Thinning hair doesn't have to look flat or wimpy. Use these expert tips and product recommendations to quickly fake fuller strands.

By Melanie Rud
August 02, 2019
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No matter whether your hair has always been fine or you’ve only recently noticed unwanted thinning, if you’re anything like us, a full head of luscious, voluminous locks is always the ultimate goal. And sure, you could spend tons of time futzing around with a complicated styling routine and a bathroom cabinet full of products. But who has time for that? We certainly don’t. Instead, try these six easy hair hacks, guaranteed to make thin hair look thicker, fast.  

Image courtesy of Getty.

1. Choose Conditioner Carefully (and Use It First)

Conditioner is an essential shower step for adding moisture to and smoothing your fine hair, but the ingredients that do all of those things tend to be heavy and can weigh down your strands. But that doesn’t mean you should skip conditioner entirely; just opt for volumizing formulas, advises New York City hairstylist Kali Ferrara. “They’re specially made to work with limp hair and build the ultimate amount of body into each strand,” she says. (On the flip side, steer clear of products labeled as reparative or moisturizing, as these tend to be super rich and too heavy for thin hair.) For maximum results, pair your volumizing conditioner with a volumizing shampoo, like the Better Not Younger Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner ($26 each, Better-Not Younger). And, wait for it, you can even condition before shampooing. Counterintuitive, yes, but following this unorthodox protocol ensures that any of the thicker conditioning ingredients get completely washed out, leaving your mane extra full and bouncy.

Related: Here's Why Experts Say You Should Switch to a Sulfate-Free Shampoo

2. Change Your Part

This is an especially good trick if you’ve been wearing your part the same for years, since it tends to get a bit wider and more sparse over time, explains MariLynne Cosmillo, Director of Education for Cherry Blow Dry Bar. “Flip your part to the other side and not only will you see that the new part line looks denser, but simply going against the hair’s natural fall will provide instant volume and fullness on top,” she says. Best of all? It takes—literally—a second. 

3. Cover Your Roots

If your hair is thinning, parts of your scalp are probably visible. This only makes thin hair look even thinner, particularly if you’re a brunette, notes Ferrara. Spritz on a temporary root concealer, like the L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray ($7.49, Target). “This provides a soft, seamless color to the scalp and roots, creating the appearance of thicker hair and covering up pesky grays, too,” says Cosmillo. Yes, please.

4. Perfect Your Blowout

More is not better when it comes to hot tools. “While curling irons and straighteners help smooth out the hair, if you want your style to look fuller, it’s best to use only a blow-dryer,” advises Cosmillo. Prep damp hair first, working an apricot-size amount of mousse through not only the roots, but also the lengths of your hair, ensuring that you get extra volume throughout. One to try: Suave Max Hold Volumizing Mousse ($3, Walmart). Then section your hair and use a round-brush, lifting the hair straight up and concentrating the heat at the roots and underside of each piece—this is the best way to both create volume and hold that fullness for longer, notes Cosmillo.

Related: 'Grombre' Is the Empowering Hair Color We Can't Get Enough of

5. Fake Thicker Hair with Extensions

Extensions aren’t just for adding length. Temporary clip-ins are an excellent solution for instant gratification and are easy to work into any style, points out Cosmillo, who likes the selection from Luxy Hair. Simply section your hair into a few pieces and clip in an extension at the root of each one. This is an especially good trick for making styles such as ponytails, braids, and updos appear thick and full.

6. Sleep with Your Hair Up

Believe it, you can wake up to more voluminous hair. Pre-bedtime, wash and dry your hair, then twist it up into a high bun at the crown of your head. The key: Keep it loose and use a metal-free hair tie (or better yet, a soft fabric scrunchie) to avoid indents and creasing. Keeping your roots in this lifted position all night creates mega-volume; all you have to do the next morning is take down your bun, and thin hair will look thicker, naturally.

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