Long, full hair may be the standard (thanks, old-school shampoo commercials!), but in reality, it’s far from the norm. There are a lot of reasons someone might have thinner hair, from genetics to postpartum hair loss. And while hair thinning is more common as we get older, anyone of any age can have thin hair, or fine hair (aka hair that’s physically smaller in diameter than its fuller counterparts). That’s why, as always, the right haircut can be a total game-changer.
No matter your hair length or texture, your next cut is just a scroll away. We caught up with three ultra-talented hairstylists—Sanda Petrut of Maxine Salon in Chicago, celebrity stylist Joseph Maine, and Ryan Trygstad of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City—to find out their tips for cutting and styling thin and fine hair, as well as the best products to use for styling it. (Best of all: Not an extension in sight.)
The Hairstylist: Sanda Petrut of Maxine Salon in Chicago
“So many factors are taken into consideration when choosing a haircut for thin hair,” explains Petrut. “Is it thin on top? Is it thin on the sides? Is it thin all over? Is it thin due to illness? Is it thin due to ageing? I also consider features and lifestyle,” says the stylist.
Petrut also pays close attention to length and texture. “For thin, straight hair I may choose a shorter haircut with clean lines. Maybe a little graduation or a little layer if hair density supports it,” she says.
“For medium-to-long hair length, I’ll choose a long fringe and/or framing,” she says.
Finally, “If hair is wavy or curly I would definitely add layers,” she says. “The layers would add volume and the hair would appear thicker.”
This thickening spray “plumps hair at the root while creating denser-looking strands over a course of three months,” says Petrut.
Petrut also advises to “look for shampoos designed for adding volume or density,” such as Densifique by Kèrastase, which she calls “an excellent product.”
A powder-based dry shampoo can also add volume, says the stylist. “Dry shampoos and texturising sprays don’t just absorb excess oils on the scalp and hair, but the fine powder can add body and texture as well,” explains Petrut.
This yummy-smelling spray is like hairspray and dry shampoo in one.
“Thin hair due to ageing and illness can be improved with Rogaine, which features the key ingredient of minoxidil,” explains Petrut.
The Hairstylist: Joseph Maine, Celebrity Stylist, and Color Wow Artistic Director
“Typically, I recommend blunt haircuts or haircuts with very little layering for thin hair because you don’t want to remove density from the ends,” says Maine. However, he says, “There are still ways to add shape by face-framing or adding minimal ‘hidden layers.'”
For loose, voluminous curls like Jennifer Lawrence’s, Maine recommends blowing hair out with a diffuser.
Rashida Jones’s haircut may volley from chin to shoulder length, but she usually avoids layers to keep it looking fuller.
A soft bend and a side fringe adds texture and dimension to Emma Stone’s bob haircut.
This diffuser comes with different attachments to boost lift and volume at the roots.
To add volume after styling, “You can go over a few pieces with a curling wand to give a bit more bounce and fullness,” recommends Maine.
“This will make anyone with thin hair instantly look like their hair is much thicker. It masks the scalp completely which is a sure giveaway to thin hair,” explains the pro. Plus, he adds, “It’s dry and easy to apply as well as completely water-resistant, so it stays exactly where you put it.”
The Hairstylist: Ryan Trygstad, Celebrity Stylist and Co-Founder of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City
The hairstylist agrees that blunt cuts can be fantastic on thinner hair. “Mid-to-shorter lengths are great because the hair looks fuller,” explains Trygstad, who adds that “Finer hair types are less likely to have a pyramid- or triangle-shaped style.”
One reason Jamie Chung’s lob looks so sleek and cool? “Blunt shapes are better for fine hair,” says Trygstad.
Another pretty idea inspired by Jourdan Dunn’s look: slightly choppy ends.
Lucy Boynton’s of-the-moment curtain bangs are the perfect face-framing detail to her blunt bob.
“I always love using a root lifter for finer hair,” Trygstad says of this oft-overlooked hair helper.
“Mousses and thickening products are perfect prep pre-blow dry,” recommends Trygstad. “These products are heat-activated and will help create lift by swelling the cuticle, resulting in fuller-looking hair.”
When it comes to styling, “I would recommend a soft-bristle boar’s hair round brush,” says the hairstylist. “These brushes are more gentle and will create lift and bounce without damaging the hair.”
And now, 5 hair colours that don’t do thin hair any favours—and 5 that absolutely do.
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