Unfortunately, not every haircut will work on every hair type. What looks good on someone with thick hair might not be flattering on someone with fine hair. A cut that's specifically created for curly-haired people might be all wrong for those with stick-straight hair. It's all good, though. There's always a perfect match out there. It's about finding a haircut or style that ticks off all the boxes for you by working with your hair type, your face shape, and your maintenance preferences.
If you have fine hair, there are a couple of things you want to keep in mind when choosing a cut and when styling. Some hairstyles can really make your hair look limp or lifeless. You might think that short haircuts won't do if you have thin or fine hair because they could make your hair look even thinner or finer. However, that's totally not the case. I talked to some experts to get their tips on what to do if you have fine hair but want a shorter cut. Here are the hairstyles they recommend.
You can't go wrong with a classic bob. "It is lower maintenance because it also has a solid perimeter line with little to no layering," says Mark DeBolt, co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon. "It is easy to maintain and makes the hair appear very full and lush."
For curly hair, DeBolt recommends a round layered bob, saying it gives the hair a Flashdance kind of vibe. "The more modern curly cuts are rounder, embracing volume and shape," he adds. "This is also the perfect way for naturally curly hair to appear less 'triangular.' A modern mullet is a cool, daring shape for curly hair. This haircut frames the face, and the curls add softness. It is a great wash-and-wear style that has a ton of personality."
If you want to try something edgier, go for a blunt bob. "For fine hair, blunt cuts tend to make the hair look more dense," says Ammon Carver, chief artistic director at Ulta Beauty. "Even if you add textured styling (curls, waves), the blunt perimeter will keep the shape looking full and voluminous. If you aren't willing to commit to a bob, try a blunt fringe to add a densifying effect."
A pixie gives off chic French vibes, and it really works well for people with a wide range of hair types, including those with fine hair. "A pixie haircut truly embodies confidence," says Ryan Trygstad, co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon. "There is something so elegant and timeless about this look, too. We use Winona Ryder as a perfect reference."
Long Pixie Cut
"For fine hair, a longer pixie-style cut with sharp detailing around the ears and neckline will allow for voluminous styling, and the sharp details will call attention to your densest areas, creating the effect of fuller hair," explains Carver.
"I always like to recommend shaggy layers to my clients with thin hair, as they provide a lot of texture and volume, making their hair appear thicker," says hairstylist Sally Hershberger. "If they want to preserve some of their length, I like to create face frames for added volume while adding long layers for texture. People with curly, textured hair can still rock a shag. In fact, some of my favorite shag looks I've created have been on curly hair. I think the texture makes it look really cool and lived in."
Short, Tapered Cut
For those with curly or textured hair, Carver recommends short, tapered cuts. "Much like the pixie, this allows for volume in areas that want to fall flat and calls attention to your denser areas of hair," he says.
"A French bob is perfect for fine hair types because the haircut has a solid perimeter at the shorter chin length, allowing the finer texture to appear thicker and more voluminous," says DeBolt.
General Styling Tips for Fine Hair
There are some other tricks you can use to make your fine hair look more voluminous. Here are the dos and don'ts that all people with finer hair should know:
Avoid extreme layering and super-long hair: Carver says both of these will make the hair appear thinner. Instead of too many layers in the back of the head, Trygstad recommends asking for longer layers throughout the back to maintain weight and face-framing layers in the front.
Avoid longer cuts that are all one length: "People with fine hair should avoid having their hair all one length past the collarbone because it tends to carry added weight that makes hair look thinner than it actually is," Hershberger adds.
Use dry shampoo: "Shampoos are great for finer hair," DeBolt says. "A great trick is to apply dry shampoo before bed. It helps absorb excess oil while you are sleeping."
Don't overly straighten your hair: Hershberger recommends embracing your hair's natural curl and texture. "Waves and curls add texture, fullness, and body that can help veil thinning hair," she says.
Avoid using too much product: "For example, lightweight volumizer and setting spray are often enough without weighing down the hair. Heavy oils or creams can make the hair appear lifeless," Carver explains.
Avoid too much heat styling: "Finer hair is more prone to thermal styling damage," says Trygstad. "Also, avoid overdoing it with bleach. Seek out a colorist who is conservative with color or talks about coloring for the health of your hair. Be cautious with heat and turn the heat setting down to medium with curling wands/irons and flat irons."
Try diffuse drying: Carver says this is a great option for curly hair. "Clipping up the roots of the hair while you diffuse dry will allow for increased volume," he adds. "For other fine hair types, ceramic round brushes tend to offer shaping without too much tension that can overly flatten the hair."
Products for Fine Hair
"This gel is a weightless styling formula that adds fullness and texture," Carver says.
Hershberger uses her own mousse as a starting point for styling fine hair. The foam doesn't leave extra weight or a sticky finish.
"It absorbs oil in fine hair types and makes hair like the first-day fresh. It is such an innovative product," DeBolt says.
This sulfate-free shampoo doesn't strip your hair of moisture and makes your hair look so much fuller. It also contains follicle-stimulating ingredients like ginger, ginseng, and biotin to promote hair growth.
Trygstad recommends this shampoo and its conditioner counterpart: "It gives volume and separation at the root without making the hair feel dry. It also makes the hair very shiny!"
Carver says this mousse provides a robust foundation for the creation of bold or lived-in styles.
"It exfoliates the scalp and creates tremendous volume," DeBolt says. "I recommend using this scrub once a week. It removes impurities and is a must-have for fine hair types."
This product not only volumizes hair at its root, but it also contains nourishing ingredients to strengthen your strands.
Another mousse option, this one is alcohol-free and leaves your hair bouncy but not crunchy.
"It's a perfect root-lifting mousse for a Dallas-worthy blowout. It amplifies volume at the root and gives the hair a glamorous, bombshell blowout," Trygstad says.
"This spray provides light, fluffy texture that feels natural," Carver adds.
Formulated specifically for fine hair, this shampoo contains keratin, biotin, and chia-seed oil so you can avoid flat, limp strands.
Hershberger finishes her styling with this paste, which she says creates a full and perfectly imperfect styled look.
This product does exactly what its name suggests: It creates volume. Add this lightweight lotion to damp hair from roots to ends and blow-dry or diffuse.