The Best Styles for Thin Hair

Beauty/Skincare, Healthy Living
on August 2, 2012

Don’t let thin strands get you down. Check out these five hot-to-trot cuts and styles for thin hair from Nicholas Penna, Jr., owner and lead stylist of SalonCapri near Boston (

The Look: Stacked Bob

This short style for thin hair features longer hair in the front that gradually gets shorter as it goes to the back of your head, creating an angle toward the face to emphasize your great eyes, nose and lips. The many layers underneath fashion a rounded profile that makes thin hair appear thicker. To keep this look fresh and sharp, style your hair so it frames your face, like this:

  1. Prep your damp hair with a volumizing lotion to give it the maximum body. (Nick recommends Shu Uemura Tasai Versatile Styling Cream.)
  2. First blow-dry the lower layers at the back of your head. This will create a smooth base out of the shorter hair at the nape of the neck for the top hair to sit nicely on.
  3. While drying, use a medium-sized brush with strong bristles to hold tightly onto the hair. 
  4. Once the back section is dry, then dry all of the hair on the sides of your head, directing the nozzle and hair towards your face.
  5. Finish it off with a light hairspray to provide hold and shine.

The Look: Teased Half Up-do

Teasing thin hair is the easiest way to add volume without doing anything drastic. By teasing the top of the head into a half ponytail, it creates the illusion of more hair. Adding a bit of wave to the bottom section will set off the top poof perfectly and make it look fuller. This half-up, half-down style also happens to be perfect for any occasion. Here’s how to do it:

  1. When blow-drying your hair, occasionally flip your head over and dry it upside down. This will add volume to the style.
  2. If your hair is naturally straight, use a thick iron to curl the ends to add waves and texture.
  3. To form the poof at the top, section off your hair at the top of your head and tease it at the crown, using your favorite hairspray and a fine-tooth comb. Repeat this until your hair reaches your desired fullness.
  4. Gently comb the front pieces of your hair above each ear over the top of the teased mound and use a clip to secure it together at the back of your head.
  5. Spritz with a lightweight hairspray to ensure a great hold all day. Be sure to avoid using too much, though, as it can weigh down thin hair.

The Look: Side-Swept Bangs

Long, side-swept bangs create one of the best styles for thin hair. They give the impression of fuller strands and emphasize your eyes, making them larger and more noticeable. Adding a few layers to the hair surrounding the bangs will avoid the long-face appearance that comes with a one-length style. Here’s how to style the cut:

  1. Part your damp hair to separate the side bangs.
  2. Blow-dry your hair from the top to bottom, starting from the back and working your way around the sides.
  3. Apply a protective spray to prevent heat damage before styling.
  4. You can either score this style with a round brush and blow dryer or use a flatiron. If you opt for the flatiron, start at the back of the head, curving the iron to make strands bend inward towards your neck.
  5. While straightening your bangs, curve the iron in the opposite direction—away from the head—so that it creates a side-swept look (see Jessica’s photo) that works so well for thin hair.

The Look: Curls with Accessories

Curling is the ultimate go-to in order to keep thinning hair from looking lifeless and bring all-out volume. Adding a simple accessory, like a headband, will emphasize the body of the curls and create instant glamour. Here’s what to do:

  1. To start this look off, give your hair a great, smooth blow-dry using a paddle brush. You want your hair to be frizz-free in order to create a perfect canvas for this style.
  2. After applying a heat-protectant spray, use a curling iron and start at the back of your head, curling one- to two-inch pieces of your hair around the iron. Hold each piece no longer than 15 seconds, because thin hair will get damaged faster with the heat.
  3. If the curls are not holding, try spraying each piece with a small spritz of hairspray before clamping down with the iron. (Nick recommends L’Oreal Professionals Infinium 3 Strong Hold Working Spray.) If this doesn’t help, wear medium-size sponge curlers overnight—they will form hair into flowing curls that last all-day long!
  4. Once your curls are in place, flip your head over and gently shake them out to loosen them up and provide extra volume.
  5. Pull together all your curls at the nape of your neck and bind them together in a ponytail.
  6. Now add a simple headband a couple inches back from your forehead, and this look is complete with just a bit of hairspray!

The Look: Feminine Curls

This simple style for thin hair keeps it from looking flat and dreary. Modest curls with a variety of layers create a three-dimensional appeal. Adding different layers gives your fine hair more opportunities to be scrunched and played with, making your hair look fun and full. Here’s how to pull it off:

  1. Start by distributing a volumizing product evenly through damp hair to build body with lasting hold and natural shine.
  2. Blow-dry your hair, focusing the heat towards the roots to create volume.
  3. Part your hair straight down the middle with a fine-tooth comb.
  4. Section it off into its layers and curl pieces from the bottom layers to the top.
  5. Curl one- to two-inch pieces with a hot curling iron of medium or large diameter, rotating it towards the head so that the curls turn inward.
  6. Use your fingers to separate the curls so they appear effortless and less uniform.
  7. To finalize this look, use a weightless hairspray to define and hold your curls together.

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