Does anything on the market actually give you thicker hair?
March 23, 2017 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I have fine, wavy/curly, thin hair, and I desperately want it to be thicker. Do any of the products, home remedies, or magic tricks on the market actually make hair thicker? I don't mean, "look thicker", I need there to actually be more hair on my head. Is there any hope?

I've always battled with my hair. It's very fine, and there's not much of it. My only saving grace is that because of my natural wave, it has a decent amount of body. But the older I get, the stringier and limper it gets. Even the tiniest rubberbands can go around my ponytail twice. It's really sad.

Recently, I (drunkenly) purchased some real hair clip-in extensions, and holy hell. When I put in even 2 or 3 of the 8 wefts that came in the set, it doubles the amount of hair on my head. They aren't longer than my hair, they just add so much glorious volume! And I get all the complements! I want this feeling all the time.

I have an amazing hair stylist, so I'm not looking for haircut suggestions. And I've tried probably every bodifying/thickening styling product out there. I eat ok, take a multi-vitamin, and limit my use of heated styling tools. What I am curious about is if there is anything in existence that would really and truly give me more hair. A vitamin supplement? Rogaine? A sacrifice to a voodoo priest? I'm desperate here.

Other notable info: my hair is very dark brown, it grows ridiculously fast, and I'm starting to see my first sparse greys. I don't *think* I'd be interested in actual hair extensions. My current style is bangs with hair a few inches past my shoulder. Kinda Zooey Deschanel, but with 1/4 the volume. It doesn't look thin at the roots (yet), but when it is down or in a ponytail, it looks very sad. Help!
posted by tryniti to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Try biotin. My hair has gotten noticeably thicker since I started taking it several years ago. I take10,000 mg a day. It will take awhile because you actually have to wait for a new batch of hair to grow in. My nails seem a little stronger too but not to the degree that my hair has improved.
posted by BoscosMom at 7:49 PM on March 23, 2017

Well, biotin helps hair grow faster. It won't create more follicles or make the strands thicker but thinness can be pronounced by a lot of broken hairs. Biotin helps my broken hairs grow out faster which does give the impression of more hair overall.

That said, if you haven't tried Oribe dry texturizing spray and used it the right way (watch YouTube demos) you might also give it a shot. Normally those tiny hair bands can go 3x around my ponytail and still be loose, but when I rub in some Oribe I can barely get the same band around twice.
posted by joan_holloway at 7:51 PM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

My understanding is that nothing can give you more hair follicles. But you can thicken or better maintain the hair you have.
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on March 23, 2017

One drawback to biotin (aka vitamin B7): you might want to avoid large doses of it if you have any tendancy to acne, as it tends to acerbate it in a lot of people.
posted by easily confused at 8:29 PM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

There isn't a lot out there that will actually put hair on your head, or thicken the hair you have. Rogaine kind of has the mechanism of action you're looking for—it causes miniaturizing hair to be replaced by thicker hair. But it's pretty annoying to apply and you have to keep using it, and if you're not seeing progressive loss I'm not sure quite what it would do. If I were going to use it without clear evidence of male- or female-pattern balding I would see a dermatologist (ideally someone who focuses on hair) first.

Can't speak for things that give the appearance of more hair.
posted by Polycarp at 8:31 PM on March 23, 2017

be careful of Rogaine. I'm pretty sure it's what caused me to swiftly gain back 20 lbs I'd worked torturously to lose (and have never managed to take off since despite going off it.) Weight gain is a known side effect.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:05 PM on March 23, 2017

Do any of the products, home remedies, or magic tricks on the market actually make hair thicker? I don't mean, "look thicker", I need there to actually be more hair on my head.

No, or there would be no rich guys with combovers. What the folks said above about Rogaine, but you're not going to turn into a Pantene commercial.
posted by AFABulous at 9:12 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

A really good shampoo makes a huge difference for me. My hair has much more volume (and a better texture) when I use Bumble & Bumble seaweed shampoo and conditioner.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:25 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

My bud has had issues with thinning hair and has since been pretty stoked about this Nioxin stuff.

I'm not entirely sure what it does, or how much $$ you're gonna have to cough up, but for her, it def made her feel happier and more confident.
posted by speakeasy at 10:57 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well you could ditch shampoo altogether. Some call it no-poo. There are a gazillion resources out there, many claim to have thicker hair as a result, and Crunchy Betty is giving it a go. My hair has much more body since I last used shampoo in 2014.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 10:58 PM on March 23, 2017

2nding good shampoo(and conditioner), and avoid over washing, as while dry hair can look puffier for a while, it will eventually get brittle and thin out even worse. High quality haircare that uses silicones instead of oils can do a lot to create a more full and refined hair texture and put your scalp in the right place to potentially grow more hair.

Biotin does absolutely work, and I took it daily while growing out my short, bleach-fried hair a few years ago. My hair is now down to my hips and while my natural curls never came back after my years of dye abuse, it has rethickened and I now only need to take biotin during winter months when my hair grows too slow for my liking. But yes, it will break you out something fierce if you are prone to it.

Also be aware that biotin can makes all your other body hair grow faster/thicker too. When I was taking high doses daily, I was barely able to keep up with the shaving. It was hilarious, but mostly worth it.

No poo is a good option as well if your hair is more on the oily side. Just be weary about it if you have more brittle hair, as things like baking soda washes can make your hair break off by changing the PH of your hair. No-poo that's done with a cleansing cream or tea tree oil wash is a pretty safe bet though.
posted by InkDrinker at 11:19 PM on March 23, 2017

Product-wise, note that thickening and volumizing mean different things. Shampoos that thicken do so by leaving deposits on your hair that adhere to each strand, giving each one a greater diameter. Volumizers work by creating more space between each strand to achieve a bigger overall look, usually with some sort of polymer or static-producing ingredient.

I don't know if you're open to color, but the color process gives a bit more volume by causing the hair shaft to swell up.

I can't think of any product that's going to give you the equivalent of extensions (I also have really thin fine hair, and have tried it all). So if you liked the extensions...maybe give professional extensions a try.
posted by Miko at 5:58 AM on March 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been using Rogaine daily for coming up on three years and I've never had any side effects, aside from a maddening crop of new baby hairs along my hairline.

I take biotin and prenatals, but I'm not totally convinced that it does anything.

I shed like a maniac if I don't wash my hair every other day. No-poo makes my scalp absolutely miserable and accelerates shedding.

My hair looks much, much thicker when I (a) use root spray/mousse/other styling products and (b) blow dry 80% of the way upside down, then round brush the rest of the way, with a professional-grade souped up hairdrier (I use, love and recommend a Parlux).

I have a very similar hair density and texture to you, and honestly the best you can do is protect what you have.
posted by nerdfish at 7:38 AM on March 24, 2017

I've been having a problem with my hair thinning as a result of medications and I have been using this Joan Rivers product to fill in where my pink scalp is showing. The only thing I don't like is that it has a fairly strong fragrance--it goes away (or I get used to it) fairly quickly, but I wish there was an unscented version.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:11 PM on March 24, 2017

I got hair extensions for volume, and I fucking love them. Worth every penny. I also changed a medication that was causing hair loss (ironically, my thyroid meds -- and low thyroid ALSO causes hair loss, so that's fun). But the extensions are amazing. If you love the look of clip-ins, why WOULDN'T you get professional extensions, if you can afford it?
posted by Countess Sandwich at 2:21 PM on March 24, 2017

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