There are a lot of DIY remedies on the internet, and they range from the totally genius to the, um, totally weird. We definitely get it—when it comes to getting results, we’re always willing to give home remedies a try, which is why we decided to cut the BS and dive into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to DIY hair remedies and how to thicken hair naturally.
It can be hard to tell what will actually give your locks a little extra “oomph,” but turning to natural remedies to boost your hair’s thickness is a great, cost-effective idea in theory. But there’s one major question that we have to address: Is it even possible to make your hair thicker?
Can you get thicker hair?
It turns out that the trick to thicker hair is stimulating and supporting natural hair growth. While it might not suddenly ramp up the volume to an 11 overnight, making sure your hair follicles are healthy (and growing) is a great way to improve your hair’s thickness, says Michele Green, M.D., of RealSelf. But it’s important to note that hair loss can be caused by multiple issues, so what works for one person might not work for you.
So, do natural remedies to stimulate hair growth actually work?
As it turns out, some natural hair growth tips actually do work.
“Poor hair growth is usually the result of poor nutrition, poor circulation to the scalp, and hormonal imbalances like menopause or excess DHT,” says Bryan Tran, D.O., and co-founder of DrFormulas. And, thankfully, we can address some of these issues without complicated solutions or trips to specialists.
1. Try biotin.
Biotin is probably the most popular hair growth remedy, and it definitely can work. Research behind this popular treatment is actually limited, and although many hair, skin, and nail supplements for hair growth and thickness tout the benefits of biotin, unless you’re actually deficient in biotin, it might not do wonders for your hair.
“Biotin is a vitamin cofactor used in biochemical reactions vital to each cell,” Tran says. “Biotin deficiency causes hair loss as well as skin irritation around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Severe cases can have neurological symptoms as well.”
You might see biotin listed as an additive in shampoos and conditioners, but Tran warns consumers not to buy into the hype: Biotin works best orally, he says, and—because it’s a water-soluble vitamin—any excess is flushed from the body in your urine.
2. Keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
Castor oil is a great natural remedy to give your hair a gentle sheen. Try using it as a deep conditioning mask, massaging the castor oil into your hair and roots then covering it for an hour or two. After that, you’ll want to shampoo and condition your hair because too much oil can risk leaving your hair limp and greasy.
Green recommends indulging a little bit. Massage your scalp and consider mixing up your own DIY hair mask using bananas and grapeseed oil. You can then apply the mixture directly to your hair.
“The grapeseed oil contains fatty acids that make the hair thicker—also bananas are rich in B vitamins and potassium, which protects the hair shaft and prevents split ends,” Green says. “This combination stimulates the blood flow in the scalp and protects the hair shaft, resulting in longer, thicker, healthier hair.”
Coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oils are also great for hair oil treatments, according to Tran. Jojoba even mimics natural human sebum oil, so it definitely helps promote healthy hair by keeping it from getting too dry and brittle.
3. Give green tea a shot.
Green tea has been shown to be so good for you in so many ways, including potentially reducing the risk of cancer and type-2 diabetes. Green tea may also have an anti-androgen effect, which can help reduce the risk of baldness. We definitely need more studies on this one, but looks like it might help and can’t hurt!
4. Get a scalp massage.
Look, this is a really small study, but it says that scalp massage can make your hair thicker. And worst case scenario, it feels really, really good, right?
5. Test out the inversion method.
Another popular remedy is the inversion method for hair growth, which—if you’ve seen it on YouTube—claims to help your hair grow an inch in just one week (which is a lot, considering hair grows at an average 0.5 inches per month).
“The inversion method involves inverting the head upside-down at a comfortable angle and massaging the scalp with warm oil,” Tran says. “One clinically proven drug for male and female hair loss is Minoxidil, which dilates the blood vessels to the scalp.” This means that, yes, it’s possible that supporting blood flow to the scalp by the inversion method may cause hair growth (although this hasn’t been proven).
The important thing when trying these natural remedies for stimulating hair growth is that you’re addressing the underlying problem. If you have a health issue causing hair loss, even the most popular hair growth remedy might not do anything to boost your hair’s thickness. However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck.
If you aren’t getting results from these natural remedies, you can also style your hair to make it look thicker.
You might not be able to plump up your hair shaft permanently to boost fine or thin hair, but there are hair treatments that plump up the hair shaft until they’re shampooed out, explains Sarah Moscato-Goodpaster, co-owner of Witch Hazel Salon in Indianapolis.
“Creating the illusion of thicker, fuller hair always starts with the products pre-styling,” Moscato-Goodpaster says. “I like to use a fiber-based prep product paired with a root lifter of some kind. Once the hair is prepped, I always blow dry the hair in the opposite direction from where it would fall naturally. This will cause lift at the root.”
Another option and hair stylist go-to? Turn down the heat!
“Over-drying deflates the hair and not only makes it harder to style but also causes frizz and damage,” Moscato-Goodpaster says. “When using a curling iron, I also encourage clients to turn down the heat to create a fluffier wave and start curling from the top and work their way down. This will give the hair a more voluminous, modern finish.”
When it comes down to it, the secret to thicker hair is actually *healthier* hair. While you may not be able to swap the actual strands for something thicker or curlier, you can prevent any future damage (or even reverse existing damage). Plus, taking the time to boost your hair health totally counts as self-care, so it’s a double win for us.
Jandra Sutton is an author, historian, and public speaker. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their two dogs, and Pluto is still a planet in her heart. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.