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Is your fine hair feeling lifeless? We’ve already discussed the secret reason your thin hair isn’t holding a curl—and how to fix it—but there’s another volume-threatening culprit that may have happened a long, long time ago: your haircut. You see, naturally thin hair needs to be snipped and shaped to encourage bouncier, more Gisele-like volume. Without the right technique, no amount of styling, curling, or pulling will give it the fuller look you want.
To make things easier, we’ve put together a little guide on the haircuts that magically add volume to thin hair, along with tips from hairstylists Benjamin Mohapi and Giovanni Vaccaro. So when you go in for your next hair appointment, you can present one of these cuts that will have you saying buh-bye to lifeless locks and hello to major volume. These looks guarantee your thin hair looks thick and full—and no one will be the wiser. Trust us: Your hair will thank you.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 25 of the best haircuts and styles for thin hair.
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.
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."
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.
Gwyneth Paltrow'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 volume-adding products will create the best results."
Wavy hair can be worn long or short—though we 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 ($15) for increased texture.
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."
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.
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."
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' layers. Keep the layers long toward the back of the hair, moving them closer to the face in the front.
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, you may want to keep a little more length to elongate it.
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.
Margot Robbie's sleek wavy look is super classic and flattering. 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.
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 ($15) 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.
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.
Lorene Scafaria's full fringe makes her entire head of hair appear thick and voluminous. "This fringe will add density and fullness to your hair and work best with no parting," 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.
Constance Wu's wavy layers add beautiful volume to her locks and make for easy styling that always looks effortlessly polished. You can achieve a similar look even if your hair is straight. Just employ a tool such as Hot Tools 1" 24K Gold Curling Iron ($50), which will create loose waves.
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.
The angle on January Jone's curved bob creates the illusion of fullness and body, even on straight hair. Make sure to lift roots at the hairline to get even more volume. To finish the look, apply a product such as Chi Shine Infusion Hair Shine Spray ($16).
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."
Taraji P. Henson's 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 her deep side part to get even more volume.
Rowan Blanchard's sleek blunt cut makes her hair appear full and healthy. You'll need to stay on top of ends with regular trips since split ends can exacerbate thin hair. "When hair is left too long, a lot of individual hairs don’t make it to the ends, leaving them too thin to hold a shape," says Mohapi. Blunt ends look sharp on a thin mane and create the appearance of thicker hair.
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 highlighting technique called balayage, which keeps your roots slightly darker. If your roots are lightened up too much, it could actually make your hair look thinner.
Make sure you use a conditioner for color treated hair to keep hair moisturized to prevent breakage.
A topknot hairstyle, as seen here on Zendaya, not only looks chic, but it is also a fab hairstyle choice for those with thin hair. Simply pull hair up in a high ponytail and secure with a band. Wrap your hair around the band in a bun and secure with bobby pins.
Kristen Cavallari shows how beachy 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 ($29), 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 undo it in the morning for a wavy, beachy look.
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.