Add volume and fullness to your hair with the best products for thinning hair, from shampoos and conditioners to waxes and hair dryers.
If your hair is sparser than it used to be, or if it’s naturally thin in the first place, then you might believe (incorrectly) that you need to keep it short. You might think (also incorrectly) that there are no products other than pills and potions to make things look full again.
In fact, there are many products that will add fullness to your hair, be it volume or density or both. There is a range of stylers and hair care products that help thin hair stand tall and strong, and that encourage you to grow it out into the pompadour of your dreams—or the pompadour of your nostalgic memory.
Here are ten such products for thinning hair. Try any combination of them to plump and thicken your hair—but as a disclaimer, please don’t mistake them as remedies to combat hair loss.
The Best Dry Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Oribe dry shampoo
If you aren’t acquainted with dry shampoo already, then consider this your introduction. It’s a hair-plumping and volumizing miracle worker, in that it absorbs excess oil at the root, and frees the hair to stand up instead of going limp and lifeless. You should use it between shampoo days (meaning, don’t shampoo every day, and use this on the days you don’t wash). Despite the name “dry shampoo,” it prevents overdrying, which is a common issue with liquid wash. Of all your picks, Oribe’s goes the extra mile to preserve hair’s natural luster, giving thinning hair some added definition and vivacity.
The Best Wax for Thinning hair
Hanz de Fuko “Quicksand” dry shampoo styling wax
There are many hair styling products that incorporate dry-shampoo powers—and thus add volume and density to thinning styles. Hanz de Fuko’s Quicksand wax is the best of them. It has a gritty texture—but it takes you from bed-head to texturized, high-volume surfer hair in a few seconds. Use it if your hair is between one and three inches. For longer styles just make sure to apply directly to the root of your hair. You might want to plan on an evening shampoo with this one, to release the grit before bed. It’s always a sad moment, though, because that texture feels amazing.
The Best Paste for Thinning Hair
R+Co “Badlands” dry shampoo styling paste
Another great dry-shampoo hybrid styler is R+Co’s texturizing paste. It’s less gritty than Quicksand, making it more ideal for after a shampoo. (So, use this on the morning after a wash, since it rinses easily without shampoo. And use Quicksand on the days preceding an evening wash, since it needs more than a quick rinse.) Paste, in general, gives your hair “touchable” and “reworkable” definition and hold, meaning you can wear the hair pushed back at work, then muss it up for happy hour. It’s light enough too, so it won’t weigh everything down while adding texture and density.
The Best Cream for Thinning Hair
American Crew texturizing lotion
We’re throwing lots of stylers at you, but that’s because they all take different approaches or serve unique needs. A lightweight lotion is your vehicle for more texture. If you have medium or long hair (more than 3 inches, let’s say), this is ideal for taming your hair as opposed to controlling it. Your hair will still blow with the breeze, but it’ll look styled and “natural.” American Crew’s lotion is engineered specifically for fine, sensitive hair, and will keep yours looking lightly texturized.
The Best Travel Hair Dryer for Thinning Hair
Conair 1875-watt travel hair dryer
We’ve got plenty of favorite hair dryers, but the best can get expensive. So, before investing in a top-of-the-line model (which is a good idea if you blow dry daily), start with Conair’s entry-level dryer, which also happens to be travel friendly. By blowing your hair dry, you give it extra volume. Similarly, the effectiveness of any product applied to clean, towel-dried hair will be magnified. This is best done with paste, not wax, because wax can't really be applied effectively to damp hair.
The Best Ionic Dryer for Thinning Hair
Gamma+ “Absolute Power” ionic hair dryer
If you’re no amateur at wielding a hair dryer—or if you’re serious about this volumizing + texturizing thing—then make an investment in this high-quality Gamma+ dryer. It’s ionic, which is to say it heats hair hair faster and safer, by drying it from the inside out. It does so without frying and damaging the strands and shine, which is especially worth the investment if you intend to grow your hair more than a couple inches. It has six different heat settings, as well as a “cold shot” button to lock in your hair product at the end of the process.
The Best Dry Shampoo Powder for Thinning Hair
Alder New York dry shampoo powder
If you hair doesn’t get oily quickly, you may not need to shampoo daily. (Just use your DHT-fighting conditioner daily in between washes and that should keep hair healthy.) On the days you don’t wash, you will want to give your rinsed and dried hair a little extra volume, which is where dry shampoo comes in: It soaks up any excess grease that has accumulated between washes and that otherwise hinders your hair’s stylability. The result is more volume, which makes your hair look fuller and thicker. It often comes as a texturizing spray, or is mixed into styler, as seen above with Hanz de Fuko and R+Co. In the case of Alder New York, it’s a sprinkle-on powder. Simply target the roots, give it a good mixing-in, and watch your hair rise to the occasion.
The Best Salt Spray for Thinning Hair
VERB sea salt spray
Similar to a dry shampoo powder, sea salt absorbs excess oil in the hair, thus plumping and texturizing it. Best of all, it imitates the beach day effect and gives you a carefree, lightweight, and touchable volume. Towel dry your hair and spritz some in before blow drying, or let it air dry for similar effects. Salt spray will only be effective for longer styles (2 inches or more). VERB’s spray is great because it also hydrates and fortifies the hair with natural extracts and proteins while also boosting volume.
The Best DHT-Fighting Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Hims DHT-reducing shampoo
We've gone on record we don’t fully buy into DHT-blocking shampoos. But that’s not to say we don’t recommend them over other shampoos, especially for guys with thinning hair. After all, Hims’ shampoo contains saw palmetto, which works to inhibit DHT’s presence around the hair follicle, and, well, that’s great. It’s just not an effective holistic solution to hair loss—but it is a smart tactic if you want to take 360-degree approach to the issue of hair loss. Still, we;d suggest shampooing, at most, every other day. This allows you to preserve the hair’s health, since shampoo can easily dry it all out. Plus, with the aforementioned dry shampoo options (including the stylers), there’s no shortage of oil-absorbing products that help volumize hair on the non-wash days.
The Best Thickening Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Jack Black thickening shampoo
One other approach to shampooing thin hair is to use a thickening wash, like Jack Black’s. They all use different methods for making hair to look and feel fuller, and in this instance, it’s a blend of creatine, proteins, and botanicals. You should notice a significant difference in fullness, post shampoo, when you run your hands through your hair. Plus, it’s sulfate free, so hairs don’t suffer from overdrying.
The Shampoo, Hair Paste, and Face Creams GQ Readers Can't Stop Buying
Originally Appeared on GQ