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Long Layers to Box Braid Bobs: 17 Best Hairstyles for Thick Hair

Thick hair? Oh, we care.
July 14, 2023

Having thick hair often means dealing with a lot of frizz, knotty strands and hairstyles that look like a mass of hair no matter how you shake your head. All hair types can have thick hair and depending on your texture the added thickness it can be more trouble than it’s worth. Luckily, all it takes is determining a hairstyle that will take into consideration your texture and hair length for a voluminous style that isn’t overwhelming in height and weight. 

The right hairstyle can eliminate tension from having too much hair while also giving you a new look that embraces your thick, beautiful mane. From long layers to box braid bobs, we’ve rounded up 17 of the best hairstyles for thick hair that’ll work for coily hair, short hair, wavy hair and all other hair types. 

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How to Take Care of Thick Hair

Taking care of your hair isn’t supposed to be an overwhelming process, but if you have thick hair it may be a tiring experience. Those with thick hair may be used to frizzy strands, knotty ends, flat roots, clumped hair movement and an array of other hair concerns. With the right haircut and combination of products, thick hair can be revitalized for shinier, bouncier and tangle-free hair that tackles unwanted flyaways. 

1. Clean and Condition Hair With Moisturizing Products

Stock your shower with nourishing shampoo and conditioner formulas like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Shampoo with Essential Oil and the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Conditioner with Essential Oil which cleanses and moisturizes thick strands with added rosemary oil replenish hair with moisture and restore smoothness. 

2. Use a Wide Tooth Comb to Detangle

And when it’s time to brush your hair, ditch the plastic paddle brush and pick up a wide tooth comb that can help detangle without straining the head and pulling out clumps of hair. Thick hair is prone to knots since the hair itself is so heavy. 

3. Detangle Knots With a Dedicated Product

Use a lightweight detangling product to wet or damp hair to loosen knots before combing. We like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In which strengthens and detangles hair while adding shine with the added castor oil. Once you’ve got your hair care product regimen down, now you need to think about the style.

How to Style Thick Hair

Styling thick hair is all about your desired haircut and the right regimen of products. Keep some hydrating and humidity-fighting hair care products on hand when styling hair for long-lasting shine and a frizz-free look. For more lightweight strands, curls and waves use the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In which eliminates static and moisturizes the individual strands for heat protection from blow dryers, flat irons and the weather.

As we discussed in the above sections, thick hair is heavy — a study from the NCBI explains that thicker hair is larger in size meaning it has more weight. While each strand is lighter than a feather, all of it together results in heavy strands that add weight to the head. To keep all that extra weight off your head, schedule regular haircuts to lighten your hair. 

Are Layers Good for Thick Hair?

Layers and thick hair are best friends. Layers eliminate a lot of the heft that thick hair is known for — you’re literally cutting strands off which makes the hair feel lighter. Think of it like this, whether you get short or long layers, the precise elimination of inches throughout the head can create the illusion of movement with the varying pieces of hair adding dimensions to your look. 

By adding layers you can also keep away the dreaded “triangle head” and “pyramid head” shape that thick hair and curly hair types are known for. This look is what happens when dry hair gets flat at the roots and fluffy at the ends, resulting in limp-looking hair. 

When it comes to the individual technique, that will depend on your stylist, which is why it’s important to come prepared with questions and reference photos for your preferred style. If you’re in need of hairstyle inspiration for your thick hair check out the 17 styles below that’ll give you a red-carpet-worthy ‘do.


1. Long Layers

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, thick hair thrives with layers. Adding long layers to your hair will create volume from the root to the end for kinkier curl types, and an overall sleek length for straight and wavy hair types (no puffy ends here). This haircut will let you play with texture while showing off your cascading length, making it one of our favorite haircuts for thick hair. Retain your length with this haircut and the addition of a dedicated shampoo and conditioner like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Super Detangler Conditioner which cleanse hair while restoring strength and detangling knots for healthier strands without the need for a shorter haircut. 


2. Rounded Bob With Side Bangs

While shorter versions of a bob hairstyle can take on a triangular shape on thick hair types, this look is a stylish exception. With layers that fall below the ear, strands flipped inward and side-swept bangs that blend seamlessly with the overall haircut, this simple look is definitely one of our favorite bobs for thick hair. 


3. Yarn Braids

This protective style uses yarn instead of classic hair extensions to braid your hair. They can be done in a variety of colors, so you’ll be able to play with any hue you desire. We also love that yarn braids tend to be lightweight, which works in your favor to create less tension on your scalp, especially if you have thick hair. When using this protective style you’ll want a good hair gel on hand that hold without leaving a sticky residue behind. That’s why we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel which has a lasting hold for all hair types, no matter how thick or coily.


4. Undercut

If you want to maintain your length while taking away some of the weight, consider asking your stylist for a super-stylish undercut. The fun part about a close-cropped undercut is that you can keep it plain, or you can seek out a professional to detail your shave for a pretty peek-a-boo pattern anytime you pull your hair up. 


5. Double Fishtail Braid

The half-up double fishtail braid is the perfect fit for pulling away thick hair. It’s simple to create, but it looks intricate and polished. Simply create two fishtail braids with the front sections of your hair on both sides and fasten them in the back with an elastic. Use a texturizing product like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty to hold thick hair in place while braiding for a smoother finish with no flyaways.


6. Choppy Layers

Just as a choppy bob can lighten things up and give your hair a subtle edge, choppy layers are a great alternative to long layers. You can rock them on any length of hair — short, medium, or long — and get an instant carefree, rocker-chic look. Play around with this haircut by adding an ombré color to your hair that’ll create even more illusion of movement since added color and highlighting will bring dimensions to the style. 


7. Bob Box Braids

Box braids look amazing when paired with a bob because you can style box braids in so many ways. Style them into an updo or curl them 一 either way they look great and frame your face. Give your thick curly hair a break by styling them in this protective look that embraces the trending bob style with a secure braiding method. Complete your look with a little edge control or a defining gel like L'Oreal Paris Studio Line Invisi Gel to perfectly shape your baby hairs without fear of strands lifting through the day.


8. Angled Medium Cut

This is the perfect haircut for those who don’t want to give up their length but want their hairdo to be a little more manageable. An angled cut will give you shoulder-length hair at the back and slightly longer layers in the front, giving the illusion of a perfectly slanted shape without a choppy layered look.


9. Beachy Waves With Curtain Bangs

Unlike classic bangs, curtain bangs part the short pieces of hair right down the middle to frame your face beautifully. The addition of bangs adds dimension to thick hair while a beachy wave texture makes you feel like you live in a tropical beach town, even if you’re stuck in a concrete jungle. To maintain your new bangs, spritz the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray onto the front pieces of hair for a longer-lasting hold that doesn’t frizz up, no matter how much humidity is in the air.


10. Feathered Bob

This hairstyle frames your face with thick strands that have a light wave for an elegant look, making it one of our favorite short haircuts for thick hair. All you need to pull this look together is a dollop of curl mousse like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Curve It Elastic Curl Mousse, which offers a 24-hour hold to hair without weighing strands down. Apply to damp hair at the roots and ends before scrunching your strands with your hands and letting hair air dry. If you have straight or wavy hair that needs a boost, use the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Volume Inject Mousse which thickens individual strands for an overall voluminous look.


11. Textured Layers

Textured layers are a great way to manage thick hair because they add plenty of movement to your hair and minimize the thickness of your strands. To make this cut work even better for you, you can also ask your stylist to thin out your hair with thinning shears. You can even add subtle balayage highlights to accentuate your layers and take this look to the next level.


12. Feathered Bangs

An alternative to blunt bangs, feathered bangs — also known as wispy bangs — are a softer option. Pair them with feathered layers for an overall romantic cut. This bang cut works for all hair types and adds longer hair pieces to the front of the face while shaping the overall look of strands.


13. Half-up Top Knot

Half-up hairstyles give you free rein to flaunt your thick hair and keep your strands stylishly pulled back from your face. Start by parting your hair from ear to ear, creating a top and bottom section. Clip the bottom half out of the way before securing strands with bobby pins or barrettes at the roots for an added accessories moment that also keeps flyaways down. Finish off with the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray for an all-over hold that combats humidity, rain and any other hair-frizzing weather.


14. Overgrown Pixie

Want to lose a lot of your length but can’t quite commit to a pixie cut? An overgrown pixie stops at your ears, giving you the short hair you crave without completely parting with your length — a happy medium. This cut is particularly stunning on those who have thick, curly hair, as the curls are loose closer to the scalp. A short cut like this gives maximum relief on the shoulders since the hair is lightweight all around. 


15. Half-up Cornrows

Cornrows are a classic style with many styling options for coily hair that needs a good protective style or hair base for extensions. Braid cornrows to the scalp while leaving the length loose or equally braided to be tied up and out of the face. To refresh your hair without losing hold of the braid, use a clarifying shampoo like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Micellar Shampoo, which gently cleanses buildup from thick hair and curly hair without stripping hair of the natural oils it needs.


16. Long Bob (Lob)

A style that suits thicker strands to a tee is the long bob (aka the lob) which gives hair enough length to still rock a layered look, without the shortness of a pixie cut or traditional bob. When getting your hair cut into a lob, ask your stylist to add a few medium-length layers to the front of your hair to create a framed look that’ll introduce more movement into thick hair. Whether you flaunt this look just above your shoulders, at shoulder level or just below, its effortless appearance and versatility make it oh-so-appealing.


17. Curly Layers

Curly layers look amazing on naturally thick hair since they can give your strands more shape. Ask your stylist for a layered look that takes into consideration the specific length and placement of layers for bouncier curls that don’t clump together. To style your curly layers with definition, use the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In. Section the top parts of hair from the bottom to evenly distribute the styling product. Then, apply a quarter-sized amount of hair cream to each section of your wet strands, flip your hair over and rake your hands carefully through the hair while shaking strands between your fingers. This can help detangle curls and influence the curvature of your strands, then let your hair air dry and live your best thick curly hair life. 


Next: 8 Tips to Get Poof-Free Fluffy Hair


Photographer: Nelson Huang, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Producer: Becca Solovay, Beauty Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Digi Tech: Jacky Jiang, Photo Assistant: Tyler Andrews, Model: Erin Williams

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