Stuck for thin-hair inspiration? Here's 16 short hairstyles to show your stylist

Short hairstyles for thin hair made easy thanks to this pro advice and inspiration

Charlize Theron short hairstyles for thin hair
(Image credit: Getty / Michael Tran / Stringer)

It can be really difficult to know how to style your hair if you have a fine or thin hair type. And it can also be tricky if you're experiencing thinning for any reason. But fear not, we've called in the pros to help figure out how to navigate short hairstyles for thin hair, plus how to style them. 

What defines thin hair?

Thin hair? Fine hair? You've probably heard the two used interchangeably, but they're actually slightly different. Often with thin hair, you'll find there are fewer strands with a slightly thicker diameter. Whereas, with fine hair you'll often have more hairs but smaller diameter of strands. 

However, due to the negative connotations the term 'thin hair' can bring, some experts actually don't use the term 'thin hair' at all. Hairstylist and founder of Arkive Headcare, Adam Reed notes, "We tend not to call clients' hair thin, we tend to say finer hair." 

Often fine hair is described as a hair type whilst thinning is a loss of density, which can be caused by a variety of reasons.

Haircuts for thin and fine hair

Taking a pair of scissors to thin hair to chop it all off can feel counterintuitive, but the right haircut can actually add the illusion of both density and volume. You've just got to know what to ask for.

When it comes to hair, there's no right or wrong answer and you can absolutely have whatever cut you want. Most people with thin hair find that they prefer shorter styles so give it the most oomph possible. The main reason? Short hair equals more volume. 

"It is all about getting that balance between movement and volume, explains Reed. "I like when it has a stronger, weightier outline and a soft movement within the interior, but that would be dependent on how fine the hair is and the texture."

So, which cuts are best? 

Regardless of whether it's long or short, "it's equally important is keeping the cutting technique blunt," says hairstylist Halley Brisker. "Blunt lines are a good way to give the illusion of thicker hair." 

If you aren't a fan of daily styling, "I recommend styles that don't require too much work and have very few layers!" explains Brisker. "Avoid fringes if possible as even with thick hair they can be a lot of work and if your hair is very thin you want to have a simple silhouette." However, if you don't mind getting stuck into the pomade and having a styling sesh every morning, get those layers in and fringes snipped — we've got lots of inspo regardless of your preference. 

For curly hair textures, "you wouldn’t go in with massive amounts of layers because it will tend to shrink up," Reed adds. 

Hairstyles for thin or fine hair

Once you've decided on your dream cut, it's now time to move onto styling, which is where the real magic happens and is where the adding volume really comes into play. 

"Preparation is absolutely key here," says Brisker. "Blowing out your hair with a good thickening balm or spray on damp hair will dramatically change the feel and density of your hair compared to without."

Key products they swear by include: A root lift, which gives (yep you guessed it) added volume to limp roots; hair primer and protector to protect against any damage used during heat styling; texturising spray to add some movement to fine strands; and dry shampoo to not only keeps roots feeling fresh, but also add lots of volume.

Then we move onto hair tools, some experts say that investing in good styling tools means they do most the leg work for you. The Dyson Airwrap (although the biggest investment of all the hair tools) can help tame flyaways, add volume with its curl attachment and makes lightwork of drying with its smoothing brush. Other expert favourites include, the ghd Helios Hair Dryer to dry hair without frazzling ends and the Babyliss 9000 Cordless Hair Straightener. 

Finally, finishing products — don't be quick to skip this step. These guys help to give a sleek, smooth finish, add in extra texture, or define and hold curls. 

Short hairstyles for thin hair inspiration

1. Finger waves 

These finger waves are an incredibly elegant way to embrace a finer hair texture. This is a style you might want to call in the expertise of a short-hair specialist to help you choose the right products to refresh those curls and keep your strands in place. 

2. Curtain bangs 

This cut gave us a lesson in how to master the art of volume. With a snip off the ends, lots of movement with waves and a big root lift, you can give the illusion of much denser hair. 

3. Modern bowl cut

Leave it to Charlize Theron and hairstylist Adir Abergel to school us on how to modernise the classic bowl cut. Inspired by Linda Evangelista's '90s shaggy bowl cut, Abergel gave Theron a blunt cut to give sharp definition. 

4. Curly pixie 

We're all about embracing your hair texture, including this curly pixie cut. This cut is shorter on the nape of the neck with plenty of fullness on the top of the head. The individual curls have lots of undone texture and the fringe kept wispy. 

5. Buzz cut 

Take this as your sign to get a buzz cut. When it looks this good, you'll never turn back! 

6. Angled buzz cut 

If you're finding that you have thinning on one part of your scalp, get creative with an angled buzz cut like this one. Give the rest of your hair a blunt edge to give the illusion of thicker hair. 

7. Swooped fringe 

Sometimes, chopping your hair off actually makes it look longer and fuller. Case in point? This transformation, which keeps the back and side shorter with a deep side parting for plenty of volume. 

8. Blonde buzz

Using cut and colour together is a great way of adding density to the hair, as shown here with blonde ends and added detail on the side. 

9. Volume, volume, volume 

Queen of volume, Selma Blair teaches us that more is more when it comes to choppy cuts and root lifts. 

10. Modern comb over 

Who said a comb over couldn't be chic? Not us! One look at this look for Michelle Williams and you'll be convinced to brush all of your hair to one side in a deep side parting secured with a couple of hair grips. 

11. Short shag cut 

Defying the rules of layers and fringes in fine hair is the short shag cut. The premise of this cut is lots of choppy layers, a cut-in fringe and plenty of undone volume. 

12. Blunt bob 

Blunt bobs are a great way to give the illusion of density to the hair, even more so if you decide to add in a wavy texture. 

13. Pixie cut 

"Keep shorter crops on the textured side to give the cut volume and density," says hairstylist Lewis Pallett, which is exactly what the stylist has done here to give the hair plenty of volume despite its short length. 

14. Asymmetric bob 

This asymmetric bob might be short but it's not lacking any fullness thanks to its middle part, sleek finish and low-maintenance feel. 

15. Buzzed bowl cut 

Bet you never thought a buzzed bowl cut could look this good? For fine hair, keep the nape of the neck super short and create sharp lines with the micro bob to give the illusion of thick hair. 

16. Lob cut 

If you want to give your lob cut some more fullness, add lots of movement using a curling iron and even some micro highlights to bring out dimension. 

Shop the best styling products for fine hair, according to pros:

Beauty Contributor

Tori is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor for Marie Claire. She has written for various titles, including Allure, Glamour, Elle, Refinery29, Brides, and more. Currently training to be a nail tech, Tori is a total nail enthusiast and always has time to talk all things nail art. When she’s not writing about beauty and testing products, Tori can be found walking her rescue dog Pip, drinking great coffee, and eating as many croissants as humanly possible.