If it seems like with each birthday, you’ve noticed more hair in your brush and in your shower drain and less on your head, you’re not alone. A large number of women deal with some degree of thinning. And while there are many factors linked to hair loss, including stress, hormonal fluctuations and genetics, it’s easy to create the illusion of a lush and voluminous head of hair with a quick visit to the salon. Here, we gathered the best haircuts for thin hair and turned to celebrity hairstylist for the simple styling strategies guaranteed to help your tresses look thicker and healthier, and help you appear 10 years younger. Keep scrolling to see the stunning styles.
1. The fringed shag: Conceals a widening part
The movement and “bulk” of a heavily layered, shoulder-sweeping cut tricks the eye into seeing a mane that’s much thicker than it may be. Plus, says hairstylist Stephen Knoll, who’s worked with Cindy Crawford and Kathy Ireland, feathery fringe helps mask thinning along the part.
What to ask for: A shoulder-length shag with face-framing layers that taper from the temples down and full, wispy bangs that skim the eyebrows.
Styling tip: Apply a dollop of a volumizing mousse, like Nexxus Mousse+ Volumizing Foam (Buy from Amazon, $15.95), all over damp hair to give strands added grip. Next, blow-dry hair with a round brush until dry, then wrap various 2-inch sections of hair around a 1-inch curling iron and tousle with fingers. Set with hair spray. (Click through for more tips on how to style thinning hair.)
2. The sassy slant: Detracts from all over thinning
“The uneven shape of a slightly askew mid-length style draws attention to the ends of hair and away from any thinner spots throughout the head,” says hairstylist Carrie Butterworth, who has worked with Sigourney Weaver and Mena Suvari. And adding choppy texture to the ends of hair not only causes strands to appear more “solid” overall, but also offers a touch of youthful edge to the style. (Click through to learn how sandalwood essential oil can combat thinning hair.)
What to ask for: A midi cut that’s slightly shorter on one side with textured ends that are cut with a razor.
Styling tip: Wrap 1-inch sections of hair around the barrel of a 1-inch curling iron, leaving out ends (which is key for creating effortless beachy waves) and alternate the direction curls fall (one section toward the face and the other section away from the face). This “expands” strands while also making waves look more natural. Once all of the hair is curled, gently comb through with fingers. Set with hair spray.
3. The cheeky chop: ‘Bulks up’ fine hair
A bob with “tiered” layers provides added depth and dimension to finer strands by ensuring they won’t lie flat against the scalp. And an off-center part helps hair sweep over in a curtain-like way to conceal any sparseness along the hairline and temples. Adds Knoll, the softness of this cut offsets and disguises any aging woes like fine lines or jowls. (Click through for more layered hair for women over 50 that optically thicken hair.)
What to ask for: A below-the-chin bob with soft layers that graduate starting at the cheekbones and movement-creating point-cut ends.
Styling tip: Mist a volumizing spray, like Rahua Voluminous Spray (Buy from Dermstore, $34), all over damp hair to plump finer tresses. Next, blow dry while using a round brush on 2-inch sections of hair, gently lifting strands up and out at the roots to prop them off of the scalp. When nearing the ends with the brush, pull hair slightly inward to create flippy, hair-thickening texture. Set with hairspray.
4. The modern taper: Conceals a receding hairline
Not only does a pixie give facial features the spotlight, but one with a heavily layered, rounded silhouette “plumps” the entire head of hair, says Butterworth. And adding choppy, full fringe that brushes forward instantly covers up thinning temples and a receding hairline. What’s more, a crop that’s longer up top and tighter along the sides helps hair appear more dense overall. (Click through to see how bangs for receding hairline can help hair look thicker too.)
What to ask for: A pixie cut that’s short and stacked on the sides and back with long, textured layers on top and full, piecey bangs.
Styling tip: Apply a dime-size amount of a smoothing cream, like Stephen Knoll New York Smooth Finishing Treatment (Buy from Stephen Knoll New York, $24), all over damp hair to nix frizz. Next, blow-dry with a paddle brush, lifting slightly at the roots. Once dry, brush bangs into place, mist with hair spray, then tousle with fingers.
5. The shoulder sweep: Hides thinning at the temples
A cut with blended layers throughout and swings at the shoulders gives hair movement and creates the illusion of a thicker head of hair, says hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, who has worked with Brooke Shields and Anjelica Huston. And when accompanied by full bangs that blend seamlessly into layers, it provides added coverage near sparser areas at the temples. Even better? Fringe also instantly conceals deeper-set forehead furrows and makes beautiful, bright eyes a focal point. (Click through to see more bangs that help turn back the clock.)
What to ask for: A shoulder-length cut with wispy, eyebrow-skimming fringe that transitions into longer layers around the face.
Styling tip: Blow-dry damp hair with a round brush, pulling hair up at the roots and inward toward the ends to create voluminous movement. Once hair is dry, spritz strands all over with dry shampoo, like amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo (Buy from Sephora, $28). This will give locks some grip and texture while absorbing any oil or sweat that can weigh strands down.
6. The lovely “lob”: Creates thickening movement
The simple way to ensure a long bob (aka lob) looks beautifully buoyant rather than limp? Snipping in long layers and textured ends, says Saviano. The layers release the weight of hair so it moves more freely and pushes hair up and out for even more volume. Even better? The symmetry created with a middle part draws the eye vertically, “stretching” the face and neck so both appear longer and leaner.
What to ask for: A long bob that floats right above the shoulders with long, blended layers throughout and choppy, point-cut ends.
Styling tip: Part hair down the middle, then gently backcomb at the roots with a teasing brush, like Cricket Amped Up Teasing Brush (Buy from Ulta, $5.85) to lift hair off of the scalp. Next, loosely wrap 1-inch sections of hair around a 1.5-inch curling iron. Once all of hair is curled and cooled, gently tousle and comb with fingers. Set with hair spray.
7. The curly crop: Camouflages bald spots
“The beauty of a tousled crop with layers throughout is that it helps ‘fill in’ — and take attention away from — sparse spots,” says Knoll. Infusing the style with bouncy curls not only boosts the bald patch-masking benefits, but also gives hair mega movement for 360 degrees of volume.
What to ask for: An ear-length cut that’s longer on top and shorter on the sides with stacked layers and side bangs. (Click through for more pixie cuts for women over 60 that are flattering.)
Styling tip: Work a quarter-size amount of a curl-enhancing cream, like Not Your Mother’s
Curl Talk Defining Cream (Buy from Walmart, $7.74), through damp hair from roots to ends. Next, use a diffuser attachment and blow dry hair in 2-inch sections, gently “scrunching” from ends up to roots with your free hand at the same time. Repeat until all of hair has been dried and curled.
8. The classy coif: Builds body at the crown
A longer-on-top pixie infuses the shorter cut with mega volume. Not only does it help hair look fuller but by directing the eye upward, features like eyes and cheeks get a lift, counteracting the aging effects of gravity. Plus, says Rodney Cutler, a hairstylist who has worked with Rachael Ray and Emma Watson, a cut that’s longer on top and shorter on the sides helps give cropped style a softer appearance.
What to ask for: An ear-length crop with light, blended layers that’s longer through the top and shorter on the sides.
Styling tip: Wash hair with a thickening shampoo, like Eva NYC Lift Off Volume Shampoo (Buy from Sally Beauty, $12.99), to bulk up strands and lock in that fullness. Next, blow-dry damp hair while brushing it back with a paddle brush. Once dry, gently tease at the roots, then smooth up and over to one side. Set with hair spray. (Click through to learn how Nizoral shampoo for hair loss can thicken hair.)
9. The blunt bob: Helps hair appear more dense
The combination of a bluntly cut style (it makes hair appear more “solid”) and side fringe (it hides sparse spots along the temples) creates the illusion of a fuller-looking mane. Adds Cutler, the mid-length cut “chisels” the jawline and sideswept bangs “lift” cheekbones.
What to ask for: A blunt crop with point-cut ends that rest below the chin, and side bangs long enough to tuck behind the ear.
Styling tip: Blow-dry damp hair using a paddle brush until all of hair is dry. Next, use a flat iron on 1-sections of hair to smooth out any natural waves or kinks. Finish by misting strands with a dry texture spray, like Redken Dry Texture Finishing Spray (Buy from Ulta, $28). The spray provides finer tresses with some grittiness so the smooth style doesn’t lie flat against the head.
10. The silky shell: Boosts limp locks
“A heavily textured crop adds depth and dimension to even the finest of hair so it appears thicker all over,” says hairstylist Diane Stevens, who has worked with Angela Bassett and Regina King. “And all of the layering throughout gives the style fun, flirty flair.”
What to ask for: A jawline-skimming cut with graduating, stacked layers throughout and soft side fringe in front.
Styling tip: Work a dollop of a volumizing mousse, like Nioxin 3D Styling Bodifying Foam (Buy from Walmart, $15.80), through damp hair. Next, blow-dry hair while using a round brush and pull strands up and out at the roots for added volume. Once hair is dry, gently tousle with fingers to enhance layers and create piecey texture. Set with hair spray.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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