How to create an illusion of thicker hair

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Way back in my late teens, I despised my hair. Queensland humidity was a bully of natural curls. If you ever watched Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits in the 1980s, my hair was an unwilling copy. My hair and I fought daily. I stretched it and I straightened it. Every de-frizzing hair product available made it onto my bathroom shelves. Uncomfortable nights were spent lying on it all twirled up in one long twisted rope – in the hope of being able to carry around less ‘big’ locks.

You’re probably wondering who could possibly reject Nicole Kidman hair.

Well that was introvert-me, decades ago. I went out of my way to not stand out.  Yet, regular comments on my big hair (some kind, some not so) pushed me right out into the spotlight I was avoiding.

Bring this forward to today. Younger-me-hair-envy has left me regretting my earlier intolerance of youthful hair.

I love how easy it is to straighten unruly locks today. However, straightening emphasises how thin my once crowning glory has become. My hair stylist is kind. She describes my hair as ‘fine but there’s plenty of it’.

I know I’m not alone in pining for youthfully thick hair. Most men and women will be affected by hair thinning at some stage of their life, and more likely as the years go by.  It is just a matter of when and how quickly it happens.

Fortunately, hair thickening illusion solutions today are more plentiful than the hair on your bathroom tiles. So, what vanity enhancing solutions are available?

The solutions below are not an exhaustive list but are some of the more common ways you can help disguise your thinning hair.

Change your hair style

If you’ve always worn your hair long, a simple solution may be to consider a shorter hair style. Shorter hair can be cleverly layered by an expert to accentuate the thicker parts of your hair. The goal would be a more voluminous look than heavy long hair weighed down and stretched by it’s length.

A fringe is a desirable solution to hiding forehead wrinkles and receding hair. At the same time, fringes can highlight a lack of hair. Consider talking to an expert – your hairdresser – about starting your fringe further back on your head to create a fuller look.

Add hair fibres or hair concealer to your hair

Volumising hair fibres are tiny, electrostatically charged hair-like fibres that stick to your own hair to create the appearance of a fuller head of hair.  The fibres may be made of keratin proteins, cotton or real hair. Depending on the brand of hair fibres, you’ll either sprinkle the fibres onto your head, or spray them on! Static electricity means the fibres will attach themselves to your existing hair. Getting the colour right is the biggest challenge.

Blow dry don’t straighten

If your hair is naturally wavy or curly, letting it dry naturally with shape will give an instant illusion of thicker hair, rather than ironing it all in the same direction.

Blow drying your hair as opposed to drying it naturally, can help separate out hair strands, creating a fuller appearance.

Disguise with a colour illusion

The process of adding a permanent lighter colour in your hair can help thicken your hair. The bleach in permanent lighteners roughens and swells the size of each strand of hair, making it appear thicker. In parallel, if your natural hair colour is on the darker side, choosing to go a few shades lighter can take away the contrast of darker locks and more exposed areas of your scalp.

Volumising and root lifting hair products

Shampoos, mousses and sprays designed to thicken hair mostly contain polymers – synthetic molecules – that temporarily thicken each strand of your hair. The polymer technology helps hold your hair in place.   Root lifting hair products simply help lift and hold your hair away from your scalp to give an illusion of fuller hair.

Wigs and hair pieces or clip on extensions

People experiencing total hair loss or significant thinning may look to wigs or hair pieces or extensions to help them face the world, without the focus being on their hair loss. There is a vast range of options available from budget through to real hair wigs or clip in hair extensions.

Scalp micropigmentation aka a micro-dotted tattoo

The contrast between darker coloured hair and scalp can accentuate thinning hair. By colouring more exposed areas of the scalp, this contrast is softened. It’s not a solution for everyone but tiny dots of pigment matched to the colour of your hair tattooed on to your scalp can help disguise otherwise glowing patches of scalp. For those that have decided to go with their baldness and shave their head, this micro pigmentation can help give an illusion that a smooth scalp look was a choice not a result of balding. “See I have hair follicles, I just chose to shave my head instead.”

Tattooing hair follicles to give an appearance of thicker hair.

Facial cosmetic prosthetics

This decade has seen a resurgence of false eyelashes, liquid eyeliners, eyebrow tattoos that are ‘feathered’ on to replicate individual eyebrow hairs, and do-it-yourself take home eyebrow kits. Also referred to as facial cosmetic prosthetics these are aesthetic solutions that are a welcome relief for many.

And me? Well I’ve been trying to grow my hair but after researching and writing this article, it is time for a rejuvenating hair cut!

References and helpful online resources

Please book in a consultation with your General Practitioner first to check underlying health conditions if you’re concerned about the rate of hair loss you are experiencing. Hair loss can be symptomatic of underlying health issues.

Here are some of the references used to write this article, along with some other helpful online resources about thinning hair, or hair loss.

For those experiencing hair loss because of cancer treatment

Look Good Feel Better is a free national community service program run by the Cancer Patients Foundation, dedicated to teaching cancer patients how to manage the appearance-related side-effects caused by cancer treatment. The program offers workshops and online tips and advice to help people face cancer with confidence.

Independent advice on hair loss clinics

Choice magazine conducted a mystery shopper study back in 2015. This is a handy study to read up on, and prepare questions for,  a consultation with a hair loss clinic.

To find out why hair loss happens

Better Health offers a helpful article on hair loss, why it happens and where to go for assistance.

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