How To Bulk Up Fine Strands

Carolyn Hsu
How to make fine hair look fuller

Photo: Getty Images

Who doesn’t covet thick, luscious hair a la Gisele Bündchen, Angelina Jolie, or Jessica Alba? Even if you’re a short-haired gal, volume and texture is key to helping achieve shape and style. Unfortunately, we’re not all blessed with celebrity genes but even if you’re battling flat, lifeless hair, don’t fret — there are plenty of tips and tricks that’ll help fine hair look (or even grow!) thicker and fuller. We consulted Vaughn Acord and Damian Santiago, New York stylists and owners of Mizu Salon, for some professional advice on the secrets to styling fine hair.

Get A Layered Cut
“The most important foundation on which to style fine hair is a good haircut,” says Acord. “If hair is cut all to one length, that will produce too much flatness which makes it difficult to style.” Acord recommends cutting in layers that are tapered, graduated or at an angle, to give lightness to the hair and make it look fuller.

Try on layered hairstyles in the Makeover Studio

Shampoo Daily
You may have heard advice against shampooing daily, but with fine hair, it’s important to wash it often to keep hair from being matted or weighed down by oil and dirt, advises Santiago. “And don’t be afraid to use conditioner, or a treatment,” he says. “Many products now contain ingredients such as fibers or wheat germ that coat the strands, or a thickening agent that helps plump the hair.”

Try: Bumble & bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner ($24-$25,; Toppik Hair Fattener ($14.95,; Nioxin DiaMax with HTX ($50,

Style With Dry Shampoo and Powders
Fine hair already tends to be oily, so stay away from styling products that are too rich or anything oil-based as they can leave fine hair a greasy mess, warns Santiago. Avoid gels, waxes or pomades, and instead reach for a dry shampoo or volumizing powder, which absorbs oil and adds texture to create shape and volume without matting or weighing down hair.

Try: Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo ($25,; Sachajuan Volume Powder ($32,

Flip Over Your Blowout
“Most of our clients with fine hair aren’t looking for an overly fluffy shape, but rather something elegant and sleek but with enough volume at the roots so it doesn’t look flat,” says Acord. To create natural volume, apply the styling product at the roots and blow-dry with head turned upside down. Then, wind a round brush at the roots to create lift and let it uncoil naturally to create soft, medium volume.

Get Regular Trims
Finer haired gals can really benefit from more frequent trims, says Santiago. Six to eight weeks after a cut is when hair starts to get flat, so refreshing layers regularly helps to retain the shape.

Sleep On It
Another way to create texture and add body to fine hair is to sleep with hair braided or rolled into a high bun, says Acord. For longer hair, he recommends separating hair into chunks and rolling hair from the bottom up around fabric strips to create Bohemian curls that will last all day.

Treat Thinning Hair
“Thinning hair is different from fine hair.” explains Santiago. “Fine hair refers to each individual strand of hair being thin, versus thinning hair which is caused by hair loss that creates bigger spaces between strands.” He recommends taking biotin or marine concentrate supplements, which effectively stimulate hair growth or trying extensions, which provide immediate fullness.

Try: Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Growth Program ($49.99,

Read more: Hairstyles That Make Hair Look Fuller