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18 Stunning Hairstyles for Thick Hair That Will Have All Eyes on You

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Having thick hair is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you've got a lot of hair... like, a lot. And that means you have plenty to play with when it comes to trying all sorts of hairstyles and haircuts. From trendy bob hairstyles to layered haircuts, you can just about wear it all. But having all that hair can feel overwhelming and even daunting. Sometimes you're not sure where to begin. 

Have no fear, we're here to tell you exactly what to do with all that hair you've got growing out of your scalp. We reached out to some hair professionals to get their advice on the best styles and cuts for thick hair. And wow, did they deliver. Whether you've got short hair or long hair, straight hair or kinky hair, there's a hairstyle for your thick hair type on this list. Scroll below to find the best one for you!

About the Experts:

Ian Sannicolas is a Covet & Mane Educator and the co-owner of The Uncommon Mane in Huntington Beach, CA.
Molly Leahy is a Living Proof Test Salon stylist and The Knot Best of Weddings 2021 winner for hair and makeup.

1. Loose Braid

A photo of Shay Mitchell in her white crop top, dark red lipstick and a loose long braid
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

First up, braids. Any and every type of braid looks great on thick hair, according to Living Proof Test Salon stylist Molly Leahy. She notes that braids "look absolutely amazing in thick hair" because of the sheer volume of strands you have (exhibit A: Shay Mitchell). The trick is to "make it very secure and polished" so all of your hair can be on full display. If you need some inspiration, we suggest starting with these 15 braided hairstyles. You can really pull off any braided hair look under the sun, so go ahead and try them all.

2. Half-Up

A photo of Ella Balinska wearing a bright smile in her nude lipstick, black bow tie, gold earrings with her black hair pulling a half-up, half-down hairstyle
Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Those with thin hair can't pull off the half-up half-down hairstyles quite like you can with thick strands like Ella Balinska. Leahy shares that even though half of your hair will be up and out of your face, "the hair left down still looks full and intentional." Plus, taking some of your strands out of your face will brighten up your complexion a bit more. It's so easy to hide behind your hair when you have more of it than you know what to do with.

3. Space Buns

A photo of Janelle Monae styled her black curly hair into space buns wearing a black choker, a shade of red lipstick and a blue eyeliner
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Leahy adores space buns on thick hair, and with one look at Janelle Monae’s style, we have to say we agree. With the amount of hair you have, you really can pull off this style like no other. It doesn't matter if you have wavy hair, curly hair, or pin-straight hair, you can rock the space buns. We even have a tutorial that is out-of-this-world cute. Another reason Leahy is a big fan of space buns is because they're a "split" hairstyle. She recommends this type of styling (i.e. space buns, French braids, twists on either side) because your hair "will still look full but the hairstyle will make it easier to work with the hair so you don't have to handle all of it at once." 

4. Big Loose Waves

A photo of Blake Lively in her blond loose waves wearing a neutral makeup , a black and white checkered vest with an inner white long sleeves
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Waves look nothing short of stunning in thick hair like Blake Lively’s. And if you've already got wavy hair, this look will only enhance what you were genetically blessed with. To create soft waves, Leahy recommends "very lightly dampening your dry hair and using something like a robe tie to twist the hair on either side of your head away from your face and secure it at the bottom." The key to this look is making sure "the hair isn't soaking wet or it will take forever to dry." So, be sure to start off with damp hair. Once you're good to go on that, Leahy notes to "let the hair air dry overnight or a couple of hours, take out the robe tie, and you will have no heat, big loose waves without hurting your arms from holding a curling iron for super long." It really is that easy!

5. Sleek and Straight

A photo of Dua Lipa wearing a sexy sequined dress along with her black, straight and sleek long hair
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

To make your thick locks a little more low maintenance, Leahy suggests going for a sleek, polished hairstyle like Dua Lipa. "By flat ironing your thick hair or even getting a professional blow-dry with the right smoothing products, it can make your thick hair feel less voluminous and more manageable," she shares. Not only that, but Leahy also points out "it can  last for a long time in thick hair as it doesn't tend to get oily as fast as thin hair. If you do take the time to do it yourself or pay to get it done professionally you will get your money's worth." We love hearing that.

6. Claw Clip Updos

A photo of Kendall Jenner smiling with her hair styled in a claw clip updo wearing a black trench coat and gold earrings
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Claw clips are everywhere these days. And yes, Kendall Jenner proves you can use them in your thick hair. It all comes down to finding one that can hold all of your hair and getting a little creative with how you use them. "Consider getting a double claw clip to put your hair up easily when you need to," says Leahy. "Make sure it has two sets of prongs (usually the main big set and then a smaller set of prongs is inside when you open it up) this will ensure it will be able to hold and support your thick hair."

7. Lots of Length

A photo of Anya Taylor-Joy in her blond long wavy hair with lots of length wearing a pearl dangling earrings and a printed pink spaghetti strap dress while showing her back
Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Take a note from Anya Taylor-Joy and go long, like Rapunzel long, with your thick hair. You have those gorgeous strands for a reason, you might as well show them off. Leahy agrees, noting "going on the long side can give thick haired people more styling options." That being said, she's quick to note it isn't the low maintenance length everyone desires. "However it can also be more of a burden to take the time to" style all that hair. If you're willing to keep up with it, we say grow it out. And if it's not for you, shoulder-length or shorter hair will work just as well.

8. Curl Specific Haircut

A photo of Yara Shahidi wearing a bright smile in her natural black curly hair with a curl specific haircut dressed in green full of pearls and beads
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

For those with natural hair textures or curly hair like Yara Shahidi, Leahy highly recommends getting a curl specific cut "to enhance your natural curl pattern." She mentions that "because thick hair can get weighed down super easily, getting a curly girl cut will not only take out bulk and weight, but also enhance your natural texture and make your hair easier to style." But before you book your haircut, Leahy notes "this should only be done if you plan on wearing your hair curly a majority of the time. This is because curly hair cuts can give you shorter or choppy layers because you are cutting to the curl pattern, which can be different all over your head."

9. Thinned-Out Crop

A photo of Olivia Munn beautifully sported her bright red lips paired with her black mid-length thinned-out crop hairstyle
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Hoping to try a mid-length hairstyle with thick hair like Olivia Munn? Leahy emphasizes that "shorter cuts can look great with thick hair, but definitely consider taking out some of the bulk so that it lays nicely on your head to complement your face shape and doesn't get too poofy." Any hairstylist should be able to thin out your hair for you, though it definitely doesn't hurt to be very clear as to how much hair you want thinned. Scheduling a consultation before your thick wavy hair loses all its glory is always a good idea.

10. Tucked Behind the Ear

A photo of Ciara wearing a dazzling low cut dress in her mid-length blond hair tucked in her ear
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

The thing about thinning out your thick tresses is that it allows you to create the ever-so-classic tucked behind the ear hairdo à la Ciara. Leahy suggests you have your hairstylist thin out the section behind your ear "so that you can easily tuck your thicker hair behind your ear to get it out of your face." Pair it with a deep side part and you've got a sultry, seductive look going on. At the very least, everyone will be able to see that gorgeous face of yours a whole lot better than before.

11. Long Layers

A photo of Jennifer Lopez in her long-layered blond hair wearing a white gown with a silver plunging neckline
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The Uncommon Mane co-owner Ian Sannicolas shares that long layers are great for everyone with thicker hair, though those with stick straight hair will notice the most benefits. "Having straight thick hair can weigh you down," he shares. "Adding long layers with a detailed face frame can help" add more body to your hair (see Jennifer Lopez above). Layering gives your hair an extra bit of movement and frees up your face a bit. There are a number of layered hairstyles out there, so your hairstylist can surely help you find the right one for your face shape.

12. Textured Short Bob​​​​

A photo of Stacey Bendet wrapped in a neutral colored coat and flashes her charming smile using a nude lipstick that compliments her dark brown bob cut hair
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Sannicolas notes that those with short coarse hair (like Lucy Hale’s) can benefit from a textured short bob. Even though the style is short, it offers a level of versatility to easily "switch up your look." You can have golden ringlets one day and a sleek bob haircut the next. The possibilities really are endless with this haircut for thick hair.

13. Textured Pixie Cut

A photo of Joey King showing her back and her semi-curled brunette pixie cut hair featuring her dazzling red earring
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Another great style for short thick hair is Joey King’s textured pixie cut, notes Sannicolas. Texturizing thick hair is an excellent way to make it more manageable. By doing so with a shorter cut, you once again allow yourself the ability to play with your chosen thick hairstyle. Yes, even with a pixie, you can create a number of distinctive looks. Who says long hair has to have all the fun?

14. Long Bob

A photo of Hailey Baldwin in sideways characterized by her messy, long bob blonde hair dressed in a stunning beige gown on an abstract background
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A long bob or lob hairstyle like Hailey Bieber’s is perfect for those with medium-length hair. Though if you're looking for a medium-length haircut for your longer strands, Sannicolas suggests chopping your hair in favor of this medium-length hairstyle. The hairdo allows you to "create natural layers," which you can use to frame your face and add some extra dimension to otherwise unruly strands.

15. Pop of Color

A photo of Rihanna stunningly projected her long balayage hair with her daring red gown and red radiant lips
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Sannicolas emphasizes that those with "long thick hair hit the jackpot." He shares that a fun way to play with your strands "while maintaining the integrity of your hair" is adding in a subtle pop of color, like Rihanna. "Balayage hair extensions can be used to add dimension to your hair without causing any damage," Sannicolas notes. "This is the perfect option if you’re looking to add volume and contrast to your already long hair." A balayage hair color is often easy to achieve should you want to make it permanent. We have the sneaking suspicion that is exactly what will happen. Balayage really does look great on everyone.

16. Face-Framing Layers

A photo of Kaia Gerber in her charming smile using a nude-colored lipstick in her updo hairstyle with two side bangs
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Both Sannicolas and Leahy agree that face-framing layers work for any and all thick hair types. Again, you have a ton of hair, most of which often hides your face. Whether you opt for a blunt bob haircut (like Kaia Gerber) or seek something that will enhance your natural waves, wispy face-framing layers will give you the dimension your hair is often missing. 

17. The Shag

A photo of Taylor Swift flaunting her blonde shaggy hair paired with green hoop earrings and colorful top on a dark gray background
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Hoping to go trendy with your haircut? Taylor Swift’s shag is where it's at. Sannicolas shares that if your thick hair tends to be wavy, "a medium-length shag could help enhance your natural waves for an easy wash and tousled look." Shaggy layers will give you a bit of an edge, though we should mention that this cut isn't exactly low-maintenance. But if you're prepared to style it regularly, this cut is calling your name. And if you need some shag haircut inspiration, look no further than these 18 looks right here.

18. Fringe

A photo of Tessa Thompson in her ivory-colored inner turtleneck topped with a stripe coat that accentuates her dark curly fringe hair on top of her face
Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Those with curly hair like Tessa Thompson will benefit from "a haircut that has a fringe or rounder layers throughout the top and around the face," shares Sannicolas. This hairdo will help you better embrace your natural hair texture a bit more, while also flattering your hair type and face shape. If you have a round face, this hairstyle is especially favorable.

Now that you know the best hairstyles for your thick hair, want the best products to care for your hair delivered to you in the IPSY Glam Bag? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Ashley Locke
Ashley is a Long Beach-based freelance writer who loves sharing beauty and skincare hacks with her fellow “lazy girls” out there. When she isn’t writing, you can find her crying while listening to The Maine or watching "The Office".
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Article Last Updated November 19, 2021 12:00 AM