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There are so many details that you want to get right for prom night—and having the best prom hair ever is definitely one of them. But when your hair is fine and on the thin side, things can get tricky because you don’t want your ‘do to fall flat the second you walk out the door.
If you’re searching for prom hairstyles for thin hair that look gorgeous and can help you fake a thicker style—you’re in the right place. We rounded up some looks—from whimsical braids to beachy waves that will look amazing on anyone with thin or fine hair.
This braided updo works well with thin hair, as the braids that are wrapped around the back of the head are delicate and smaller in diameter. Before starting the braid (if you’re DIYing this), make sure to prep your hair with a braid paste or a texturizing spray so that your locks don’t slip out of place. You’re going to want to really make these tiny braids tight so that it doesn’t get too messy and fall out and stock up on bobby pins to secure it in place.
Fishtail braids are thinner by nature because you’re only criss-crossing two sections of hair over-top of each other. It’s a really slick style when wet and damp, but to make it appear a little more voluminous, if that’s what you’re looking to do with your hair, you can always pull apart the braid for a messier look. When you start to create the braid, keep some slack in the hair above the nape of the neck. This will also make it appear like you have more.
Instead of French braiding beginning at the hair-line, start the technique at the back of your head and only pass the hair back and forth about 5-6 times. Tie off the braid right at the nape of the neck and leave the rest of the hair down. To dress it up, you can secure the braid with an accessory like a barrette or keep it discreet with a clear plastic tie.
Tame any fly-aways with a hair oil (just not TOO much, as thin hair doesn’t handle an excess of product well) and then pull your hair back into a chic chignon. For a spring-y touch, place a flower on the side or cover the entire “bun” with a net for a vintage vibe.
A wispier look will call for a blowout with a spray that enhances your volume and a thickening hairspray. After those prep steps have passed, you can pull up your hair into a messier, twisted ballerina bun. It’s a great look to choose if you have a dimensional hair color and want to show it off.
The quickest fix to hair that’s fallen flat is flipping it from side to side—and if you do it by habit, it’s even better. Part your hair the the opposite side than it normally falls and style it with loose, glam waves, using a finishing spray to keep them intact. To get the soft waves, use a wider wand or rollers, brushing them out after they’ve cooled.
Here’s a new take on the half-up, half-down prom hairstyle. When you’re creating a low ponytail, leave out a section on the side and pull back the rest. It looks really cool on tousled, wavy hair with a side part—just be sure to tease your hair a little bit so it appears fuller.
This ponytail requires more prep than the latter. You’ll want to create a super beachy texture before twisting that back section. If you’re unsure of how to do that so it doesn’t fall into place, book yourself a salon appointment that day and your stylist can give you the pointers you need. Depending on how thin your hair actually is, your twist will be larger or smaller in diameter.
Wispy, soft layers and bangs will create the illusion of a thicker head of hair. You’ll want to style this cut in a way where you’ll leave the salon chair with a windswept look. Keep products light and flexible and waves extremely natural.
Originally published April 2015. Updated March 2017.