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7 Hacks for When One Side of Your Natural Hair Is Thinner than the Other

by Shellie Reneé

May 2022

If there’s one thing that I can personally relate to, it’s how absolutely annoying it can be to have one side of your hair that is thicker and grows faster than the other.

For me, it’s my left side and although I know that there are approximately 100,000 hair follicles on my head (yours too), I’m also aware that each follicle is unique and things like genetics, diet and how much manipulation that we do to our hair can result in one side being thinner — sometimes noticeably, sometimes not.

Is it something that you can just have to grin and bear through? To a certain extent…kind of (after all, what can you do about DNA?). However, there are a few hacks that you can try — ones that at, the very least, will make your thinner side appear fuller, so that styling your hair doesn’t feel so “triggering”. Are you ready to learn what those are?

Use a Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner

Here’s the thing about volumizing shampoos and conditioners — while they don’t exactly “thicken” your hair, what they can do is provide three-dimensional lift from the roots of your hair to their tips; this causes your hair to look much fuller. These kinds of products are able to do this by widening your hair shaft.

As far as the how long volumizing shampoos and conditioners last, because they don’t contain as many moisturizing ingredients that can oftentimes weigh your hair down over time, they can help the thinner side of your hair to appear thicker for days on end easily.

Opt for Multidimensional Color

Speaking of “moving out of one dimension”, something else that you might want to do is color your hair. Only make sure to not go with something that ends up with “flat” (one-dimensional) results.

Color that contains highlights or going with a lighter hue (as opposed to dark brown or black) can oftentimes do the trick (just make sure to deep condition your hair if you do decide to color your hair in order to avoid damage).

Part on the Thicker Side

If you’ve got hair that is longer than the top of your shoulders or that lacks layers, something else that you can do is part your hair on the thicker side of your head; that way, the thinner side is naturally able to get more coverage from the extra hair from the thicker side coming over to where it is.

Also, try parting your hair diagonally instead of straight back; that way, your entire head will appear to have a lot more lift to it.

Pull It Up

One way that no one will be able to tell which side of your hair is thinner (including you) is if you put your hair up into a bun or ponytail. In fact, if you get it professionally done, a ponytail can easily last for 2-3 weeks (so long as you tie it up at night).

Just make sure that it’s not pulled too tight and that you don’t put it into a ponytail or bun back to back; sometimes the long-term tension can do more harm than good by weakening your hair follicles.

Style with Your Fingers

Honestly, whether you’ve got thinner hair or not (and whether it’s on one side or not), it’s always best to use your fingers to style your hair as much as possible.

The reason why is because it’s easier for you to control how much pressure that you put onto your locks. Plus, “feeling through your hair” can help you to avoid pulling and breaking your hair should you happen upon an unexpected tangle or set of fairy knots.

Another bonus to styling with your fingers as much as possible is you can use them to lift your roots up, so that you end up with a fuller end result; especially if you’re rocking a twist or braid out or a wash ‘n go.

Consume More Protein and Collagen

Although most of these hacks are all about things that you can do to make the thinner side of your head look thicker, there is something that you can do that will actually help to make your hair fuller overtime.

Because your hair is made up of mostly protein (keratin), eating more protein-rich foods can strengthen and thicken your strands.

As far as collagen goes, not only does it help to prevent hair follicle damage and create the building blocks of your hair, it also gives your tresses more elasticity, so they can better handle the manipulation that comes from styling.

Foods that are high in protein include meat, poultry, eggs, potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes and fish. Foods that are full of collagen include citrus fruits, berries, garlic, bone broth, cashews, red and yellow veggies and even white tea.

Sleep on the “Other” Side

It’s actually a pretty controversial topic — “it” being whether constantly sleeping on the same side of your head can actually cause thinning hair and affect length retention.

What I’ll personally say is it makes totally sense to me that being on the same side, 6-8 hours of the night, can somewhat impact blood flow to your hair follicles; not to mention what the friction of always moving on one side can do too.

So, at least try starting your sleep cycle by sleeping on the side that you are least accustomed to. Oh, and make sure your pillowcase is a silk or satin one. The less friction your thinner side has to deal with, the better. There’s no debating that.