If you were born with thin, fine hair, you're probably well versed in the pros and cons. On the one hand, you have less hair to style and shorter drying times. But, on the other hand, thin hair may lack volume and become greasy very quickly. Luckily, there are ways you can adequately care for thin hair to help you achieve all of your healthy hair goals and keep your locks happy and luscious.
What is fine hair?
Fine hair describes your hair's texture, typically classified in terms of the diameter, width, or circumference of the actual hair strand. Fine hair strands are smaller in circumference than medium or coarse strands.
To determine if you have fine hair, a simple hair test can give you the answer. Pluck a single strand from your head and rub it between your fingers; if the strand is hard to see or if you cannot feel it - you have fine hair.
How is fine hair different from thin hair?
"Fine" hair refers to the thickness of your hair strands, whereas "thin" hair references the density of the hair follicles or how close each individual strand is to one another. You can have fine, thick hair or thin, coarse hair.
How should I care for fine hair?
From the types of hair care products you use to daily habits to avoid, we have everything you need to know about taking care of your fine hair.
Shampoo and condition your hair correctly.
Fine hair often falls "flat" and becomes greasy very fast. While not everyone with fine hair is prone to excessive oil production, the hair shafts tend to be smoother and less porous than coarser hair textures. This results in the buildup of oil, making it more visible on top of the hair.
It's recommended that those with fine hair focus on shampooing their hair's roots where oils tend to collect to combat this. When applying conditioner, avoid the scalp area. Instead, use just enough to cover the strands from the mid-shaft to the ends. This will prevent your hair from getting weighed down at the root and will keep your tresses looking voluminous and fresh.
You may also want to explore the idea of using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner set.
Avoid oil-based styling products.
A nourishing hair oil or styling cream can have wonderfully hydrating effects on the hair. Unfortunately, they can weigh down fine hair causing your locks to look flat and greasy. Instead of reaching for oil-based hair products, look for ones that offer "texture" or "hold," such as sea salt mist, dry shampoo, volumizing mousse, or texturizing spray. These will be light enough for delicate strands but still give the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.
There are also plenty of leave-in treatment options for thin hair that can offer restorative benefits without the risk of oily residue. Find oil-free products that are designed to repair, detangle, and restore locks. When using these products, focus on the ends of the hair versus the roots, and remember, less is more! Even the lightest of mists can cause hair to fall flat when overused. However, when used correctly, moisturizing products can restore dry hair, prevent split ends, and minimize frizz.
Be extremely gentle with wet, fine hair.
No matter your hair type, wet hair is far more susceptible to damage when wet. Thin strands, in particular, will not be able to withstand excessive tugging and pulling without breakage. When drying hair, gently pat and "scrunch" the moisture out of your hair with a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt rather than vigorously rubbing.
For the same reason, avoid brushing your hair when wet. When it comes to detangle and brush, choose a wide-tooth comb instead of a regular hairbrush. Start your detangling from the bottom of your hair and comb in a downward motion. Once the hair has air dried, use a soft bristle brush to smooth it out.
Consider getting a haircut.
Sometimes, when fine hair grows to excessively long lengths, it can look thin and straggly since gravity weighs it down. A quick way to add volume, dimension, and the illusion of thickness to your style is to take the plunge and opt for a shorter haircut! Layers and wispy bangs will also make your hair look fuller and healthier.
Reduce heat styling.
Heat styling is not recommended for thin hair as it is especially prone to breakage. If you must use a hot tool such as a curling iron or flat iron, be sure to follow a few simple rules to minimize damage. First, never heat style without applying a heat protectant. Second, always use styling tools on their lowest heat setting possible.
When using a hairdryer, wait until the hair is about 75% air dry before applying heat. Always point the nozzle in the direction of your hair growth and blow-dry using your hands to lift sections at the root until it is about 90% dry. To give your hair a glossy, smooth finish, use a round soft brush and a cool setting until completely dry. If you need to freshen up "day two" hair, reach for some high-quality dry shampoo and spritz your roots instead of applying more heat.
How else can I support thin hair?
There is nothing you can do about the thickness or texture of the hair you were born with. But, there are factors affecting hair health that you can control, like your diet. Here are some changes you can make to improve the appearance of your hair.
Incorporate collagen into your diet.
Collagen provides impressive benefits for your hair, skin, and nails, as well as joints and bones. Although you can't do anything to "thicken" your hair or add to your follicle count, collagen can help prevent excessive hair loss. It improves blood circulation and boosts amino acids in the body, reducing the risk of thinning hair and making thin hair appear more full.
Include some vitamin B in your daily regimen.
Vitamin B and biotin supplements can do wonders for improving skin and hair health. Give your thin hair some extra love by incorporating foods that are high in B vitamins, such as eggs, spinach, flaxseed, beef, and whole grains. You could also take a vitamin supplement if you don't believe you're getting the proper amount each day through food alone.
Consider clip-in extensions to add volume.
Extensions can be great for adding length and - if clipped strategically - can give the appearance of fuller hair. They're great for special occasions and events such as weddings or proms when you may want to experiment with more dramatic hairstyles and updos.