What Is Volaire?
Using Airweight Technology, Volaire’s four-product hair system promises to deliver twice the effortless volume after just one use, while enhancing shine and color, without the use of sulfates or parabens.
Volaire’s Airweight Technology utilizes a triple action complex that infuses positively charged oxygen microspheres into hair, which creates space between strands without adding weight or over-stripping. This approach also delivers essential fatty acids and vitamins for added health and strength.
The manufacturer tells us that Volaire is suitable for all hair types, whether long or short, curly or straight, fine or frizzy, thinning, or color or chemically-treated.
According to the system's website, 95 percent of women who used Volaire during a 21-person company-sponsored study reported that their hair had more volume.
Can you expect to experience the same with their Airweight Technology, and for it to perform better than the competition?
We didn’t test Volaire’s products ourselves, but using sites like The Natural Medicines Database, BeautyPedia.com, Paula’s Choice, and Truth In Aging, we did learn a lot during our research. We’ll discuss everything here so you can make a more informed decision, starting with the basics.
Regular Shampoo vs. Volumizing Shampoo
On their website, Volaire’s primary ‘claim to fame’ is that their system can provide “touchable, weightless, long-lasting volume instantly.” Functionally, how does this work?
According to Shannon Romanowski, writing for Self.com, normal shampoos work by leaving a residue on hair. This is great if you’re in need of conditioning, but not if you’re looking for volume, since it can weigh hair down and leave it flat and unappealing. Instead, volumizing shampoos simply leave less of this residue behind, which can naturally improve the ability of hair to retain volume.
In addition to less residue, Volaire claims their proprietary Airweight Technology will deliver positively charged oxygen microspheres to hair, thereby creating maximum space between strands, without weighing them down.
We’re also told this technology can infuse hair with essential fatty acids and vitamins for added health and strength, resulting in enhanced shine and color, long-lasting style, and touchable softness.
We’ll talk more about Volaire’s ingredients in a moment. But in the meantime, in addition to their volumizing ability, the company places a lot of emphasis on the fact that their products are sulfate and paraben-free. Why?
What’s Wrong With Sulfates & Parabens?
Common sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), and ammonium lauryl sulfate work as effective surfactants to help dislodge dirt and other debris from the scalp and hair strands. They’re also great at creating a sudsy lather. A such, they’re found in a wide range of beauty products, including shampoos.
Depending on your hair type and biological makeup, though, washing your hair daily with sulfate-based surfactants can be overly harsh and strip it of natural oils, leaving it dry, frizzy, and more prone to breakage. Some individuals also experience scalp irritation.
Despite these potential downsides, Essence notes that sulfates are generally safe for use, unless your hair has been treated with color or keratin, since these chemicals can cause the color to fade prematurely.
Comparatively, parabens are a group of synthetic preservatives that have been around since the 1950s that help prevent bacteria, fungus, and microbe growth. Common examples include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutyl paraben.
Despite these benefits, Scientific American reports that some studies have indicated a link between cumulative paraben exposure and disruption in hormone function, along with increased instances of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
With these core concepts in mind, let’s take a closer look at each product in Volaire’s system.
What Products & Ingredients Are Found in the Volaire Hair System?
To use Volaire’s Volume Essentials Collection, the website indicates you’ll simply shampoo and condition your hair as normal, which will provide volume themselves. Then, you can add the secondary products for extra texture, body, and lift.
The company tells us the system is gentle enough to use every day, although you may have to undergo some trial and error for optimal results, depending on your hair’s thickness and condition.
According to Paula Begoun, author of Beautypedia.com, who was interviewed for a 2009 Newsweek article:
“All shampoo is essentially a cleanser. Only the first five or six ingredients impact the formula's effectiveness. Most often, the ingredients lower down on the list aren't present in high enough concentrations to have any impact on the shampoo's performance.”
In light of this information, we’ve only listed the first eight (for good measure) ingredients found in each of Volaire’s formulations below.
Weightless Volumizing Shampoo
A sulfate-free shampoo that delivers satisfying lather, without stripping away moisture or color. Just massage lather into wet hair, from roots to ends, rinse thoroughly, and repeat as needed.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Isopentane, Fragrance (Parfum), Acrylates Copolymer, Panthenol, and Tocopherol.
Remember the sulfates we discussed earlier? Instead of sulfate-based surfactants, this shampoo features a naturally derived coconut surfactant (specifically, sodium cocoyl isethionate) that promises to cleanse without over-stripping hair.
Despite the presence of these coconut-based options, keep in mind that Volaire’s Shampoo also features sodium lauroamphoacetate, which is a more traditional—albeit mild—surfactant.
Weightless Fortifying Conditioner
After you’ve shampooed, Volaire’s conditioner leaves behind hydration, full body softness, manageability, and shine, without weighing hair down. Just apply to the bottom half of your hair and rinse thoroughly with cool water.
The manufacturer tells us that the conditioner can also be used as a weekly mask.
Ingredients include: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, and Cyclopentasiloxane.
Uplift Volumizing Mist
After showering, towel drying, and combing your hair, this mist can be sprayed onto the roots in sections, and then worked through to the ends, in order to protect against heat damage when styling. Volaire claims it will always leave your hair touchable and tossy; never stiff or tacky.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sucrose, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glycerin, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, and Panthenol.
Air Magic Texturing Spray
As the final step in Volaire’s system, the Texturing Spray thickens and texturizes hair while providing a lightweight, invisible hold that doesn’t leave behind buildup. We’re told it can also extend the time between washings.
Ingredients: Hydrofluorocarbon 152A, Dimethyl Ether, Alcohol Denat., VP/VA Copolymer, Triticum Vulgare Flour Lipids, Persea Gratissima Oil, Corallina Officinalis Extract, and Hypnea Musciformis Extract.
How Much Does the Volaire Volume Essentials Collection Cost?
Volaire’s TV Offer is priced at $29.95, plus free S&H. This includes a 30-day supply of the Weightless Volumizing Shampoo, Weightless Fortifying Conditioner, Uplift Volumizing Mist, and Air Magic Texturing Spray.
Important note: After placing your order, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Volaire’s MVP Subscription Program. This means that four weeks after your initial order, you’ll be sent a new 90-day supply of the system and charged $29.95 per installment, plus $3.33 per installment for S&H, plus any applicable sales tax (a total of $99.84 every three months).
You can cancel your enrollment or customize future shipments by contacting customer service at 800-201-6539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Volaire orders come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H.
What Do We Know About Volaire’s Manufacturer & Customer Feedback?
There were 26 customer reviews on the Volaire website at the time of our research, who had given the system an average rating of five stars. Most compliments referenced increased volume and fullness, boosted texture and shine, and lack of heaviness.
Outside of these, we didn’t encounter any consumer feedback about Volaire.
We also learned that the system is manufactured by Junee Brands LLC, based out of El Segundo, CA, who also manufactures other beauty-related systems like Specific Beauty and Dr. Denese SkinScience.
The company held a B+ rating with the Better Business Bureau based on one closed complaint (as of 6/28/17). No additional details were available.
Are There Other Hair Volumizing Sulfate-Free Systems Like Volaire?
While the lather and foam provided by sulfate-based surfactants might improve the sensory aspect of bathing, Healthline tells us that they’re not crucial for cleansing.
Given this, as well as some of the potential side effects reported by authoritative sites above, sulfate-free systems have become increasingly popular over the last several years. Are any of these competing directly with Volaire?
In a word; yes. Typing the phrase “sulfate-free volume shampoo” into Google returned dozens of results at the time of our research, from popular brands like Pureology, Oribe, L’Oreal, and OGX. Prices ranged between $8 and $30+ for bottles between eight and 20 fl oz in size.
As far as whole systems, prices ranged between $25 and neared $100, which tended to include anywhere from two to four individual products. Popular brands included L’Oreal and Ovation.
How Do Their Ingredients Compare?
Based on the sheer breadth of sulfate-free volumizing shampoos, which extend well beyond the products chosen at random above, we think it’s important to consider the following:
As beauty expert Paula Begoun emphasized earlier, the first few ingredients in any shampoo largely consist of water, surfactants, foaming agents, acidic ingredients (e.g. sodium citrate or citric acid), polymers for smoothness and shine, additives that moisturize and improve skin feel, and preservatives. As we can see, Volaire’s shampoo aligns with this general guideline.
This means that the major differences between Volaire and competing shampoos and systems often only relate to ingredients found farther down the list. But (not to sound like a broken record), Paula’s quote reinforces the fact that—outside of color and scent—there often isn’t enough of them to deliver meaningful benefits.
In lieu of sulfates, each of the formulas mentioned above featured coconut-based surfactants likes sodium cocoyl isethionate, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, and/or cocamide MIPA.
We didn’t encounter any comparisons on authoritative sites (like those mentioned earlier) that any of these coconut-based surfactants work better than others.
Your Sulfate-Free Volumizing Shampoo Buyer’s Guide
Earlier, we learned that sulfates are generally safe for use by most of the population. Women’s Health echoes this sentiment, adding that, “They help your hair feel squeaky clean, and many people can tolerate them well.” On the other hand, they go on to note that sulfate-free formulations might be ideal if:
- Your hair is naturally coarse or dry, as sulfates can cause further drying.
- Your hair is colored, since they can impact the keratin bonds that hold color inside individual strands.
- You have sensitive skin (especially eczema), since it can also cause dryness and itchiness.
If you fall into one or more of these groups, should you focus on cost during your search? In the Newsweek article cited earlier, Paula Begoun notes that price is rarely an indicator of performance and that “There’s no reason at all to pay more than $7 for a bottle of shampoo.”
Instead, she emphasizes that the right sulfate-free shampoo for you depends largely on the specific needs of your scalp, since this is where shampoos have the most impact. So, if your scalp is oily, flaky, dry, or irritated, you might want to focus on formulas marketed at addressing those conditions.
Outside of these criteria, it largely comes down to giving it a try, as Paula points out that, “Nothing on the bottle, including the price tag, can tell you if you’re really going to like the results.”
Pro tip: It’s positive that Kristin Davis claims to personally use Volaire’s system (she does, after all, have great looking hair). As a consumer website, though, based on our opinion, we advise readers to also judge the merit of the product itself. This is because whether it’s a celebrity endorsement or any other successful case-study shown on Volaire’s website, the company specifically states that “individual results may vary.”
We’ve certainly covered a lot of territory here, so let’s go ahead and wrap everything up.
Our Bottom Line About Volaire
Did you know that coloring your hair can be an effective method of adding volume, since it causes the hair shaft to swell? Other traditional methods include:
- Blow-drying (works by lifting hairs off the scalp and drying them in an ideal position)
- Back-brushing or “teasing” (lifts hair cuticles),
- Hot rollers (breaks the keratin bonds and locks hair into big curls)
- Crimping roots (roughs under-layers, thereby adding volume to upper layers)
While these can be effective, they can also damage hair if used too often, since they steal moisture and weaken bonds. This is where sulfate-free volumizing shampoos and systems like Volaire come in by delivering volume, without the subsequent damage.
Related: How to Save Your Dry, Damaged Hair
From a pure numbers perspective, you’ll pay a little more than $1 per day to use Volaire. While this might be considered a competitive price, based on our research outlined above, it seems you can purchase competing sulfate-free shampoos for as little as $0.26 per use.
Obviously, most of these lower-priced shampoos won’t include the additional products found in Volaire. So, if you’re looking for a complete system that might help you add even more volume, it seems like it could provide a solid overall value.
But if you’re only looking for a shampoo, based on what we learned from Beautypedia.com’s founder Paula Begoun, you likely won’t necessarily achieve greater value by paying more. Outside of this, it largely comes down to giving different options a try and finding out which one best meets your specific needs.
To this extent, if you’re ultimately not satisfied with Volaire’s performance, the manufacturer seems to stand behind the system with a 30-day refund policy. Just keep in mind you’ll lose your return shipping charges.
10 out 12 people found this review helpful
Finally! This is by far the best line of hair care products I've ever tried, and I've tried them all, and have always been disappointed. Volaire doesn't disappoint, and this is coming from someone who has always struggled with my hair. It's fine, bodiless, volumeless, and takes me hours to style, and even then only lasts a day (if that).
After only one use, I was able to style my hair in less than half the time, and it still looked great after three days! It kept its shape, volume, and softness. No more "second day hats" for me. I love this stuff, and it loves my hair.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
16 out 23 people found this review helpful
Rip off - products are expensive and doesn't live up to claims
I ordered this product (four items) and thought I'd give it a try. Not only did the package arrive "leaky," but the conditioner was barely half full, even though all were "sealed." I called customer service and told them of my complaint, and told them to cancel any further shipments.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend