Skip to Main Content

Dear Color Crew: How Do I Make My Thin Hair Look Thicker?

by January 02, 2019

thin hair

Image by Madison Reed

Dear Color Crew is a recurring blog post where we answer hair-related questions–no matter how hairy they may be–from readers like you. Got a question? Email our team of professional colorists at

Dear Color Crew,

I have super thin hair, and I really, really want thick hair! What can I do to make my hair thicker, or at least LOOK thicker?

Ah, yes—the thin hair, thick hair question. We get asked this a lot. Unfortunately, if you were born with thin hair, there is not much you can do to change the diameter of your hair strands, but you can change the appearance of it. So whether you were born with thin hair, or your hair is thinning due to aging, we have a host of thin hair hacks that’ll get you looking thick in the nick of time.

Thin Hair Hack #1: The Golden Rules of Thin Hair

  1. Never apply conditioner to your scalp. Just don’t. Apply it to the lengths only.
  2. After a blow out, spray a dry shampoo at the scalp to absorb oils during the day and preserve your full, fluffy texture.
  3. Apply Root Touch Up powder on your scalp to create the illusion of thick hair. This is especially helpful if you are about to be photographed. Brushed sparingly at the scalp, Root Touch Up can make a sheer hairline virtually flash-proof.
  4. Invest in a high-quality light, dry, workable hairspray.

Thin Hair Hack #2: Styling Product Buzzwords

If you have thin hair, here are words to live by: texture, lift, grip, body, and volume. Honorable mentions: lightweight, amplified, memory, clean, and weightless. When searching for styling products for fine hair, these words let you know you’re on the right path. Products bearing these words are designed to enhance fine hair and aid in styling limp tresses without adding too much weight.

Words to avoid: creamy, silky, smoothing, moisturizing, milk, oil, serum, sleek, and soft. 

Honorable mentions: tame, quell, control, and “anti-frizz.” Products marked with these words are generally too heavy for fine hair. In the styling world, these words indicate a product designed for someone with thick hair looking to smooth and control their locks. While some of these products can be used sparingly on fine hair, they should never be applied close to the scalp of someone with fine hair when styling for volume. 

Thin Hair Hack #3: Tools of the Trade

The Micro Crimper: the elegant, older sister of the crimper you owned in the 80s, this hot little styling tool quickly builds hidden volume at the roots. Mist dry hair with hairspray at the roots, then crimp the first few inches at the scalp in the under layers of your hair, and your hair will go from flat to fabulous in five minutes. 

Micro crimpers are also useful for building up texture in long, fine hair to prep for the perfect “boho” braid. Just crimp the lengths to add texture prior to braiding, add some dry shampoo for increased grip, and create a fuller-looking messy braid, or twist that braid into a loose messy bun. Micro crimpers are great for adding a naturally full, organic look to fine hair.

Hot Rollers: they aren’t just for Prom anymore! Find a set with medium to large rollers depending on your hair length. Apply a volume building mousse. Blow out your hair with a lot of fluff at the roots, then set on hot rollers. Wait for a bit, then gently slide the roller out and finger comb for wild, sexy hair. Brush through gently for soft, sexy waves. 

Velcro Rollers: easy and inexpensive, velcro rollers are great for short to mid length straight, flat hair. Mist a sea salt spray at your roots and do a rough blow dry with your fingers. While your hair is still warm, put in some medium to large velcro rollers and set with hairspray. Let cool while you get ready, then gently pull them out and voilà—sophisticated volume.

The Diffuser: for fine, wavy or curly hair. Use a sea salt spray or mousse at the roots and gently finger style or twist to arrange hair. Use a diffuser set on warm/low. Place your ends into the “bowl” of the diffuser. Gently move up to your scalp and pause. Don’t move too quickly.  Work around your head in this manner. When your hair is dry, take a tiny bit of a styling product such as Tame, rub hands together to warm, and gently piece through and twist the ends together to create smoother ends for your curls. Set with spray.

Thin Hair Hack #4: Backcombing 101

The first rule of backcombing: be gentle. Less is more. Choose a section to work on, and using a comb designed for back combing, start a few inches from the scalp and push the comb back toward the roots. Stick to the under layers, then smooth the top layers, finishing with a light dusting of hairspray. You can backcomb after a blow out or styling, or just for a quick touch up to go from day to evening. Simple and classic, backcombing gets the job done.

Thin Hair Hack #5: Move to the Side

Any side, really. A deep, side-swept part can give the illusion of full, thick hair. And a zig-zag part can give hair a lift at the roots, resulting in less scalp being shown.

And there you have it—5 thin hair hacks to make your hair look thicker. Just remember...the Color Crew is here to answer all of your hair questions whether it’s about color, styling, growing or cutting. We’re here for you through thick...and thin. ;)