In the Thick of It: 3 Fancy Hairstyles for Thick Hair

Braided bun hairstyle tutorial

As host to a rather large amount of hair, I’ve had my fair share of coiffure conundrums over the years. Whether I was eschewing the dreaded ringlet for my senior prom, or wrangling my mop into a behemothic beehive for my wedding, I did my best to bypass the typical, opting instead for something more unique. So, when a request rolled in from a ModCloth Style Ambassador seeking formal up-do ideas for thick hair, I leapt at the opportunity to solve her hairstyle headache!

Whether you’re prepping for prom, flying to Fashion Week, or simply seeking a new way to tame your mane, the three thick-hair-friendly styles below not only all use the same tools, but can be easily crafted to suit any occasion. The kicker? Each one can also be altered to suit ladies with manes of lesser proportions!

The Braided Bun

Braided bun hairstyle tutorial

For this braided bun, inspired by this post from The Beauty Department, you’ll need: hair elastics and bobby pins that match your hair color.

1. Section your hair off into five braids: three in the back, two in the front. Secure each braid with an elastic at the end.

2. Starting with the back, take the first braid and twist into a flat bun against your head, anchoring with bobby pins as you go.

3. Wrap the next braid against the first, being sure to tuck the elastic out of sight. Secure with more bobby pins.

4. Repeat Step 3 with the third braid.

5. Finally, take the two front braids and wrap them around your nearly completed bun, being sure to hide the elastics and securing each braid with plenty more bobby pins. Finish off with a shot of hairspray to set the style.

The Asymmetrical Twist

Asymmetrical Twist hairstyle tutorial

Asymmetrical Twist hairstyle tutorial

The side-swoop bun can be as polished or imperfect as you want it to be, just gather a rat tail comb, teasing brush, hair elastic, and bobby pins.

1. Using your rat tail comb, section off a portion of hair at the crown of your head.

2. Holding your hair with one hand, take your teasing brush and gently tease the sectioned off portion of hair.

3. Release your teased hair and — with your brush — gently blend it back with the rest, making sure not to flatten the body you’ve created. Now, gather it into a low side-ponytail.

4. Start twisting your hair away from you.

5. Twist your hair into a bun, tucking the ends under when you finish.

6. Grab those bobby pins and start pinning everything in place.

7. Depending on how polished you want your bun to be, pin until you can’t pin any more!

The Grand Bouffant

Bouffant hair tutorial

Bouffant hair tutorial

Feeling inspired by our latest stylebook? Try a bouffant! Achieving a bouffant that holds is seriously simple — just grab your rat tail comb, teasing brush, bobby pins, and hairspray!

1. Using your rat tail comb, section off two portions of hair: the front-most section, and the crown. Get the front portion out of the way by pushing it forward, Cousin It-style, or gathering it into an elastic.

2. Next, lightly tease the section at your crown.

3. Twist that section into a small bun, securing with bobby pins.

4. You may have to play around with placement, depending on where you wish your bouffant to be.

5. Now, take the front portion of hair and, using your teasing brush, tease like crazy!

6. Once the front portion is teased, lay it over your bun and, using your rat tail comb, tame any fly-aways and blend the sides.

7. Now, being sure to keep your bun covered, gather your teased hair and push up until you’ve achieved your desired bouffant height.

8. Pin in place using your bobby pins. From here, you can leave the back down, gather it into a ponytail, or take cue from our styl book and sport some vintage-inspired pigtails!

Do you have a style that’s perfect for thick hair? Let us know in the comments below, or show us on our Instagram (@ModCloth) or Facebook pages!

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  1. Avatar
    Natallee Zufelt 02/03/2012 at 10:04 am #

    I love the last look. It can be hard getting a good pouf and this is the best trick I have every seen. Hmmm…wondering if I can tweak it a little to make an Adele inspired ponytail???

  2. Avatar
    Angela 02/03/2012 at 10:18 am #

    Oh wow! I love the Grand Bouffant!! I have short hair – a bob w/ short side-swept bangs, but I think I can try some teasing to get a similar big hair look. Does anyone have any tips?

    • Avatar
      Eliza 02/03/2012 at 11:16 am #

      I have short hair, too. Here’s a way to get a front bouffant.

      1. Brush your bangs back.
      2. Hold them straight up in the air. (It needs to be a pretty good-sized bunch)
      3. Brush with a teasing brush at the roots.
      4. Twist the ends
      5. Bobby pin down.
      6. Push gently forward, and spray with finishing spray.

      (If you want, you can use a pretty barrete in the place of the bobby pins.)

      Good luck!

  3. Avatar
    Corrie Kartchner 02/03/2012 at 10:30 am #

    What about styles for curly thick hair?

    • Avatar
      Eliza 02/03/2012 at 11:14 am #

      Basically the same thing, but straighten out your hair before attempting. Or, try a curly ponytail. Classic, timeless, and chic!

    • Avatar
      Jill 02/03/2012 at 5:54 pm #

      I agree! Please show us some great styles for natural curly hair! (And no, “straighten your hair first” doesn’t make it a style for curly girls.) Maybe get Trop Rouge or another curly blogger to write something?

    • Avatar
      Sophie 02/05/2012 at 10:41 am #

      I have curly hair, and I’ve found braided styles to work very well. The first one is definitely something curlies can do without straightening! The bun works too, without the teasing.

      That said, I second the request for styles done on curly hair! I like these sorts of features 🙂

    • Avatar
      Veronica 02/10/2012 at 7:21 am #

      I agree – straighten hair first, is not a suggestion for curly hair style 🙂

    • Avatar
      kforkat 02/10/2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Ditto, that would be so helpful!

    • Avatar
      Julia 02/10/2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Yes, please! Straightening my hair takes hours. I’d love some suggestions for styles for us curlies!

    • Avatar
      Lisa 02/15/2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I agree, if someone has thick curly hair, “straighten first” isn’t an option. Once you got done straightening who has the time or patience to then style it a second time! Natural curly hair is beautiful but no hair magazines or online sites give us new ideas, they only show the curly hair done by a curling iron.

    • Avatar
      Samantha 03/09/2012 at 9:13 am #

      I have thick hair that borders between wavy and curly. I went ahead and tried the braided bun style and it worked perfectly! I just styled while my hair was still wet for maximum control. No straightening required!

    • Avatar
      emma 06/25/2012 at 2:52 pm #

      well if you kind of double the hair style and leace remainging hair for some harder things iooks the same but usaully if you have thivker hair you cna still do most har dues but just a little thicker

    • Avatar
      Natasha 07/08/2012 at 5:00 pm #

      The work involved in staightning thick hair is not worth trying to restyle after. It would take an honest hour plus if you have long hair. 🙁

    • Avatar
      Jacqueline 07/30/2012 at 11:20 am #

      I agree with all the responses in this thread. Hey MODCLOTH why not be a pioneer of this sort of thing by showing hair how-tos for curly to VERY curly haired ladies. No blow dryers or flat irons allowed. Curly haired ladies need to be reminded just how unique, gorgeous, sexy AND easy to maintain our natural curls really are.

      • Avatar
        Sarah-Jane 06/13/2013 at 9:26 pm #

        amen girl! curly heads are almost ignored and it sucks! I want to maintain my natural curl and not kill my hair by straightening it every day just because its whats ‘in’

    • Avatar
      Freyja 07/04/2013 at 8:56 am #

      Yes! I have very thick curly hair and I’m always looking for styles that work. Buns and braids are always good choices. I think that curly hair lends itself perfectly to the “messy” look- let them tendrils fly! I never straighten my hair, but for some of the smoother looks I’ll sometimes tie my hair while it’s drying (ponytail, braids, whatev) to tame it a bit. Might want to do it the night before, as our hair takes a while to dry. Then just fluff it out a bit, and BAM! I’ve successfully (I think) pulled off a full-curly bouffant, just finger-combed the front part a little for more uniform coverage. Takes a little more wrangling, but it can be done. I did a ponytail with it, as I found leaving the back free looked a little too mullet-y 🙂

  4. Avatar
    tulleandtrinkets 02/03/2012 at 11:14 am #

    Gorgeous! Love the bouffant. I was reading an article about Downton Abbey in Vogue, and it said ladies back in the day would collect the hair from their hairbrushes and stuff it underneath their hair for ultimate volume! I like your mini bun method better 🙂

    Sarah from

  5. Avatar
    Adriana 02/03/2012 at 11:32 am #

    These are so pretty! Would love to see some styles for thin hair too!

    • Avatar
      Heather 02/07/2012 at 1:19 pm #

      I agree! I would love some styles for thin hair!

  6. Avatar
    Hanna 02/03/2012 at 11:46 am #

    Oh my, I believe my whole hair is thinner than one of your braided strands in the first look! Depressing…would you (Modcloth) share something similar for really really thin hair? That would be great.

    • Avatar
      Zaida 02/07/2012 at 4:57 am #

      Oh my word, I feel EXACTLY the same way…..LOL

    • Avatar
      Autumn 02/07/2012 at 1:37 pm #

      I thought the same exact thing when I saw all her braids! ALL my hair is the size of 1 of her braids 🙁 Boo

    • Avatar
      Em 02/10/2012 at 6:13 pm #

      I agree! Styles for thin hair would be fantastic! (Please?!?)

  7. Avatar
    Lauren 02/03/2012 at 12:03 pm #

    I have such long, thick hair and would really love to try the braided look, I just wish it were in video form :/

  8. Avatar
    Hannah (ModCloth) 02/03/2012 at 12:12 pm #

    These are great! I was going to say that I loved the braided pun best, but really, I can’t make up my mind.

  9. Avatar
    shannon 02/03/2012 at 12:24 pm #

    So amazing!!! What beautiful hair and lovely styles.

  10. Avatar
    Amy 02/03/2012 at 1:25 pm #

    This is a godsend, although my hair is ridiculously curly, so trying to tame it to do these hairstyles will be hard. However I am glad there is finally an article on making awesome hairstyles for thick hair!

  11. Avatar
    Adventures in Dressmaking 02/03/2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for these! Lots of fun ideas!

  12. Avatar
    Lina 02/03/2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Ah! Such a good tutorial! I am a lady of very thick locks, and though I wouldn’t wish it any other way, sometimes certain hairstyles just don’t translate very well. I’m also an every day bouffant kinda gal, so I’m sure the bun under the hair method will save me lots of brushtime (and just generally be better for my hair)! Thanks so much, Julie!

  13. Avatar
    Amber 02/03/2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Lovely post! Awesome to recognize us ladies with thick hair. I second the above comment asking for hairstyles for curly hair.

  14. Avatar
    caralyn 02/03/2012 at 6:29 pm #

    I have short hair, so I can’t do the first 2 looks, but I love the bouffant! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar
      amy 02/09/2012 at 6:45 pm #

      have you tried it yet I have sholder length hair just curious if it worked

    • Avatar
      rebeckah c. 06/03/2013 at 5:32 pm #

      My mom has really thick, short hair. I can’t wait to try the bouffant on her- glad to hear it works.

  15. Avatar
    Lauren Mocny-Branum 02/03/2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Love! Sometimes having thick hair is such a hassel and can honestly have you in tears just trying to complete a ponytail with a poof. This truly helped and was very much needed!

  16. Avatar
    Julia 02/04/2012 at 3:15 am #

    I love the last one! such a clever way to do it.

  17. Avatar
    Lisa 02/05/2012 at 9:44 am #

    These are lovely! Makes me want to grow out my hair! But it’s such a hassle when you have so much hair that keeping it short is the best for me! Please make a post for thick short hair styles!! Pretty please!! 😀 would love to see some romantically inspired styles great for V-day!!

    • Avatar
      Sarah 02/12/2012 at 6:53 pm #

      Lisa, try a french braid that starts at the base of your neck up, then half way but it in a bun…haven’t done it yet, but it seems like it would work great 🙂

  18. Avatar
    cat 02/05/2012 at 11:38 am #

    It’s always hard to find styles that work with thick hair–thanks for sharing!!

  19. Avatar
    Josie 02/05/2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Wow, very cool! It looks so simple. I can’t wait to grow my hair out to try these! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Avatar
    julie 02/06/2012 at 11:52 pm #

    This is such a cool idea! I am going to try it tomorrow… Hey, any ideas for really fine, thin hair… I don’t have much I can do with my hair, but would LOVE ideas!!! my hair falls just below my shoulders, and I have bangs…

    • Avatar
      Kath 07/27/2012 at 6:45 am #

      I would love ideas for fine hair too! Even though mine is pretty short.

  21. Avatar
    Stephanie 02/07/2012 at 9:39 am #

    they are so cute!!!!

  22. Avatar
    Ela 02/07/2012 at 10:06 am #

    Love these ideas, and I think they might work for my super-curly, but thin hair. I know it sounds weird, but I’m actually dealing with this really curly and thin hair that gets tangled no matter what. I actually did try to straighten it, but it looks so lifeless and no volume at all. When it’s curly I look like I have the thickest hair ever lol. Anyway, any of you ladies have the same problem or am I going extinct here? :)))

  23. Avatar
    Karen 02/08/2012 at 9:09 am #

    I also love the dress she’s wearing. Lace with an exposed zipper, very pretty.

  24. Avatar
    Leigh 02/09/2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Yaay Julie! You really have the most beautiful hair too. <3

  25. Avatar
    Sarah Graham 02/12/2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Braids must be the best way to go for us thick haired girlies. I saw a pic not long ago about starting a french braid on the bottom side of your head up and then stopping half way and doing a bun… Haven’t done it yet…Would work great I assume 🙂

  26. Avatar
    Zoe 04/18/2012 at 5:14 pm #

    How do you keep it pinned back with bobby pins? Its hard for me for some reason haha 🙂

  27. Avatar
    Lily 04/19/2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Love those hair styles! I am so going to try them all!!

  28. Avatar
    Kelc 05/20/2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Very excited to see some tutorials for thick hair….BUT am a little worried as my hair is WAY thicker than her’s almost double, hoping I can still get it to look halfway decent. She has such beautiful hair

  29. Avatar
    traciawesome 05/22/2012 at 12:31 pm #

    LOVE THIS. I’m a big fan of updo’s, because I refuse to cut my locks. I also want to try thisbun: It looks so pretty and easy!

    • Avatar
      SarahKM3 06/12/2012 at 3:04 pm #

      I’ve got long thick yet layered curly/wavy hair (depending on how long it’s been since I washed it last). My go to is the ballerina bun. I don’t even use bobby pins or hairspray when I do it because I can wrap it around so many times that it’s possible to just clip the end with a small claw clip. But I know the only reason I can manage the claw clip at the end is because of the layers. One thing is for sure, with thick hair you want to keep the ballerina bun lower and not on the top of your head!

      Good luck!

  30. Avatar
    vaishu 06/14/2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Third one is too cool

  31. Avatar
    Becky 08/05/2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Very cool. Need to try it. Looking for a Sophia loren hair tutorial? Where oh where?

  32. Avatar
    Nicole 08/08/2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I am officially a fan of yours. This is so simple, yet such elegant hairstyles. Love em. 🙂

  33. Avatar
    Mehwish Khan 08/19/2012 at 6:22 am #

    this is amazing!!!!!!
    i wanted to learn this bumpet!!! <3

  34. Avatar
    kelly 09/07/2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Any tips for extremely naturally curly hair and this look? Seems the front of the bouffant goes every which way with curly hair =(

  35. Avatar
    howto make your hair grow faster 10/15/2012 at 2:21 am #

    large amount of hair, I’ve had my fair share of coiffure conundrums over the years. Whether I was eschewing the dreaded ringlet for my senior prom, or wrangling my mop into a behemothic beehive for my wedding

  36. Avatar
    Hannah 11/13/2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Fantastic idea, but my hair is too short! XD I havn’t felt that way in a while! Maybe once it hits the top of my waist I can do this style.

  37. Avatar
    Katie Mullins 11/26/2012 at 12:36 pm #

    The multiple braids is a good trick!

  38. Avatar
    Camilla 11/26/2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Beautiful!!! Very nice hairstyles especially with Christmas around the corner!

  39. Avatar
    Tiffany Copeland 11/26/2012 at 9:55 pm #

    For thick hair ladies with curly of wavy hair the straighting before styling does not always work..i know from experience. This is how I do the Grand Bouffet.
    1.Brush out your hair
    2.Grab the section of hair you want to be big
    3.Pull that up in the air
    4.Spray hair spray
    5.Grab a brush and brush down from ends to roots
    6.Put it down
    7.Fix it how you want it.
    8.Grab the big part and put it in a half ponytail position
    9.Pull it up until you get your satisfyed biggness
    10.Pin that down with bobby pins
    11.Spray with hairspray
    12.leave your curly or wavy hair down…embrace it.

  40. Avatar
    Jessica 12/08/2012 at 8:56 am #

    I did the fancy braid bun, and you can also wear it for casual, not just fancy. Hot!!

  41. Avatar
    Allison 01/11/2013 at 9:00 am #

    I’m so excited about the bouffant! I’ve got a short style & am trying to grow out my bangs which get in my way sometimes. I also have a lot of hair, so I was able to make a small bun & using my bangs make a small bouffant! Thank you so much!

  42. Avatar
    Abby Brayer 01/23/2013 at 4:36 pm #

    hey this is Tamra’s daughter i just have to say how cute these hairstyles are cant wait to do try them out.

  43. Avatar
    destyni 04/02/2013 at 2:56 am #


  44. Avatar
    Amalia 05/14/2013 at 9:42 am #

    Sweet! I wish you would do one on short hair, though, I have thick hair, but it’s short, so it’s hard to find things to do with it, and unless you really look, and quite a bit, there’s not much you can find online.

  45. Avatar
    sarah 05/20/2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Thank ou for the lovely braided bun. I wore it to a bday party today and it was a réal success. It was perfect for my thick long haïr 🙂 thnxxx

  46. Avatar
    Mary 06/02/2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Love the asymmetrical twist! 🙂 My hair is getting longer and hopefully will be ready by the end of summer into the holiday season.

  47. Avatar
    rebeckah c. 06/03/2013 at 5:37 pm #

    I have long, thick, curly hair. The braids work fabulously! I have an extreme dislike of hair spray- i don’t own any- so i had to use about 20 bobby-pins.

  48. Avatar
    leora 06/25/2013 at 1:26 pm #

    i love all of them! they are so pretty!

  49. Avatar
    beautybyzara 06/28/2013 at 3:01 pm #

    That Bouffant is to die for!! Shame my hair is also quite fine…would love to see some styles, tips and tricks for fine hair styles…keeping to all things vintage/classic.

  50. Avatar
    Jennifer Tang 07/18/2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Does anyone have a good link for hairstyles for really thick hair? Bobby pins can’t support a hairdo like the buns in 1 and 2 because my hair is too heavy. And as gorgeous the bouffant is, if your hair is already thick like that, adding a bun underneath would make it look enormous.

  51. Avatar
    ajflamingo 08/30/2013 at 4:20 am #

    Before this thread crumbled into all the razzing from the curly haired femmes, ModCloth presented 3 truly splendid ideasfor women with thick hair. As a woman who has forked over lots of greenbacks in her life for up do hairstyles only to have them slide to either side of my head on the car ride home and have to be re-done or totally fall out during the Gala or drinks party or even worse, while I was putting my cocktail dress over my head, I APPRECIATED the 3 choices for warm weather night time styles for thick hair. THANK YOU, ModCloth for the great pics and easy-to-follow instructions! I would have commented earlier but, I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise.

  52. Avatar
    Abby 12/12/2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Ooooh, really like these. I have super thick, long hair, and have a lot of trouble wrangling it into decent hairstyles. Thanks for the help! 🙂

  53. Avatar
    Madeleine 02/05/2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Honestly, I am so happy I found this! I have extremely thick and long hair. I cannot wear it down, as it frizzes. I can’t put it in a bun, looks too big. Cannot wait to try these out!!

  54. Avatar
    missrachelle b 05/09/2014 at 10:48 am #

    One of the prettiest bun hairstyles tutorials I’ve seen thus far. I always had trouble making a good enough bun, can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  55. Avatar
    Deana 08/20/2014 at 4:26 pm #

    I love the fishtail updo and the half-up styles. I’m terrible with knowing how to style my hair other than straightening it or putting it in a ponytail so I appreciate the help with the tutorials!


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