Thickening Hair

Build Volume and Body Into Fine, Thin Hair

Is thickening hair on your list of daily desires?

You're not alone. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to plump up your fine hair and make it the best it possibly can be.

Fine hair

Everything from the haircut you choose to the products you use to the way you hold your tools affects the results of your daily styling efforts.

This page will lay out a plan of action, detailing the steps to thicken, lift and amp up the volume on lackluster locks.

Hairstyles for fine hair

The style you choose is important. Maximize the thickness of your hair by focusing on 'fine friendly' hair styles. Have your hair cut to an appropriate length -- in terms of volume, above the shoulder is generally best for fine hair (but not absolutely necessary). Layering and razor cutting are great for reducing any extra weight on the hair. Because even fine hair can become 'heavy' which makes it look limp and lifeless. But too much layering can make fine hair even thinner.

Fine hair with wispy haircut Fine hair cut in short style with longer, texturized front section Shoulder length fine hair with shorter crown layers for volume Fine hair in spiky, highly texturized fem-hawk hairstyle

Products for fine hair

See our full list of recommendations for fine hair products and tools to style fine hair.



  • Be gentle when combing out tangles
  • Avoid excessive heat styling, and...
  • Don't comb or brush your hair when it is sticky with dried in products like gel or hairspray. Just wash it out.

Encouraging volume in your hair starts right from combing!

Comb gently from ends to roots to remove tangles first. Lift all top sections (above the temples) 90° from the scalp as you comb. Apply your chosen product taking care to get it underneath those top sections and through to the ends.

How to get the volume

Partially dry the hair, using a medium airflow and low to medium heat. Overheating fine hair can blast any potential for shape or volume right out of it. NOT conducive to our mission of thickening hair.


A great option that actually does thicken the hair is color.

This can range from temporary colors and stains, which simply coat the outer layer of the hair, to semi-permanent and permanent solutions which deposit color molecules inside each strand, thickening hair even more.

Direct sections straight upwards or backwards from the roots as you roughdry. Build that volume in right from the scalp.

Section the hair into 3 parts, beginning with the top section, which should be 1 - 2 inches wide all the way around your part. The middle section should start at the temples and follow the shape of the head. Voila 3 sections, just like that.

Anchor the brush into the root of a piece from the bottom section.

Round brush and hair dryer

Direct the airflow of the blow dryer down along the hair strand, following the brush as you smooth it along the section.

The middle and top sections are the Volume Zone. In these areas, it is always necessary to pull each section of hair up at least 90° from the scalp, right from the root, when drying.

Anchor the brush in with some tension and direct the airflow at the barrel of the brush and away from the scalp. Keep the brush and hair dryer moving together until the section is dry.

Working with small sections is key if you want to create volume, this is most important in the top sections, from around the temples, up to the part.

Scoop the root section up one last time, severely over directing (pulling it back on itself). Give the root a blast of hot air, then a blast of cold before pulling the brush through to the ends.

Tweaking the look
HairArt H3000 Hot Air Styler
HairArt H3000 Hot Air Styler A hot air brush is the perfect tool for styling fine hair. The gentle heat gives hair shape and volume. The bristles grip the hair nicely to create tension and the ceramic barrel smooths out any frizz and leaves behind bouncy, shiny, beautiful hair.


For straight ends, you'll want to use a medium or large barrel brush and be sure the ends of the hair don't wrap around the brush at all. Direct the airflow straight out along the hair strand, first hot air, then cool.


To flick the ends out, dry the root section first, lifting from underneath and drying two-thirds of the hair strand. (Getting that volume dried in there is crucial) Then, place the brush on the upper side of the hair, wrapping the ends upwards around the barrel. Direct the airflow up from underneath the section, using medium to high heat. To give the flip extra strength, be sure to cool the section before removing the brush. The amount of flip you achieve will depend upon the size of your brush and how far you wind the ends up in it. But don't wind up too far or you'll get a full curl that will flop to the side, making the ends look feathered rather than flipped.

Curly hair style


Curling fine hair is one of the best ways to boost volume. Either a curling iron or roller set (or pincurl set) will do the trick. (follow the links for instructions and recommendations)

The waves or curls add fullness to fine hair, giving the illusion of thicker hair. If you use a good volumizing or thickening product before drying your hair, the curls will take better and last longer.

To get a curl or bend in the ends, use a round brush or hot air brush (shown right) and wind the brush up a little so the hair wraps around the barrel. First apply heat, then cool the section with your cool shot before removing the brush. If your hair dryer doesn't have a cool shot button, just remove the brush and either leave the section untouched until it cools, or wind it up to the scalp and secure with a pincurl clip to set the curl.



Check out this lesson on how to backcomb, which is a great trick for thickening hair. It quickly and easily adds lasting fullness to a hair style.

The finishing product(s) you choose will depend upon the texture of your hair and the style you want to achieve. Don't sabotage all the volume you've created by smothering your hair in heavy products like clays or waxes. Use products that will help you refine and define your style without added weight. See our recommendations below on products to use for different finished looks...


For a very textured look, rake in a light putty or a very light wax. Not pomade, which has no hold and is more for smoothing than for texturizing or thickening hair. You want a product with a tacky or sticky quality.

Texturized short hair style

It's a lot easier to achieve texture if you've got a good hairstylist who can slice, razor, or point cut into your hair for some movement and definition.

This type of cutting gives the hair movement and adds interest and dimension to the style. It makes hair far more receptive to styling products and the shorter lengths throughout make it easier to create volume.

Get the product underneath and squeeze the ends, even twist them slightly to break up the hair, creating peaks of texture.


If you're after a smoother look, try a liquid polisher or spray, or a light pomade.

Be sure to completely coat your hands in a thin layer of the product and lightly smooth it over the surface of your hair, around your hairline, anywhere there's a bit of frizz or dryness.

Sleek shiny hair style

While these products won't do much for thickening hair, they will add shine and a bit of definition.

Even if you are going for a sleek, straight style, building volume in fine hair is still an important first step. Tools like flat irons should be used minimally and on a lower heat setting.


Use an aerosol hairspray as it will dry quickly and is fairly light so it won't weigh down fine hair. Just a quick spray all over will work to hold a finished style.

If you feel the need for more volume, lift the top sections of your hair and give a quick spray underneath at the root. This will add to the appearance of thicker hair. Just be sure to smooth the ends of that section down again to maintain the shape of your style.

Related pages

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