Generally speaking, when it comes to hair there seems to be one main thing that people want from their strands: thickness. In fact, when friends and family reach out to me with hair-related queries it's most frequently to ask what the best products for thin hair are. I'll be honest though, although I adore a good volumising product, hair thickness has never really concerned me. While my individual strands are quite fine, they're coarse in texture and there's a lot of them: I'm more likely to be testing products that promise hair hydration or strand-sleeking results than anything that makes hair look thicker. Until last year, that is.
After having my first child I experienced the much-talked about postpartum hair loss and wow was it intense. After enjoying even thicker, glossier hair during pregnancy I was shocked to see the huge amounts of hair that I was losing every day after having my son—and I say this as someone that sheds a fair amount of hair on a normal day.
"On a daily basis, we lose on average 100 hairs a day so never worry if you see hair in the sink and plug hole," says Adam Reed, UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oréal Professional. "There are the three main stages of hair growth and the process differs for everyone. Some people see a faster or slower cycle meaning everyone’s shedding phase can differ in time. However, if you do begin to see visible thinning, such as being able to see the scalp through hair which you haven’t previously been able to, or any patches around the hair line, this is the time to consult your GP or a trichologist to investigate further."
I"ll be honest, the hair loss that I experienced really knocked my confidence. For many of us, our hair is so intrinsically tied to our identity that any unexpected changes can be hard to handle. While my hair shedding cycle has now returned to normal, I'm still getting to grips with uneven hair length, sparse patches and a generally thinner-feeling head of hair. So, to say I've spent a bit of time chatting to hair experts about the issue would be an understatement.
Ahead, I've got tips from five celebrity stylists and hair experts on how to make even the thinnest hair look voluminous and their recommendations for the best products for thin hair.
There isn't long now until hair salons reopen and while it might sound counterintuitive to talk about removing hair when you're struggling with thickness, salon owner and A-list hairdresser George Northwood swears by what he calls a "micro-trim".
"Simply taking the most minute ends off your hair every 6 weeks can help the hair look more thick and healthy," Northwood says. "I would also advise to keep thinner hair all one length. Ideally a short, shoulder-lengthbobor any kind of blunt style can create a thicker, fuller appearance. Then you will have a great base for styling and adding volume."
There's a time and a place for drugstore shampoos but if you're really looking to look after thin hair then it might be time to switch to a more high-end formula.
"Introducing a quality shampoo to your haircare regime can really change how your hair looks day to day," explains Northwood. "If you have fine or thin hair you may find that product builds up on it and weighs it down. This is why I created the Undone by George Northwood Unpolluted Shampoo. It’s a weekly detox that gently strips the hair and scalp of any build up and leaves you with a clean slate."
Kuldeep Knox, founder of Chāmpo Haircare agrees. "It's important to use the right products depending on your hair type and not use a generic shampoo and conditioner. You’ll see better results if you use something that’s specially formulated for thinner hair."
Renowned for their lash-thickening treatment, RevitaLash have turned their attention to hair with this new launch which has been selling fast. It uses clinically proven technology to protect hair from breakage, thicken thinning hair and exfoliate your scalp for improved hair health overall.
It's obvious that many of us will reach for texturising sprays and volume-boosting mousses when wanting to create the effect of thicker-looking hair, but experts agree that isn't always the best move. "Often with finer hair, we seek out products for volume and body but these products typically make the hair stiff, dry and coarse," explains celebrity hairdresser and Color Wow Ambassador, James Johnson. "While it gives the illusion that the hair strand is fuller, long term [these products] are actually having the opposite effect on our hair."
Instead, Johnson suggests opting for gentle formulations: "With finer hair being more delicate and fragile, we want to be caring towards our hair whilst still achieving fullness and bounce."
"The technology inside this iis built specifically to solve the problem of flat, lifeless hair without any stiffness or damage," explains Johnson. "The special formula allows the hair to move and remain brush-able whilst keeping its bounce and fullness all day, meaning it’s my go to for any client but especially anyone with finer hair."
A few sprays is all it takes for this leave-in root lift to create long-lasting volume. In fact, the brand say this offers up scaffolding levels of support for the hair fiber to leave it lifted and with a voluminous hold.
This lightweight serum not only makes your hair appear fuller but actually thickens each fiber with a blend of keranutri, to increase hair thickness and volume, and 2% ACB pisum savitum peptide to fatten each strands. Sounds complicated but just massage it through wet or dry hair and let it get to work.
Once you find a hair routine that works for you, it can be tempting to stick with it. But hair experts agree that thin strands can actually benefit from more of a wardrobe of hair products to choose from.
"Hair goes through a cycle of growth: an active stage where there is a lot of activity, a resting phase and then a phase where the old hair comes out and is generally replaced with a new hair," explains Jimmy Green, Head of Education for Redken and Pureology. "When we have changes in our diet or we take medication or we go through the menopause, the most common area that we see changes are within our hair and skin. So, when the new hair comes through it may appear different in colour, texture or diametre. This is quite a normal process to go through which is why working with a prescription brand can benefit you. When hair changes, so does the way you look after it. The needs change. It is recommended to change your shampoos and conditioners dependent on the condition of your hair at any one time."
This new launch takes a full circle approach to hair health and is ideal if you're suddenly dealing with increased hair loss or fragile, thin strands. It works together to build back hair strength and restore your hair's pH balance for all-round healthier strands.
Dom Seeley, International Creative Director at Color Wow and hairstylist to the likes of Jessica Alba and Kendall Jenner suggests using a root-concealing product "to thicken the appearance of your hair at the root and scalp area by colouring and shading in the areas where your hair might be finer."
It's a low-maintenance way to create the illusion of thicker hair without having to book in at the salon for a full colour transformation. Genius.
"Root Cover Up is a multi-pigmented mineral powder that comes in a choice of eight shades," explains Seeley. "It never looks inky or chalky because the pigments inside the formula it gives a multi-tonal finish so blends and looks natural."
Leaving your hair to air-dry might be the most appealing, low-maintenance hair hack but if you have thin hair then it means you'll miss your main chance to add volume to your style. "It’s important to work to build in volume and body before it has a chance to dry flat and appear thinner," explains Reed.
"When adding body, dry hair on a medium heat and low air speed in sections: lifting from the roots before moving onto the mid-shaft and ends for maximum volume and control."
This lightweight spray is a bit of a hairstylist secret—it's always in backstage kits thanks to the way it locks in volume without any hint of residue or stiffness. It's heat-activated so apply it to your hair before you blow-dry.
Although side partings have recently come under fire from Gen Z with TikTok declaring them over, I've always been partial to a parting switch-up and hair experts think this styling trick is a bit of a power move when it comes to making thin hair look fuller.
"[Drying your hair] is also a good time to play around with the parting," says Reed. "Avoid a middle parting to help hair look thicker and fuller. Once hair is blow-dried, I love to use a texture spray."