Thick hair is considered a marker of beauty and health, however, hair loss and thinning are major issues for many people. Along with factors outside of an individual’s control such as genetically inherited thin hair, other issues that make the problem worse include:
- Stress (physical and emotional)
- Nutrient deficiency
- Allergic reactions
- Hormone imbalance
- Bad hair care practices
- Using the wrong hair products
The good news is that thin hair can be improved without resorting to expensive products and treatments. Instead, use the following home remedies to increase hair thickness and volume naturally.
Home Remedies for Thicker & Fuller Hair
- Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties that increase hair growth rate and promote a healthy scalp when used externally and internally.
- Combine a tablespoon of Indian gooseberry and two tablespoons of coconut oil before boiling the mixture and straining the oil.
- Apply the oil to the scalp and leave it in overnight.
- Wash hair normally the following day.
Repeat weekly for thicker, healthier hair.
- Combine half a cup of Indian gooseberry powder with a quarter cup of warm water and allow it to steep for ten minutes.
- Apply the resulting paste to the hair and scalp and leave it on for twenty minutes before rinsing with clean water. Wait several hours before shampooing hair.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil adds softness, strength and body to hair strands.
- Massage the scalp and hair with warmed olive oil. Let the oil sit for up to forty five minutes before washing it out with a gentle shampoo (or leave the oil in overnight and wash the hair the following day).
- Combine olive oil and honey before massaging it throughout the hair and scalp. Rinse hair thoroughly after half an hour.
Do each treatment weekly.
The high vitamin E level in avocado fruit improves the health and thickness of hair while adding body and moisture to each shaft.
- Combine one avocado (mashed) with a tablespoon of olive oil and a banana (mashed). Massage the mixture into the scalp and let it sit for half an hour for full absorption. Wash the mixture from the hair completely using shampoo and water.
- Combine half of an avocado (mashed) with two tablespoons of wheat germ oil to make a mask that hydrates hair strands. Apply the mask and let it sit for 20 minutes before washing hair with shampoo and water.
Do either treatment once weekly.
- Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds promote thick hair growth while minimizing hair loss.
- Add two to three tablespoons of fenugreek seeds to a bowl of water and leave them to soak for at least eight hours.
- Mash the soaked seeds into a smooth paste (optional: add two teaspoons of coconut milk).
- Massage the paste into the scalp and let it sit for thirty minutes.
- Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water.
- Rinse hair with the water left back from soaking the fenugreek seeds to encourage healthy hair growth from the scalp.
Repeat each treatment weekly for best results.
Egg protein treatments are effective for strengthening and thickening hair.
- On wet hair, apply one or two beaten eggs. After thirty minutes, wash the hair with shampoo and warm water. Use this remedy once or twice a week for best results.
- Beat an egg yolk and add one tablespoon of hair oil (any kind) and two tablespoons of water. Massage the scalp vigorously with the mixture. Use this treatment once a week before shampooing hair.
- Castor Oil
Castor oil promotes hair thickness and growth while preventing hair loss due to its high vitamin E and fatty acid content.
- Combine equal parts of castor and coconut oils.
- Apply the mixture to hair and scalp, and using circular motions, massage it in deeply.
- Use a comb to distribute the oils throughout the hair before covering it with a warm towel.
- Let the oils penetrate the hair for a minimum of one hour before shampooing.
Use this treatment once weekly for thicker hair.
The high sulfur level in onions (red and shallot) make them an effective treatment for thickening hair and faster hair growth. Along with boosting scalp circulation and collagen production, sulfur helps to increase the size of hair follicle pores.
- Extract the juice of two to three red onions or shallots.
- Apply the juice to the scalp and leave it on for up to 20 minutes.
- Wash hair thoroughly with shampoo and water.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera helps to thicken hair while moisturizing and restoring proper pH balance when used externally or taken as a supplement (one tablespoon of aloe juice daily).
- Scrap the gel from one to two aloe leaves.
- Rub the gel into the scalp and let sit for up to 30 minutes.
- Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water.
- Combine freshly extracted aloe gel with two teaspoons of coconut milk.
- Apply the mixture to the scalp and leave it on for thirty minutes before shampooing the hair.
Repeat each treatment twice weekly for best results.
- Henna Leaves
Henna thickens, strengthens and softens hair while giving it a rich natural color.
- Make a smooth paste by grinding a few fresh henna leaves with water using a mortar and pestle. Let the mixture sit for two hours.
- Apply the henna to the hair and cover with a plastic cap.
- Process for several hours before washing hair thoroughly with shampoo and water.
- Combine henna powder and water (or green tea) to make a yogurt-like paste. Let the mixture sit overnight.
- Add a raw egg and two teaspoons of lemon juice to the henna and yogurt mixture.
- Apply the entire mixture to the hair and let it dry completely.
- Wash hair thoroughly with water and shampoo.
Warning: Avoid unwanted staining by using gloves and a hair brush to prepare and apply henna.
Honey contains vitamins and minerals that nourish hair and while increasing its thickness and volume.
- Combine one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of dried sage, a half tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil) and half a cup of water.
- Apply the mixture to the hair and scalp, massaging it in for five minutes.
- After thirty minutes, rinse hair complete with shampoo and water.
- Add honey and yogurt (use buttermilk for oily hair) to warmed coconut or olive oil.
- Apply the mixture to clean damp hair and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing clean with water.
Repeat either treatment once weekly.
- Orange Juice
Juice from oranges promotes healthy and thicker hair growth while removing dandruff from the scalp.
- Apply the juice and pulp of one orange to the hair and let it sit for twenty minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly.
- Combine equal parts of orange juice, apple juice and olive oil and apply the mixture to the hair.
- Leave it on for up to 30 minutes before rinsing hair thoroughly with water.
Do either treatment once weekly for best results.
The omega-3 fatty acid and protein content of flaxseeds naturally enhance hair thickness when used externally or taken as a supplement (eating ground flaxseeds). Flaxseeds are particularly useful for individuals with wavy or curly hair types.
- Add a quarter cup of flaxseeds to a bowl of water and let them soak overnight.
- Boil the flaxseeds in two cups of water until it gets thick and resembles a gel (it will foam as well).
- Strain the gel and add two to three drops of essential oils to it.
- Let the gel cool completely before applying it to hair as a styling aid.
The herb licorice (popular in ancient Egypt) helps hair to grow thicker and healthier by opening scalp pores to facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
- Combine two tablespoons of licorice powder with a pinch of saffron and four tablespoons of milk.
- Apply the mixture to all bald patches and thinning areas of the scalp and leave it on overnight.
- Rinse scalp and hair thoroughly with clean water.
- Hibiscus Mask
A hibiscus mask strengthen hairs and stops hair loss while keeping hair soft and shiny.
- Using a mortar and pestle, combine a handful of hibiscus leaves and curry leaves with enough water to make a smooth paste.
- Distribute oil (Amla, coconut or other essential oil) evenly throughout hair from roots to tips.
- Apply the hibiscus mask to the hair and leave it in for thirty minutes.
- Wash hair thoroughly with water and a gentle shampoo.
Repeat once or twice a week for three to four weeks for maximum hair thickening.
Black peppercorn (typically used in Ayurvedic medicine) improves and thickens hair texture while making the hair feel softer and more voluminous.
- Combine two teaspoon of peppercorn with half a cup of lime juice to make a paste.
- Apply the paste to the entire scalp and let sit for thirty minutes with a warm towel wrapped around the head.
- Rinse hair thoroughly with clean water and a gentle shampoo.
Oils for Thicker Hair
- Essential Oils For Thicker Hair
Many essential oils, which include rosemary, jojoba, cedarwood, almond and lavender, among others, help to promote thick healthy hair by stimulating scalp circulation and treat conditions such as alopecia.
- Combine a teaspoon of grapeseed oil, half a teaspoon of jojoba oil, three drops of rosemary oil and three drops of lavender oil, two drops of cedarwood oil and two drops of thyme oil.
- Massage the scalp thoroughly with the mixture before leaving it in the hair overnight.
- Rinse oils from hair thoroughly using clean water.
Here are some additional ways to use essential oils to thicken hair:
- Massage approximately fifteen drops of oil into the scalp. Use fingers to distribute it throughout hair strands.
- Combine three to five drops of essential oils to shampoo and conditioner before washing hair.
- Add five to ten drops of essential oil to a carrier such as castor, olive or sunflower oil before doing a deep conditioning oil treatment.
- Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil promotes hair growth and thickness by stimulating hair follicles and increasing circulation to the scalp, while also nourishing and strengthening hair strands.
- Massage jojoba oil into the scalp thoroughly and leave it in overnight.
- Wash the oil out of the hair completely using a gentle shampoo and water.
Repeat two to three times each week for up to a month for best results.
- Sage Oil
Sage oil encourages hair growth and thickness while combatting hair loss and thinning when combined with apple cider vinegar and essential oils.
- Mix equal parts of sage oil and apple cider vinegar or rosemary oil before massaging it into the scalp thoroughly. Let the mixture sit on the scalp overnight.
- Rinse the oils out of the hair and scalp using a gentle shampoo and water.
Use this treatment two to three times weekly for three to four weeks to see an improvement in hair thickness.
- Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil (a staple in Middle Eastern countries) helps to increase circulation in the body by widening blood vessels, which boosts hair growth and thickness. Made by distilling the plant, rosemary oil is a potent tonic for hair growth when added to shampoos and conditioners or massaged into the scalp with other essential oils.
- Mix equal parts of rosemary oil with tea tree or olive oil before applying the mixture directly to the scalp. Let it sit overnight.
- Wash the oil away with a gentle shampoo and water.
Repeat two or three times weekly for three to four weeks for maximum results.
- Coconut Oil
Massaging the scalp with warm virgin coconut oil helps to thicken hair by increasing scalp circulation and opening up the follicles of each strand to absorb the protein and other nutrients contained in the oil.
- Warm coconut oil slightly before massaging it deeply into the scalp using circular motions.
- Cover the head with a warm towel and let the oil sit for half an hour.
- Rinse the coconut oil out of the hair with water and a gentle shampoo.
Repeat weekly for best results.
- Vitamin E Oil
The high antioxidant content of vitamin E oil make it one of the best for thickening hair. It does this by boosting oxygen levels in the body while increasing scalp circulation.
- Apply vitamin E oil directly to the scalp and massage it in thoroughly. Let it sit overnight before rinsing the oil out of the hair with a gentle shampoo and lots of water.
Repeat weekly for best results.
Foods for Thicker Hair
Consuming a balanced and healthy diet filled with vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin B and iron) is essential for growing thick healthy hair and preventing hair loss. In fact, many cases of hair loss and thinning can be traced back to nutritional deficiencies.
Along with eating the right foods, it is important to avoid consuming junk (processed) foods and other health harming substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and sodas.
Healthy sources of essential nutrients for the hair and scalp include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids found in specific foods such as:
- Proteins: Protein rich foods are essential for healthy hair growth and keratin production that thicken hair strands while also making them glossy and smooth. Include foods such as chicken, eggs, kidney beans, tofu and soybeans among others.
- Green Vegetables: Green veggies are rich in iron, which enhances hair growth and thickness and should be eaten daily for best results.
- Whey protein: A daily scoop of whey helps to insure the protein intake necessary for the body to produce hair-strengthening keratin.
- Red meat: Iron-deficiency anemia is a leading cause of thinning hair. Adding lean red meat to one meal a week provides protein and iron, which are essential for healthy thick hair growth.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that decrease stress (which contributes to hair thinning and loss) caused by free radical damage in the body.
- Almonds: Almonds add protein to the diet which promotes hair health, and magnesium which lowers the stress that can lead to hair loss. Other rich sources of magnesium include soybeans, cacao nibs and leafy greens.
- Beer: Beer provides high levels of silicon, which is a mineral that keeps the scalp healthy (increases circulation) while supporting hair growth. The recommended intake of beer is one to two servings daily for women and men respectively.
- Oysters: Oysters contain high levels of zinc (more than any other food), which helps the body synthesize proteins for hair growth. Nutritional alternatives to oysters include baked beans, poultry, beef and fortified cereal.
- Milk: Milk contains nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, which help to prevent hair loss while promoting healthy hair.
- Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of protein, biotin and vitamin D, which aid in the formation of keratin while strengthening hair.
- Salmon: Adding salmon to the diet provides protein, omega-3 fatty acids and biotin which promotes hair and scalp health.
- Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts provide a trace element known as selenium (which protects against oxidative stress) that combats sparse hair growth. Eating between six and eight Brazil nuts daily provides 800% of the daily recommended value of this nutrient.
Vitamins & Minerals for Thicker Hair
- Vitamin E: Consuming vitamin E daily promotes strong and healthy hair growth and blood circulation through the capillary function of the scalp.
- Food sources: Tofu, soybean oil, sunflower oil and cereals.
- Vitamin B: Vitamin B increases scalp circulation and boosts the hemoglobin production of blood. This makes hair thicker, stronger and healthier while reducing the amount that sheds.
- Food sources: Beans, fish, oatmeal, chicken, banana, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and brown rice.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A encourages hair growth, however consuming too much can lead to severe hair loss. Supplementing effectively with vitamin A noticeably increases hair thickness.
- Food sources: Mango, carrot, prunes, oranges and papaya.
- Iron: Consuming the recommended amount of iron promotes healthy and thick hair growth.
- Food sources: Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables and iron-enriched grain products.
Dermatologists and hair experts also suggest supplementing with biotin, fish oil, marine protein and amino acids for strong and thick hair growth.
Care and Styling Tips for Thicker Hair
- Avoid Chemicals and Pollutants: Choose organic shampoos, conditioner and hair styling products instead of those containing chemicals. Protect hair from chlorine by wearing a swim cap in treated pools and from general pollution by covering hair with a scarf or hat while outside.
- Choose the Right Shampoo: Avoid shampoos that contain harsh ingredients such as sulfates. Look for sulfate-free and herbal formulations that clean hair effectively without damaging follicles.
- Wash and Condition Hair Properly: Avoid shampooing and conditioning on a daily basis, which can weaken and thin the hair. Aim for washing two to three times a week for normal hair and three to four times weekly for hair that is oily.
- Use Gentle Styling Methods: Reduce hair loss, thinning and shedding by treating hair gently during general care and styling.
- Instead of brushes, utilize wide-toothed combs and take time to remove tangles carefully.
- Avoid aggressively massaging shampoo or conditioner into the hair and rubbing wet hair with a towel.
- Do not use tight hairstyles such as braids and weaves, which can lead to thinning, hair loss and, in extreme cases, traction alopecia.
- Avoid Heat Styling Tools: Avoid using direct heat styling tools such as curling irons, ceramic irons and blow dryers, which weaken hair cuticles, eventually leading to thin brittle hair.
- Stay Natural: Keep hair as close to its natural state (color and texture) as possible for maximum thickness. Do not use chemicals, dyes and highlights that can lead to damage, breakage and thinning.
- Use Volume Boosting Styling Techniques: Make hair appear thicker by using volumizing techniques.
- Use volumizing shampoo to add fullness to thin hair.
- Only apply conditioner to the lower half of hair. This keeps it from weighing roots down, which makes the hair appear thinner.
- Boost hair fullness with volumizing sprays and roots lifters that give the illusion of thicker, healthier hair.
- Cut Hair Regularly: Removing thin, dry and lifeless hair ends makes the hair appear much thicker, as well as blunt cut styles.
- Manage Stress Levels: Stress is a leading cause of hair loss and thinning that happens when hormones such as cortisol flood the body. Reduce stress levels by adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting proper nutrition through diet and supplements. Once stress is controlled, hair stops falling out and eventually regains its thickness.
- Use Hair Extensions: Adding extensions that match natural hair texture helps it to appear fuller and thicker than it actually is. Hair extensions can be very expensive, however clip-ins, which are a very affordable option, are effective for boosting fullness. Consult a professional hair stylist for more information about using hair extensions for thickness.
- Stimulate The Scalp: Using the fingertips to give scalp massages helps to thicken hair by increasing circulation to the scalp, while stimulating follicles in the process. Massage the scalp regularly using small circular motions for maximum effectiveness. Integrate eucalyptus or peppermint oils to further enhance the hair-thickening effect.
- Use Instant Hair Thickeners: Instant hair thickeners are creams and sprays that color the scalp and give the illusion of thicker and fuller hair. Another temporary solution to hair thinning is Nanogen (a microscopic keratin fiber), which attaches to hair making it look thicker until it is washed away.
- Check Medications: Review medications (such as birth control pills) with a medical professional to ensure that it is not causing hair loss and thinning. Hormonal changes as a result of taking medication can contribute to problems with thinning hair.
Treatments for Thicker Hair
- Hair Transplant
A hair transplant (also known as hair plugs) is a surgical procedure, usually performed in a doctor’s office, in which hair is inserted into parts of the scalp that are thin or balding. While the majority of hair transplant patrons are men, women who suffer with thinning hair also receive hair plugs after a consultation to confirm that the treatment is appropriate.
- OTC Hair Growth Products
There are many over-the-counter products formulated specifically for people dealing with hair loss and thinning such as follicle-stimulating shampoos and conditioners.
Before regular use, and to get optimal results, it is important to research over-the-counter hair growth products carefully, follow the directions exactly as given and perform a patch test to check for allergic reactions.
- Laser Combs
As one of the more expensive options for achieving thicker hair (approximately $500 on average), laser light therapy in the form of the “laser comb” has been approved by the FDA to revitalize hair in a period of six to sixteen weeks. Long-term results largely depend on the severity of hair loss and thinning in each individual using the treatment.