The days of thick, full hair á la shampoo commercials may feel like they're long gone as we grow older — but it doesn't have to be that way. Below, a couple of experts answer your most pressing questions on achieving fuller, thicker hair starting with: Is it even possible to get fuller hair? (Spoiler alert: It can be!)
Keep reading to learn the answers, plus get expert-approved tricks for making your hair look and feel thicker and fuller.
First off, can thin hair become thick again?
The short answer is: It depends. According to Dr. Sanusi Umar, CEO and Medical Director of Dr. U Hair and Skin Clinic, whether thin hair can become thick depends on the state of the individual's hair follicles, genetics and overall health. "If your follicles are already in a moderate or advanced state of decline, due to conditions like androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata, they would not be able to do a good job at producing new hair strands," he tells Lively. "However, it is certainly possible to improve the condition of your hair follicles so that they can once again grow hair normally as before. This may help to improve the hair's thickness."
That said, everyone's situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for thickening hair. For example, no treatment will create thick hair for people who are genetically born with thin hair. In other instances, Dr. Umar adds: "Thin hair may be caused by health imbalances like physiological stress (i.e. telogen effluvium). The hair follicles (in any case) must be able to produce new hair. If this is so, it may be possible to restore normal growth and hair thickness." Again, itis possible to get thicker, fuller hair, but it depends on the individual's hair follicles, genetics and overall health – factors that vary from person to person.
How can I get thicker hair naturally?
Give your hair follicles some TLC. The key to improving your hair's thickness and fullness is considering your hair follicles' physiological health. "Think of them as the tiny organs which actually produce and construct your hair strands," Dr. Umar says of hair follicles. For this, Carol Thomas, a licensed cosmetologist and Founder of Just Because Hair Salon, recommends starting with some good scalp care, which can include cleaning with a gentle cleansing shampoo, using a daily leave-in conditioner, and giving your scalp regular massages to help stimulate hair growth.
Use natural botanicals. "Research is finding that it is certainly possible to use natural botanicals to exert some degree of control over improving the health and functioning of your hair follicles," Dr. Umar tells Lively. He also advises not to just go for products with the word natural on the label. "Look to see if there are actual research studies which can help support the effectiveness of these ingredients." In other words, do your research before taking any natural botanicals that claim to thicken hair.
Does biotin thicken hair?
Speaking of natural botanicals, biotin is one that's said to help make hair thicker and fuller. "Biotin is a B vitamin that is needed in the diet to help with hair growth," says Thomas. However, biotin doesn't work directly on the hair follicles. Instead, it helps to improve the body's overall health and wellness.
"Biotin is used by our body, along with other nutrients to maintain the healthy functioning of our metabolic processes (i.e. how we convert food to energy food)," Dr. Umar says. "The cells that comprise our hair follicles also benefit as well." However, biotin is just one of the many vitamins and nutrients that hair follicles need to function at their best and help improve hair's appearance.
How can I make my hair grow super fast?
Hair growth is different for everyone. Dr. Umar says how quickly your hair can grow will depend on your hair follicles' health and how well they can produce new hair strands and be influenced by other facts such as genetics, diet, nutrition and pre-existing conditions. The same goes for the question: How can I get thick hair in a month? It depends. Here are some expert-backed tips to stimulate hair growth:
Keep your scalp happy. Like previously mentioned, keeping your scalp clean and healthy is essential. So, anything you can do to step up your scalp care is a step towards hair growth.
Eat healthy. What you eat also affects your hair. Dr. Umar recommends a wholesome, well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet. Your hair will thank you.
Avoid tight hairstyles. As cool as tightly pulled back hairstyles look, Dr. Umar recommends avoiding them as much as possible if you want to grow your hair fast. We're talking styles like tight ponytails, buns and braids.
Address pre-existing conditions first. Pre-existing conditions also affect hair growth, so it's essential to address those first. "These would include thyroid imbalances, androgenic alopecia and immune system disorders," says Dr. Umar.
Do product research. "Although this may sound like a boring tip, it would be worth your while to first see if there are any research studies, real-life video testimonials of actual customers which support the effectiveness of their ingredients," shares Dr. Umar.
Set realistic expectations. Remember that everyone's hair is different. If you use topical products or supplements to improve hair growth, Dr. Umar advises setting realistic expectations for yourself around whether or not the products will work and how long it will take for you to see results. "Due to factors like ingredient selection, processing, etc., they may or may not work equally well (or at all) for everyone," he says.