My sister has the most gorgeous thick, wavy hair… I’m so jealous! But for years, she hated it. While I was envious, she was having all kinds of hassle trying to deal with thick hair. While I was rocking cute clips, she was struggling to find a hair elastic tough enough to handle her hair. If you’re suffering from an excess of tresses, read on. I’ve chatted up my sister and my stylist and they’ve both provided me with an insight into the secret world of thick hair. Here are 10 tips on how to deal with thick hair.
1. Be Patient
Most people with thick hair also tend to have wavy hair, and wavy hair tends to frizz… which makes it even more unmanageable. Both my sister and my stylist agree: the best way to deal with thick hair is to be patient. Blow it all the way dry before you leave the house on a humid day… let it air dry for an hour or so, then tackle it with your dryer, wait ten minutes for your hair to cool, spray it with a light hold spray, and you’re ready to go. Anyone with thinner hair may wonder why this takes patience — but you girls with thick hair know it can take up to an hour to dry your hair all the way!
2. Find the Right Accessories
Forget it — the cute little bows and clips and pins just are not going to work in your hair. They make lovely decorations, but there’s no way they’re going to be able to actually do the work of holding your hair up or back. They’re just too flimsy! Keep your eyes peeled for extra-hold clips and elastics. My stylist recommends the store Charming Charlie…. They apparently have all kinds of tough-enough accessories for your thick, unruly hair.
3. Find the Right Tools
My sister swears that in her entire life, she’s only ever been able to find one type of comb and one type of brush that can handle her hair. She’s also invested in a high-powered hair dryer and she takes it with her when she travels, because the right tools can make all the difference in how to handle thick hair. Try a boar bristle brush — they’re tough!
4. Layer It!
Long layers are the first step in finding the right style for thick hair. My sister has long layers that start at her cheekbones, and proceed down the length of her hair. The layers give her hair movement, and they help thin it a little… and they’re gorgeous!
5. Thin It
How does my stylist tackle unruly tresses? She uses thinning shears. It’s only after these miracle shears that my sister can wear a ponytail… and my stylist swears by them. Find a stylist with thick tresses, and chances are, she’ll be a pro at using these thinning shears. If not, she can recommend whoever does her thinning… and you can go to them!
6. Don’t Go Too Short
My sister cut her hair short — once. It was insanely difficult to care for, and she regretted it for the two years it took to grow it back out. If your hair is thick and straight, then a pixie cut might work. But if you have thick, curly hair, think twice before trying to tame it by cutting it off.
7. Don’t Try Bangs
Just like a stacked bob won’t work in thick hair, most of the time, short bangs won’t work either. Long, side-swept bangs might work beautifully, but ask your stylist for her professional opinion before you instruct her to cut Bettie Page bangs. Rather than curling under, they might stick straight out!
8. Use the Right Product
Whatever you do, don’t use a volumizing shampoo and forget the mousse! Be sure you’re using the right product for your hair, like a clarifying shampoo and conditioner and a set of anti-frizz products. My stylist recommends Bumble and Bumble for anti-frizz.
9. Braid It!
There’s one big advantage to having thick hair: you can rock braids way better than girls with thin, limp hair. This is a great way to deal with thick hair when you just can’t make it behave. Gather all of your behind one ear and secure it with a strong elastic, then do a herringbone braid (be sure to remove the elastic when you’re done). Or tame all of your tresses in a classic French braid from top to bottom. Gorgeous!
10. Donate It!
I donated my much-thinner hair to Locks of Love once, and they got two ponytails out of it. It takes four ponytails to make a wig for a cancer-stricken child, so if you donated your super-thick hair, think of how many wigs they could make from your hair alone! Remember, if you have thick curly hair, you’ll want to check with your stylist before you cut it too short… but wow, this would be such a great way to deal with thick hair and do some good!
11. Divide and Conquer
No matter what you decide to do with your thick hair, going at it in sections can make the job much more manageable. That includes when you wash and style your tresses. If you try to tackle your entire head of hair at one time, chances are you'll miss spots and wind up with a look you don't love. When you apply product, do so in chunks. As you style, work in sections from top to bottom or from one side to the other. This way, you can give all your strands equal attention.
12. Don't Skimp on Product
Once you've found the right product for your hair, make sure you are applying enough of it to get the job done. Sadly, that means you'll be restocking really often, which can get a bit pricey, depending on what products you choose. However, skimping on it won't do your hair any favors. As said above, apply ample amounts of product to your hair in sections to be sure you're giving all of it the attention it needs.
13. Detangle the Roots
One of the challenges to having thick hair is getting it to lay flat without being all over the place. That's why you need to detangle it all the way to the root. I'm sure you comb your thick hair as needed, but if you aren't getting all the way to your scalp, you're doing yourself a serious disservice. Use a wide toothed comb and remove tangles all over your hair. That helps control the volume on top and manage your strands as you wrangle them into a style that you love.
14. Get a High Powered Blow Dryer
Thick hair takes much longer to dry than thinner strands. That makes a high powered blow dryer an essential part of your hair care routine. Unless you opt for a natural look that allows you to air dry your hair, you are going to need a tool that can blast your hair and get the job done fast and easy. However, you want to be easy on the heat styling so choose a hair dryer that gives you the option of cool air as well as hot air so that you can alternate back and forth to protect your strands.
15. Don't Wash Every Day
Washing your hair strips it of the natural oils it needs to be healthy and gorgeous. That's why thick-haired girls should only wash every couple of days. By going a couple of days between washes, you allow those natural oils to condition and hydrate your hair, helping it look healthy and keeping it under control. Experts say that you can probably go two or three days between shampoos.
16. Dry before Sleep
If you have thick hair, you should never sleep on it when it's wet. Whether you blow dry or air dry, make sure it's all dry before you hit the sack. When you have thick strands, sleeping on them when wet causes them to mat and tangle while you sleep, which isn't going to look good or be easy to deal with when you get up.
17. Go for a Ponytail
If you're struggling with thick hair, don't underestimate the power of a ponytail on a bad hair day. A ponytail is cute and it helps hide some of the things that girls with thick hair hate. Add a cute accessory to make your ponytail worthy of the office or a day hanging out with friends. No one will ever know that your thick hair won the battle that morning.
After years of dealing with thick hair, my sister’s finally happy, using the right tools and products and accessories, and finally finding a stylist who knows how to use thinning shears and long layers. Now I’m back to being jealous of her hair! If you have thick, unruly hair, I hope these tips help you, too… and maybe you’ll have more tips and ideas to share! Let me know down below…
Top Image Source: indonesiatatler.com
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez