reviewer who's obsessed with the smell.
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Onward we go. The Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Shampoo and Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Conditioner contain familiar ingredients like biotin and bamboo extract, which I appreciate, and all Drybar products are cruelty free. One interesting note is that the conditioner isn't a cream like most. It's actually a clear gel formula, but the gel formula didn't glide through my hair as easily as a cream. When used alone, followed by a blow dry, I'd say my hair had some pretty good volume, but nothing groundbreaking. If you want major payoff, you definitely need to invest in one or both of the next two products.
The Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Mousse and The Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Root Lifter are the major volume players. The root lifter is newer, but the mousse is the most popular of the line among customers and reviewers, and it was for my mom and me. The mousse formula is really lightweight and easy to use. Simply apply to damp hair from roots to ends and style as usual for overall volume. The root lifter, as the name implies, focuses specifically on the roots. It's also applied to damp hair before blow drying and styling as usual. I think applying the products to damp hair helps avoid the crunchiness that comes with similar products, but when used together, I felt like I had a lot of product in my hair. It wasn't crunchy and it didn't look greasy, but I could just tell that there was a lot more going on up there than usual. So if you're not used to having a head full of product, I wouldn't go full-throttle and use the whole line at the same time. I'd try out the mousse, which is the most lightweight, first. The root lifter would be great for last-minute touchups before a night out or reviving day-old hair with a little height.
It was interesting to see how the products worked differently on my mom and me. I have long, straight hair that doesn't do much other than be long and straight. It's medium in thickness, not overwhelmingly thick or thin. I have some natural volume, but it's mostly an illusion created by a semi-deep side part and a few long layers. My mom, on the other hand, has thicker and shorter hair than me. It's not incredibly thick, but girl has good hair, which also has natural volume. I'm not sure why her hair is naturally bouncy and mine is naturally flat, but I'm going to go ahead and blame dad. While the Southern Belle line gave me good volume, it gave my mom wowza volume. Her hair actually looked like she came straight from the Drybar.
Overall, the Drybar Southern Belle products do work to give volume. How well they work, however, depends on the user. Like I said earlier with the smell, the results of these products are largely subjective. For me, the products gave more volume than I normally have, but I felt like my hair was too congested with products. For my mom, the products gave her ample volume, but she decided the mousse and root lifter were too much together for her, too.
If your hair is lacking in the volume department and you're looking for something new, Drybar's Southern Belle products are worth a test. Did they deliver Southern-belle volume? For me, almost. For my mom, yes. We should probably take this one to Dolly to decide.