7 Best Haircuts and Hairstyles for Thinning Hair

BY Jana Russick
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Thinning hair isn’t just a problem we inherit as we enter our golden years. For some, it’s an issue we deal with even in our early 20s. Frail, flat, and less-than-abundant tresses frustrate those of us who try so hard to achieve body and volume. But piling on the hair spray and constantly blow drying it to boost volume are not the only ways to make thinning hair look fuller.

Achieving a more lively, less sparse look can be hard when you have thin strands. But luckily, we’ve put together this guide to the best haircuts and hairstyles for thinning hair. We’ll also give you the lowdown on some potential reasons for thinning tresses and what you can do to stop it from ruining a perfectly good hair day.

What Causes Hair Thinning?

Before we start discussing hairstyles for thinning hair, let’s explain what thinning actually means. Someone with thin or fine hair has sparse strands and a lack of volume, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their hair is thinning. Having thinning hair means that your tresses are actually becoming thinner, meaning that you are losing hair strands — and the ones you do have are getting thinner.

Men and women with thinning hair tend to experience this occurrence later in life, often accompanied by receding hairlines, a broadening of the hair part, hair loss, and an inability to grow hair out without it looking sparse or frail. That said, hair thinning can happen to anyone at any age and can be a result of genetics or styling habits that have caused the hair to become more sparse.

If you have premature hair thinning, there could be a number of reasons for this situation. Your diet could be lacking in hair-enriching nutrients like iron, protein, and vitamin D. Stress can also be a trigger. An additional cause is wearing tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or cornrows that pull on your locks and cause your hair to thin out where it’s being tugged the tightest. It’s best to talk to a doctor or nutritionist to determine the reason behind your thinning hair.

7 Hairstyles for Thinning Hair

While there are many potential causes behind thinning hair, one thing’s for sure: There are many ways to help your mane look fabulous and fuller. Let’s get into the best haircuts and hairstyles for thinning hair and tips for achieving a thicker hair look.

1. Layers, Layers, Layers!

Hairstyles for thinning hair: woman with a short bob

The most flattering hairstyles for thinning hair almost always have lots of layers. Ever seen someone with a shag or spiky short ‘do and thought their strands looked thin? Probably not. That’s because a layered cut instantly gives you movement and texture. It’s like a shortcut to making it look like you have thick hair. The more choppy layers you have, the more you’ll trick the eye into thinking your locks have way more volume and dimension.

2. Let Go of the Length

While long hair might be your thing, it’s not the best look for those with thinning hair. Long-length cuts (especially those with blunt ends) drag out and emphasize the thinness of your locks. That’s why layers are such a great idea for people with thinner hair

You don’t have to go from ultra-long to shoulder-length to make your hair look less thin. If you’re not ready to let go of your length, ask your hairstylist to give you some medium-length, face-framing layers that gradually get longer until they reach your back. This helps accentuate your face shape and makes thin strands and breakage less noticeable.

Pro Tip: Learn how to improve the look of dead hair.

3. Chop It to a Bob

Hairstyles for thinning hair: happy woman with a short hairstyle

If you’re ready for a riskier cut, take the plunge and get yourself a bob. This short hairstyle will bring attention to your pretty face and make it easier to control and add extra volume — the number one goal for anyone with thinner hair.

There are all kinds of different length haircuts for bobs, so pick the one that suits your hair type. One of the best hairstyles for thinning hair is a long bob (aka a lob) with a one-length cut. Long blunt bobs are good for people with thin curly hair because they show off your curls but aren’t so short that your ringlets shrink up to your chin and make your head look like a triangle. 

Those with loose beach waves or straight hair can pull off a shorter cut like a chin-length bob. For additional texture, we suggest adding layers or bangs to your bob. And if you’re up for an edgier look, you can even go with an undercut!

4. Spritz Up Your Straight Tresses

If you have thin straight hair that tends to look extra flat, spritz a texturizing spray onto your locks. Then add some waves with a curling iron to give your hair more body and volume. Get an even more tousled look by backcombing your tresses and amping up the texture with your fingers to add a little volume and frizz. It may sound strange, but the more you frizz up your roots, the less thin it will look. Just be sure to use a heat protectant spray or hair serum to prevent damage.

Pro Tip: This custom hair serum doubles as a heat protectant and hair detangler. 

5. Go Even Shorter

Is a blunt cut that ends at your cheekbones not edgy enough for you? If you’re ready for an even bigger change, try a pixie cut. This is one of the best haircuts for thin hair because its piecey layers naturally give your hair more volume. To achieve the best version of this ultra-short haircut, ask your stylist to add side-swept bangs and extra short layers around your roots, which will make your neck look longer and your thinning tresses look less flat.

6. Switch Up Your Hair Part

Hairstyles for thinning hair: woman with short, black hair

If you’ve been struggling with making your thinning strands look fuller, it might be because you’re opting for a middle part. This prevents you from adding volume to your look, making your hair appear even thinner. Try a deep side part for a retro-inspired ‘do that gives you instant volume. Comb over your hair to one side of your part to boost up your roots and create the illusion of thicker hair. Adding a bit of dry shampoo can also help lift up your hair.

7. Try a Highlighted Hairdo

By now, you know that layers are thinning hair’s best friend. But another way to achieve amazing hairstyles for thinning hair is to give your tresses some dimension with color. Adding chunky highlights or balayage gives your hair more depth and interest, taking attention away from thinning ends or sparse hairlines. The more your highlights contrast with your natural hair color, the better.

Pro Tip: Which of these hair color ideas should you try out?

Winning the Battle Against Thinning Hair

Thinning tresses can be a bummer for your hairstyle ⁠— until you find the right haircuts and hairstyles for thinning hair. Opting for a short haircut like a bob or pixie or giving your long locks mid-length layers are great ways to add dimension to your strands. Switching up your style with a deep side part or using a texturizing spray and curling iron can also give thinning hair a fuller look.

Need some help achieving better hairstyles for thinning hair? Add a customized shampoo and conditioner to your daily haircare routine. This hair washing combo can be optimized with beauty goals like “volumize” and “strengthen” to help reduce the look of thinning hair. Take this hair quiz to start building your unique formula.

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