While your hair can grow healthy and strong with the right routine and products, achieving naturally-thick strands is a completely different story. Thanks to our genetics, some of us are blessed with thick hair and some of us aren’t so lucky. If you’re the latter, then you know the struggles that having thin hair brings, especially when it comes to styling.
Boosting the appearance of thin hair is all about faking the illusion of density and fullness, and there are many different ways to do that. Whether that be with your hairstyle or with the practices that make up your hair care routine, you don’t need expert skills to pull them off. So, if you’re ready to transform your limp, lifeless strands into a bouncy, full head of hair, check out these 15 tips to make your thin hair look thicker.
What Causes Thin Hair?
There are a myriad of different causes that can lead to thin hair. A big one is genetics; some of us are predisposed to having thin hair, while medical issues and aging can also lead to thinning hair. If your hair is bleach-damaged to the point of breaking off, you may mistake that as thinning hair, too.
What’s the Difference Between Thin Hair and Fine Hair?
Thin hair refers to the number of individual strands of hair that you have. Each individual hair shaft may be thick and coarse, you just don’t have a large number of them, which makes your hair appear thin. Fine hair means each individual strand is smaller in diameter and wispy. You can have fine hair, but lots of it, resulting in a full head of hair that appears thick and dense.
How Can I Make My Thin Hair Look Thicker?
While you may have thin strands, it doesn’t have to be the first thing you notice every time you style your hair. The path to full, voluminous strands begins with your hairstyle and largely depends on your hair care routine. Check out our favorite tips for faking the appearance of fuller hair.
1. Make the Chop
One of the easiest ways to create the illusion of thick hair is with the right haircut for your thin strands. Those with thin hair should ask for a blunt cut to create the appearance of fuller ends and denser hair. Additionally, short haircuts such as a bob or a wavy lob are particularly flattering for thin hair as they lack the length that can weigh hair down.
When you have naturally thin hair, keeping up with routine trims will make a big difference because they’re going to help your hairstyle maintain its shape and fullness. While many overlook it, an excess of split ends or hair breakage can also lead to the appearance of thin strands and the best way to fix that is with a trim or haircut.
2. Change Your Part
Forget about Gen Z’s affinity for middle parts, a deep side part could be all that you need to give your thin strands a little enhancement. A side part can make your hair appear thicker, creating the appearance of a side-swept hairstyle with natural fullness. Flip your hair to one side and as it settles into place, you’ll recognize an extra lift at the roots to complement your new part.
3. Use a Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner System
A volumizing shampoo and conditioner are an easy pick when you have thin, flat hair, so reach for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo, Paraben-Free and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner, Paraben-Free. This duo is formulated with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and deeply re-plump dry strands for noticeable bounce, body and shine.
After washing your hair, finish with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Moisture Plump Serum, Paraben-Free, to give your style a surge of hydration, added body and enhanced shine.
Editor’s tip: Thick hair masks and heavy treatments can weigh down thin hair. In place of your hair mask, try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water Lamellar Hair Treatment. In as little as eight seconds, this ultra-lightweight, in-shower treatment leaves you with shinier, softer and healthier-looking hair.
4. Try a Voluminous Blowout
A voluminous blowout can transform the appearance of thin strands, especially the ultra-bouncy and chic ‘90s blowout that social media can’t seem to get enough of. To get the look, apply the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse evenly throughout damp hair. This lightweight mousse is a must for thin hair as it helps to provide long-lasting, volume and fullness, plus, heat protection.
Once you've applied the mousse, pick up a round brush and a blow-dryer and work the hair over the round brush, flipping it under as you dry it. After each section of hair, place velcro rollers at the front of your face, starting at the ends of your hair and rolling downwards towards the root. Repeat this process until your hair is fully dry and you’ve placed all the velcro rollers.
Allow your style to set, (the hair will feel cool) and remove the velcro rollers. Flip your head upside down and shake through your strands with your fingers to reveal body and noticeable, face-framing volume.
5. Air-Dry Your Hair
Air drying your hair is a great way to take advantage of your hair’s natural volume and texture, plus it helps to cut down on heat damage which can lead to the appearance of thin hair. After washing your hair, those with curly or wavy hair can reach for a curl-enhancing cream like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Creamy Curls Leave-in Conditioner to define their hair’s natural wave pattern. Apply a dime-sized dollop of product to your palm, rub your hands together and work it through the length of your curls.
If you don’t have naturally wavy hair, use a styling cream like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Midnight Color Care Serum, section your wet hair into two even parts and braid each side. Once your hair has dried, undo the braids and enjoy the easy, heatless waves that give your hair a naturally-fuller appearance.
6. Consider Getting Hair Extensions
If long, voluminous strands are your ultimate hair goal, hair extensions might be a good option for you. Whether you opt for clip-in extensions, tape extensions or beaded extensions, they can help to give your thin strands a top-to-bottom makeover, adding instant length, body and volume.
7. Use a Thickening Hair Paste
The right hair styling products can make all the difference when it comes to styling your thin, lifeless strands. To create the illusion of fuller hair, consider applying a thickening hair pomade, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Putty. This hair pomade is a great complement for short hairstyles and it offers texture that doesn’t feel or look crunchy.
Editor’s tip: Use a pea-sized amount of product and reach for more if needed. Too much product can weigh down your hair, exacerbating the appearance of your thin hair.
8. Use Dry Shampoo on Your Roots
Dry shampoo should be your best friend if you have thin hair because it can refresh oily roots and add volume in an instant. To avoid a pesky white cast, reach for a tinted dry shampoo like the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair if you have dark hair or the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair if you have blonde or red hair.
Spray it directly onto your roots, making sure to hold the can six to eight inches away from your head. Use your fingers to massage the product into your roots to ensure it is evenly distributed.
9. Double Up Your Ponytail
Even those with fine hair can transform their flat and limp ponytail into one that is bouncy and lively sans hair extensions. The trick is to create two ponytails instead of one and it’s a great way to fake the appearance of a full, voluminous ponytail. Start by parting your hair horizontally down the back of your head, creating a top and bottom section, remember to keep them even in size.
Clip your top section of hair up to keep it out of the way. Take the bottom section of hair and smooth it into a ponytail, at the middle of your head and secure it with an elastic. Then, unclip the top section of hair and create a ponytail right above the bottom section ponytail you just created. Secure it with an elastic and there you have it — an easy, voluminous ponytail with some extra length and bounce.
10. Backcomb Away
A healthy dose of backcombing can do wonders to give your hair instant volume and a little lift at the roots. Grab a teasing comb, separate an inch of hair on each side of your part and clip it up. Then, take the teasing comb and begin to backcomb (comb downwards) the hair near the roots.
Once you’ve evenly teased the hair on both sides of your part, spritz the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray - Unscented to set your style. Then, unclip your hair and smooth it over the sections you just teased to reveal your revamped ‘do.
11. Beef Up Your Braids
Braids are undeniably stunning, but less so when they're thin and lacking volume. To create the appearance of a thicker braid, use the pancaking technique by carefully tugging the braid apart to create the illusion of a fuller-looking plait. This technique can elevate any braided hairstyle from French braids to rope braids to fishtail braids and more.
12. Fake Fullness With Root Touch Up
A telltale sign that you have thin hair is when your part looks sparse. For an instant upgrade, spray your roots with the L’Oréal Paris Magic Cover Root Touch Up to fake the appearance of fuller strands. This easy hack is a game changer for thin hair, plus it’s a great way to conceal grays or outgrown roots.
13. Try Lowlights
Lowlights are darker ribbons of color that are used to add depth and dimension to your hair, both of which can help make thin hair appear thicker and more plentiful. Next time you head to the salon, ask for some lowlights to accompany your highlights and the optical illusion will help to bulk up the appearance of your hair.
14. Use a Smaller Barrel Curling Iron
Loose waves are undoubtedly gorgeous, but they don’t add volume in the same way tighter curls do. Look for a curling iron with a one-inch barrel or smaller and use that to style your hair. Not only will a smaller barrel curling iron help your curls hold better, but it will add definition and volume to your thin strands that helps to boost fullness.
Before you apply heat to your hair, always prime with a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant to shield your strands from the scorching temperatures of your hot tools.
15. Blow Dry Upwards
Instead of holding the blow dryer above your head and drying your hair downwards, bring your hand down and blow dry your hair upwards. This simple change in direction can do wonders to boost volume because it lifts the roots off your scalp to add height to your style.
Another way to do this is to lean over and flip your head upside down and blow dry your hair downward. When you flip your head over, you’ll have noticeable volume and lift. Don’t forget to prime your strands with heat protectant.
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Katy Andrascik, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph, Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez, Model: Adrianne Kiara
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