Hair styling and care tips for thicker hair
One of the first ways to approach hair fullness is to consider what type of hair you have. While no two people will have entirely the same solution to achieve the look of thick hair, this section is divided into six different hair categories—and each person may fall into more than one camp: short, long, curly, coiled, straight, and thinning.
Here are some styling and care tips for achieving thick hair for each hair type, from DiGiovanni. And don’t forget, unless otherwise specified, make sure your shampoo and conditioner prioritize hair-thickening and body-building ingredients, like honey, soy proteins, and biotin, as well as fortifying and reparative ones, like collagen, hyaluronic acid, and silk proteins. (Add to that a roster of scalp-friendly ingredients, which we’ll address in the next section.)
On styling tips for thicker/fuller hair by hair type: Here are DiGiovanni’s tips to achieve fuller, thicker hair.
1. Short hair
DiGiovanni suggests using a texturizing powder, like dry shampoo, if your hair is short. “A few taps of powder at the root when dry will soak up excess oils to create more volume and bring out the texture of a shorter layered cut, while still looking natural,” she says. However, if your style requires higher hold, then she suggests opting for flexible fiber paste. “This will create room between hair strands creating a thicker looking appearance and protect from brittleness.”
2. Long hair
DiGIovanni says that, with long hair, it’s important to consider exactly how long that hair has been sprouting from your scalp—which means it’s been through a lot of seasons, washes, and wear. “I always recommend a rejuvenating regimen,” she says. “Washes and rinses with anti-aging, antioxidant-rich ingredients are a great way to help restore luster, shine and fullness for more youthful looking hair. A weightless, nutrient-rich hair oil, applied to wet strands before styling products, will help protect hair from environmental irritants, while providing extra conditioning benefits for aging hair.”
3. Curly hair
Hydrated curls are happy curls, but thinning strands need even more nourishment than usual. “For thin curly hair, products rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids will help give the appearance of thickness, while also providing strengthening benefits,” DiGiovanni says. “Looser curl patterns may need more plumping, so look for a weightless, defining curl cream that will enhance elasticity for thicker looking curls. Spiral curls may need more smoothing so look for moisture-rich products and oil-free leave-in treatments to maintain hydration.”
4. Coiled hair
With coils, it’s all about balancing moisture and humidity, says DiGiovanni. “You want to seal in moisture and keep humidity out. For a natural style, resin- or gel-based products are great to twist and mold curls while keeping natural frizz at bay. Coiled hair strands tend to be thinner and more fragile, so I always recommend nutrient rich treatment regimens that will help improve elasticity and strength.” (Consider curl creams and leave-in conditioners alike.)
5. Straight hair
Again, shorter styles benefit from texture powder, while longer straight hair styles can use that or a root spray. The washing and conditioning regimen should prioritize antioxidants and any protein-rich ingredients to help reinforce fullness throughout the strand, no matter the length. Longer styles might also benefit from back brushing, blow drying upside down, or changing your hair part, in order to give hair an additional lift.
6. Thin/Thinning hair
“Thickening sprays that are blow dried into the hair are great to boost body and fullness while fortifying and strengthening the root,” says DiGiovanni. “And they won’t weigh hair down. Products that contain tiny fiber-like particles that adhere to the shaft can also make hair appear fuller, hold volume, and will shampoo out.”
On brushing, blow drying, and hot tools: Here are Ruggeri’s tips for preventing damaged strands and maximizing volume and density while styling any type of hair.
“When brushing hair, you should always start from the bottom and work your way up from there. If you were to start from the very top of your head, too close to the root, you could tear the hair out from the root,” he says.
2. Blow drying
“Always use a nozzle when blowing out your hair, that way you can keep the air going down the hair shaft creating a silky mane,” says Ruggeri. “If you blow in the opposite direction or without a nozzle you will be blowing against the cuticle creating a dry, frizzy appearance, and will ultimately do more harm than good.”
3. Hot tools
“These can be a great way to promote the appearance of thicker, bouncier hair,” Ruggeri adds. “However, when used incorrectly, these tools can create an incredible amount of damage. Note that once hair is damaged it can often be permanently so.”
Scalp tips for thicker hair
Scalp care is, quite literally, the root of hair care. It’s where your hair grows, so the scalp’s health is always an indication of the hair’s health (or vice versa). In terms of getting thicker hair to sprout from your scalp and maintaining the hairs you already have, here are some tips, with insight from DiGiovanni and Ruggeri.
- Use scalp-dedicated products: “Scalp detoxifiers and cleansers will exfoliate the skin and help rid the follicles of impurities, creating a healthy foundation for new growth and helping fight hair loss,” DiGiovanni says. One such product would be a pre-shampoo scalp mask.
- Prioritize scalp-nourishing ingredients: The ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner should also keep your scalp top of mind. Look for soothers like CBD powder and licorice extract, balancers like prebiotics, and scalp cleansers like shikakai extract.
- Wash often enough: While many of us devalue shampooing, since it may strip hair of its natural moisture levels, it is possible to wash more with a more hydrating shampoo, for necessary routine scalp cleansing, Ruggeri notes. This removes excess sebum from the scalp, which allows your follicles to grow thicker, fuller hairs.
Supplement the scalp: As the next section outlines, you can also improve hair and scalp health from the inside out. A proper supplement regimen will help create harmony and an optimal growth environment on the scalp*.
Supplementary tips for thicker hair
As odd as it sounds, your body is biased against your hair, Collyer says, which may result in your strands getting fewer nutrients than core bodily organs/functions. “Because hair follicles are non-essential to living, they usually are at the end of the line for getting the body’s nutrition when put in a mode of starvation or there are deficiencies in one’s diet.” In essence, this just means you’ve got to keep your body nourished outright, so that there are plenty of nutrients to go around.
Read more about Root Source, Prose’s scalp and hair supplements for stronger, thicker hair, as well as a healthy and balanced scalp*.
Prescription considerations for thicker hair
Men and women both experience hair loss, and for a variety of reasons. Beyond hair thinning and excessive shedding, men and women may experience hair loss that is due to an underlying medical condition and may require a specific drug prescription. If you don’t want to go the natural route with supplements you can speak to your dermatologist about a prescription. The way potential prescriptive solutions are approached with a dermatologist can differ from one sex to the other. The two most common solutions are minoxidil (the generic for Rogaine), used by both men and women, and finasteride (the generic for Propecia), used by men.
Minoxidil increases blood flow to the hair follicles, and thus nutrient delivery increases, too. This fortifies hairs and makes them thicker individually, while also giving some hairs a second chance at growth, if they’ve recently withered. “When Rogaine did their initial studies on topical minoxidil, 2% for women and 5% for men was approved,” Collyer says of the early difference in strength between the two. “As it is now available over the counter, nearly all dermatologists recommend the 5% for both men and women, including myself. It works better in both sexes. There are even higher formulations of minoxidil, usually considered a prescription. It is somewhat cumbersome to use, comes in different formulations and must be used twice daily.” The easiest form of it is administered with an eye dropper/pipette, and dropped throughout the scalp before styling or before bed. It can be gently massaged in to avoid any running or uneven distribution.
As for finasteride, Collyer cites the traditional 1 mg tablet that many men consider taking to slow the progression of hair loss, particularly in terms of recession. “It’s a medication that blocks the end conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and is FDA approved for androgenetic alopecia in men. There are potential side effects, including a decrease in libido. It is a prescription and, in some cases, is even used for women with hair loss.”
“In all cases of hair loss, seeing a board-certified dermatologist should be a person’s first step,” he says. Only then will you know the best solution for your specific case. However, it’s worth noting that any hair lost to recession will not grow back, while any lost to general thinning and androgenetic alopecia may be salvageable within the first couple years of its thinning or loss.
As you can see, the problem of how to make hair thicker does not come with a one size fits all solution. You’ll need to consider numerous factors like your hair type, styling habits, diet, and more. Once you nail down your exact parameters you’ll be on the way to thicker hair in no time.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.