If you have thick hair, there’s a very good chance that you find it to be anything but low maintenance. After all, simply drying your strands can feel like a chore. While using quick-dry hair products and blowout-accelerating tools (such as the Aquis Flip Hair-Drying Tool, $50, and Dyson Sephora Exclusive Supersonic™ Hair Dryer in Ceramic Pop, $429) can certainly help simplify the process, opting for a low-maintenance haircut for thick hair will streamline your haircare routine more than anything else.
Meet Our Expert
Jacob Schmidt is a Sally Hershberger senior stylist.
With that in mind, we chatted with Sally Hershberger senior stylist Jacob Schmidt to uncover a variety of low-maintenance hairstyles perfect for thick straight, wavy, and curly hair types. Check them out, below.
If you have thick, straight hair, Schmidt recommends taking a page out of Jennifer Anniston’s hair styling book. “I love face-framing layers that give softness and will update your hair instantly,” he says.
To create this look, spritz Color Wow Cream Coat Supernatural Spray Anti-Frizz Treatment ($28) into damp strands and use a round brush blow dryer attachment (like the one that comes with the Shark FlexStyle™ Hair Blow Dryer & Multi-Styler for Straight & Wavy Hair, ($299) for a picture-perfect blowout.
Curly Side-Part Bob
If you have thick, curly hair, consider chopping it off into a bob or lob like Jurnee Smollett's, above. For a low-maintenance style, part your hair to the side and apply curl cream (like PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Styling Cream for Curly &Coily Hair, $28) from roots to ends.
Looking for a shorter low-maintenance look? Schmidt suggests a choppy lob à la Billie Eilish. “A choppy lob is a great option for thick hair since the extra layers will add dimension to the hair,” he says. “This style is meant to be a little messy, making it super low maintenance.”
If you love the look of this cut but don’t have as defined waves, try using a curling iron, like the T3 CurlWrap 1.25" Automatic Rotating Curling Iron ($200), to create subtle S-waves throughout.
Long, Wavy Hair
If you're not a fan of layers, lobs, or bobs, there's always the option to stick to a single length of hair with very subtle face-framing angling. Here, you can see how the style looks on Bridgerton actress Simone Ashley. For a similarly shiny style, apply Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Hair Cream ($52) from roots to ends.
Shag haircuts are back in a big way here in 2023 and Schmidt says that the throwback cut works well with thick hair. “A long shag will take a lot of the bulk out of thick hair and will allow you to achieve a soft look with a lot of movement,” he reveals.
To mimic Taylor’s tousled, matte mane here, liberally apply a dry texture spray to your strands post-blow dry. We love the Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Texturizing Finishing Spray ($29)—not only does it smell great, it adds lasting volume and texture, too.
Curly Wolf Cut
Curls have a reputation for being anything but low-maintenance but Schmidt assures us that textured layers like Zendaya’s “will add movement and give your hair a chic look,” he says.
To achieve shiny, bouncy curls like Z’s, apply curl cream (like the Briogeo Curl Charisma™ Rice Amino + Avocado Leave–In Defining Cream, $24) from roots to ends and blow out with a diffuser attachment.
Silk Press Bob
While a silk press isn't low-maintenance to achieve, once it's done, it can make for an easy-to-care-for 'do. Simply avoid humidity and water and sleep on a silk pillowcase (like the Slip Silk Pillowcase, $89) or use a silk bonnet (like the Slip Pure Silk Turban, $85) to protect your strands from frizz-causing friction.
If you’ve been teetering on the edge of bang territory, Schmidt says to go for it. “While blunt cuts aren’t my first choice for thick hair, I do love blunt bangs,” he reveals. “Since the hair is thicker, this fringe will nicely lay across the forehead and avoid that stringy, limp look we all fear.”
Prefer a piecier mane? Lana Condor's layered bob is a great hairstyle to recreate on thick hair. The trick to styling this cut is to rely on texture products—such as the IGK Body Language Rice Water Plumping and Thickening Hair Mist ($34) and Bumble and bumble Thickening Dryspun Volume Texture Spray ($36)—that will define the pieceyness so it doesn't fall flat.
You don’t have to have long, shoulder-length, or even bob-length hair to adequately flaunt wavy texture. Schmidt points to Zoë Kravitz as proof. “Pixie cuts work great for thick hair since they get rid of that extra weight,” he says. “When communicating with your stylist, bring photos that give an idea of what you are looking for.”
Side-Part Long Hair
Whoever says side parts are no longer in style clearly hasn't seen how stunning the parting looks on Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Here, you can see how her thick hair shines in this silhouette. Best of all, it's not hard to style. Simply blow out your hair and add bounce curls throughout with a large-barrel curling iron, like the T3 SinglePass Curl 1.5” Ceramic Long Barrel Curling and Wave Iron ($170).
Straight Wolf Cut
The wolf cut is popping up everywhere this year, and it’s one silhouette that works particularly well with thick hair. “The modern mullet is an edgy and bold cut but surprisingly low-maintenance for thick hair,” Schmidt says. “The jagged and imperfect edges are super forgiving and can be easily grown out into a more shaggy style.”
Coily Layered Bob
Hoping for a more dimensional look? A coily, layered bob like Jennifer Hudson's, above, will make quite the impact without requiring tons of time to style. Again, you'll want to use a curl-defining cream, like the Adwoa Beauty Baomint™ Moisturizing Curl Defining Cream ($32), to tame frizz and showcase natural texture.
One of the most requested haircuts of 2023—the butterfly cut—also works well with thick hair. “Butterfly cuts have short layers on the top of the head with longer layers at the bottom—a great style for thick hair,” Schmidt says. “The shorter layers add volume without weighing down the hair.”
Y2K Face-Framing Pieces
Remember in the early 2000s when everyone had to have a few face-framing strands divided from the rest of their hair? Well, that look is back and Yellowstone's Kelsey Asbille proves just how stunning it can be here in 2023. To mimic her shiny, thick-hair cut, bring a few photos of her hair to your stylist, and be sure to stock your haircare arsenal with shine-enhancing products, like the Verb Glossy Shine Heat Protectant Spray ($20).
If you’re not ready to fully embrace blunt bangs but want to experiment with fringe, opt for curtain bangs. “Curtain bangs are super trendy right now, for good reason,” Schmidt says. “These longer, wispy bangs are perfect for those with thick hair since they have a nice face-framing effect. They can be customized to your face for a flattering shape, too.”
Long Loose Waves
Chrissy Teigen is known for her gorgeous long, thick hair, which she often wears in effortless waves. “Loose waves add tons of texture and body to thick strands while removing a lot of the bulk and weight in hair,” Schmidt says, recommending the style for anyone with thick hair who’s looking for a low-maintenance look.
For a smooth, Old Hollywood wavy look like the one pictured above, you’ll want to use a smooth styling cream, like the Dae Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Cream ($28). For beachier, more lived-in waves, try the OUAI Wave Spray ($28).
Shay Mitchell is the queen of long, thick hair that shines to the high heavens and more often than not, she embraces a low-maintenance style to showcase her strands. Here, her waist-length tresses are styled into glossy waves with a side part. The hardest part about achieving this look is nailing the shine factor—but Color Wow's Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray ($29) makes it a breeze.
Long Beachy Waves
Country starlet Lainey Wilson always looks like a bombshell with her thick, ash-blonde waves. To copy her look (which pairs perfectly with a cowboy hat), ask your stylist for long layers and stock your haircare routine with matte texturizing products like the Oribe Matte Waves Texture Hair Lotion ($42) and BondiBoost Root Boost Volume Powder with Amaranth & Rice Protein ($25).
Aladdin actress Naomi Scott (who played Jasmine) offers another perfect example of a low-maintenance thick haircut. Her shoulder-skimming strands are parted down the middle and feature subtle waves but no major layering.
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