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Ask a Hairstylist: How to Make Your Thin, Curly Hair Look Thicker

These shapes will add fullness.
Thin curly hair

Q: I have had the same hairstyle for years now. I am seriously contemplating a change, but am rather hesitant because my hair is so thin. (It may even be fine—there's just not much to it!)

Thin curly hair

Nadine wants to make her thin, curly hair look thicker.

I love big, "Afro"-type hairstyles, and wish I could sport one on my own, but I haven't been able to since I was a child.

I only wash my hair one or two times a week, and I am really not interested in having to spend any more than five minutes on my hair. I normally wet it, put my head upside down to towel-dry, and walk out the door. Please help! — Nadine

A: Nadine, thank you for your consultation request. I would also love me a big 'fro! 

The ends of your hair have been around for a long time, as curly hair takes twice as long as straighter hair to grow. The best bet for you would be to bring up the length of your hair, so it will look thicker and be able to curl better. 

Let's start with this length:

Laura Wright ABC TCA Party 2009

Laura Wright at the 2009 ABC TCA Party.

With a deep side part, this should work really well with your natural curl.

Here is another example of a side-parted style, but slightly longer, just past the collarbones:

AnnaLynne McCord Variety Power of Women Luncheon 2009

AnnaLynne McCord at the 2009 Variety Power of Women Luncheon.

It has been artificially curled, but look beyond that and focus on the shape.

A bob would look super-fresh because it would be cut up to where your hair is the curliest: 

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Charlize Theron American Cinematheque Awards 2010

Charlize Theron at the 2010 American Cinematheque Awards.

Jenna Elfman NBC Universal Summer Press Day 2014

Jenna Elfman at the 2014 NBC Universal Summer Press Day.

Both a centre part and a side part would work well with this shape on you.

Also consider a soft, curly fringe with either the longer length or the bob:

Sandra Oh Critics' Choice Awards 2019

Sandra Oh at the 2019 Critics' Choice Awards.

Camren Bicondova Pan New York City premiere 2015

Camren Bicondova at the 2015 New York City premiere of 'Pan.'

With your longer face shape, this will help to create the illusion of width and fullness.

If you're open to a more dramatic change, this shorter cut is an option:

Jennifer Nettles CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute 2010

Jennifer Nettles at the 2010 CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute.

It would need to be combed smooth, then left to dry completely before touching it.

I would suggest a styling cream (try Oribe Crème for Style) to help hold and separate your curls.

Oribe Creme for Style

Oribe Crème for Style

As for colouring your hair, most folks think that it will add more body. In your case, my suggestion is to leave it alone, as the damage may cause your hair to become even thinner.


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