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What are Some Hairstyles for Thick Hair?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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Thick hair can be tough to style and manage, because it tends to tangle more easily, and it can get very puffy when cut poorly. Before people with thick hair despair, some styles really only work with thick hair, so it has its advantages, too. There are a number of hairstyles for thick hair that can make it easier to handle and more attractive. People who have been having trouble managing their hair may also want to consider switching stylists to find someone who knows how to work with thick hair; individuals should look for a hairstylist who has a stylebook that includes examples for thick hair for the best results.

Several traits are true of most thick hair. As a general rule, the shorter the hairstyle, the puffier thick hair gets, so people with thick hair should stick with either extremely short or medium to long cuts. Very short cuts don't leave enough hair to get messy, and longer cuts keep the hair down with sheer weight. Thick hair also tends to have a lot of volume, so some of the best hairstyles focus on decreasing the volume.

Layers can be great in thick hair, as long as they are not too short at the top of the head. As a general rule, straight, blocky cuts do not look good with this type of hair, because they turn the hair into a wedge. Haircuts with more dynamism, such as tapered ends, layers, and asymmetrical cuts, often create more texture and the illusion of movement, making thick hair look less heavy. People with very curly hair might want to consider using a flat iron to reduce the volume, while those with extremely straight hair may want to think about a wave, which will give the hair more bounce.

Hairstyles for thick hair can also include color, as long as it is applied with care. Streaks of contrasting color are ideal, because they break up the appearance of the hair, making it seem less dense. All-over color treatments tend to make thick hair look almost like a wig, since the density and uniform color look very unnatural together. It is also entirely appropriate to play with streaks of bold color such as magenta, blue, or green, which can add some visual interest to thick hair.

Some hairstyles only really work on thick hair, and they give people with long, thick hair a chance to show it off. Many updos, for example, are most suitable for people with a lot of hair to play with, as the hair can be curled and styled around the updo. Ponytails tend to look best with thick hair, and thick-haired individuals usually have enough hair to create pigtails, if they want to create a slightly younger look. This hair is also well-suited to braiding, and there are a number of different types of braids, including fishtails and reverse French braids, that look stunning when a thick head of hair is involved.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon242565 — On Jan 24, 2012

My hair is very thick, long, and usually quite straight, except when it's very humid outside and it becomes a wavy, tangled mess. I find using kid's detangler helps to loosen my hair up so that I can do something with it.

I put my hair into all sorts of hair styles – I find French twists and braided buns work well for a finished look. A low sitting, loose chignon with some shorter hair close to my face to frame it looks good, too. Loose curls and pinned back loose hair also looks sexy. Just get your hair wet, brush some mousse through it, and wrap your hair around a pencil or marker and hold it for a little while – it comes out as a loose curl.

Some good hair clips to do your hair up with are those two prong hair pins, large barrettes, medium sized barrettes that you can use to put up only part of your hair with, and claws. Of course, having a large packet of bobby pins and non-stick hair elastics helps a lot, too.

One of my friends growing up had very thick, very curly hair. She used mousse and texturizing spray to get ringlets with a standard size curling iron. She would use bobby pins to get the ringlets where she wanted them.

My cousins who have really tight, kinky hair use hair oils (like Jasmine, Amla, or Jojoba) to help to loosen their hair. Again, kid's detangler also works wonders on their hair.

The important thing, no matter your hair type or length, is that you take good care of your hair (using low-chemical/natural shampoos, conditioners, and dyes; and eating healthy foods, especially those containing Vitamin E, Omega-3s, and beta-carotene, which help make your hair strong and soft).

Be confident and relaxed, and you're sure to look beautiful.

By anon234452 — On Dec 12, 2011

I have thick, straight hair. It goes down immediately. I want it to have more volume.

By anon221832 — On Oct 13, 2011

I have super thick hair that goes down to my shoulders. It's not super curly or perfectly wavy. It's a thick, frizzy, wavy mess. I can't curl it because all four curlers I have, have too big barrels or my hair is a little too short. I can never get it perfectly straight no matter what straightener I use or how many times I try. I can't afford all the expensive products either. anyone know any cheap home remedies for perfect hair.

By anon206305 — On Aug 16, 2011

me too. i have had this long thick curly hair so i cut it in layer and there is it appears to be a short thin curly hair which my friends admire each time i leave it down.

By anon171009 — On Apr 28, 2011

My hair is so thick and is so annoying! Every day, if i am going out anywhere i have got to straighten my hair. If i don't, my bangs will look horrible, going into my face with a split and my hair gets all wavy and messy looking. I am looking for a hairstyle where it can help my hair look better and I won't have to straighten it every day because it is annoying and it can damage my hair.

By anon159238 — On Mar 10, 2011

I don't know why everyone is complaining about thick hair, what you do is pretty simple... once it's dry *don't brush it*! I have really thick curly hair, so I wash it & brush it, let it naturally dry & then leave it. That way my hair just looks curly. I'm not sure about thick straight hair.

By anon144555 — On Jan 20, 2011

I have really thick hair that is short that i wear to the side and it always gets frizzy. please help me?

By anon139477 — On Jan 04, 2011

i have thick hair and i need some help how to grow out long hair on thick hair?

By anon129042 — On Nov 22, 2010

Oh, my hair. It's so thick at the top of my head and at the bottom its thin. I straighten my hair nearly every day so it's really damaged and now it grows super slowly. I don't want to cut it because I look bad with short hair.

I can't wear my hair out (even when it's straightened) because it's all poofy at the top and i look like an idiot. also, i have to use heaps of bobby pins. I just wish it were thin and straight and that I could wear it out without bobby pins or anything. it stresses me out, it's really breakable too. I've never seen someone else with such thick hair at the top of their head. argh.

By anon124668 — On Nov 06, 2010

I have curly hair, and i love it. i have been told my whole life it is pretty and now i believe it. i use a silicon based product in my hair. it doesn't tangle so much then, and it is easier to manage.

Try Wen by chaz dean. i have used it for about two years now, and my hair is definitely more manageable. i wash my hair with it then while it is drying i put a little on, and some silicone product and brush it true. i am only 15 and i know how hard it is to have curly hair and everyone to say it is ugly, but you have to believe yourself your hair is pretty.

By anon112742 — On Sep 21, 2010

I am a girl with long, thick, sandy(strawberry blondish) naturally straight bland hair. I don't usually style my hair, or curl it.

Clips do nothing for me because they fall out, too thick to throw up in a bun, so i usually keep it tied in a plain pony tail. I don't want to try shorter cuts, although i am thinking it should be shorter than it is now(it's about half way down my back) because i feel i might be able to do more with it, if it was actually shorter with less hair to worry about.

Anyway, what would look best with my hair? I am so picky about it.

By anon109781 — On Sep 09, 2010

i am a girl. i have medium length, voluminous, frizzy, curly hair. Could anyone recommend a haircut so the volume can be reduced so it tapers towards the hair ends?

By anon108644 — On Sep 03, 2010

I hate my ugly, frizzy, thick hair! I wish I had straight hair like my friends, who also hate my hair!

By anon105773 — On Aug 22, 2010

Its all about the straightener you use. I spent $120 on one, it didn't tame the thickness and humidity was just a nightmare. Went to walmart, bought one for $30 and my hair doesn't pouf up when its humid outside. I got long layers for my cut, about a five inch spread and I keep my hair long. I've always hated my hair, but once I learned what to do with it, I wouldn't trade it

By anon104568 — On Aug 17, 2010

You can get a chemical for curly hair, like a perm, but it keeps it straight for ages. One of my friends did it and now her hair has been straight for at least a year. Also, you could try Moroccan Argan Oil, it makes it really soft and it's helped to stop making it frizzy. Good luck.

By anon104475 — On Aug 16, 2010

If you have really thick hair try maybe layering your hair or getting it cut shorter. I have extremely thick hair and i layered it so now it is manageable! hope this works!

By anon102596 — On Aug 08, 2010

I have very thick curly hair. When i straighten it, it just goes back curly when the sun is out and whenever it is humid outside. I spend hours doing my hair. Is there any way I can fix that?

By anon102400 — On Aug 07, 2010

I have very thick hair but when I got it cut short I didn't know, so now my hair is short, thick and curly. It inflates to twice its size in very little humidity and I don't want to damage my hair with too much straitening.

I don't have the money to keep going to the hairdressers to keep it short and it grows so fast! Gel or wax never worked to style it because it is too heavy, even short so now I'm bored with the flat style. Any help?

By anon101394 — On Aug 03, 2010

i have really thick hair and i want to cut it short. last time i had it cut short it puffed up and made me look so stupid. my friends still laugh at the photos. does anyone have any hairstyles for short hair which work on thick hair!

By anon89100 — On Jun 08, 2010

i have thick short hair and i can't do anything to it without gel but even then it looks ugly. please someone help. it puts me through so much stress.

By anon87826 — On Jun 01, 2010

Thick hair does not necessarily have a lot of volume! Mine has none and I've tried everything. Help! What should I do? I'm tired of my flat unsexy hair!

By anon77957 — On Apr 16, 2010

i have medium length thick hair that has been straightened. i want to style it as a pixie cut. is this possible with my original wavy hair?

By anon76694 — On Apr 11, 2010

i have very thick hair. i have no idea what to do with it. sometimes i just put it in a pony tail but i want something new. any ideas, anyone?

By anon70527 — On Mar 14, 2010

I have very thick hair. i want layers but i am not sure how to get the layers?

By anon65379 — On Feb 12, 2010

I have long thick hair (to my waist). I've never had it styled and wanted some ideas on how to style it. It seems a lot of people have layered hair and a side bang but I want something new and not what everyone else has. So, any ideas?

By anon65242 — On Feb 11, 2010

I have thick hair but its also naturally straight! So one style i like to do is braids! If you do braids, a good time to do it is when you get out of the shower because you can get it nice and tight!

By anon63112 — On Jan 30, 2010

Just like a lot of other people here, i have very very thick hair. it's long (down to my waist) but i can't keep it that long anymore. it's way too heavy and gets tangled extremely easily. also it's frizzy 90 percent of the time.

i have my hair in layers, but am tired of getting it cut in layers. i want to try something new and different and that helps me take care of my hair more easily, but with the way my hair is i have no idea. any suggestions?

By anon57186 — On Dec 20, 2009

To get hair straighter without heat (flat irons, blow dryers, etc.), comb your hair after washing it when it's drying. i know it won't get your hair how you want it but if you're trying to avoid damage, it's good to try.

By anon54416 — On Nov 30, 2009

my hair is really thick and curly and i'm trying to grow it but it seems like its taking forever!

for christmas my sister is getting me some real hair extensions so my hair will look long. is that a good idea? and do you have any tips for what hairstyle i should have or how i could make it look thinner?

i use GHDs all the time to straighten my finger but hardly ever do all of my hair because it takes too long. Thanks.

By anon53925 — On Nov 25, 2009

My hair is really thick, and people tell me to leave it and let it grow longer, but it gets too heavy. My hair is shoulder length right now.

Because of the thickness i keep my hair in a ponytail literally 24 hours a day. I would straighten it, but it just takes too long. Any other way to keep it straight without spending hours with the straight iron?

By anon51982 — On Nov 10, 2009

for straight thick hair pour milk, about 1/2 cup, on your hair. leave in for 30 minutes and wash out regularly. Shampoo and condition your hair regularly. then air dry your hair or towel dry it.

When it's completely dry use a flat iron and its straightness will last about a week. keep using the milk as you wash.

By anon48995 — On Oct 16, 2009

i'm a kid and i have very thick hair. i got layers but it just got thicker, then i stopped getting layers. my hair is shoulder length. i really want to get my hair straight without using a flat iron or a blow dryer! Tips?

By anon47856 — On Oct 07, 2009

some stores actually sell barrettes made for thick hair.

By anon38966 — On Jul 29, 2009

i have very thick hair also. i usually straighten it which thins it out a bit, and then if i want it curled you can't use a hot iron. what you do is shower, put braids about two inches thick around your head. when you wake up, blow dry the braids for a minute or so and then take them out. it will give the crimped look.

By DocZ — On Jun 23, 2009

I have very thick hair, and I just can't keep it long - it's too heavy! A bigger problem for me is that I can only use most barrettes as decoration - not to actually hold up my hair, because they just fall out. I'd love some recommendations on what type of hair barrettes or clips work well with thick hair.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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