How to Tame Unruly Thick Hair

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek has perfect thick curls.
Photo: Getty Images

In our Q&A series, beauty experts address your most bewildering issues. Have a beauty-related quandary of your own? Submit your question in the comments below or via Twitter.

Q: How can I make my super thick hair more manageable?  

A: When styled correctly, thick hair has a playful bounce that those with fine hair can only dream about. But when left to its own devices, thick hair can quickly become unmanageable. Aveda Global Artistic Director of Styling Allen Ruiz gave us some tips to tame an unruly mane while still enjoying all of the gorgeous benefits of full locks.

Wash Less Often
“Hair that is healthy and moisturized is always going to be more manageable than hair that is dry and/or damaged,” says Ruiz. Washing your hair every day will leave it dry, which makes styling difficult. “The scalps’ natural oils are great conditioners and you’re only going to start benefiting from those if you go a couple days prior to washing your hair.”

Keep It Soft
“If you have thick, wiry textured hair you want to soften that hair up with your hair care products in order to make it more manageable,” Ruiz advises. He recommends using the Aveda Smooth Infusion Kit ($89,, which includes a shampoo, conditioner, prep smoother and glossing straightener that all work together to soften and smooth the hair. The more moisturized hair is, the easier it is to style or even wear it down.

Create Weightless Texture
Want texture without weighing hair down with a ton of product? Opt for a spray gel like Nioxin Volumizing Reflectives Spray Gel ($14; for salons) that creates hold and adds a sleek texture without normal gels’ unwanted crunch. For a rough texture, use a light spray like Style Sexy Hair Spray Clay ($15, It creates subtle texture and hold without making hair limp or greasy.

Blow It Out
“Thick hair also tends to be more malleable and manageable if you apply blow-dryer heat.” He recommends investing in a diffuser attachment which smooths out hair and eliminates frizz by slowing down the drying process.

Get the Right Cut
Layers can help give thick hair shape and avoid the triangle look, where hair is bulkier at the ends. Want bangs? Go side-swept. Blunt bangs on thick hair won’t naturally sit flat.

Read more: How Often Should You Get a Haircut? We Asked an Expert