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If you have thick hair, removing some of its weight can help make it more manageable. Here, a stylist explains how to thin out hair in two different ways.

How To Thin Out Hair, According to an Expert Stylist

If you have thick hair, removing some of its weight can help make it more manageable. Here, a stylist explains how to thin out hair in two different ways.
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Thick manes are undeniably desirable, as evidenced by the multitude of volumizing products and hair extensions on the market. However, sometimes genetics can bless you with an abundance of hair, resulting in excess volume and weight. In that case, you can take advantage of the benefits of thinning hair by either opting for professional haircutting for thinning your strands or DIY-ing it. Thinning hair involves using specific cutting techniques and specialized tools to remove bulk, leading to a more flattering shape and easier manageability. Keep reading to learn how to thin out hair either at home or with a pro’s help.

Why Thin Out Hair?

Pureology hairstylist Jamie Wiley says there are a few reasons why someone would benefit from thinning or texturizing their hair. They are as follows:

  • Volume reduction: “People with high expansions and thick hair seek to reduce the overall volume, making it easier to manage and style,” Wiley explains.
  • Texture improvement: Thinning out your hair can enhance its overall texture, resulting in a lighter and softer mane.
  • Manageability: When you have a lot of hair, even simple tasks like waiting for it to air dry entirely or adding some curls can feel time-consuming. Wiley says, “Thinning can reduce styling time and make it easier to brush and style, making it more manageable.”

Typically, thinning is recommended for those with thick hair. Fine hair isn’t suitable for thinning because it's already on a quest to boost volume, and thinning counteracts that goal. That said, anyone can experience over-thinning their hair—even those with lots of heavy, thick hair.

“It is possible to over-thin, and when that happens, hair becomes flat and is more prone to frizz and split ends,” Wiley warns. “There is also a possibility of the hair looking patchy and possibly becoming more difficult to style.” For that reason, it’s really important to know how to thin out hair the correct way.

Good hair day by @luis_alvarez_images.

Methods for Thinning Hair

There are two popular approaches you can take when deciding how to thin out hair. Each one has its own set of benefits.

Professional haircutting

Heading to the salon to have your hair thinned is arguably one of the best ways to nix excess bulk and walk away with a flattering, manageable mane.

“Professional haircuts offer a controlled environment because hairstylists have thinning techniques like layering hair for volume, point cutting hair, and slide cutting,” Wiley says. These methods strategically remove weight and bulkiness from the right areas without compromising the overall look and feel of your hair.

When opting for a professional service, make sure you work with someone who knows how to thin out hair and is experienced working with your particular hair type.

Thinning shears

Thinning shears for hair (also referred to as texturizing shears) are a tool that professionals use, but they’re also considered a bit more user-friendly for those who want to remove excess volume and bulk themselves. “Thinning or texturizing shears are special scissors with a comb-like blade that removes only some of the hair with each cut. This allows for controlled hair removal,” Wiley explains.

The biggest caveat with this technique is knowing where to cut and going slowly to prevent over-thinning hair. To use thinning shears, you’ll start by combing through clean and dry hair. From there, focus the shears toward the ends—never at the roots—to remove bulk and add texture, always checking your progress as you go to ensure a balanced final look. If this makes you nervous at all, work with a professional to employ their experienced thinning shear techniques.

Other Hair Removal Techniques

Those with ultra-thick manes may also deal with excess hair elsewhere, like on their eyebrows, upper lip, and face. Shaving is certainly an option for this, but consider some more long-lasting options to help streamline your routine.

  • Waxing: Waxing areas of your face nixes excess hair by pulling strands directly from the root. It can be momentarily uncomfortable, but the long-lasting results make it appealing to a lot of people. Just make sure to always patch-test beforehand.
  • Threading: Threading is a professional technique that uses threads to remove and trim hairs, usually on the eyebrows. While waxing removes full patches of hair, this is a great way to get more shape.
  • Dermaplaning: Dermaplaning is a variation of shaving that removes excess hair (aka “peach fuzz”) by gently scraping the skin's surface with a sterile surgical blade. It allows for a super close shave, and because it also removes dead skin cells, some people say it makes their skin look brighter and helps their skincare apply more easily.

Good hair day by @lauraelenahairartist.

Important Considerations Before Thinning Hair

Before thinning out your hair, it’s important to make sure you’re a good candidate based on your hair type, texture, and density, says Wiley. She recommends speaking with your stylist about the benefits of thinning hair and understanding the full impact it can have on your strands. If you’re learning how to thin out hair and DIY-ing it yourself, remember to start slow and cautiously to prevent over-thinning hair.

Maintaining Thinned Hair

One of the biggest keys to maintaining thinned hair is to schedule appointments for routine trims and upkeep—about once every four to eight weeks. Wiley says, “Regular hair trims will keep your hair [looking] healthy and prevent split ends.”

She also strongly recommends using moisturizing haircare products to maintain hair’s look and feel. This includes using a high-quality haircare system for your hair type, such as Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo and Hydrate Conditioner, which provide intense moisture while protecting color vibrancy. Deep conditioning thinned hair is also a smart move since it gives your strands an extra boost of moisture and can help visibly repair and protect your strands. A great pick for thick or coarse hair is the Kérastase Masquintense Riche Hair Mask. This ultra-concentrated hair mask helps deeply nourish and strengthen medium to thick hair.

Finally, make sure to keep heat styling to a minimum and use a heat-protecting product—such as Redken Thermal Spray 11 Low Hold—whenever blow drying, curling, or straightening. If you are experiencing split ends, try a product such as Pureology’s Strength Cure Split End Salve, which helps make split ends smoother and easier to manage by reinforcing and strengthening them.

When done correctly, thinning out your hair can significantly improve manageability and lend some beautiful, flattering texture. Be sure to approach the process with care and consideration for your hair type. And when in doubt, seek guidance from a stylist.

Check out our salon locator to find the perfect fit in your area.

Next Up: Layers vs. No Layers: Which Kind of Cut Is Best?

Header Photo Credit: @lauraelenahairartist

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