Katie enjoys writing about topics of interest and has a special fondness for anything to do with beauty, health and food.
How to Naturally Thicken Your Fine or Thin Hair
Are you a member of the fine or thin hair club and want out or have been wanting out your whole life? Look no further! Learn how I nearly tripled the thickness of my formerly fine and thin hair using natural methods and some helpful products. Whether your hair is color-treated, thinning, or you are experiencing male or female pattern baldness, there are treatments that you can do at home to encourage regrowth and increase your hair volume.
How I Thickened My Hair in 7 Steps
In order to achieve healthy, voluminous hair, you need to start by maintaining your scalp health. So skip all the over-marketed volumizing shampoos and conditioners and forego that expensive hair transplant—go with what's natural and what works. Below, I'll detail how I went from flat hair to healthy-looking hair by following seven simple steps.
My Guide to Healthier Hair
In this article, I recommend:
- How Often to Cut Hair
- Vitamins and Minerals for Hair Health
- Washing Frequency and Natural Oil Use
- The Best Volumizing Shampoos
- All-Natural Hair Treatments
- DIY Rogaine Application and Massage
- Collagen Intake
- Bonus: Hair Styling Tips
1. Trim Hair Every Six Weeks
Get rid of your split ends by taking an inch of hair, twirling it around with your finger, and trimming the extra bits of hair that stick out. These are your split ends, and getting rid of them leads to healthier, thicker hair. You can also schedule a regular cut for a simple cleanup every six weeks.
How to Save Money on Haircuts
If you have long hair and are not attached to a particular style, you can go in for a blunt cut. Many hair and beauty schools offer discounted cuts (around $10.00), and all hairstylist students are supervised by a professional during the process. This is a good way to save money and afford regular haircuts.
2. Take Vitamins to Prevent Hair Loss
You can use as many products as you like on your hair, but healthy, strong hair is only really possible if you're taking the right vitamins and minerals. One of the main reasons I feel that my thin, fine hair has truly thickened is because of Viviscal Maximum Strength Tablets. Viviscal contains biotin, zinc, and niacin which help to keep hair full and healthy.
You can buy a load of vitamins and minerals from your local supermarket very cheaply, and this should have the same effect. I personally prefer to use Viviscal because the vitamins are targeted to accelerate hair growth. Tons of models swear by this product, and you may see the added bonus of thicker eyelashes and eyebrows!
Why Biotin May Prevent Hair Loss
Biotin, a B vitamin, is another essential nutrient that is known to prevent thinning hair. Biotin improves the body's natural keratin structure, which is an essential component of the nails, hair, and skin. Although research is limited on the efficacy of biotin for hair thinning and hair loss, many specialists encourage biotin supplementation as well as biotin-rich shampoos and treatments. According to Everydayhealth.com, biotin also occurs naturally in the following foods:
- Egg yolks
- Whole grains
- Organ meats
3. Don't Wash Your Hair Too Often
Try to wash your hair less frequently. I usually manage to only wash my hair twice a week. This allows the natural oils to condition your hair and keeps breakage to a minimum.
Since your hair is thin, it probably becomes greasy as well. Washing your hair too often will only encourage your scalp to produce even more oil, thus making it greasy faster. Having said that, also try to not let your hair become too greasy. I find if my fine, thin hair is too dirty, it starts shedding more than usual. So, it's all about keeping some balance. Try this process for washing your hair:
- Mix sunflower oil, rosemary oil, and jojoba oil together and really soak your hair with it. Sunflower oil is brilliant for damaged hair. Also, both rosemary and jojoba oil stimulate cell division and dilate blood vessels which, in turn, stimulate hair follicles and blood flow to the scalp.
- Leave the mixture in your hair for an hour (you can apply it to damp hair if desired) and then rinse it out with organic apple cider vinegar (ACV). The vinegar balances out your natural pH levels, and it won’t dry out your scalp like most shampoos will. ACV revitalizes your hair and leaves it soft and shiny.
These ingredients are cheap and available at any supermarket or pharmacy.
Other Beneficial Oils for Hair
- Castor Oil: Castor oil is 90% ricinoleic acid and is rich in vitamin E and omega-6. When applied topically, it may help to encourage blood circulation in the scalp and healthy hair growth. Castor oil may be massaged into the hair or applied to damp hair and worn as a mask for several hours.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is great for creating healthy, full locks. According to OnlyMyHealth.com, olive oil is rich in vitamin A and E, helps to remove sebum buildup (which blocks hair growth), and works to seal in moisture and protect the keratin component in hair.
4. Use Follicle-Stimulating Shampoo
After rinsing your hair with the vinegar, use a follicle-stimulating shampoo. I recommend L.A. Science Hair-Follicle Stimulating Shampoo. These types of shampoos contain a peptide complex—ingredients which are meant to help strengthen the hair follicle.
I found that less of my hair came out when combing it after washing with this shampoo—it also left my hair very soft without the need for any conditioner (which will only weigh down thin hair).
Use Sulfate and Paraben-Free Shampoos
You could also try a shampoo that doesn't contain any sulfates and parabens, such as Sukin (the Sukin "Protein" Shampoo will be best for fragile hair), which will be better for your hair in the long run. You can look for shampoos and conditioners that exclude sulfates and parabens by checking the ingredient lists.
Why Are Sulfates Harmful?
Sulfates dry out the hair and combine with water to emulsify and cut grease. In addition, sulfates loosen sebum from the scalp and strip natural oils, leading to dry hair. Find shampoos without sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium lauryl sulfate (SLS and ALS, respectively). Sulfates also have a degenerative effect on cell membranes.
Why Are Parabens Harmful?
Parabens mimic the activity of the hormone, estrogen. They are listed as butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, and alkyl parahydroxybenzoates. Parabens are linked to dermatitis and rosacea and worsen skin conditions; they also increase the chances of developing certain estrogen-related cancers (e.g., breast cancer).
What About the "No-Poo" Method?
Many individuals have turned to the no-poo method, that is, skipping out on shampoo and conditioner entirely. Some have even turned to using baking soda to remove buildup and soften hair. But is baking soda good for thin hair, and does it add volume?
Is Baking Soda Helpful or Harmful?
According to Healthline.com, the average scalp is at a pH of 5.5, and the hair shaft is at a pH of 3.67. Baking soda, on the other hand, has a pH of 9 and is alkaline. Baking soda can actually cause skin irritation and breakage, hair follicle damage, frizz, and dermatitis. The bottom line: Skip the baking soda!
5. Try an Aloe Vera Treatment for Hair Regrowth
According to StyleCrazy.com, aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes that help heal damaged skin cells, hydrate and nourish the scalp, stimulate dormant hair follicles, and offer anti-fungal and antibacterial benefits. Here's how to use it:
- 1 cup aloe vera gel (fresh)
- 2 tablespoons castor oil
- 1 shower cap
- Mix 1 cup of fresh aloe vera gel with 2 tablespoons of castor oil until you form a paste.
- Work the mixture into your scalp. You can apply it to damp hair if desired.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and sleep with it on.
- In the morning, wash your hair with cold water and a gentle shampoo.
6. Massage Rogaine Into Your Scalp
Rogaine for women is a topical hair regrowth product and is designed to reduce hereditary female pattern baldness by preventing further hair loss and by encouraging hair regrowth. The secret ingredient in women's Rogaine is minoxidil, a vasodilator. Research suggests that minoxidil increases the size of the hair follicle and encourages hair to stay in the active growth stage longer.
Dermatologists also claim that Rogaine generally works better for women than it does men. So, this will certainly aid your mission for tripling your hair volume.
How to Use Women's Rogaine
Every night, just before you go to bed, spend a good five minutes massaging Rogaine for Women into your scalp. I tend to focus on the areas of my scalp that produce the thinnest hair and have noticed some extra growth around my temples. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
7. Take Collagen Regularly for Thicker Hair
My absolute favorite recommendation for thickening fine hair is to incorporate collagen into your diet regularly. I use the Neocell Super Collagen powder (initially on a daily basis and now on a weekly basis). In the beginning, I started this regimen for my skin but was thrilled to see my hair looking a lot fuller and bouncier after about 7–8 weeks of use. My hair also grew by a good two extra inches with this product.
The regular intake of collagen has been shown to support and increase the body's hair-building proteins. Although I would highly recommend collagen intake, make sure it is not in any way replacing a normal, healthy diet. Collagen will work much better when combined with a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins!
Why Is My Hair Thinning Anyways?
If thinning hair has been a huge concern of yours for quite some time and it is coupled with other health issues, it is best to see your physician to rule out hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and other conditions which need to be addressed. It is common for both men and women to experience thinning and baldness in their lifetime.
What Is Female Pattern Baldness?
Female pattern baldness is termed androgenetic alopecia and is heavily influenced by genetics. This pattern of baldness generally appears along the crown and temples of the head and is characterized by excessive hair loss and thinning through the part. The common causes of female pattern baldness include:
- Pituitary or ovarian tumours: Tumours of the pituitary gland or ovaries may cause the over-secretion of androgen hormones.
- Medication: Certain medications (chemotherapeutic agents) cause hair loss.
- Autoimmune diseases: Alopecia areata causes the body to attack its hair follicles.
- Medication: Certain medications, such as those that are used to treat cancer, can cause hair loss as a side effect. However, hair usually regrows once a person stops taking the medication.
- Health complications: Weight loss, surgery, and nutrient or mineral deficiencies due to malnourishment can cause hair loss.
- Traction alopecia: Tight hairstyles that put stress on the scalp may cause hair loss.
What Is Male Pattern Baldness?
Male pattern baldness is genetic. It occurs when the growth cycle produces weaker hair follicles with thinner, shorter strands. Eventually, hair will not regrow. Thinning on the crown and a receding hairline is most common. This condition may also be caused by:
- Thyroid issues
- Anabolic steroids
- Certain cancers
- Nutritional deficiencies
How to Style Your Hair to Make It Look Fuller
All of these styles are great for a night out but can also be tailored to suit your everyday needs. Don’t forget to use heat protection spray before working with your hair.
Pre-Styling Tip: Try Hair Building Fibers
Before I start styling my hair, I use Toppik Hair Fibres. Although this was specifically designed for people who are balding, I have found it to be very useful for adding some oomph around the front of my hair. The microfibers completely cover any thinning and give the illusion that you have a lot more hair than you actually do. This product just gives me an extra bit of confidence when I’m on a night out. You can get them in any hair color.
Hair Style: The Big, Sexy-Messy Look
For a more naturally unkempt look:
- Start by curling your hair with a large-barreled curling iron. I personally use Babyliss Pro Professional with the extra-large barrel curling tong.
- Next, deconstruct the curls with your hairdryer to give it that relaxed messiness.
- For hairspray, I use Bumble and Bumble thickening hairspray, which makes my hair look much raunchier and bed-heady for that sexy-messy look.
Hair Style: The Big and Soft Hair Look
For big, soft, full hair:
- Set your hair from mid-length in your heated rollers.
- Pull your hair back from your forehead in a triangle shape and make sure some strands of hair are left behind.
- Back-comb from the clipping point backwards to get height at the crown. I also use a hairpiece underneath to create some much-needed height.
- I finish off by lifting sections and spraying dry shampoo. This gives some volume and dries out any grease that may be starting to show.
If I can’t be bothered to do any of the above looks, I'll spray some dry shampoo all over and simply use a hair bun and wrap my hair around it to give the illusion of a nice, thick bun. I make sure I leave a few strands around my face to soften the look.
Your Fine and Thin Hair Is Still Beautiful
After following these seven tips vigorously for a good 2–3 months and trying these styles, I’ve realized that so long as you take care of your fine hair, it can look really beautiful. Fine hair tends to become very soft and wispy-looking when healthy, which is just as lovely as strong, thick-looking hair. I really hope that this article has helped you to feel more confident about your beautiful hair. Feel free to ask any questions!
Video: How Heated Rollers Add Volume
- What to Eat For Healthy hair | BBC Good Food
Learn what you should eat for healthy hair. Just like skin, the condition of your hair is an outward sign of inside health. The cells that make up each strand of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients.
- How to Turn Dry Hair to Healthy Hair: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
Are you struggling with dry, porous and brittle hair and want to turn it to healthy, shiny, silky locks? Follow these steps, and you'll have healthy hair in no time!
- 50 Best Hairstyles For Thin Hair
Some of us are blessed with luscious thick locks while others have fine, sleek hair. There are good and bad points to both eventualities so don't fret.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Katie
Diana on August 16, 2020:
This has been one of the most informative hair loss articles that I have read. Thank you SO much for all of your tips!!!
Moulton.Doris on April 27, 2020:
681 W Spruce Ave
Katelyn on October 21, 2019:
Please help. My hair has always been my pride and joy. And now my hair are going thin and my hairline is receding. Nothing is quite as terrifying to a women as losing his hair. Feel like I'm losing my mind - absolutely nothing works. What should I do to regrow hair and is it even possible?
Tanya on August 28, 2019:
Awesome detailed info. Very helpful. Thankyou.
LindaLewis39 on June 06, 2019:
After I used this program ( http://hair-loss.1cure.info ) my hair grow again and became so healthy and long.
natty polychuk on April 21, 2019:
Kate on March 03, 2019:
Please do not advertise Viviscal! It contains shark cartilage and the most popular species of shark for the cartilage trade, the blue shark, is listed as near threatened. All shark species are in decline and the hunting of these animals is poorly regulated and often extremely cruel and inhumane. There is no scientific proof that chondroitin sulfate, the compound in shark supplements does ANYTHING. Stop promoting this pseudoscientific bullshit at the expense of our environment and species!
Lydia on September 23, 2018:
Please help. My hair has always been my pride and joy. I figured since it is pretty damn healthy, it could deal with some bleach damage. And I figured the master stylist who did all the color-corrections would know how much would be too much. I was wrong, and now I want to burst into tears every time I look at my hair or touch it. I just don't know what to do. My hair has also NEVER been shorter than this and it breaks and falls out. What should I do to regrow hair?
Lydia on May 01, 2018:
Which biotin brands are best? What to pick?
Amanda on June 14, 2017:
Please help. My hair has always been my pride and joy. I figured since it is pretty damn healthy, it could deal with some bleach damage. And I figured the master stylist who did all the color-corrections would know how much would be too much. I was wrong, and now I want to burst into tears every time I look at my hair or touch it. I just don't know what to do. my hair has also NEVER been shorter than this and it breaks and falls out. What should i do to regrow hair?
Mariam on February 19, 2017:
Hi i have a question. Are you sure its ok to take viviscal pills and use rogaine at the same time?
Marie Petite on December 03, 2016:
Liza16...Go natural....stop the blow drying, straightening, and dyeing. If you need to dye, use henna. Do wet sets to get the straight look...if all else fails, see a doctor for blood test to check out hormone and vitamin levels.
Liza16 on June 29, 2016:
I have struggled with my hair for a long time now. I am quickly approaching my 40s and I have bad hair quality. Recently, I have also noticed that my hair has stopped growing as it used to. A few years ago I went to the salon on a monthly basis. Now, it takes me almost two months before I even need to cut my hair! I am desperate and I really need help right now. Hair is one of the most important parts of a woman and I don't want to give up on this one. I went to the doctors but they didn't found anything wrong with me. The exams I took showed that I am healthy and there's no reason for this to even happen to me. Please, I really need hair advice urgently!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brittany on November 29, 2015:
Thanks for the encouraging article. It is very difficult to feel as confident and pretty as other women look when you have thin, stringy hair. Really excited to try all of your helpful tips!!
Veronica on April 15, 2015:
I get you, OP! I have thin hair too, and although it isn't optimal (I can't grow it waist length because it breaks too easily, looks greasy, etc...), there are some benefits! Boys have told me my hair is really soft to run their fingers through, volume isn't really a problem when I let it down (it's so fluffy!) and since it's so thin, it captures the sunlight and the colour looks absolutely golden and radiant! My grandmother passed down some tricks for me too: dye your hair light blonde when you're really old so that it blends in with your scalp, never straighten or braid your hair (everyone'll notice) and do get layers. You can put dark powder on your scalp too, but I'm too chicken to try that. Anyhow, happy hair day everyone!
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on January 18, 2015:
I like your hub. You did an excellent research about what is good for your hair. I used collagen. It does help a lot for the healthy hair. I listen to many people that used other products for their hair. Anything natural and organic work perrfect. Congatulations for a great article.
Georgi on December 13, 2014:
Woow !! Tripled?! No side effects on " Viviscal Maxium Strength Tablets" or the collagen drinks?
Thanks for sharing your success story with us. A before/after picture would be nice, thought.
Katie (author) from London on November 14, 2014:
Yep when I use the oils I use in equal amounts. Having said that though different people's hair will respond differently to each oil so you will most probably find some will work better than others. It's just about experimenting and finding out what works best for your hair. Sunflower oil works the absolute best for mine. X.
Janice on November 12, 2014:
I am so excited try your mix of oils in section #3, but you don't mention the amounts, should I use equal parts of all three oils?
saby narula on September 09, 2014:
I use sunflower oil n sesa hair oil treatment n i warm it before applying...i want my hairs to be shiny long enough ..i want to focus on hair length ..as my hairs are wavy fizzy shoulder length n dry...wat should i do for long hairs
David V on August 29, 2014:
Wheatgerm oil is great for adding vitamins to hair follicles.
kiara on August 22, 2014:
I liked ur advice n ill surely try it
Bea on June 30, 2014:
Having fine hair can be a pain in the *** sometimes, it gets damaged soooo easily! I have to use no alcohol or sulfate hair products, which is probably a good thing. Right now I’m using Pro Natural’s moroccan argan oil shampoo and conditioner, they really do what I hoped for :) Really recommend this brand.
Kim23 on April 24, 2014:
I have worked with hair products as a stylist for 30 years. I have use a;; expensive to inexpensive products! After using the Shielo Sealing Mist on my clients for the last 2 years - I noticed that it was also healing their split ends. Even on really short or really long styles. Besides the fact that it smells great, my clients hair soft and a lot easier to comb through. Add Your Comment...
megan on September 09, 2013:
i have thin hair and over the past year i feel as if im losing more im 17 :( and worried about it a lot iv always had thin hair don't know what todo