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Thin, wavy hair can be a challenge to deal with. It’s not straight enough to carry off a sleek bob and not full enough to go for the tousled, sexy bed-head look. Salon treatments like coloring, perming or straightening can make your hair shafts appear thicker, but thin hair tends to be fragile and harsh chemical treatments can be damaging. Styling thin hair takes a little ingenuity, but it doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune on expensive products or hours in front of the mirror.

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Get a haircut that makes the most of your thin, wavy hair. A shorter length usually looks fuller, and scissor tricks like layering, razor cutting and jagged edges can also add to the illusion of volume. A cut that flatters your face and suits your lifestyle can hide a lot, so work with your hair instead of fighting it.

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Wash your hair with volumizing shampoo. Massage the shampoo into your scalp to stimulate your follicles and remove any hair product or oil that might have built up. Rinse your hair with warm water.

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Apply a quarter-sized dollop of volumizing conditioner to your palm. Rub your hands together and smooth the conditioner through the length of your hair, avoiding your scalp. Rinse the conditioner out with the coolest water you can stand, to add shine.

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Towel dry your hair by squeezing and blotting out the excess water. Don’t rub your hair, as thin hair can be prone to breakage. Smooth out any tangles with a wide-toothed comb, working in small sections. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

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Use a root lifter and spray wax to add volume to your hair without subjecting it to harsh chemicals. Wavy, thin hair can be coaxed into curls with a round brush and a blow dryer on its lowest setting, which is less damaging to thin hair than hot rollers.


Use clip-in extensions for special occasions or for everyday wear.


Avoid using hot oil treatments or other deep conditioners anywhere except the very ends of thin, wavy hair because they can weigh hair down and make it seem thinner.

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About the Author

Brynne Chandler

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.