Ever since I became aware of my hair back in high school when I finally retired my beloved slick ponytail, I’ve lamented my fine, thin locks. And after becoming a beauty editor, I’ve made it my mission to find out which haircuts are best for feigning the look of fuller, thicker hair. Here’s what I’ve learned: It’s all about the optical illusions your stylist creates in addition to how you care for and maintain your cut at home.
Ted Gibson is one of the most well-renowned hairstylists in the industry—which is no surprise when his client list reads like a who’s who of celebrity royalty. From Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o to Anne Hathaway and Gabrielle Union, Gibson has tended to the tresses of some of the biggest names in the business. And he was more than happy to give me the lowdown on the best haircuts for thin hair.
Haircuts like Rosie Huntington-Whitley’s one-length hairstyle adds so much thickness to lengths.
“If you have fine or thin hair, the haircut you choose is super important,” explains Gibson. “In general, blunter lines are always better, and if you do opt for layers, keep them minimal. Bobs, lobs, long hair that’s roughly one length, and pixies are great for this type of hair.” Oh, and avoid heavy hair products and overworking your hair at all costs.
“The worst styling mistakes for people with fine or thin hair is using heavy conditioner or heavy oils—these will not only make a finer texture look greasy fast, but they’ll weigh the hair down and hinder its potential for a voluminous, fluffy finish regardless of how strategic your cut is,” confirms Gibson.
Jourdan Dunn’s sleek bob has blunt ends, which creates the illusion of thicker hair. Ahead, I asked top celebrity hairstylists to share the best haircuts for thin, fine hair. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say!
Michelle William’s full pixie has strategically placed layers to boost volume. “A full pixie is a great haircut for thin hair because it helps add fullness to your strands,” explains celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen. “When you think of the typical pixie, there’s a lot of layers, and layers actually take away the density of your hair. By going for a fuller pixie with a heavier bang and fuller top, you create more bulk and thickness in the hair.” Plus, this cut is low maintenance and requires super-minimal styling and upkeep. At the salon, she instructs to ask for a “full” or “dense” pixie cut with minimal layering.
This hairdryer cuts down drying time and is incredibly lightweight (it weighs less than a can of Coke).
A lightweight hair conditioner is ideal for shorter lengths—anything too heavy can weigh fine hair down. This one is nourishing while keeping fine hair volumised.
Zoë Kravitz’s ’90s-inspired pixie has choppy layers that can be tousled to add to the look of fuller lengths. How to Style It: According to Stephen, all you’ll need is a pair of straighteners to give the hair a little bump, finish or shine before heading on your way. That said, be wary of overworking your hot tools, as she says this won’t do those with thin hair any favours.
A pomade is ideal for adding texture and shape to a pixie.
If you’re always on the go, GHD’s cordless straightener lets you top up your style wherever you are.
Charlize Theron’s full-bodied pixie with highlights adds dimension. Adding more structure to your pixie haircut with a fringe helps hair look thicker, as Charlize Theron demonstrates. “Overstyling with heat will cause thin hair to become wiry and dry, and if you put too much product, it will be flat and limp,” she warns. “Thin hair needs to be airy, fluffy and light, and if you’re using products, the majority should be applied while the hair is actually damp.”
The nimble size of ghd’s mini styler helps to give more precision when styling shorter or finer hair types.
We’re taking Jourdan Dunn’s blunt bob straight to our hairstylist. A chic blunt bob or lob is one of the best, most strategic haircuts for those with thin or fine hair. But again, you have some flexibility with length, and Maldonado recommends a sleek, straight cut hitting at the chin, neck or even the collarbone. “This is a great choice because it bulks up the look of your hair and gives instant chic style whether it’s in a ponytail, straight or wavy,” Maldonado explains. “When you talk to your stylist about this style, it’s important to decide on the length that will best work for you. Bringing in an inspiration photo is always a good idea, and this cut also looks great with fringe.”
This adds the most incredible gloss to your finished style without weighing the hair down.
Price shown is member price. Protect your locks from damaging heat with this lightweight spray.
A full fringe adds instant thickness to fine hair. How to Style It: Starting with damp hair, Maldonado says to rake Kérastase’s Discipline Fluidissme Spray (£28) from roots to ends before rough-drying strands till they’re about 75% dry. To finish, use a small to medium boar-bristle to smooth hair section by section and create a shape to show off the cut.
Helps to tame and smooth flyaways.
Detangle all types of hair without damaging a strand.
Flipping your parting to the side a la Kourtney Kardashian helps to add instant volume. If you want a more low-maintenance style that doesn’t involve heat, he suggests towel-drying your hair post-shower and then applying Leonor Greyl Sérum de Soie Sublimateur Styling Serum (£28) from root to tip. Last, comb and part your hair where desired, and let it air-dry for a more natural, tousled texture.
Helps to detangle hair to prevent tugging and breakage on fine hair.
This comb is infused with coconut oil to treat hair while you brush.
Kirsten Dunst’s bob has subtle layering to boost thickness. For those with thin hair looking for a happy medium between long and layered, or short and blunt, NatureLab Tokyo brand ambassador and celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons recommends a mid-length haircut accented with beachy texture (aka subtle layering) and a deep part for an extra punch of fullness and body.
Boar-bristle brushes as best to plastic bristles, as they don’t get as hot and ultimately, don’t pass on as much damage to your hair.
Boost volume from root to tip.
Flip you parting to one side like Ashley Graham for instant volume and body. “This haircut is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to do a really big chop like a pixie or bob,” he explains. “Ask your stylist about potentially adding in soft layers—done properly, it can make your hair look fuller. This cut and style looks good on everyone and is a great way to extend the beachy vibes we enjoyed during summer.”
A tail comb will help you create a precise parting when flipping it over to one side.
Combining a curling iron, flat iron and wand.
A long bob styled with bouncy waves adds so much volume, as Laura Harrier shows. How to Style It: To keep damage at bay and enhance your natural texture, we recommend air-drying and then using a hair straightener, curling wand or beach waver to bulk up your texture with extra wave and body. To finish, spritz a bit of texture or volume spray through your mid-lengths and ends. And for even more drama and thickness, try switching up your part—either to the side you don’t normally part it on or going an inch or so deeper than you’d usually go.
Adds so much volume and helps hold your hairstyle in place.
Ideal for creating voluminous curls.
Zoe Saldana’s blunt cut makes lengths look thicker and healthier. There’s an old wives’ tale that in order to make thin, fine hair look as thick and voluminous as possible, you need an ultra-blunt, ultra-short haircut. So not the case! As celebrity hairstylist Cervando Maldonado explains, you can work a haircut falling between your shoulders and bust, and you can even have some light layering. That said, there’s definitely some strategy involved.
This styling spray adds instant volume by creating ‘springs’ in between follicles for maximum volume.
This pro-grade hair dryer will make at home blow drying a breeze.
Kate Moss’s face-framing layers add shape and dimension. “If you have a finer hair texture but like to keep your hair long, I recommend asking for either a blunt haircut or one that’s almost one length with light layering on the bottom for movement,” he tells us. “There should be strategic face-framing in the front starting around the chin and subtly working its way down your length. When you talk to your stylist, make sure to use these words as a reference.”
Enhance follicular wellbeing and encourage healthy growth.
This serum boosts hair for a thicker appearance with more body when styling.
We’re taking this pic of JLo straight to the salon. How to Style It: Work a mousse (Maldonado recommends the below from Davines) from roots to ends on damp hair, and follow with a root volumiser like Evo Root Canal Volumising Spray (£22). Then start rough-drying with a blow-dryer until your hair is about 75% dry in order to add volume before taking a brush to it. Starting in the front and crown, take a medium-size boar-bristle brush to finish drying your hair section by section. Maldonado likes to finish with Sachajuan Volume Powder (£26) for extra lift and texture.
Hereshesons’ Whoosh foam has a total fanbase for its ability to add volume to flat hair.
This quick heating tool makes doing your hair for work even easier.
Long layers with a fringe look brilliant paired with a fringe like Jessica Biel’s here. “One mistake with fine hair is to leave it too long with too many layers,” Maldonado warns. “This will usually make your natural texture look less dense and less full.”
A hair powder is a great way to add lift at the roots. Simply apply to roots and work into the hair to elevate flat roots.
This auto-curl technology is the easiest way to get perfect curls.
Rashida Jones’s feathered fringe and cat eye is a timeless look. But again, there are options if you do want length and layers. If you’re just not into short or even medium-length hair, he suggests opting for a long, layered haircut that combines a fringe and face-framing layers. “I like this cut, in particular, because it can give your hair a specific style and some necessary structure while requiring minimal styling and maintenance.”
Add instant body with this texturising clay.
Instantly revives flat fringes and roots in between hair washes.
Jameela Jamil shows us how to work a full fringe and long layers. How to Style It: Maldonado likes to apply a mousse-like R+Co Chiffon Styling Mousse (£25) on damp hair from root to tip. Rough-dry with a blow-dryer until you’re 75% dry; then start styling the bangs with a smaller boar-bristle brush. Then either switch to a large boar-bristle brush to finish drying section by section, which will create movement and a soft, slightly bouncy texture, or let the hair air-dry for a more French-inspired and messy texture.
If you hate the feeling of a heavy mousse, this one feels light as air while lifting and volumising lengths.
A round brush adds shape and volume to your hair as your blow-dry. This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. Next up, six hairstyles that make thin hair instantly look thicker.