Updated on 08/07/23 04:09PM
Fine hair can be so smooth and silky that your scrunchie falls right through it. But it can also feel super thin, lifeless, and weigh you down. If your hair is naturally thin, it will require frequent trims to help keep the shape and encourage bouncier volume. Without the right technique, no amount of styling or curling will give it the voluminous look you want. So, what do you do when you want to feign fuller hair? We turn to the experts and put together a guide on the best haircuts and styles that add volume to flat hair. From bobs and lobs to buns and braids, there are lots of looks to choose from for the appearance of fuller, thicker hair. Keep scrolling for 30 of the best haircuts and styles for thin hair.
Meet the Expert
Please note: Some of the individuals featured may already have thick hair, but it’s their cut and style that will help those with thin hair feign volume.
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Ciara’s bixie haircut is a great way to stack on the layers and add drama to otherwise flat hair. A combination of the bob and pixie, a bixie helps to add texture and movement, which is perfect for thinner hair types.
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A pixie is “the ultimate confidence cut when it comes to thin hair,” says Vaccaro. “This is my favorite style to create on thin hair because the transformation of your hair texture is instant. This look can work for any texture; from curly to straight.” Here, Zoë Kravitz opts for a mussed up pixie.
To style a pixie, Vaccaro suggests using a water-based pomade or a matte wax. “Avoid oil-based products because they tend to be heavier and weigh hair down,” he adds.
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Elizabeth Olsen’s one-length strands are manageable and chic. Better yet, the hair looks fuller when it doesn’t have too much weight on the ends. “The more solid the shape for thinning hair, the better,” says Mohapi. “Layers will take weight away from the ends and that’s the one thing we should try to keep. One-length shapes with volumizing products will create the best results.”
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Wavy hair can be worn long or short, but we especially love Emma Stone’s chop, seen here. “What you’ll notice about these celebs is that most opt for mid-length to short hairstyles, giving the illusion of fuller thicker hair,” says Vaccaro. Use a product such as Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray for increased texture.
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Short Pixie With Baby Bangs
There are so many short cuts to try, but we love Keke Palmer’s ’90s, baby bang look. “Often with thin hair, the shorter the better,” says Mohapi. “Short hair allows for thickest part of the hair (the roots) to participate in the final result.”
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If you’re not sure if you’ll look good with short hair, a shoulder-length cut will allow you to keep some length. It’s also incredibly versatile and can be styled any which way so that it never feels dull. If you’re a pro with a curling iron, try adding a wave right in the middle of your hair shaft and leaving the ends straight like Olivia Munn.
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Rosie Hungtington-Whitely’s lob plays up thin hair with lots of volume and texture. “Perfect for any face shape, this will give you the volume you’re looking for while adding layers for fullness,” says Vaccaro. “Take a 1.25-inch curling iron and give your hair a subtle loose bend by wrapping large sections around the barrel horizontally.”
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Framing the face with layers can also give the look of more hair. To keep thin hair from falling flat, give it movement and body with light layering. “Some face framing or bangs can also be a great way to add dimension and interest,” Mohapi says of Felicity Jones’s layers. Keep the layers long towards the back of the hair, moving them closer to the face in the front.
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A ruffled, wavy bob capitalizes on movement and texture. Light layers and feathered ends make this short ‘do an easy one to tousle and volumize. The chin-grazing length looks gorgeous on Jourdan Dunn’s oval face but in case you’ve got a rounder face or a sweetheart one, you may want to keep a little more length to elongate it.
Sebbag recommends turning up the volume even more with a long-lasting styling product that’s non-drying. We like Moroccanoil Volumizing Mist.
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Zendaya’s mid-length, U-shaped cut helps boost her textured tresses in every way. When styling curls, it’s helpful to know your curl type so you can properly address your hair’s needs and the products that will help it thrive.
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Eiza Gonzalez’s hair looks inches fuller, thanks to loose, textured waves that graze her collarbone. “Celebs tend to style with loose waves, which helps make hair look thicker and fuller,” says Vaccaro.
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Margot Robbie’s sleek wavy look has a chic, retro vibe to it. If body and volume are your goals and you prefer your strands long, you can simply ask your hairstylist to add a bit of texture on the ends. Think light layers that won’t remove too much volume. As for a product, Sebbag opts for a mousse, “applied in damp hair prior to styling to help boost the volume of your hair.”
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A super-cropped-but-still-curly pixie, as seen on Ruth Negga here, will add body and shape to your thin hair. To style, simply work in a small amount of Vernon François Hair Styling Cream to moisturize and define curls. If and when you decide to grow out your pixie, curls will help to make the transition that much easier.
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Gemma Chan’s wavy half-up, half-down look helps add volume to hair via a slightly teased crown. To keep thin, mid-length strands from appearing stringy, add some loose waves to create some bulk and texture. Pull out a few pieces of hair to frame the face and complete this visually effortless style.
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Constance Wus full fringe makes her entire head of hair appear thick and voluminous. “This fringe will add density and fullness to your hair,” says Vaccaro. “Go for a blunt or lightly textured look, just make sure they’re heavy.”
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance style, know that maintaining a heavy bang can require some work. To get a full fringe sans commitment, opt for clip-in faux bangs.
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Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ wavy layers add beautiful volume to her locks and make for easy styling that always looks effortlessly polished. Even if your hair is naturally straight, you can achieve a similar look with a curling iron such as Hot Tools 1″ 24K Gold Curling Iron.
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Topknot with Fringe
A topknot hairstyle, as seen here on Halle Berry, not only looks chic, but it is also a fab hairstyle choice for those with thin hair. Simply pull hair up into a high ponytail and fasten with a band. Wrap your hair around the band into a bun and stick in some bobby pins until it feels secure. A fab fringe also elevates this effortless look.
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“Thin hair needs a medium, above-the-shoulder bob to create thickness on the ends,” says Sebbag. Here, Lucy Boynton emits Old Hollywood glam with her retro bob. As a bonus, curled-in ends make her hair appear to have a boatload of volume. Get the look with hot rollers and by dousing with hairspray to hold it all together.
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The vintage pompadour is making a comeback. We love how Ser Anzoategui pairs edgy shaved sides with curly texture on top. It draws the eye upward, adding height and volume. A short back and sides will keep styling to a minimum although a lengthier pompadour allows for some creativity.
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Take a cue from Chanel Iman and pair a full lob with a side part. “An exaggerated side part will give the illusion of more volume and fullness on top,” says Vaccaro. “I love this cut with an ear tuck and heavy sweep. It’s flirty yet sophisticated.”
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Also referred to as an inverted bob, this cropped cut is rife with strategically-placed layers that flatter thin hair. Stacked layers in the back build body while face-framing ones create a rough A-line shape that adds movement and texture. Go with a deep side part to get even more volume like Massy Arias.
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Rowan Blanchard’s sleek blunt cut makes her hair appear full and healthy. You’ll need to stay on top of ends with regular trims since split ends can exacerbate thin hair. When you go too long without a hair cut, the ends begin to look straggly and thin, leaving them unable to hold a shape, says Mohapi. Blunt ends look sharp on a thin mane and create the appearance of thicker hair.
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Jennifer Aniston shows how well-placed highlights can give your hair dimension and make it look thicker. Ask your stylist for subtle highlights around your face or a some balayage, which keeps your roots slightly darker. If your roots are lightened up too much, it could actually make your hair look thinner.
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Gisele Bündchen shows how beach waves can make thin hair look like it has tons of volume. This look is a great choice for those with longer hair. To recreate this look, spray in a salt spray, such as Bumble & bumble Surf Spray, while hair is wet to amplify your natural texture. Use a 1.25 inch curling iron and curl small sections away from your face. You can also braid your wet hair at night and reveal a wavy, beachy look come morning.
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Nothing says glamour like a thick and voluminous bouncy blowout, just look at Sydney Sweeney. Use a volumizing mist like Oribe Maximista Hair Thickening Spray., then, “with a blow dryer and round brush, section hair and blow out, creating enhanced volume, and finish with a curling iron for added texture as needed,” says Sebbag.
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Half-Up Half-Down Topknot
Kelly Rowland proves that even when worn in a protective style, hair can be made to look voluminous. Here, her boxer braids are swept up into a half-up half-down topknot style.
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A fishtail braid like Maria Menounos is a great style option for thin hair. Once braided, pull out more hair to feign a fuller braid, giving the illusion of thicker hair. We love the sideswept, undone look for a night out. The messier, the better.
What kind of haircuts look good on thin, long hair?
While shorter styles tend to be more popular for those with thin hair, that doesn’t necessarily rule out longer cuts. If you want to keep your length, opt for long layers and blunt ends which can lend volume to thinner strands. Also, invest in volumizing products to bring limp hair to life.
What haircuts should you avoid if you have thin hair?
If your hair leans thin, try steering clear of heavily layered cuts like shags. The layers will remove hair density and volume, two things that you do not want to lose if you’ve got thin hair to begin with.
Is it better to keep hair short if you have thin or thinning hair?
Shoulder-length cuts and shorter tend to be the most flattering on thin tresses. Unlike a longer mane which can weigh hair down, a shorter cut possesses natural volume that can make it appear fuller.