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Celebrity Colorists: These 10 At-Home Hair Colors Make Your Hair Look Thicker Instantly

Everything you need to know to get the best color for you at-home. Save time and money!

By the time we hit 50, many of us have dealt with some degree of thinning hair. Whether it’s noticing excessive shedding, discovering a widening part or spotting sparse spots along the hairline and temples, thinning hair can be a real confidence sapper. Luckily, reversing the thinning is as easy as giving yourself a hair color refresh. Here, top colorists reveal the best hair color options for thin hair, the inexpensive techniques to achieving them at home and the secrets to prolonging the results so your locks look thicker and you feel more confident and beautiful. Read on for the top 10 picks.

1. Best hair color for thin hair: Crème brûlée

LOS ANGELES, CA. January 06, 2019: Nancy O'Dell at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Nancy O’DellFeatureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

The layers of color created by a darker blond base topped with various-sized bright blond highlights trick the eye into seeing a more “solid” mane, says Alexis Van Brandenburg, a colorist at Bangz Salon in Montclair, New Jersey. Even better? When placed strategically around the face, the highlights reflect onto skin for a wrinkle-blurring glow.

To get the color:

Paint the bleach from a hair-painting kit like Clairol Nice’n Easy Balayage for Blondes (Buy from CVS, $14.79) onto two 2 inch sections of hair on each side of the face from roots to ends. Then paint remaining bleach onto various half-inch sections of hair throughout the head.

To prolong the color:

Use a purple conditioner like amika Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Conditioner (Buy from Sephora, $28) once a week to neutralize brass tones so blond stays bright.

2. Iced mocha

Lisa Rinna, Iced mocha hair
Lisa Rinna

“Perfect for a shorter cut, caramel-kissed streaks pop against a deep brunette base, giving hair mega movement so it appears super full and lush,” says colorist Rick Wellman, who has worked with Tina Fey and Brooke Shields. And the sheen created by the highlights leaves strands looking extra healthy and lustrous.

To get the color:

Look for a highlighting kit that comes with bleach and toner like Madison Reed Light Works Balayage Highlighting Kit in Palmi (Buy from Ulta, $45). Follow box instructions to apply the bleach, then follow up with toner to ensure highlights look blended and natural.

To prolong the color:

Apply a clear glaze like L’Oréal Paris Le Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss in Clear, (Buy from Walmart, $14.24) to hair twice a month. The glaze coats strands with colorless, shine-inducing molecules that sharpen pigments so the multi-tonal color retains its shine and dimension.

Related: How Lisa Rinna’s Hair Cut Changed Her Life: And How You Can Get the Look

3.Best hair color for thin hair: Strawberry blond

Nicole Kidman, strawberry blond
Nicole KidmanJason Mendez /Getty Images

The soft pink, golden and orange pigments in a strawberry-blond shade mimics the hair-thickening appearance of highlights (without the work it takes to apply them!) and gives strands a healthy sheen, says Van Brandenburg. What’s more, the vibrant hue brings out the natural rosy tones in fair skin for a lit-from-within glow.

To get the color:

Mix equal amounts of both a golden blond dye and a rose gold blond dye like Better Natured Hair Color in #8G Golden Blonde (Buy from Better Natured, $25) and #8NRG Natural Rose Gold Blonde (Buy from Better Natured, $25), to achieve the most natural-looking strawberry blond. Bonus? These dyes contain hair-hydrating and nourishing coconut oil to reverse brittleness. 

To prolong the color:

Red hair dyes are notorious for fast fading, but this trick (which Nicole Kidman raved about!) kicks up color: Before bed, douse hair with 12 cup of 100 percent natural cranberry juice and cover with a shower cap; rinse in the morning. The fruit’s anthocyanins deposit rich red pigments to revive hair’s color. Repeat twice a week.

Related: Natural Hair Rinse Recipes: The DIY Remedy Study-Proven To Reverse Thinning

4. Buttered toffee

Queen Latifah
Queen LatifahJoe Seer/Shutterstock

A multi-tonal brunette shade optically expands hair since the darker shade adds depth and the lighter shade creates visual texture, says Tom Smith, global creative director for evo hair care. The result? Thicker-looking locks. Plus, placing highlights throughout the head draws attention away from a thinning hairline or temples.

To get the color:

Look for a two-in-one kit that comes with a base color dye and bleach for highlights like L’Oréal Paris Couleur Experte in #6.1 French Eclair (Buy from Walmart, $11.03). First, apply the base color all over and let process. Then apply the bleach onto half-inch sections of hair starting one inch away from the roots and skipping half-inch in between until the whole head is covered; let process as needed. This will prevent the need for frequent touch-ups so you can go six months without re-highlighting hair.

To prolong the color:

To keep highlights sparkling and hair from becoming straw-like, use an argan oil deep conditioner like Hask Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner Packette (Buy from Ulta, $2.99) once a week. The oil hydrates hair and repairs bleach-caused damage.

5. Best hair color for thin hair: Salt and pepper

Andie Macdowell, salt and pepper hair
Andie MacDowellStephane Cardinale – Corbis/ Getty Images

“The mix of salt-and-pepper strands’ cool-toned gray and warm-toned brunette creates a shadow effect that ‘thickens’ hair from every angle,” says Wellman. And the intentional combination keeps incoming gray roots from looking undone and makes the silvered strands look modern, not matronly.

To get the color:

Once grays have grown in at least an inch, paint a permanent dye that’s close to your natural, non-gray hue (tip: look to your eyebrows as a guide) onto half-inch sections of hair throughout the crown, similar to how you would apply highlights. Adding the darker color back into the crown area (where emerging grays tend to be concentrated) helps unify the two colors and camouflage the harsh line of demarcation.

To prolong the color:

Since gray hair lacks pigment, it easily absorbs impurities from product buildup, pollutants, and shower water. To keep the color bright and fresh, try a vitamin C– infused treatment like dpHUE Brightening Powder (Buy from dpHue, $32) once a week. It easily removes any color-changing compounds.

6. Golden honey

Kelly Ripa, golden blonde hair
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

The clever contouring effect of shimmering golden blond locks against a darker root color adds dimension, says Smith. Bonus: It makes coloring the roots once they grow out or concealing incoming grays a cinch.

Related: For Quick Coverage of Grays + Fast Highlights, Stylists Are Turning To Hair Makeup

To get the color:

First, apply a medium golden-blond dye like AGEbeautiful Permanent Liqui-Creme Hair Color in # 8G Medium Golden Blonde (Buy from Sally Beauty Supply, $10.99) all over hair and let process. Next, rather than waste an entire box of color, look for a root touch-up kit in a hue two shades darker than the rest of hair — like Clairol Permanent Root Touch-Up in #6.5G Lightest Golden Brown (Buy from Amazon, $8.99) — and apply the formula to roots in one-inch sections. Then, brush it through with a wide tooth comb to blend the two shades.

To prolong the color:

Twice a month, apply a color-depositing mask like Wella Professionals Color Fresh Mask in Golden Gloss (Buy from Ulta, $26.50). This will help hair maintain its warmth and vibrancy.

7. Best hair color for thin hair: Deep espresso

Eva Longoria with espresso hair
Eva LongoriaAldara Zarraoa/ Getty Images

The depth and weight of a one-dimensional, dark brunette hue visually plumps strands all over, says colorist Michael Canalé, who has worked with Jennifer Aniston and Penélope Cruz. The deeper color also “fills in” areas like a wide part or sparse spots.

To get the color:

Opt for a dye that’s infused with keratin and amino acids like Revlon ColorSilk Beautiful Color Hair Color in #27 Deep Rich Brown (Buy from Walmart, $7). These nutrients help nourish strands and keep a deeper color from looking drab or inky. Once the dye has been applied all over, brush through with a comb to evenly distribute; let process according to box instructions.

To prolong the color:

To ensure deep brunette tresses remain dazzling? Treat them with a coffee rinse. Simply pour 2 cups of brewed, then cooled, coffee all over damp hair and let sit 10 minutes before rinsing; repeat twice a month. Coffee’s tannins (which give the brew its deep color) lightly “stain” hair and any incoming grays, restoring richness back to a darker mane.

8. Icy platinum

Maye Musk with platinum hair
Maye MuskTaylor Hill/Getty

An icy, platinum silver is the perfect way to embrace your grays. The secret to ensuring they appear polished and shiny? Adding in babylights, fine streaks that mimic the way a child’s hair lightens in the sun, says colorist Jeremy Tardo, who’s worked with Helen Hunt and Natalie Maines. “These subtle highlights instantly brighten the silver hue, and since they’re almost undetectable, there’s no harsh line when hair begins to grow.”

To get the color:

Paint the bleach from a highlighting kit, like Clairol Frost & Tip (Buy from Walmart, $9.47) onto the fine side of an all-purpose comb, then brush onto hair around the face from roots to ends. Let process for 25 minutes, then rinse. Next, to cancel out any yellowing or discoloration in the rest of hair, apply a blue-based toner, like AGEbeautiful Ultra Bond Express Toner in Silver Moonlight (Buy from Sally Beauty, $10.39) all over damp hair. Let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse.

To prolong the color:

Use a purple shampoo to tone locks when you notice them getting brassy or discolored. Try L’Oreal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $8.49); massage into hair, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse.

9. Best hair color for thin hair: Red, red wine

Julianne Moore with auburn hair
Julianne Moore

The richness of an auburn hue visually plumps strands for a more solid-looking mane, says celebrity colorist Nikki Lee, who has worked with Eva Longoria and Kate Hudson. Plus, the beautiful bounce of “S” waves adds oomph to the more one-dimensional color.

To get the color:

Apply a reddish brown dye Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Scarlett Ronze (Buy from CVS, $11.29) from roots to ends, then brush through with a wide-tooth comb to evenly saturate hair. Let process for 25 minutes, then rinse.

To prolong the color:

Red dyes are made up of larger molecules that can easily slip out of the hair shaft while shampooing, so experts suggest using a red-tinted shampoo like Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo (Buy from Ulta, $23). This method ensures color stays vibrant with each wash. Tip: Use lukewarm water when rinsing to prevent pigment from fading, since hot water can further strip dye.

Related: TikTok Loves This Cherry Cola Hair Trend — Celeb Stylists On Why You’ll Want to Try It

10. Auburn chestnut

Kerry Washington with auburn brunette hair
Kerry WashingtonJohn Shearer/Getty

“A dark brown hue with red undertones has a heaviness that optically expands hair so it appears more lush,” says Wellman. And weaving in some soft caramel-kissed streaks creates added depth and dimension to strands. What’s more, the movement from oversize waves helps hair appear voluminous from every angle. 

To get the color:

Apply a reddish-brown base, like Schwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color in Dark Chocolate (Buy from Amazon, $11.37) all over, then let sit for 30 minutes; rinse and blow-dry. Next, use a warm-toned lightening kit, like Madison Reed Highlighting Kit in Ardenza Warm Caramel (Buy from Madison Reed, $36) — this ensures streaks blend in best with a warmer base color — and apply to a few random 1 inch sections of hair from mid-lengths to ends. Let process for 30 minutes; rinse.

To prolong the color

To keep hair from turning too red, and keep its brunette shade with just a hint of red, tone it with a hair mask, like Matrix Dark Envy Toning Hair Mask For Red Undertones in Dark Brown or Black Hair (Buy from Amazon, $26). Use 2x a week for best results.

Click through for more on making the most of thin hair:

10 Easy Braids for Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Thicker Instantly

The 10 Best Haircuts For Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Fuller from Every Angle

Natural Hair Rinse Recipes: The DIY Remedy Study-Proven To Reverse Thinning + Up Shine

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