There are certainly roadblocks to achieving luscious, bodacious, shampoo-ad worthy strands. Not to mention other things that only thick hair girls understand. Like how only the largest of hair clips can hold your back. Or that in hot weather your hair feels like a fur hat. Or when you and your girlfriends go to the salon for blowouts, the hair stylist runs to the back and argue over who will get stuck drying your massive mane.
All that aside, there’s a certain smugness to having thick hair—as you watch those less endowed curl, tease and fluff in the effort to achieve more hair heft. So be grateful for your full follicle fabulousness, and read on to learn how to fully embrace your thick hair.
This is where it all begins, and as many thick-haired girls know, getting the right haircut for thick hair can be tricky.
In general, avoid long, all-one length hair, which tends to look (and feel) like a huge, shapeless blanket. To give thick hair shape and swingy movement, it’s all about layers. But it’s important to place the layers properly. It they’re cut too short, for example, you’ll get a rounded, porcupine effect as the short layers swell. As a rule of thumb, layers on long, thick hair should be in the last four to five inches of length. This is the secret to avoiding the dreaded broom effect.
If you like the overall look of one-length hair, a technique called invisible layers will remove bulk. Sections of hair are lifted and snipped on the underside. Once the hair is dropped, you can’t see them at all, but they produce a subtle curve in the overall shape of your hair.
If you have thick or curly hair, keeping it long will stretch your curls and prevent your hair from becoming too puffy. Have your hair stylist snip into the ends to avoid a bottom-heavy shape.
If you like to wear your thick hair short, (or if your man has thick hair), the easiest shape to control is tightly tapered on the sides and in back, and longer on top. The top can be texturized by snipping into the ends to break up the mass and prevent it from looking like a pelt.
And finally, a word about razors. Some hair stylists believe that razor-cutting is the perfect way to lighten heavy hair, because razors are able to prune away mass efficiently. A razor cut can truly transform thick hair, making it airier and lighter than you could have believed possible. But over-razoring can cause breakage and split ends, so be sure your hair stylist is a skilled and experienced razor-ist before taking that path.
“I just let my hair dry naturally,” your skinny-stranded friend announces, and you just glare. Because air drying thick hair usually leads to one of two things (or both.) Your hair will double in size due to massive frizz, or four (or six or eight) hours after you step out of the shower, it will still be wet.
That’s why thick hair does best with a blow-out—it will keep your frizz in check and allow you leave the house with dry hair, instead of making you hold your head out of the car window on your way to work.
There are few shortcuts when blow drying thick hair—you have to go section by section, and those sections need to be fairly small in order to dry and smooth your hair completely. One tip: don’t begin with sopping wet hair. Air or rough dry it first until it’s 80 or even 90 percent dry. Then grab a round brush and begin drying.
If you’re going somewhere special, and you have your heart set on an updo, get ready to spend the evening with about a zillion pins in your hair, because you’ll need that many to hold up your thick hair. A better choice might be gathering half of your hair up and leaving the bottom half down. Frame your face with a few wispy tendrils, and that means wispy. Use a tail comb or your fingers to loosen a few teeny tiny pieces at your temples—any more hair than that and it will be prom night 1964.
Although you may sometimes feel you need a whip and a chair to tame your thick hair, there are better options. Here are the essential styling products and tools for your thick hair arsenal: