Thin hair may be low maintenance in some aspects (it requires little time to blow-dry and your salon appointments will be kept short), but it’s notoriously one of the most difficult hair types to style. Your main goal is probably all about adding lift, volume, and movement in order to create the illusion of thicker hair, but it takes more than a little effort to maintain shape and prevent roots from falling flat.
Of course, as with any hair type, getting the right haircut for thin hair sets the best foundation for finding a foolproof hairstyle. So what kinds of cuts should thin hair types request from the hairdresser? "Shorter styles adding textured layers for lots of movement can help the hair to look thicker and give body,” advises hairstylist and content creator Holly Carr. “And mid-length styles with soft face shaping are great for adding soft waves and still being able to put up. If you have long hair then Carr recommends keeping the weight in the ends. “Blunt cuts can help to keep the ends looking thicker and healthier for longer.”
When it comes to styling, Carr recommends creating waves or curls to add fullness. “You can curl the hair underneath or bring just a couple of pieces around the ears forwards toward the face,” she says. “This creates the illusion of thicker hair around the neck and face.” And for those who prefer up-dos? “Textured hair ups are also great,” she adds. “Try lifting the hair at the crown for volume and at the sides for width while any loose pieces add detail.”
So if you thought that having thin hair meant you didn’t have options, think again. With the right styling techniques and products, you’ll have hair that appears thick and voluminous in no time. Here are some of our favourite low maintenance hairstyles for thin hair.
1. Tucked Back Waves
By tucking hair behind her ears, model Karlie Kloss employs the subtle trick of keeping hair in one place to make it appear thicker.
2. Flicky Blowdry
The '90s style flicky blowdry is an effortless way to volumise thin hair. Use a round brush or your straighteners to shape hair inwards.
3. Half-Up Half-Down
Rihanna's hair looks extra voluminous when styled half-up half-down. Add a volumising mist (or in a pinch, dry shampoo) to the lengths for an extra volume boost.
4. Alternated Curls
Carr recommends curling hair in alternate directions to add volume and shape through the lengths of thin hair. It's a technique that Victoria Beckham gets right every single time.
5. Voluminous Waves
Adding volume to the roots (with some subtle backcombing) and to the ends (wide barrel tongs work best) makes hair look thicker by creating height and fullness.
6. Soft Waves
Soft, mismatched waves are a great way to add movement and dimension. Hide thin ends by curling hair from the bottom up.
7. Fluffy Fringe
Don't be afraid to experiment with a fringe even if you have thin hair. A soft, fluffy effect works best.
8. Structured Bob
Shaping hair into sculpted waves both helps to lift and emphasise the angles of your face and creates the appearance of lifted, more buoyant hair.
9. Wavy Chignon
Thin hair in an up-do doesn't have to look flat - case in point above. Curl or wave your hair before styling the up-do in order to create texture from the roots.
10. Layered Fringe
While Carr advises against a super layered look (this will thin hair out even further), a few short face-framing layers from the fringe is a great way to add shape to thin hair.
11. Bubble Ponytail
The on-trend bubble ponytail is a fun option for thin hair since it adds shape and structure throughout the lengths.
12. Angled Cut
An angled cut with longer strands towards the front adds movement and creates the illusion of more hair. Style with loose curls, like Keira Knightley, to add additional oomph.
13. Ribbon Up-Do
Not only does a ribbon distract from thin hair by adding additional movement to the lengths of your ponytail, but it's also incredibly on trend.
14. Sleek Low Bun
Looking for a low maintenance style? Sometimes you just can't beat a super sleek low bun. It may not add tons of volume, but it is super easy to recreate.
15. Curly Top-Knot
This take on a top-knot is a great option for thin curly hair as it requires a slicked-back style from the roots and focuses all the attention in one place.
16. Long Bob
Curling hair inwards and underneath is a foolproof hack for disguising thin, straggly ends.
17. Super High Ponytail
Styling hair into a super high ponytail not only creates height but allows lengths to fall with volume. Combine with curls for further depth and fullness.
18. Side Part
The combination of a side part and soft, textured waves is what makes Cameron Diaz's style so perfect. Add a little mousse to the roots before blowdrying, and be sure to spritz a texture spray through your lengths to prevent hair from falling flat during the day.
19. Wavy Ends
Straight hair doesn't need to lack volume or shape. A little lift at the roots paired with waved out ends (create them with your straighteners) makes the overall effect seem fuller.
20. Half Up-Do With Piecey Waves
Combine loose, piecey waves with a half-up half-down style, and face framing strands and you'll have thicker, fuller-looking hair in less than five minutes.
21. Bouffant Roots With Extreme Side-Part
Flipping hair into an extreme side-part is the oldest trick in the book for adding instant volume. To maintain lift, backcomb roots before flipping, then lightly brush over the top for a sleek finish.
22. Low Bun With Scrunchie
Take a cue from Rachel Nguyen and twist a scrunchie into your bun to make it look thicker. Not to mention, it requires minimal effort.
23. Messy Up-Do
Proving that a messy up-do will literally never go out of fashion, Gigi Hadid's 'off-duty model' hairstyle ticks all of the boxes. Fluffy ends? Check. Face-framing strands? Check. Volume at roots? Check.
24. Bouffant Ponytail
Zendaya's bouffant ponytail is a lesson in disguising thin hair. Combining a deep side-part with lifted roots and curly lengths, it's classic and modern all at once.
25. Straight and Sleek
Sometimes you've just got to embrace thin hair (especially when you're pressed for time). A super sleek, straight style with lift at the roots (spray in a little dry shampoo and you're good to go) is totally foolproof.
26. Twisted Up-Do
If your thin hair doesn't quite make it into a satisfying bun or ponytail, one way to hide thin ends is to twist them into an elegant up-do. All you'll need is bobby pins. Gently tease out a few strands from the roots to add extra texture.
27. Sculpted Long Bob
Opting for a long, sculpted bob with shorter layers on top and longer layers underneath adds instant body and dimension. It's also a great way to show off your natural curls.
28. Loose Waves
Classic loose waves are so simple but they work every time. Focus on adding volume to the roots and the ends to create a voluminous profile. The best part is that your fine hair will naturally add movement and won't weigh curls down.
29. Face-Framing Up-Do
Supermodel Jourdan Dunn adds volume to the roots with a messy up-do but keeps it glam with softly sculpted face-framing strands. A perfect day-to-night style.
30. Claw Clip Up-Do
Instagram's favourite hair accessory is not only super practical when you need a quick and easy up-do, but also helps to disguise thin hair. Plus, the thinner your hair is, the more like the clip is to stay in place. Win, win.
31. Long Glamour Waves
Long, thin hair gets an extra volume boost when styled into deep glamour waves, a style which actress Blake Lively wears so well. The deep centre-part and extra sculpting around the face adds major drama.
32. Blunt Bob
A blunt bob may require regular upkeep, but it does help to prevent wispy ends, a tell-tale sign of thin hair. Lucy Boynton styles hers with loose alternated waves for added volume.
33. Beachy Waves
Beachy waves are a classic way to add volume and texture to long thin hair since they create the appearance of movement. If your hair doesn't naturally hold a curl, a salt spray will give a welcome helping hand.
34. Choppy Bob
Loose waves are a hairstylist's favourite trick for adding volume. By creating body and movement they prevent hair from falling flat around the face.
35. Micro-Bob With Fringe
The shorter the length, the less weight there is to weigh hair down, so the good thing about fine hair is you can keep your bob tousled and fluffy a la Taylor LaShae.
36. Curly Ponytail
One way to avoid the dreaded thin ponytail? Curl the lengths of your hair once it's up to elevate your ponytail with extra body. To make sure it lasts, add further volume and texture with a thickening spray.
37. Side-Part Up-Do
If you're looking for a party or wedding appropriate style, show your hairstylist Gemma Chan's chic side-part up-do. Notice how she combines a side part with face-framing strands, and has teased extra volume into the roots.
The best products for styling thin hair:
According to Carr, prepping thin hair before styling is essential. “You can add volume via thickening products to damp hair,” she says. “Most will be heat activated so working the product in while you’re drying is important. Use your hands or a brush to really lift the hair to add volume.”
Product buildup, scalp oils, and dead or dry skin buildup can all contribute to weighing down hair, causing it to appear even flatter than it naturally is. To keep lift and movement in your roots, use a scalp scrub like this one to keep on top of unwanted congestion.