8 Volumizing Updos for Thin Hair That Stylists Swear By

That updo is giving big hair energy.


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A ponytail is one of the simplest and most convenient hairstyles you can wear, making it an easy go-to whether you’re running errands, hitting the gym, or dressing up for a fun rendezvous. If you’ve got thin or fine hair, though, it can be tricky to make a ponytail look full. You don’t have to resign yourself to a lackluster ponytail though. We reached out to a handful of professional hairstylists for their best tricks for making a ponytail look full and luscious. Here are some of the best volumizing updos for thin hair.

01 of 08

Hidden Lift

This quick ponytail hack boosts both volume and comfort, which makes it an easy winner. “It gives the base of your ponytail more volume while adding a subtle bounce to the ends,” explains Kourtney Epperson, a lead stylist at Emma Justine Salon. “All you need is a single hair tie.” 

To get the look, gather your hair at the base, then wrap your hair tie around the base per usual. Once you have only a little more room in the hair tie, part out a small section from the top of the ponytail and wrap the last bit of hair tie around it. Fan it out at the base and you’re done. For even more volume, use a texturizing spray through the ends and backcomb. Try R+Co’s Trophy Shine + Texture Spray ($36; randco.com).

02 of 08

Bungee Trick

Take limp locks into voluminous territory in a matter of minutes with this simple ponytail trick. We’re talking Barbie ponytail status, says Seamus McKernan, a top hair artist for Nioxin. “First, put your hair in an elastic to make a ponytail. Then take a second elastic and attach two bobby pins to it,” he says. “Lift your ponytail against your head and secure your bobby pins just above on either side of the ponytail, then drop the ponytail.” This trick fans the hair out, which creates the illusion of more hair. 

03 of 08

Low, Textured Pony

A low ponytail often gives formal vibes, and there are ways to elevate it so it looks both sophisticated and full. Start by dividing hair into two sections right at the top of your ears. Secure the low section in a ponytail, creating a little lift on the top section with a curling iron or a tool like the Voloom Rootie Hair Volumizing Iron

“Once you have your desired level of volume, incorporate the top section into the lower pony using your hands to brush it through, gently maintaining the soft look,” says celebrity hairstylist Luna Viola. “Secure the pony, then take some hair from underneath and wrap it around to hide the elastic. Tease and curl the pony tail.”

04 of 08


For a low, messy-meets-sultry ponytail, try this trick from Jill Marinello, hairstylist and owner of WISH Hair Studio. “Separate hair into three sections—two in front and one in the back. Then, tease the crown area, pull into a ponytail and with the rest of the back section,” she says. “Loosely twist one of the front sections and drape it over the pony.  Then, twist the second section and cross it over the top of the first front section.” Combine the ends of both front sections just under the ponytail and secure with a small elastic. 

05 of 08

Sleek Volume

Yes, you can have your sleek aesthetic and a voluminous ponytail, too. This hack gives your ponytail a more secure, tight feel through the scalp while achieving fullness at the base. Grab two hair ties and a comb. 

“Begin by sectioning out the crown of your hair and gather where you want the base of your ponytail to sit, then secure it with your first hair tie,” says Epperson. “Gather the remaining halo of hair around the base you already created and secure with your second hair tie. Fan the hair out at the base, and you’re done.” 

For an even sleeker look, warm some pomade in your hands and smooth it out around the hairline and on top. Try Pattern Edge Control Hair Waxes, $12, or Kristin Ess Depth Defining Soft Matte Pomade, $10.

06 of 08

Claw Clip

Only have 30 seconds before running out the door? This genius trick is perfect for you. All you need is a claw clip and a ponytail holder. “Simply tie hair into a ponytail as usual, then split it into two sections—top and bottom. Put the clip underneath the top section to spread out the hair,” says celebrity hairstylist Bradley Leake. “This hack separates your ponytail to create more dimension and the illusion of endless volume.” The Hair Edit Vaulted Claw Clip, $10, is perfect for the job.

07 of 08

Clip-In Extensions

When you need real volume or length and don’t have, you know, five years for your hair to grow, call in some reinforcements via clip-in extensions. “Clip-ins make it easy to achieve a full and flawless ponytail, allowing you to add as many pieces as you want to get the desired look,” Leake notes. “In other words, you can create your own one-of-a-kind custom pony.”

To work in extensions, section off your hair and use a small section right at the crown as a base for your ponytail. Add your clip-ins to the section underneath this base, then tie all the remaining hair into one perfect ponytail at the crown of your head. Leake recommends Hidden Crown Clip-Ins ($199; hiddencrownhair.com).

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Topsy Turvy

This ponytail trick also only takes about 30 minutes, and it makes for a pretty, dressed-up result. “Make a ponytail and secure it with an elastic but don’t pull it too tight,” says McKernan. “Next, use your fingers to poke a hole just behind the elastic and flip the ends of your pony through and pull tight. It instantly jazzes up a boring ponytail.” 

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