Seven Safe, Volume-Boosting Looks for Thinning Hair
These hairstyles are expert approved because they won't damage your delicate strands.
If you are currently in the throes of hair loss—or regularly experience periods of shedding—knowing which cut to ask for when you sit in your stylist's chair can feel challenging. Even more overwhelming? Deciding how to style your own strands at home. Ultimately, though, finding a look that adds volume, makes you feel confident, and, most importantly, is safe for your delicate strands is key. To help you on your way, we tapped several leading professionals for recommendations on both cuts and at-home styles. Ahead, seven safe, expert-approved looks for those with thinning hair.
Typically, curls require the use of hot tools, "but when your hair is thinning, it's best to avoid them as much as possible. They contribute to breakage and make thinning even worse," explains Chelsea Scott, a hair care expert and the founder of TRUHAIR. This doesn't mean that thin hair can't experience the fullness and body that heat-made beach waves provide; you certainly don't need a curling iron to achieve the look. Instead, "apply velcro rollers while hair is damp and let your hair fully dry with them in. Once you take them out, you have volume without the damage," Scott notes.
When arranged in a safe manner, a classic ponytail is a solid option for women with thinning strands. "It allows the hair to be loosely pulled back to cover any thinning spots, while the teased pony makes it look even thicker," explains Grace Forsyth, director of brand management at invisibobble. The key to a safe style, however, is to avoid pulling hair too tightly against your scalp (go for a loose look!) and to use the proper hair tie. Forsyth recommends The invisibobble ORIGINAL ($3.99 for three, bedbathandbeyond.com), which alleviates pain and eliminates the possibility of breakage.
Shorter strands tend to be stronger (and more resistant to gravity) than longer ones, so a choppy pixie cut can be a sleek, smart option for women experiencing hair loss. "The added layers build texture and volume in the hair and take the focus away from thinning spots," notes Scott. Style your look with a light balm to keep this strands defined, without weighing them down.
Long and Layered
On the other hand, "longer styles that have a strong perimeter and few layers are great for thinning hair. They can make hair look thicker and stronger at the ends," says Gretchen Friese, a BosleyMD certified trichologist. Mindfully styling this cut at home starts in the shower: "Don't apply conditioner at the roots," advises Friese, adding that it is important to stay away from heavy oils. If you decide to use a little heat, apply a protectant and use your fingers—not a brush, which can further damage wet strands—to lift hair at the roots while you blow dry. "Then move to your ends," Friese says.
This style is chic for those with thinning strands, since "it hides any thinning patches—and creates the illusion of thicker hair—by gently pulling the strands across the head and having them fall neatly at the back in a thicker bunch," shares Forsyth. Again, a tentative, gentle approach is key. Secure the style with safe, metal-free pins or clips to keep established volume in place and to prevent tugging and further loss.
"Short styles like blunt bobs are good for thinning and fine hair because there is less weight. Therefore, you can get more volume, which gives the illusion of thicker hair," Friese notes. Ask your own stylist for a chin-length look with a side part—or even an asymmetrical bob, which draws attention downwards towards your ends, not your crown.
Bangs create the illusion of thicker hair since they essentially disguise the front half of your part. "A center part makes hair look thin because the strands fall to the side. Bangs create a dense focal point," explains Bradley Leake, a Los Angeles celebrity stylist, noting that blunt bangs work for curly, wavy, or straight textures. And if you want to create even more thickness around your crown? Consider using a clip-in from Hidden Crown, which offers a color matching service to ensure accuracy.