The Thick of Things

Thicker hair is within reach if you’re willing to invest a little time and effort. Here are four tips.

When it comes to physical features, most of us want what we don’t have. I was blessed with brown eyes, pale skin, and fine hair, so naturally I want blue eyes, olive skin, and big bombshell hair. The first two would require genetic modification (or a pair of those technicolor contacts all the popular girls wore in the ’90s), but thicker hair? I’m happy to report that after a lifelong quest, my hair is bigger than ever—no teasing or Bumpit required. In fact, thicker hair is within reach if you’re willing to invest a little time and effort:

Hair-Thickening Shampoos

I know, I know! Most of the shampoos promising to plump up strands fall flat. But even if you’ve been disappointed in the past, give the newer sulfate-free options a try. They create fullness and body without stripping hair of natural oils, which is key to bounciness and manageability. My favorite: Rahua Volumizing Shampoo ($32 at StormSister Spatique,

Anti-Aging Hair Care

You don’t have to be of a certain age to benefit from the new wave of products designed to combat the telltale signs of time. Anti-aging hair care lines such as Alterna’s Caviar collection (starting at $32 at Sephora, thicken hair while also restoring shine, smoothing the cuticle, and preventing breakage. Think of it as skin care for your hair. Best for: Flat and dry, damaged hair.

Hair Extensions

I admit to initially tossing my au naturel tresses at this practice made infamous by blondes and the Kardashians. However, done in moderation (as in, a handful versus hundreds) by a highly skilled technician (Mi Shaun at The Beauty Room, 4300 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-724-4111,, extensions can bring out the best in your own hair, amplifying it without the use of products. Mi Shaun calls them “key pieces.” I call them crack. The investment: $200 to $375. The payoff: About three to five months of major hair.

Scalp Revitalization Treatments

For all of the attention we focus on thin hair, it turns out the scalp may really be the root of the problem—and the solution. Aveda’s Invati line ($25 and up at Aveda stores,, and Juut Salonspas, is a three-product system that harnesses Ayurvedic herbs and salicylic acid to exfoliate and energize the scalp, thereby encouraging hair growth and density. I’ve noticed dramatic results, but only when I’m consistently using all three products together, as the company recommends. Keep in mind: Like eyelash growth serums, once you stop using the Invati system, you stop enjoying its benefits.