1. In the shower: Because thick hair can be coarse, you need a shampoo that will soften it, like Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Shampoo ($5; drugstores), which contains hair-silkening cassia and aloe vera. Deeply hydrating Suave Professionals Damage Care Conditioner ($2.50; drugstores) also helps smooth dense hair; if you have oily roots, confine conditioner to the ends.
2. When hair is still damp: Spritz a spray gel from midlength to ends. It's strong enough to control frizz but not so heavy that it will add more weight to your hair. Also, it's fine to use a formula labeled "volumizing," like Nioxin Volumizing Reflectives Spray Gel ($14; Nioxin.com for salons)—as long as you keep the product off your roots, it won't create pouf.
3. Just before you leave the house: Bulky hair will have more swing if you use a wax to separate it into small, piecey sections. Run your fingers over Kiehl's Creative Cream Wax ($15.50; Kiehls.com), and then rub your hands together to emulsify it. Pull it through the hair around your face and your ends.
See the best cut for thick and straight hair in the summer