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Finding natural solutions for adding volume to your ‘do might have you, somewhat counterproductively, tearing your hair out.
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 any and every home remedy a try. However, it’s most certainly the case that not all remedies are created equal.
And as important as your self-image is, you shouldn’t blow your rent or food budget on herbal hair products if they’re not going to do anything apart from make it smell nice.
This is why we decided to cut the BS and dive into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to natural hair thickening remedies.
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 could be a great, cost-effective idea — in theory.
There’s one major question that we have to address first: Is it even possible to make your hair thicker?
More people experience hair loss and thinning hair than you might expect. It can be genetic, but hair loss can actually be caused by stress (yay) or nutritional deficiencies.
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, MD, 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.
As it turns out, some natural hair growth tips actually do work.
“Poor hair growth usually occurs due to poor nutrition, poor circulation to the scalp, and hormonal imbalances, such as menopause or excess dihydrotestosterone (DHT),” says Bryan Tran, DO, and co-founder of DrFormulas.
And, thankfully, we can address some of these issues without complicated solutions or trips to specialists.
Not all hair works the same, however. We’ve got the definite guide to the perfect hair care routine, whatever locks you’ve got.
1. Try biotin
Biotin is probably the most popular hair growth remedy, and it definitely can work.
Research behind this popular treatment is pretty limited.
“Biotin is a vitamin cofactor that plays a role in biochemical reactions that are 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 also lead to neurological symptoms.”
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 when taken orally, he says, and because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, any excess is flushed from the body in your urine. So it can technically reduce hair loss, but most people won’t see the benefits.
Here’s how to wash your hair without shampoo.
2. Keep your hair healthy and hydrated
Castor oil is a great natural remedy that can give your hair a gentle sheen.
After that, you’ll want to shampoo and condition your hair. Slapping too much oil onto your locks can risk leaving your hair limp and greasy. And that, quite simply, is not the vibe for which you’re going.
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 provides fatty acids that make the hair thicker,” Green recommends. “Bananas provide plenty of B-vitamins and potassium. These protect the hair shaft and prevent split ends.”
Green also suggests that the combination stimulates blood flow in the scalp, protecting the hair shaft and contributing to longer, thicker, healthier hair.
Coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil may also be effective hair oil treatments, according to Tran. Jojoba even mimics sebum, the naturally occurring oil that usually keeps hair healthy and prevents dryness and brittleness.
While coconut oil doesn’t have much evidence behind it on the hair growth front, it can provide a range of other benefits.
We also gave rosemary essential oil a try.
3. Give green tea a shot
Green tea has been shown to be so good for you in so many ways. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, this may include improving mental alertness and, in the case of some green-tea-sourced ointments, treating warts.
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. However, it looks like it could help and won’t hurt to try. We put green tea up against black coffee in a fight to see which was best for you.
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? Pamper yourself a little. Worst comes to the worst, you have a great excuse to go get a professional head-rub or make your partner do the dirty work.
We will always go and get a massage over not getting a massage. Always.
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 1 week (which is a lot, considering hair grows at an average 0.5 inch 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 both 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 stimulate hair growth. Is it proven? Not exactly. So give it a go, but don’t be surprised if nothing happens.
It’s important to address any underlying health problems when trying to give your hair a push in the right direction.
If you have a health issue that’s contributing to your 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.
You might not be able to plump up your hair shaft permanently to boost fine or thin hair.
However, just as the magician has their assistant, you can achieve a sleight of… hair. There are treatments available 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.”
A sneaky trick? Most certainly. But if it makes your hair look thicker and you feel better, why not give it a go?
Hair loss can also happen as a result of pregnancy — we took a look at what you can do about it.
Flouncy hair is not just about what to apply — it’s also about what to avoid. And nuking it with a hairdryer is a pretty sure way to make your mission even more impossible.
“Overdrying deflates the hair and not only makes it harder to style but also causes frizz and damage,” Moscato-Goodpaster cautions.
“When using a curling iron, I also encourage clients to turn down the heat to create a fluffier wave. They should also start curling from the top and work their way down. This will give the hair a more voluminous, modern finish.”
We’ve got plenty more tips on maintaining healthy hair.
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.