How to Style Thinning Hair - GQ Australia Magazine



First, you start to notice the stray hairs. You know the ones, the strands that appear in your sink and shower drain. For a while you ignore it but inevitably it catches up to you and before you know it, you're scratching a rather sparse head of hair, looking at a reflection in the mirror that sees no denying the fact that your hair is thinning or, to put it bluntly, you're starting to go bald. 

Whilst it might be a stretch to classify a man's head of hair as his "crowning glory," that doesn't mean hair loss isn't a major source of anxiety or psychological distress for a lot of guys. After all, it's a reminder that your youthful glory days are behind you, slipping away from your grasp faster than the gel you're trying to lather on your remaining strands of hair. 

But hair loss doesn't mean you have to resort to combover hairstyles and various hats. If genetics has dealt you the ever-so-scant card of thinning hair- which can kick in any time from your mid twenties onwards - help is at hand. We asked Brad Lepper, Professional Creative Director of Sebastian ANZ, how to make the most of what you do have and keep your hair on your head - if you're into that.

What hairstyles work best for thin hair?

Dealing with thinning hair or a receding hairline can be frustrating, particularly as when your hairline moves back and the hair on your head becomes less dense, some hairstyles just don't look as good as they used to. 

“Be honest with your stylist and voice your concerns and problem areas. If your stylist knows your concerns up front, they can work to angle, shape and style your hair to best manage these problem areas. A tight fade is a great way to create density, as the length on the sides increase the appearance of volume towards the top of your head. Finish with a texturising styler like Sebastian Professional Craft Clay to help create fullness. Apply to your fingertips and run through the hair to shape, give a light blast of hot air for extra volume,” says Brad. 

Thankfully, there are a number of hairstyles and ways to style your hair despite hair loss. Just remember: not all hairstyles are created equal. Some cuts will only accentuate your thin or bald patches, while others make it much harder to detect the fact you're losing hair.

Just please, never ever resort to a comb over. Just don't do it fellas, OK? 

The Buzz Cut

Easy to style and even easier to manage, a buzz cut is a perfect option if you have thinning hair. Because your hair is short and your skin is visible, thin patches on your scalp don’t stand out as much as they would with a longer haircut. A buzz cut is also a good way to deal with a receding hairline, since it makes the entire hairline less obvious by reducing the level of contrast between your forehead and your hair. Channing Tatum rocked this look, as do a number of Hollywood stars. 

The Crew Cut

The military-style crew cut is an ideal option for making a receding hairline less obvious. This is because it reduces the level of contrast between your temples and the sides of your head, with the shorter, thinner sides creating the illusion of a more even hairline. If you prefer slightly longer hair on top, you can replace the military-style crew cut with a more classic high and tight haircut.

The Mop Top

Not a fan of short hair? A classic mop top haircut is a good option for making thinning hair less obvious. Brush it forward or across your forehead and it can also hide a receding hairline with a less obvious look than a comb over. Also, you can adjust its length to match your tastes, from a classic Beatles-style haircut to something messier and easier to manage. Think Ashton Kutcher (but mature Ashton, not 'That 70's Show' Ashton). 

The Slick Back

While a slick back haircut won’t hide your receding hairline, it’s a great way to own it while you make thinning hair on your crown less obvious. Exactly as it sounds, short on the sides, with slicked back hair on the top of your head that covers your crown. If you don’t have thinning hair but want to make a receding hairline less obvious, you can also slick your hair across instead of backwards. Look at David Beckham for inspiration.

What Styling Products do You Need?

Styling products are great for thinning hair in the sense that they can give the appearance of thicker hair. While things like mousse or hairspray won't actually make your hair thicker, they can give the illusion of thick hair by adding volume and letting you cover up thin patches. They also give your hair a healthy, more uniform look. 

“For a slick look that lasts, try Sebastian Professional Dark Oil. It provides 48-hour body and control. My favourite product for volume is Sebastian Professional Drynamic on wet hair, followed by Sebastian Professional Gel Forte as your finishing tool - great for both short and long hair.”

The main advice here would be to avoid waxes which tend to just make patches of thin hair look flatter, thinner and more obvious. A light mousse is the smarter alternative as it adds volume when applied properly by wetting your hair first and blow drying it after. 

How do I prevent further hair loss?

“If you want to do more than just make your thin hair appear fuller, check out the Nioxin brand and its online consultation tool which focuses on the so-called three D’s of hair and scalp health - derma, density and diameter. Nioxin offers a three-part kit that offers thicker, fuller hair in 30 days if used correctly.”

Similarly, when it comes to hair loss, it's far easier to keep the hair you've got than attempt to regain what you've lost through elaborate surgical procedures or a hair transplant. Because of this, the best way to manage your hairstyle if you're balding is to preserve and protect the hair you still have and there are plenty of affordable options out there to help you do so. 

Other ways to tackle thinning hair

Styling products and haircuts aside, looking at diet and other health factors is also important when it comes to thinning hair. It can be helpful to increase your intage of protein, Omega 3, iron and vitamin C to get thicker, fuller hair. 


If you smoke a couple of fags a day, you're already at greater risk of becoming bald. The toxins in cigarette smoke can cut the blood flow to your hair follicles, creating pattern baldness and thinning. So, if you're wondering why your hair looks to be thinning whilst holding a cigarette in hand, that might just be the answer. 

Lack of protein

Yep, it's been scientifically proven that a lack of protein in your diet can really affect your hair. Hair strands are made up of protein fibres, so if you're not taking in enough protein your body will prioritise other areas over your hair.

Eating the right foods can also make a difference for hair growth. It's always a good idea to look inwards when you notice a change, and besides increasing your intake of protein, things like Omega 3, vitamin C and iron can also make a drastic difference that will help you see changes within a few months. 


Stress could be one of the leading factors causing your hair loss. You've probably been told again and again that stress is bad for your health, but it also affects your hair. Taking time to relax and unwind is not only important for your mental health, but serves vanity purposes too. 

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