5 tricks to make thinning hair look fuller

By Jacqueline Tourville

After my first child was born, instead of shedding the baby weight, it felt like all my body did was shed hair — and lots of it. In those first few weeks postpartum, hormonal changes made my lustrous pregnancy locks turn thin, brittle and dull. My baby was such a bald little cutie, but the bald patches I developed were not very cute to me.

A woman using easy natural tricks to make her thinning hair look fuller

My hair did eventually bounce back (it took a few months). But now that my firstborn is almost fifteen (gulp), I have begun to notice that my hair has begun to thin again — this time due to perimenopause.I’ve started to make changes to my diet and lifestyle that I know are good for my hormones — and my hair. But while I wait for help from the inside, I’m turning to my old tricks to make my thinning hair look fuller.

Try these easy hair boosts

To give thinning hair a lift, here are a few easy styling tips that don’t cost a fortune and really do help hair look fuller — until it really is.

1. Pick a new part: By parting your hair in the same place all the time, you’re training your hair to be flatter along this groove. For an instant “root lift” and extra volume, part your hair so it goes in a different direction, or change from a middle part to side part. I’ve always parted my hair on one side because of a crazy cowlick on the other, so this felt really strange to me at first, but I stuck with it.

2. Highlights hide a lot: Adding highlights to your hair color will create an illusion of depth and fullness, and even helps hide areas where your scalp may be showing through. Depending on your skin tone, lighter shades are usually best. Since over-processing hair can damage it and cause further thinning, ask your hairstylist about how to minimize chemical treatments while still giving you the look you want.

3. Experiment with extensions: Hair extensions are the hot new hair accessory and can be found almost anywhere styling products are sold. Clip-in extensions can add fullness and length, and come in a variety of styles and colors, including very on-trend rainbow hues. Always wanted hot pink hair? Now is your chance to add a temporary splash of bright color. Start carefully — if the extensions are too heavy they can cause damage to your hair.

4. Clever cuts: A shorter bob with irregular-length layers creates a tousled, shaggy look that adds texture and fullness. Think Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. Longer hairstyles can weigh down hair and emphasize thinness. If you can’t let go of your longer locks, try a shoulder-length cut to give hair more room for movement and swing.

5. Go super low maintenance. I haven’t worked my way up to trying this one yet, but a friend with thin, curly hair swears by washing her hair every other day and combing it only with her fingers, never a comb or brush. Even if you eventually want to comb your hair, try to avoid doing it when it is wet, which can cause it to break off. Towel dry instead.

These tricks can help you in the short term, but don’t forget that the long-term solution for thinning hair — and your overall health — is healing from the inside out. Eating more protein, adding powdered collagen to your smoothies, and making sure you’re getting enough of minerals and hair-healthy vitamins such as B, C, D and E.

Not sure what’s causing your hair loss?

Thinning hair can be a red flag for many women’s health issues. Take a look at these common reasons why women experience thinning hair. Which one(s) might explain why your hair is not what it used to be?

  • Hormonal imbalance hair loss  related to perimenopause or menopause, PCOS, recent childbirth or irregular menstrual cycles
  • Thyroid imbalancehair loss 
  • Severe stress (emotional and physical)
  • Side effects from hormonal birth control
  • Allergies
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Sudden weight loss (e.g., from crash-dieting)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (especially iron, vitamin D, vitamin A or protein)
  • Too many harsh hair treatments
  • Medication side effects
What’s causing your hair loss? If you think your hair loss is the result of a hormonal, thyroid or adrenal hormone issue, you can find out more with this quick Symptom Checker.

Published: November 13, 2017 - Last Updated: April 6, 2021

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