How to Make Hair Thicker

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
14th July 2021

In 30 Seconds… 

Male pattern baldness affects millions of men around the world. This, and other types of hair loss, can significantly impact your confidence and self-esteem.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to make hair thicker — or at least appear thicker. From hair care routines to professional styling, you can improve the look and feel of your thinning hair.

And if that doesn’t work, important diet and lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medication could help promote healthy regrowth and a thicker head of hair.

Wondering How to Get Thicker Hair? You’re Not Alone

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), more than 50% of men over the age of 50 will experience some form of male pattern baldness (aka androgenetic alopecia).

Male pattern baldness (MPB) can result in a receding hairline or the development of a bald spot at the top or back of the head. It’s not the only cause of hair loss, but it’s the most common. 

As it develops, MPB — and hair loss in general — can significantly impact your confidence and self-esteem. That’s why so many men are on the lookout for ways to boost hair thickness and improve hair health and growth.  

Here we share 7 ways to achieve thick hair once more, from over-the-counter medications to diet and lifestyle changes.

7 Hair Thickening Strategies for Men

1. Wash Your Hair (But Not Too Often)

If your hair is thinning, it’s important to start caring for it, well, carefully. 

When you wash it, use warm (not hot) water and an anti-dandruff shampoo that’s kind to your scalp and doesn’t leave your hair feeling dry or brittle. Once washed, it’s a good idea to condition your hair, too. Conditioner offers protection, keeping your locks from splitting or breaking.

You don’t need to wash your hair every day, but doing it regularly will keep your hair and scalp clean and healthy. And while this won’t prevent hair loss altogether, it could help strengthen the hair you have, making it appear thicker in the process. 

You could also try a shampoo that stimulates and revives hair follicles, like this one.

Read More: What is the Best Shampoo for Hair Loss?

2. Take Care When Styling at Home

Just like when you’re washing your hair, you need to be gentle when styling it, too. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Excessive brushing or combing can do a number on fine hair. Too much tugging or pulling (especially of damp hair) can weaken your follicles and cause breakage. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to tame your hair and add a bit of texture.
  • Certain styling products, dyes, and bleach can dry out your hair and scalp. Meanwhile, heavy waxes and gels can weigh your hair down, making it look flat and thin. Try a volumizing mousse or spray instead — or ditch the hair products altogether.   
  • Use a hairdryer to add a bit of volume, but don’t singe your precious locks. Keep your finger on the cool button. 

3. Talk to a Professional Hairstylist

Styling your hair at home is one thing, but if you want to make your hair look thicker, consider putting it in the hands of a pro. A men’s stylist or high-end barber can help you choose a textured cut that appears denser and flatters your face. 

They’ll also guide you away from those hairstyles that won’t do your hair any favours. Tight top knots or ponytails can lead to hair loss in the long run (otherwise known as traction alopecia). 

4. Talk to Your Doctor

If you suspect there’s an underlying reason for your hair loss, making an appointment with your doctor could be the first step towards solving it. They may prescribe medication (which we’ll discuss next), or they could refer you to a specialist dermatologist for further checks and recommendations.  

5. Take Medication

When it comes to medication for male pattern baldness, you have a variety of options. Some require a prescription, while others are available over the counter or via an online pharmacy, like Manual

The two most effective options on the market today are Finasteride and Minoxidil. They work in different ways but, crucially, they also work incredibly well together

  • Finasteride (brand name Propecia) is an oral medication that targets the enzyme that produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can shrink and weaken hair follicles. Finasteride can stop hair thinning and even regrow hair — and it’s effective in up to 90% of cases. Read more about Finasteride here.
  • Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine or Regaine) is a topical treatment usually applied directly to the affected area twice daily. This encourages the flow of blood to the scalp, which delivers oxygen and helpful nutrients that promote healthy hair. Read more about Minoxidil here.

With both, you need to use them continuously to see (and maintain) results.

6. Hair Replacement Surgery

A hair transplant is a surgical outpatient procedure. Hair is removed from a part of your head that still has healthy hair growth and moved to the part of your scalp with little or no growth left. 

In the short-term, recovery can be painful, but it could give you the thicker head of hair you’re after.

The treatment is usually only suitable for men suffering from MPB and won’t help solve other forms of hair loss. And you should note that hair replacement surgery won’t stop MPB from progressing long term.

Read More: Men’s Hair Transplants: Costs & Considerations

7. Improve Your Diet & Lifestyle

Finally, it’s not just your hormones or your hair care routine that can affect your hair’s thickness. Your diet and lifestyle will also have an impact. 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins could stop thin hair in its tracks. It’s also important to note that vitamin deficiency can cause hair loss, so making sure you’re getting enough vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is vital.

Meanwhile, stress and cigarettes can both wreak havoc on your hair. Significant amounts of stress can result in something called telogen effluvium, which causes temporary shedding. And smoking can damage the DNA of your hair follicles, which can also lead to hair loss.

Many people smoke as they believe it relieves stress, but the opposite is true. If you want thicker, healthier hair, kicking the habit, finding a better way to deal with stress (such as mindfulness meditation), and eating a vitamin-rich diet is the way to go. 

Key Takeaways… 

If you’re trying to enhance your hair’s thickness, a healthy diet and lifestyle, a careful hair care routine, and a stint in the stylist’s chair are all simple and straightforward options. 

And if those don’t quite do the trick, you can always try a complete hair loss plan, combining finasteride and minoxidil to great effect. 

References

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine – Androgenetic alopecia – https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/

  2. Medical News Today – Traction alopecia: Symptoms and prevention – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320648

  3. Harvard Health Publishing – Telogen Effluvium – https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/telogen-effluvium-a-to-z

  4. Mental Health Foundation – Smoking and mental health – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/smoking-and-mental-health

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Further reading

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