Styling Tips and Product Recommendations For Thin Hair
Just like our bodies come in different shapes and sizes, so does our hair — and each hair type needs special consideration. Whether your hair is naturally curly, wavy, or straight, there are also hair textures to keep in mind. Think: fine, thin, coarse, and so on. Here, we're addressing those with thin hair.
First off, know that although fine and thin are often used interchangeably, if we're going to get technical, thin hair means you have less density (or amount) of hair per square inch. Fine hair refers to the actual narrowness in diameter of the hair strand — but you could still have tons of hair on your head.
Of course, every hair type and texture can have a mind of its own, and thin hair may require different things for different types when it comes to styling, cutting, and caring for it. That's why we talked to hair experts to give us the details on all things thin hair. Whether you've been searching for the best shampoo for thin hair, want to learn about the right thin hair treatment for you, or just want to peruse a list of the best products for thin hair, we've got you covered. Ahead, we're rounding up everything to know about thin hair and how to care for it.
How to Care For Thin Hair
If you have thin hair, chances are you shampoo it pretty regularly so it doesn't get weighed down by oil or products. But you don't want to overwash and create damage or dryness, so most experts agree that it's OK to wash thin hair every other day. If you condition, use something lightweight and be sure to keep it away from your scalp, instead focusing from the middle of the hair shaft down to the ends.
When it comes to everyday care, you want to be gentle to preserve and optimize your hair. When brushing, start from the bottom of your hair and work up on small sections at a time, says Lars Skjøth, founder and head research scientist of Harklinikken, a brand known for its treatment protocol to help people grow stronger, longer, thicker hair. And go easy on wet hair: "Water weakens the bonds within strands of hair, removing up to one-third of its strength," he explains. "Wet or damp hair can therefore be more easily broken, ripped, or torn out when combing or brushing."
How to Style Thin Hair
When it comes to how to style thin hair, there are a few tricks you can try to make it less noticable. Because your follicles may be spread out a bit, your scalp might be visible. You can create optical illusions to make hair seem fuller, if that's your objective. "Try parting your hair on the opposite side than normal or use a deep side part," says Nunzio Saviano, stylist and owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon. This can help create the appearance of extra volume at the crown of the head and conceal thinning areas. He also suggests using root touch-up products like the Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray to fill in any sparseness visible in your part.
Best Products For Thin Hair
Hair goals for thin hair likely involve lift and fullness, so you'll want to make sure you're using the correct products for thin hair. If you want to start off with the basics, like the best shampoo for thin hair, we'd suggest the Briogeo Destined for Density Caffeine and Biotin Peptide Density Shampoo for Fine and Thinning Hair ($32). It's editor tested, and in our opinion is the perfect thin hair shampoo.
If you're looking for a thin hair treatment, we'd suggest trying out a scalp serum like the Vegamour Gro Hair Serum ($64), which works to soothe the scalp and reduce shedding.
Stylist Miguel Luis of New York City-based Rita Hazan Salon is a fan of using a duo of a thickener like the Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray and a volumizer like the Oribe Thick Dry Finishing Spray. "I use the thickening spray on damp hair at the root to create lift and the finishing spray on dry hair to add overall fullness to the style," he says. An important part of Luis's method: flipping the head over when using the finishing spray. "If I forget, trust me, my clients will remind me," he says.
You can also opt for a texturizing product to add body, but he warns that overtexturizing can create clumping and thinner-looking hair, so less is more. Also, check the ingredient list on your products. "For styling thin hair, I recommend light products with the least oil possible," says stylist Fabian Lliguin, cofounder of Rahua. Note that if you're going to use a bunch of styling products regularly, it may be a good idea to enlist a clarifying shampoo like the Nunzio Saviano Detox Hair & Scalp Gentle Shampoo weekly to remove buildup.
If you haven't had luck with any of these options and you're looking into possibly testing out extensions, in our experience, the best extensions for thin hair are the Luxy Hair Clip-Ins ($235). One of our editors with thin hair tried the brand and was impressed with the results.
Best Cuts for Thin Hair
Of course, you want to pick a look that you're into, whether it optimizes your texture and type or not. But if your vision involves creating fullness, then generally speaking, short styles vibe well with thin strands. When hair is longer, it can read stringy. If you do want to go for length, then long layers are best. If hair is extra fine, the trick may be to add extra texture at the crown and choppy layers throughout, Lliguin says.
Luis is a fan of bobs, layered lobs, and choppy pixies to give the illusion of body. Once again, layers are the name of the game to create movement and a flattering shape. Also, be sure to get your hair cut regularly. "The whole point is to not hold onto straggly ends with thin hair," Luis says. "A clean, fresh cut will always make the hair appear healthy and therefore fuller."
Best Thin-Hair Styling Inspiration
If you think you're ready to master how to style thin hair, but you need a little visual imagery to get you started, we've got you covered. Ahead, we've rounded up some thin hair inspiration photos that show that even if you have thin hair, there are still many ways to style it.
Flipped Side Part For Thin Hair
A simple tweak like switching up your part to the opposite side helps create instant, effortless lift and volume.
Voluminous Texture For Thin Hair
Adding waves will also add fullness. If you're going to use a curling iron to get the job done, be sure to use heat protectant first so there's a conditioning barrier between your hair and the hot tool.
Lots of Layers For Thin Hair
If you want to go for length, layers will help counteract flatness by giving your hair bounce and texture.
Choppy Pixie For Thin Hair
Short styles and thin strands are a match made in hair heaven. Add texture to the mix, and then you're golden.
Wavy Bob For Thin Hair
A chin-length bob with easygoing, super-soft waves is both face flattering and complementary to thin textures.
Textured Lob For Thin Hair
Want to give your lob a lift? Go for a deep side part and loose waves, a look perfect for a night out.