Because we'd do anything for a fuller, OMG-worthy hair toss.
While all the women in my family are lucky to have beautifully thick heads of hair, I've been stuck with baby-fine strands for my 31 years of life. Seriously, what gives, universe? Having fine, and even thinning, hair is not something I would wish on even my most envied hair enemy (looking at you, Blake Lively). Wearing it straight or curly can appear as though I'm balding in spots, and ponytails and braids just look so sad. Why even bother?
According to dermatologists and hair experts, genetics can play a large role in having fine hair, but there are other reasons that can cause hair to thin out, including not incorporating enough protein into your diet. "Protein helps the body to produce keratin, which is vital to the hair structure," says New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. While nutrition is an important factor in hair growth, your locks could also be thinning due to pregnancy, having a baby, thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, and even the flu, adds Dr. Jaliman.
When I was younger (read: to this day), my mother swore that cutting my hair short would make it grow out fuller. I posed this question to experts, and they said she wasn't completely off base. Cutting hair short can give it the appearance of being thicker and healthier, but your hair won't magically have a growth spurt. For fine-haired people, longer locks tend to look stringy, which is why a medium cut, lob, or bob may serve them better, giving the illusion of fuller hair.
Below, we asked dermatologists and professional hair stylists for their favorite products for fine and thinning hair. Whether you're looking for an affordable at-home option like shampoo, or are open to a more drastic treatment, we've got the expert scoop on how to build up to bigger hair.
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo
Dr. Jaliman likes this thickening shampoo for fine hair, since the ingredients work to add volume while smoothing the hair shaft. Plus, it's free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, and formaldehyde. All the yes.
Pureology Clean Volume Instant Levitation Mist Hairspray
This leave-in spray doubles as a heat protectant, conditions hair, builds body, and stimulates the scalp to give your roots some lift. Also good: it has nourishing aloe water, soy proteins, and AntiFade Complex, making it perfect for fine, color-treated hair.
Evolis Professional Reverse Activator
Packed with anti-oxidizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like rosemary and swertia chirata, this hair treatment helps increase scalp circulation, which is crucial for hair growth. "Any ingredient that is anti-inflammatory will help keep the scalp healthy," points out Dr. Jaliman.
Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair
Using heat styling tools like flatirons, wands, and hair curlers on the reg can lead to dry, brittle, thin-looking strands. New York-based dermatologist Andrew Alexis, MD, suggests this detangling leave-in treatment that repairs and protects from heat styling and can help reduce breakage.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Arthur Shamalov, senior stylist and co-owner of Eddie Arthur Salon, loves Milbon Dry Texturizing Spray for fine locks. "You apply it on dry hair and it automatically gives volume and great texture," he raves. No time to run to the salon for a bottle? Shamalov also likes Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, which you can conveniently order on Amazon. Not only does it boost volume and create sexy texture (great for long hair and lobs), but it also acts as a dry shampoo, absorbing oil and letting freshly styled hair last an extra day or two.
Dove Dermacare Scalp Pure Daily Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
"When I examine the scalp of many of my patients who complain of hair thinning, I notice they actually have some degree of dandruff," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Dandruff is inflammation commonly caused by high levels of yeast-like fungus on the scalp that leads to flaking, and inflammation around the hair follicle can hinder proper hair growth. Dr. Zeichner explains that this shampoo-conditioner contains an ingredient called zinc pyrithione which lowers levels of yeast on the scalp to treat the dandruff, reduce inflammation, and create a healthy scalp environment.
Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam
A few of the experts we polled mentioned this affordable topical treatment. Rogaine is clinically proven to regrow up to 25% more hair and works to boost hair follicle activity and hair protein production. "It comes in easy-to-use foam or solution, and with continued use will make hair look thicker and stimulates the growth cycle for hair growth," says New York-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD.
New York dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, tells Health that your own blood may stimulate hair growth. You heard correctly: "We inject the patients blood into the scalp for hair growth," she explains. For platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections a professional draws your blood and then re-injects it into the scalp to promote hair growth. "Results are promising," she adds. If you're terrified of needles, might we suggest sticking to at-home products like good ole thickening shampoos and texturizing sprays?
Dr. Jaliman also recommends the B vitamin biotin, which is "important for energy production and known to improve hair health," she tells us. "Many enzymes need biotin to function properly, and [it] also helps keeps nails and skin healthy."