Create the appearance of thicker, fuller strands with these easy hairstyles. 

By Melanie Rud
February 12, 2021
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For those battling fine or thinning hair, a beautiful updo can seem like the hardest possible thing to achieve. On the contrary, the right updo can actually make your hair look fuller and more voluminous. There are just a few key things to keep in mind. One, steel clear of high-tension hairstyles, advises Jamie Powell, hairstylist and founder of Maggie Rose Salon and Naturally Drenched. That's basically a fancy way of saying styles that require your hair to be pulled back too tightly: "They can be really damaging to your hair and actually even increase hair loss," she warns. (And that's obviously the last thing you want if you're dealing with thinning strands.) 

Second, "the illusion of volume is your best friend," says Powell. Techniques such as curling or gently back-combing, along with products, such as a dry shampoo or dry texturizing spray, can make a huge difference when it comes to making it look like you have more hair than you actually do. More specifically, focus on creating that volume at the roots and crown. "This will make the hair appear thicker and fuller at the scalp, where hair loss and thinning tends to be the most noticeable," says stylist Amy Abramite, creative director at Maxine Salon in Chicago. 

Ahead, five updos that are definite 'dos' if you have thinning hair. 

1

Start by adding texture to your hair, another easy way to create the illusion of volume, says Abramite. In this case, she suggests using a large curling iron to create waves from mid-lengths to ends. Before you pull your hair back (loosely), at the nape of your neck, use a cushion brush to backcomb the top half of your hair. And to add even more volume, you can even tease the ponytail a bit, adds Powell. Both stylists suggest leaving a few face-framing pieces hanging out to make the look more special than your average pony.

2

This style makes for lots of drama while simultaneously making sure any thinning areas, typically most noticeable around your hairline and part, aren’t exposed, says Powell. It requires the most effort of any of the looks on this list, but is fairly easy to master once you get the hang of it. Ideally, create this on second-day hair so that it has more grip and texture, and mist on a liberal amount of dry shampoo at the roots, and a texture spray throughout to absorb oil and add volume throughout.

Part hair on the side, and create a French braid, starting at the hairline, and working all the way down the side of the head. (Keep the braid fairly loose so that you’re not tugging too much on the fragile hairs around your temples.) Repeat on the other side of the hair, then criss cross the braids at the nape of your neck and pin in place. Try that same tugging technique as with the French twist, to create more volume. You can also use the tip of the handle of a fine-tooth comb to gently pull out each plait and further add more texture. 

3

“Begin by curling your hair to create lift and texture throughout,” says Abramite. Gently back comb just the roots with a cushion brush, then gather the hair at the back of your head in the center. Twist the ends upwards, creating a vertical roll that extends from the nape to the crown. Pin in place, then gently tug on either side, an easy trick that will make the twist appear fuller and thicker.

4

In case you missed it, the chingon is back in a big way. But a super sleek take on the style can make your hair look thinner, not to mention requires it to be pulled back tightly, which, as mentioned, is a no-go. Instead, try this more textured take on the trend. Use a large curling iron to create waves from roots to tips, then spray a texture spray all over, suggests Abramite. Create a loose pony at the nape of your neck and backcomb it to add fullness. Wrap the hair in a circular shape and pin above the hairline. And if some pieces fall out, don’t stress—it’s all part of the intended effect you’re going for. 

5

After curling hair with a big curling iron, sweep it into a loose pony on the very top of the crown of your head. “Leave out some pieces to drape around the face to create movement and more width,” says Powell. Back comb the pony, hit it with some texture spray, and wrap it around the base of the ponytail, pinning to secure.