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Fine hair and thin hair are two terms that are thrown around interchangeably, but they are not actually the same thing. When you talk about fine hair, you are referring to the actual density of the hair strand. Whereas thin hair means you have less volume of hair on your head, which can make your scalp visible. “All hair types (including fine and thick hair) can be thin,” said Dr. Iris Rubin, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN Haircare previously told InStyle.
If you fall into the latter category, you might feel like you’re limited in terms of styling options—especially when it comes to updos. But certain styles work like optical illusions: they don’t draw attention to thin areas, but instead make the hair look thicker and more voluminous.
To help you out, we’ve tapped top stylists to share their favorite updos for thin hair, and give their expert tips on how to style each look.
This article originally appeared on instyle.com
Before getting into the actual styling, celebrity hairstylist T3 ambassador David Lopez says it’s important to prepare the hair so the set-up lasts. “One thing to keep in mind is that updos that are very tight and smooth to the head can show how fine the hair actually is, so generally an updo with a little more texture and volume to it will be your best bet,” says Lopez .
The best foundation for an updo is a voluminous one, so the stylist recommends washing your hair and then adding your desired texture to it. “Add a foam or mousse that will add some memory to the hair, then blow dry your hair on low speed, high heat,” says Lopez. “A rough dry is just using the dryer and your hands, while using the wider concentrator option with your dryer, which will expand the hair’s cuticle for more volume.”
Once your hair is completely dry, you can smooth it with a paddle brush and then curl/add texture to the hair. Lopez’s tools of choice are T3’s AireLuxe blow dryer and Singlepass Curl Iron in 0.75 or 1 inch depending on your desired texture. Add a volumizing powder or texture spray for some grit.
#1 Messy Topknot
To achieve this effortless style, celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons suggests building texture with a hairspray like Après Sexe Texture Spray from his namesake hair care line.
“Then pull your hair into a high ponytail and brush it away from your forehead,” says Fitzsimons. “Divide your ponytail into two sections, wrap each section around each other, then form into a bun and secure.” Leave out any excess pieces for a messy, lived-in look.
#2 Loose Chignon
A loose chignon like Meghan Markle’s signature updo is a great option for anyone with thin hair. “You can make a loose ponytail, part it in half, and then put it in a rope, which you can mold into a beautiful chignon by pinning at the bottom of the pony,” says Lopez.
#3 Sculpted high bun
This “simple but chic” style is a favorite of Fitzsimons and his clients like Khloé Kardashian.
“Turn your hair into a few separate twists and pull it all tightly together into a high bun close to your head,” says the stylist. “Pro tip: Spray a toothbrush with a little bit of hairspray and use it to lay down any flyaways.”
#4 Soft ponytail
“Leave a few face-framing pieces around the face to hide any thinness, and pull the rest back into a ponytail,” suggests Lopez when creating a ponytail on thin hair. “Use hairspray and your hair dryer to really smooth everything down.” If you want extra volume, the stylist suggests adding a ponytail extension into the mix.
#5 Low wavy bun
This easy updo is so versatile—it works for days when you need a quick style, but it also looks elegant on a red carpet like Gemma Chan’s low-wave bun at the 2019 Golden Globes.
So how do you do a messy bun on thin hair? “Start with dry hair, then tie your hair into a loose ponytail. Divide the ponytail into two sections and start curling your hair, once it’s curled, put it in a bun,” says Fitzsimons. “This look will add depth and dimension and is best when locked in with hairspray.” Try Touch Soft Hold Hairspray from Fitzsimon’s line. It locks styles in place without leaving hair hard and brittle.