Thick, luscious locks and a voluminous mane are pretty much the ultimate hair goals. But anyone with baby fine hair will tell you that most days, big hair can feel like an impossible dream. The average American loses up to 100 hairs a day, every day, and that number increases as we age. There are many factors that contribute to fine hair, thinning hair and hair loss. Hair is a non-essential tissue, meaning that the hair follicle is one of the last tissues in the body to receive nutrients from the body. Add to that, the fact that anything negatively impacting the body’s internal environment can wreak havoc on your hair, and what’s a thin-haired-girl to do?!
Building volume and a thick hair texture requires taking a few different steps — but fear not, fine-haired friends, your next good hair day is only a few changes away. We’re breaking down the causes of thinning hair, and giving you pro tips for achieving a thick, healthy head of hair. This is your step by step guide on how to make hair thicker.
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If your hair is thinning it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing it. If you've noticed your hair looks thinner or is falling out more than usual, here are some of the most common reasons for hair loss.
There's a chance you're genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair thickness and volume. In this case, hair follicle sensitivity causes them to gradually shrink and produce finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle.
As we age, hair follicles stop producing hair, hair shafts become finer, and hair loss becomes more prevalent in women leading up to and after menopause. If you're going through or are nearing menopause, changes in your body can have an effect on your hair, causing it to thin or fall out.
Male and female pattern baldness is called alopecia. Alopecia affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. Often, people who have androgenetic alopecia have family members with the same condition. In men, hair thinning tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.
Any changes in your health can have a direct impact on the thickness of your hair, and that includes anything hormonal. Fluctuations in hormones can not only impact your skin and weight, but also hair. In fact, many women experience changes in their hair during pregnancy. If your hormones are out of whack, everything is out of whack, and it’s very possible you may experience thinning hair and even hair loss.
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This is one of the most common causes of hair loss among women. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein, without it, your strands will suffer. Iron deficiency, especially when it progresses into full-blown iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss. It sends your body into survival mode, so your body channels oxygen to support vital functions as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact.
Vitamin D stimulates hair follicles, speeding up the hair growth process, so if you are vitamin D deficient, you may experience hair loss. Some research has even linked vitamin D deficiencies with alopecia.
A lack of vitamin B12 can take its toll on your hair by affecting the health of your red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the hair tissue. This is a common cause of hair thinning among vegans, as you primarily can only obtain B12 through animal proteins.
Stress can literally make your hair fall out by raising those pesky androgen levels, which in turn can cause hair loss. The term for stress-related hair loss is telogen effluvium. This is a physical response to the impact of stress on the body and mind. Stress can also trigger scalp problems, and disrupt normal eating habits, messing with the digestive system; all of which can have a negative impact on your hair.
Overusing hot tools like blow dryers and flat irons, as well as over-bleaching your haircan strip it of all its strengthening fibers, leaving it thinning, weak and damaged.
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Thickening hair products are awesome, but they have a tendency to build up on the scalp and strands. The best shampoo and conditioner pairing for getting thicker hair offers a nourishing, thickening treatment for the hair, while lifting away excess oil and product to stop it from getting weighed down. Hair stylist, colorist and educator Candice Cooper, of Davines Concept Salon Parlor Hair Studio in Montclair, NJ, recommends a weekly deep cleanse with an exfoliating shampoo to get rid of any stubborn product residue, followed by a thickening tonic. Candice says, “You have to nourish your hair from the root, and a clean scalp is so important to make hair thicker. Adding an invigorating hair tonic helps strands look shiny and full bodied, but not weighed down.”
Nutrition has everything to do with the health of your hair. Your diet dictates much of how you feel, what you look like, and what happens in your brain.A diet rich in fatty acids works to prevent hair loss and breakage, while encouraging new hair growth and reducing scalp inflammation. You can make your hair thicker by eating a well balanced diet full of foods like avocados, salmon, and whole eggs, as well as any others that offer up healthy fats and omega-3s.
Taking a hair-stimulating multivitamin is essential if you’re on a quest to getting thicker hair, and according to Candice, it’s one of the building blocks needed for healthy hair (along with a good diet and exercise). “Look for a multivitamin packed with ingredients like collagen, keratin, L-lysine, soy protein, iron, MSM, gotu kola, biotin and vitamins B12, C and D3. All of these ingredients contribute to your hair’s thickness,” she says.
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Dry shampoo does more than make your dirty locks look clean. Candice suggests dry shampoo for thin-haired people trying to create the perfect bed-head look. "Dry shampoo instantly plumps up your strands, giving the illusion of thicker hair, while absorbing excess oils that can weigh down your hair, making it appear thin and flat,” she says. "Spraying your roots with a bit of dry shampoo gives you an instant boost of volume, for a perfect Bardot-vibe.” For more on how to use dry shampoo to make hair thicker see check out our previous post How to Use Dry Shampoo: The Dos and Don’ts Explained.
If you’re dealing with thinning hair a flat iron definitely won’t do you any favors. Ironing your hair can cause it to appear flatter. Instead, use your flat iron to create sleek beachy-waves, which will give your strands some extra width and add dimension and texture so that your hair appears thicker.
Heat styling only irritates dry and breakage-prone hair. If you have thinning hair you want to look thicker, try letting your hair air dry naturally before finishing it off with a few spritzes of texturizing salt spray. Less heat styling means less breakage and smoother ends, meaning your hair will grow more than it has in years and look far thicker and healthier.
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We challenged our Social Media Associate Michelle to 5 DAYS of #heatlesshair. See how she gets on over the week at home! Are you up for the challenge? Let us know down below and tag us in your looks! 💇🎉 Products Mentioned: OI All in One Milk OI Oil Hair Refresher This is a Medium Hairspray This is a Dry Texturizer This is a Texturizing Dust
Changing the way you part your hair is one of the easiest ways to make your hair look thicker. Try a deep side part in the opposite direction for an instant dose of body and a volumizing effect. Add a little volume powder into the roots for extra height, and flip your hair over to the opposite side from where it usually sits for an instant boost.
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Brushing your hair with a boar bristle hair brush helps to evenly distribute the natural oils created by your scalp. Brushing these oils through your lengths and ends has an amazing range of benefits for your hair health, including sleekness and shine — but Candice says, “When you brush your hair, the bristles gently massage the scalp, increasing blood flow and stimulating the follicles. This makes them healthier and improves their ability to grow healthy hair.”
If your locks tend to fall flat, use a rattail comb to gently tease your hair at the roots, giving the appearance of more volume. Back-comb near the roots with a comb where you want height (like at the crown), then comb over hair to smooth it out for a nice oomph at the roots without any rattiness.
Ever notice how your hair feels a bit thicker in the days immediately following a fresh trim? That’s thanks to cleaning up unwanted split ends. Frequent trims and split-end maintenance will help prevent hair from reaching the stringy point of no return, emphasizing already thin strands. Trim your hair every six to eight weeks to get thicker hair.
When hair is thin and damaged, it can easily look limp. And a shorter length will encourage body and bounce with virtually no effort. If you have fine hair or thinning hair, a shorter, blunt cut adds body, and fullness to limp hair; longer styles can weigh the hair down. A shorter style is a surefire way to add thickness, while also ridding your strands of breakage and damage. To make your hair look thicker, ask your stylist to cut blunt edges and add strategic layers. Shorter hair looks more voluminous, with less weight at the ends, while layers near the face add dimension. Plus the back is left fuller, which creates the illusion of body and thickness. If you have all-over thinning areas at the crown or back of the head, try a blunt, chin-length cut that’s low-maintenance and can get blown out easily for a fuller look. Add a sweeping fringe bang to camouflage a sparse hairline.
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Highlighting hair adds depth to strands, giving your hair dimension, which creates the illusion of fuller locks, rather than flat, single-toned hair. Ask your stylist about the most flattering highlight color and placement for your face, or bring in a photo of what you’re looking for.
Scalp massages are a favorite trick of Candice’s when it comes to getting thicker hair. “Massaging your scalp increases blood flow to the scalp and the hair follicles, helping your hair grow faster and stronger while adding volume,” she says. In fact, studies show just four minutes of scalp massage a day can increase hair thickness by stretching the living hair follicle cells and stimulating them to produce thicker, individual hairs.
The more of your scalp you can see, the thinner your hair will appear. As a temporary fix, fill in any open gaps with a matching eyeshadow or a color spray — hold it out about 10 inches from your scalp and spray it onto your roots.
For seriously thinning hair or hair loss, and if all else fails, it may be time to see a dermatologist, as they also specialize in hair.
The never ending quest for supermodel-worthy thick hair can be a struggle if you’re dealing with fine or thinning hair. And for those of us who don't have a glam squad maintaining our tresses, hair thickness can be a real issue. There are tons of things that can lead to thinning hair, and while you can't change the size of your hair follicles, there are ways to maintain your hair health and keep it from getting any thinner. Transform your strands from thin and limp to full and lush and get thicker hair with things like eating right, taking supplements, using the right products, and getting the right cut.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
cover photo by @beautywithhannahmae