- 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.