I’m quite sure anyone with thick hair like myself would agree that it’s both a blessing and a curse. Every session in the salon chair involves an intimate tousle and gushing remark along the lines of, “your hair is amazing.” And sure, I enjoy the friendly praise. But the maintenance is often tedious, especially in the heat. Summer’s scorching temperatures currently has me contemplating a drastic chop in an attempt at effortlessness. But to stay ahead of the curve, I’m shifting my focus to the best fall haircut trends for thick hair. According to the experts, plenty of nostalgia is responsible for inspiring a few particular looks. Similarly, a post-quarantine embrace of beauty also moves the needle, from the au natural aesthetic to increased polish and glamour.
“As we emerge and come together from COVID-19, I see many individuals owning their natural looks,” says hairstylist Andrew Chen. “But, there are the Gen-Z’ers that we need to watch out for — they’re the risk-takers and super creative.” This directional approach largely stems from ’90s and ‘00s-inspired styles currently beloved by Gen-Z and Millennials, leading the way for buzzy cuts that are ideal for thicker hair. As Chen says, the relevance of effortless strands continues, but severity, including blunt ends and playfully styled looks, is predicted to rule, all with a decided freshness for fall.
But before committing to a chin-skimming, mid-length, or waist-grazing cut, a few pro tokens to keep in mind: “A big misconception everyone thinks is if you have thick hair, you must thin it out or add a ton of layers, which doesn’t work for everyone,” Carly Quist, a stylist at Mark Ryan Salon, tells TZR. “Not only do you need to take into consideration your hair texture and thickness but also your day-to-day routine,” i.e., how much time do you have every morning to style it? For low-maintenance seekers, like me, Quist says layers are the wash-and-go move. “What I recommend to my thick-haired, low maintenance clients is to add in face-framing layers,” she says. “The more layers you add, the more work you will need to put into it.”
According to Dhiran Mistry, a dry-cutting specialist in Charlotte, and David Mallett in NYC, it’s all about your hair’s texture and desired look. Across the board, he says, “there are no specific rules for any one person,” but for thick hair, “it really depends on what kind of shape they are trying to manage.” Meaning, you can have a lot of dense, thick hair (like me) or fewer strands that are plenty thick in diameter. Likewise, you can have straight, thick hair or curly, thick hair; everyone is unique with different preferences. “I listen carefully to what someone wants from their hair,” Mistry notes. For example, “A lot of layers may look bad on thick, straight hair but great on thick curly hair, and so forth.”
If you’re unsure where to start or what cut will suit your needs, your stylist will always help guide you. Mistry says the most important thing is communicating what’s important to you: less hair to deal with, quicker drying time, a heavier cut to streamline fullness, a shorter cut for a fuller look, and so on. “The most general assumption I can make about thick hair is it doesn’t need to be washed so often as this can make it more unruly,” he says. Personal share: I can go at least a week sans washing with barely a trace of oil build-up on my scalp. If that sounds drastic, Mistry has a tip for more frequent washing: “rinsing without shampooing can tame that mane.”
Without further ado, the five best fall haircut trends for thick hair, as predicted by the pros.
The Classic Blowout
For a sleek, thick haircut to polish up your post-quarantine mane, Mistry and Quist predict a rise in the classic cut of long, soft layers in the back, below-chin length, face-framing layers in the front, with a bouncy blowout. “We’re starting to see a shift from the undone, beach wave style to more of a ‘90s-inspired, modern take on the classic blowout,” Quist tells TZR. In agreement, Mistry says, “For so long we have been doing waves, so the softer bouncier hair I think will come back. It works well with thicker hair because lots of layers can end up looking super obvious. So instead, this is a great look for someone with thick hair trying to add some extra movement.”
To make things more nostalgic, Quist says, “This cut has just enough movement to create that perfect bounce as you walk. Paired with some hot rollers at home — yes, hot rollers are making a comeback, too — this cut gives you that perfect, classic salon blowout.”
Don’t call it a comeback — the straight-edge bob has been super-hot lately and carrying into fall. “Bobs are always current,” Mistry says. “I do a ton of them all the time. For fall freshness, Chen says, “I predict a square bob, with or without fringe.”
For thick hair, this is a cut that benefits from thinning out. “Thicker hair requires weight removal, and definitely, more texture adds to the look of a blunt, thick bob that moves,” Mistry says.
If you’re about a revival look this fall, the flip is your cut du jour. “We’re seeing this ‘60s-inspired style making a comeback thanks to celebrities like Millie Bobby Brown and Ariana Grande,” Quist says. “This is great for any length of thick hair — a one-length cut with softened ends. It’s great for low-maintenance while loosening up the ends to give that soft flip at the bottom.”
Long, Natural Lengths
So you can’t quit your new natural beauty routine — well, don’t! Long, grown-out hair remains a key look for fall, says Chen and Quist. “Natural texture is definitely the winner [in a] textured medium or long-length cut,” Chen tells TZR. Likening the mermaid vibe to Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon and referencing Rosalía’s long, thick hair, Quist says, “This cut is great for thick hair as it’s the least amount of maintenance to style it.”
If you’re looking to change up the style without cutting off the length, the Mark Ryan stylist suggests changing your part. “Try flipping it to the side for instant volume and lightness on the ends,” she says. Gen-Z’ers, don’t at me.
Heavy fringe, for fall? Major. A prediction Mistry says riffs off of summer’s curtain bangs trend. “Through the cooler months, you want a bit more weight and warmth on the face,” Mistry says. “It looks so good with thick hair and brings a lot of attention to the eyes when it’s at the right length.” If anything, it’s an excuse to post the iconic Legally Blonde “I got bangs!” meme.