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How to Get Thicker Hair

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 2/17/2022

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and noticed your scalp peeking right back at you through your hair? 

Hair loss is an extremely common issue for men, with more than 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 affected by it, according to an article published in the journal, MedlinePlus.

While many people associate hair loss with a receding hairline or balding crown, hair loss often starts as gradual thinning that can make hair look less thick, full and healthy. 

We’ve explained how to reverse this process below, covering the most effective medications, products and habits for stopping hair loss and stimulating thick, full hair growth. 

TL;DR: How to Get Thicker Hair

If you’re one of the millions of men with thinning hair, there’s no need to panic. By using the right combination of medications and hair care products — combined with good habits, of course — it’s possible to grow thicker, more impressive looking hair. 

  1. Hair loss medications. Currently, two medications — finasteride and minoxidil — are scientifically proven to treat hair loss and, in some cases, help you to regrow hair.

  2. Diet changes. Supplying your body with enough vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B12, and C, or zinc and iron, can set you on a path to healthy hair growth.

  3. Hair loss shampoo. Use a shampoo with saw palmetto as an active ingredient. Other ingredients to look for include ketoconazole, pumpkin seed oil, and rosemary oil. 

  4. Use different hair products. Dry shampoo, dry texture spray, and even mousse can give you the look of thicker hair on a short time schedule. 

  5. Style your hair differently. Avoiding tight hairstyles, blow drying your hair, and a fresh haircut can help you get the fuller look that you want. 

How to Grow Thicker Hair (Over Time)

If your hair isn’t as thick as you want it to be, you probably are on the hunt for immediate results. Unfortunately, the only way to permanently get thicker hair is to work at it over time using one of the following methods.

Hair Loss Medication

Currently, the most effective options for stimulating hair growth and thickening your hair are the medications minoxidil and finasteride. 

These medications work by directly stimulating hair growth and by protecting your hair from the hormonal damage that causes hair loss. You can find more information about how both of these medications work below

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical medication that’s available as a liquid solution or foam. It's designed to be applied directly to your scalp two times a day, with a focus on the areas of your scalp that have visible signs of hair loss. 

Minoxidil works by shortening the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle, encouraging hairs to enter into the anagen (growth) phase early.

It also appears to improve blood circulation and vascularization in your scalp, which may further help to promote hair growth.

Numerous studies have found that minoxidil helps to stimulate hair growth. For example, in one study published in 2004 ​in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology​​​, more than 84 percent of men who used minoxidil for 12 months rated it as either “very effective,” “effective” or “moderately effective” at promoting hair regrowth.

As we’ve explained in our guide to applying minoxidil, using minoxidil is easy. It only takes a few minutes to apply and generally produces noticeable improvements in your hair within two to four months of regular use.

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication that’s available without a prescription. We offer both foam and liquid minoxidil online in a 5% formulation that’s safe and effective for stimulating hair regrowth.

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Finasteride 

Finasteride is an oral medication for preventing hair loss. It works by inhibiting the effects of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, the main hormone responsible for male pattern baldness.

By preventing DHT production, finasteride protects your hair follicles from DHT-related damage and helps to slow down, stop or reverse hair loss.

Like minoxidil, finasteride is backed up by numerous studies showing that it’s effective as a hair loss treatment.

In one study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, men who used finasteride over a period of two years experienced a significant increase in hair count in the crown — an area that’s often affected by male pattern baldness.

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Diet Changes

While science-based medications like minoxidil and finasteride will have the biggest impact on your hair growth, the right nutritional habits can also help you to grow thick, healthy hair. Try to:

  • Eat sufficient zinc and iron. Although many nutrients play a role in hair growth, two of the most important are zinc and iron.Research published in the journal, Dermatology and Therapy, shows that zinc deficiency can contribute to hair loss. You can find zinc in a range of foods, including oysters, red meat, seafood, poultry,  fortified cereals and nuts, beans, dairy products and whole grains, according to the NIH.Similarly, iron deficiency can cause hair loss. According to the NIH, you can find iron in lean meat, oysters and types of seafood, beans, fortified cereals, tofu, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, nuts and a variety of other common foods.

  • Prioritize hair growth vitamins. As we’ve discussed in our guide to essential vitamins for healthy hair growth, a variety of different vitamins play a role in promoting the growth of your hair, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin B7.There are two ways to maintain a regular intake of these vitamins. The first is to prioritize vitamin-rich foods in your diet. The second is to use a vitamin supplement, like our Biotin Gummy Vitamins, to maintain a steady intake of hair-friendly vitamins year round.

Other Tips for Growing Thicker Hair

If you’re looking for thicker hair in the long run, you should be looking to make healthier decisions in your life – both for your scalp and your overall health. These are some other tips to follow when trying to grow thicker hair.  

  • If you smoke, make an effort to quit. In addition to affecting your cardiovascular health and increasing your risk of developing cancer, research published in the journal Dermatology, shows that smoking also causes damage to your hair follicles that can lead to hair loss.If you smoke, try to quit. We’ve listed the best strategies for quitting and keeping yourself smoke-free in our guide to quitting smoking.

  • If you notice a fungal infection, treat it right away. Fungal infections affect your skin in several ways, including by causing inflammation that can harm your hair follicles and lead to shedding.Tinea capitis, or scalp ringworm, is a particularly annoying fungal skin infection that can cause permanent hair loss when it’s severe. To avoid it, it’s important to respond quickly if you notice a fungal infection developing anywhere on your body. 

How to Make Thin Hair Look Thicker (Now)

There are times when you need instant results and don’t have 20 or more weeks to wait for your hair to grow thicker. So, you should make use of these tricks and home remedies to make your hair look thicker.

Style Your Hair Differently

In an effort to make your hair look thicker, a fresh haircut, avoiding tight hairstyles, blow drying your hair, and styling your hair with your fingers instead of a comb can make a world of a difference.

Read our article that discusses "does blow drying cause hair loss?" for more information.

Change your haircut

If you’ve been thinking about changing up your hairstyle, you might as well go with something that creates the illusion that you’ve got a thick head of hair. 

Two of the most stylish hairstyles out, the side part and the undercut, happen to both be great for adding an extra layer of thickness to your hair type. 

And if you’re going for something a little bit longer, ask your barber or hair stylist to try a haircut that gives you a fringe so that you’re able to conceal any thinning around your hairline.

Avoid wearing your hair in a tight, pulled-back style. 

Hairstyles that put an excessive amount of tension on your hair, such as dreadlocks, ponytails or classic tightly slicked-back hair, can cause a form of hair loss called traction alopecia.To avoid this form of hair loss, take care not to style your hair in a way that pulls on the hair root too aggressively.

Style Your Hair With Your Fingers

If you’re wearing a hairstyle that looks good when styled slightly messily, you should consider doing away with your brush or comb and using your fingers instead. 

Instead of forcing your hair to lie flat like combs, your fingers are able to give your hair a little more lift so that it looks like it’s thicker than it is.

Blow-Dry Your Hair

Blow-drying is perfect for giving your hair some bounce and a little extra volume. Just be careful not to blast it with too much heat, otherwise, you could be damaging your hair. 

The best way to blow-dry your hair is to do it on the lowest heat setting and use a heat protectant spray to prevent breakage and promote hair health. Remember to not always rely on blow drying -- let your hair air dry once in a while to give it a break. While blow drying can give more volume, it's best to avoid hot tools and heat styling regularly, as these methods can lead to split ends and breakage.

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Use hair thickening shampoo

Oily hair is the kryptonite of fine hair. So, if you’re trying to boost the volume of your hair, you’ll want to make sure that you wash your hair before oil and dirt build up (usually every two or three days). As we’ve covered in our guide to hair loss shampoo ingredients, the most effective shampoos for limiting hair loss and promoting hair growth use ingredients that block DHT from binding to and damaging your hair follicles.

Key ingredients to look for include saw palmetto (an active ingredient in our men’s Thickening Shampoo) and ketoconazole. Another ingredient worth looking for is rosemary oil, which may offer hair growth benefits, according to an article published in the journal, SkinMed.

Use the right hair products

Did you know that certain hair products could be weighing down your hair, making it look thinner than desired? Try using these hair products instead to get the look of thicker hair that you’ve been dreaming of. 

Dry Shampoo

If you need to give your hair a quick clean while increasing thickness in the process, spray or sprinkle some dry shampoo onto your scalp. It will absorb all of the oils and dirt in your hair while leaving behind an invisible residue that makes your hair smoother, thicker, and easier to style. It even gives you a light hold once you’ve styled your hair. And the best part about using dry shampoo is that it literally takes a minute to apply. There’s no need to scrub or dry your hair – simply put it in and go.

Style your hair with mousse

When it comes to creating volume and thickness, mousse is in a league of its own. Do you remember the big rock-and-roll hair of the 1980s? That was all mousse and hairspray. Unlike products like gel and wax, mousse gives your hair a denser look by creating stiffness in each strand of hair, causing your hair to stand up slightly. When coupled with some blow drying and a faint mist of hairspray, mousse can leave your hair looking nearly twice as thick as before.

Hair fibers

Hair fibers are great for adding a quick volume boost. They work by binding to your strands of natural hair, creating a fuller look that hides your scalp. The best part about hair fibers is that they usually stay in place until you wet or wash your hair, so you don’t have to worry about your hair suddenly losing volume halfway through the day.

Dry texture spray

If you’re in need of some quick volume-boosting but don’t want a product that’s going to weigh your hair down, try a hair texture spray. By simply lifting sections of your hair and giving a light spray at the root of every section, you’ll increase your thickness by adding to your hair. And once you’ve finished spraying, just quickly go over your hair with a brush or comb to take care of any loose strands of hair.

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Finasteride & Minoxidil

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How to Thicken Hair: A Summary

The most effective way to grow thicker, healthier hair and prevent your hair from falling out is to use minoxidil and finasteride.

These medications work by stimulating hair growth and blocking DHT, the androgenic hormone that causes male pattern baldness. They’re backed up by numerous studies and appear to work particularly well when they’re used together.

Since hair loss tends to worsen with time, it’s best to start using the medication as soon as you start to notice your hair thinning. 

For even better results, make sure to eat a balanced diet and care for your hair with a shampoo that’s designed specifically to reduce hair loss, and try the other hair hacks we listed to make your hair appear thicker.

You can find all of these products together in our Hair Power Pack, which is made specifically to keep your hair protected and healthy.

You can also learn more about the causes of hair loss, risk factors and science-based treatment options in our detailed guide to male pattern baldness.

13 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Ahmed, et al. (2019, March). The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: A Review. Dermatology and therapy. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  2. Badri, T. (2021, April 13). Minoxidil. StatPearls Internet. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  3. Berger, et al. (n.d.). The effects of minoxidil, 1% pyrithione zinc and a combination of both on hair density: A randomized controlled trial. The British journal of dermatology. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12932243/
  4. Buhl, et al. (1992, February). Hair growth effects of oral administration of Finasteride, a steroid 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, alone and in combination with topical minoxidil in the balding stumptail macaque. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1309834
  5. Cha, et al. (2014). Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/
  6. Bergfeld, et al; (n.d.). Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. finasteride male pattern hair loss study group. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9777765/
  7. Kinter, K. J. (2021, March 13). Biochemistry, dihydrotestosterone. StatPearls Internet. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557634/
  8. Marzony, et al. (n.d.). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/
  9. RM;, T. (n.d.). Association between smoking and hair loss: Another opportunity for Health Education against smoking? Dermatology (Basel, Switzerland). Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12673073/
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - iron. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
  11. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - zinc. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
  12. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020, August 18). Androgenetic alopecia: Medlineplus genetics. MedlinePlus. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/#causes
  13. Zito, P. M. (2021, March 27). Finasteride. StatPearls Internet. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.