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Best Styles for Thinning Hair


Best Styles for Thinning Hair

I’ve been a hairstylist for 48 years and have been honored with the most prestigious awards in my industry. I've made numerous appearances on national television as a makeover expert and worked with many celebrity A-listers. One of the most challenging aspects of my career has been dealing with clients suffering with hair loss. Challenging, due to the fact it could be difficult to come up with answers as to “why” they are losing hair.  There are so many variants and narrowing down the variables to get the correct answer can be a frustrating process. 

We typically shed 50 to 100 hairs per day, believe it or not. It’s not so noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same time. The problems start when you start to notice more frequent shedding and a more noticeable appearance of your scalp in certain areas. The affects our hair appearance has on our mood or how we feel about ourselves could be devastating. It affects our self confidence and makes us self conscious. I cannot tell you how many women have sat in my chair over the years with tears in their eyes telling me how they are afraid to brush their hair due to the fact they are seeing so much of their hair in their brush and more hair in their drain. They are frustrated and lamenting over the hair they once had.

I normally run down my check list with these clients to narrow down the possible cause, from things like:

  • Medications
  • Medical conditions like thyroid, pregnancy, scalp infections, recent Xrays or chemotherapy, menopause, diabetes
  • Excessive follicle tension from tight ponytails
  • Significant weight loss
  • Poor nutrition
  • Heredity
  • STRESS…and with the current pandemic I am seeing much more of this.

Whatever the cause, my job at hand is not to diagnose but to recommend, and beyond recommending the client to seek medical attention I can certainly cut and style their hair to minimize the appearance of thinning hair. Thinning, fine hair is most visible on the top of the head, crown, recession areas and front hairline. My first recommendation is to stop drawing attention to these areas. For example, stop styling your hair away from your face, exposing the scalp and thinning areas. Next, try to work with the texture you were born with! Ask your stylist to recommend styles that need little maintenance as far as blow drying or hot tools. Excessive heat from styling tools, pulling and stretching the hair will work against you. There are styles to suit every texture, start to explore them online!

Now let’s explore the possibilities at every length…

Long Hair
If you are dead set on still wearing your hair long, I highly recommend not going any longer than shoulder length.

Wearing your hair below your shoulders adds weight to the follicle and causes the hair to separate, thereby exposing more of the scalp. Consider adding layers and face framing (shorter around your face) as the layers will lighten the hair without sacrificing the length, allowing it to appear more voluminous.

If you are a woman and you can see your recession area and front hairline have thinned significantly, do not tie your hair in a ponytail, thereby exposing this area, if you are sensitive about it. If you still want to wear a ponytail, consider cutting a bang.

If you are a woman and you can see your recession area and front hairline have thinned significantly, do not tie your hair in a ponytail, thereby exposing this area, if you are sensitive about it. If you still want to wear a ponytail, consider cutting a bang.

ALSO - never ever tie your hair back when it is wet or damp! This will snap and weaken the hair. If you insist on making a ponytail when it is wet, consider a loose braid instead, secured only at the bottom of the braid.

Mid Length Hair
Mid length & bob length hair (typically clears your shoulders when you swing your head from side to side) are suitable for thinning hair. It’s particularly good if you really don’t want to go to a shorter length. If you want a bob length and no layers, this is ok for a very classic look, but you will not get a lot of volume.

 There are SO many options for mid and bob lengths that you can discuss with your stylist, from layered graduated styles and wavy to curly textures.

Short Hair

Shorter haircuts are the best to disguise thinning hair for men and women. Once again, styling the hair correctly is key for shorter layers and cuts.

If you already have a short layered haircut, consider styling it more forward and toward your face, and whether you are a man or woman, tousling it a bit to the side and forward is a sexy, current look!
Photo Credit: Mary Burnetti

For Men

Keep it short around the sides and back, maybe having the sides and back cut with a clipper, and on top try some short choppy layers on top that you can mess up a bit with a light pomade for a current look. (use sparingly)

As far as styling products go, the less you use the better as most could weigh your hair down, especially if you use too much. A good root lift product and even mousse work well…ask your stylist to recommend what they think is best. 

Lighten Up!


You may want to consider going lighter with your colour as darker colours tend to reveal more scalp.

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