Here’s the truth: You can't change the size of your hair follicles. If you were born with fine hair, it’s genetics, and no product will completely alter that. Of course, there are ways to maintain your hair health, add volume, and keep it from getting any thinner. First, though, you have to better understand what’s going on in your body. There are tons of lifestyle choices that can lead to thinning hair (think: stress, hormones, thyroid issues, and diet), but if those things aren’t an issue, there are innovative products that can help beef up the look and feel of each strand. All you need is some research and education. And guess what? We did the heavy lifting for you.
Experts agree that we have to maintain a 360-degree view of our bodies to better understand each part of it—such is definitely the case with fine hair texture. Below, we've outlined how to grow thicker hair, from supplements to incorporate into your routine to shampoos to slather on your strands. Keep scrolling for all the answers you need for how to make hair thicker.
Address a Stress and/or Hormone Imbalance
Off-kilter hormones can affect the thickness of your hair. In fact, women with thyroid imbalances, new mothers, and menopausal women in particular may experience hair loss due to a drop in levels of estrogen. "Optimal levels of estrogen help to grow full, thick hair while low estrogen levels lead to thin and stalled hair growth, eventually leading to hair loss," says Kristin Dahl, a Los Angeles–based nutritionist and women’s wellness educator. “Estrogen is secreted through the ovaries and adrenal glands, however, as the adrenals are typically overburdened due to stress, symptoms of menopauses like hair loss and hot flashes occur prematurely and excessively for some.”
While some things are out of your control (with or without medication), there are ways to help lower your stress hormone production and keep your hair healthier, shinier, and therefore thicker. Consult your doctor about supplements with adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwagandha root and leaf extract, and amino acids to support keratin production. The Ouai Thinning Hair Supplements ($84) include all of these strand-boosting ingredients for healthy hair growth.
Up Your Intake of Healthy Fats to Prevent Hair Loss
Your diet dictates so much of how you feel, what you look like, and what goes on inside your brain, and no one understands this better than Byrdie's former wellness editor, Victoria Hoff. She even convinced me to eat two avocados a day to see if it improved my hair health. (And guess what—it did.)
In fact, one study concluded that in the context of a healthy diet, avocado consumption can fit into a full range of healthy eating plans, as it houses significant levels of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and vitamin B6. Plus, a healthy diet rich in fatty acids aids in hair growth—it not only prevents hair loss and breakage but also encourages new hair growth and reduces scalp inflammation. So, go for avocados, salmon, and whole eggs as well as any others that offer up healthy fats and omega-3s.
Avoid Dryness by Reducing Heat Styling
Heat styling inevitably irritates dry and breakage-prone hair. If you find your hair is thinning or you’d like it to look thicker, opt for air-drying as an alternative. Chances are it’ll grow at a quicker rate (and will look far healthier). And when it comes to your natural texture, investing in a few really helpful leave-in products to apply post-shower will let you have an entirely new lease on the hair you were born with. If you must, always apply a heat protectant before using hot tools—we love Morrocanoil's Perfect Defense Heat Protectant ($28) for this step.
Cleanse with Sulfate-Free Shampoo to Stay Hydrated
“Sulfates are the detergents responsible for the super-sudsy lather you get out of most shampoos,” explains celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland. However, they are so effective at removing the dirt from your hair that they can also strip it of its natural oils and the proteins that make it look shiny and healthy. Unfortunately for your locks, this messes with its thickness. Instead, replace your sulfate shampoo with one that's chock-full of strand-loving ingredients that’ll nourish your hair instead of taking things away. You’ll have to get used to the fact that it won’t be as sudsy when you wash, but it’s worth it for the added thickness you’ll start to notice. We love the Pura D'Or Hair Thinning Therapy Shampoo ($25) because it restores hair's density and adds a healthy sheen.
Brush From Ends to Roots to Reduce Breakage
So much damage and breakage can happen at the fault of your hair-brushing technique. Make sure to use the “bottoms-up” method as well as tools that are gentle on your hair. "It's vital to detangle from the bottom up, starting at your ends not your scalp," explains Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands Haircare. "When you comb hair from the bottom up, you are working with less surface area to untangle at one time." Be extra gentle on your ends—that's where breakage comes from.
Use a boar-bristled brush for finer hair textures—they're strong enough to detangle and minimize breakage but gentle enough that they won't pull out hair strands.
Opt for Volumizing Products to Fake Thickness
The right hair styling products go such a long way, and this rings especially true when it comes to finer hair types. When faking thickness, go for lightweight mousses that create lift at the root. This also helps when it comes to actually styling the hair, as it creates a grip that makes for thicker-looking styles. The Style + Protect On The Rise Root Lifting Mousse ($28) by Pureology breathes new life into roots and simultaneously adds shine, giving the illusion of sleeker, thicker, healthier-looking hair.
Fill In Your Scalp to Mask Thinning
Too-tight ponytails? Mile-high buns? If you're guilty of any of these styles, you're likely the owner of thin hairs around the scalp, and are looking for a solution to your perpetual question of how to thicken hair. The more sparse the scalp is at the hairline, the more it can appear thinner than it really is—that's where a root cover-up product comes in. Fans of the Color Wow Root Cover Up ($35) rave about its ability to mask thin hairs at the scalp and camouflage roots at the same time.
If you're looking for a long-term solution, dab on some of Naturalicious' Spanish Almond Regrowth Oil ($10) twice a day—it's a treatment oil that harnesses the hair growth benefits of Spanish almond oil and promises results in 90 days.