While many men dream of thick locks, there are plenty of those who dream differently. So, how exactly do you make thick hair thinner?
Ask for a haircut with less layering and less bulk. Smoothing lotions and shiny, oil-based styling products can also make the hair appear thinner than it actually is. Styling with the grain can exaggerate this effect even further.
Making hair thinner can make it less stubborn, less puffy, and more responsive.
But even if you don’t make the hair physically thinner, there are plenty of ways of making it appear thinner.
Here are some simple ways to achieve it.
1. Ask For Less Layering
Layered haircuts often make hair look more voluminous and thick. Reducing the amount of layering in your haircut will usually make it appear thinner.
While it may sound obvious, the first step should be an honest and clear discussion with your barber or stylist.
It can be tempting to try and cut your hair yourself to make it thinner, but unless you’ve got the skills it’s really not worth attempting.
Let them know that you want your hair to look thinner and tell them exactly where the main areas of concern are.
They may well suggest a less layered haircut themselves. A barber would usually just get on with it without much discussion.
However, directly ask whoever it is that’s cutting your hair whether a less layered haircut would be worth attempting in order to make the hair appear thinner.
There’s a good chance it’ll work.
2. Ask For Less Bulk
There are likely to be areas of your hair that seem to always appear bulky. It may not be obvious until a couple of weeks after your last haircut.
The simplest way of reducing bulk would be to simply ask for a style that’s much shorter than your usual.
Buzz cut variations are often a good way to go. Trimming the hair that short would make even the thickest of hair look thinner.
But you don’t have to go for an ultra-short induction-style buzz cut if you don’t want to.
You could go for a longer buzz cut variation such as a crew cut instead.
But to keep things even simpler, any haircut that’s shorter than the one you usually go for is very likely to make it appear thinner by reducing the amount of bulk you’ve got.
Letting a barber or stylist know that you’re looking to reduce bulk would also be important. They can use thinning shears to reduce bulk in the right areas and still produce a balanced end result.
Once again, while it can be tempting to get your own pair of thinning shears and attempt a DIY job, avoid it at all costs. Doing it the wrong way can lead to catastrophic results.
3. Smoothing Lotion
A smoothing lotion is a pre-styler. When used the correct way, it can often make the hair appear thinner and silkier.
Pre-stylers are products you apply to the hair before you do the real styling. They make the hair more responsive – i.e more likely to do what you want it to do.
They’re usually applied to the hair while damp, often after showering and towel-drying.
While there are lots of different types of pre-styler, they all usually form a specific function. Some reduce frizz, some add volume, and so on.
When you’re looking to make the hair appear thinner, a smoothing lotion would be a good option.
As the name would suggest, they make the hair appear smoother and more likely to lay flat and neat.
While technically it doesn’t make the hair physically thinner, it does make it look thinner.
For men with thick and stubborn hair, this is likely to be pretty appealing.
Moroccanoil Smoothing Lotion (Amazon Link) is a popular one.
Pre-stylers are underrated products that are often skipped and thought of as “unnecessary”. But this is often a missed opportunity.
If you’ve got a problem with your hair, there’s likely to be a form of pre-styler that’ll help you through it.
4. Consider Air-Drying
Blow-drying post-shower has the benefit of convenience and efficiency. It’s also great if you’re looking to build lift and volume.
But what if you’ve got hair that looks too thick and bulky? Blow-drying would often make it look even thicker and fuller.
That’s no good.
Air-drying may be a better alternative for some here. Instead of using a blow-dryer, you’re simply gently towel-drying a little before letting the air finish up the job.
For people in a hurry, this may not be acceptable unless you were willing to leave the house with hair that’s a little damp.
There’s also the problem of certain hair types getting frizzy when they’re allowed to air-dry.
These people would benefit from trying a microfiber towel instead. This often reduces static and frizz and may still allow you to towel-dry/air-dry without having to reach for a blow-dryer.
The next tip, however, will show you how blow-drying can be used to reduce volume and actually make the hair appear thinner when it’s done the right way.
5. Flat Wrapping Can Work
Flat-wrapping makes use of a blow-dryer and a hairbrush to reduce hair volume and make it appear less bulky and thick.
While it’s definitely worth watching an online video tutorial to make sure you’re doing it the right way, I’ll lay out the main points of what it involves here.
It basically refers to the process of using a hairbrush to flatten the hair in its direction of growth while closely following it with a blow-dryer in the other hand to lock it in place.
The two tools need to be used in sync with each other to get the desired effect.
It’s also important to not blow-dry too close to the hair – leave at least 7 or 8 inches between them to avoid heat damage.
A concentrator nozzle attached to the end of the blow-dryer is also essential because it gives you way more control.
It focuses the heat and pressure from the blow-dryer onto very specific areas instead of blow-drying everything at once.
Overall, when done the right way, flat-wrapping in the hair’s direction of growth can be a great way to make it look thinner by reducing volume.
6. Always Style With The Grain
Styling “with the grain” is when you style the hair in its direction of growth.
For example, hair on top often grows forward but will usually prefer to lie in one direction or the other when left alone.
You may find that after you’ve showered and allowed your hair to air-dry it’ll naturally fall to the left.
In this case, to style the hair “with the grain” you’d style it to the left.
Styling hair with the grain will often make it appear thinner because the hair will lie flatter, with fewer hairs sticking up and out.
This gives the appearance of reduced volume and reduced thickness.
In contrast, styling the hair against the grain will have the opposite effect. It’ll generally look thicker and more voluminous.
Here’s an example:
So, consider your hair’s natural direction of your growth and work with it.
7. Use Oil-Based Styling Products
Oil-based products are great when you’re looking for slickness, definition, and shine.
Have you ever noticed how people with thin hair can often show a lot of their scalp when they use a shiny hair product? The hair just appears to clump together.
For people with hair that’s too thick for their liking, using a shiny hair product could be a great way to make it appear thinner.
It’s yet another example of a technique that doesn’t physically make the hair thinner but does give off the illusion of being thin.
Oil-based products are shiny and would work best for this purpose. Examples include hair waxes and oil-based pomades.
But you do have water-based products that would give you some shine too. Examples include hair gels and water-based pomades.
The main things to consider are that water-based pomades and gels give you a stiff hold and are easy to wash out.
Waxes and oil-based pomades give you a pliable hold and are harder to wash out (especially the pomades).
But the main point here is that choosing a shiny hair product could be a simple way to make thick hair appear thinner, especially if you were to style with the grain.