If you have fine hair, you know it can be both a blessing and a curse. On the bright side, your skinny strands don’t need as much product to coat them. Often, fine hair is naturally silky and smooth, and responds to heat styling easily.
But the downsides, on the other hand, are all too real. From tangles to lack of volume, fine hair sometimes takes some finagling to look great. If you’re frustrated by all the bombshell blowouts you see on the runway, you’re not alone. But the good news is: with the right routine, care, and products, you can whip your fine hair into shape!
What is Fine Hair?
Fine hair describes your hair’s texture, which is classified in terms of the width, diameter or circumference of the actual hair strands. If you have fine hair, your individual strands are smaller in diameter, while coarse hair has a thicker diameter.
Note: Not sure what type of hair you have? A simple hair texture test can give you the answer. Pluck a strand of hair and rub it between your fingers. If you can’t feel it, your hair strands are fine. If you can feel it between your fingertips, you have medium hair. If it feels thick and coarse, you have coarse hair.
What’s the Difference Between Fine and Thin Hair?
When you run your hands through your hair, does it feel like there’s not much there? Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean you have fine hair — it may just be thin.
While similar sounding, these are different qualities or traits that hair can have. “Fine” hair references the thickness of the strand, as with the texture test we described above. Having “thin” hair references the density of the follicles, or how close individual strands are to each other. It’s entirely possible to have hair that is both fine and thick, or coarse and thin. If the concept is still confusing to you, think about this: When men are balding, the concept used to describe the hair is “thinning” because they have less densely populated hair in a particular area.
How to Care for Fine Hair
Fine hair can be easily cared for with the right products for your hair type. As always, it’s best to start in the shower. To avoid limp strands, wash every day to every other day with a volumizing shampoo. When you’re ready for conditioner, this is where it gets tricky. While you want to keep you locks conditioned, of course, overly-moisturized hair can end up flat and lifeless. If your roots get greasy fast, as fine hair tends to do, minimize the amount of conditioner you use and focus on the ends rather than your roots. You can also master this balancing act by using a leave-in treatment that will help repair, restore, and detangle your locks. Spray this on after your shower, and again, focus on the ends instead of the roots.
After your shower, keep in mind that hair is much more susceptible to breakage when it’s wet — especially fine hair! Pat the moisture out of your hair with a towel rather than vigorously rubbing it. Avoid brushing your hair while it’s wet for the same reason. When time allows, let your hair air dry to prevent heat damage. If you must use heat, use a low temperature — and don’t forget to apply a heat protectant first!
The old adage “you are what you eat” applies to your hair, too. Be sure to add biotin-rich foods into your diet, like nuts, bananas, and egg yolks. If you don’t think you’re getting enough biotin from diet alone, supplements are also an option.
Common Fine-Hair Concerns
Maintaining and styling fine hair presents unique challenges. Here are a few of the common concerns, and how to combat them!
Tricks for Tangles
- Condition hair well. Ensuring your hair is properly moisturized is the best way to keep tangles at bay. The softer the hair strand, the less likely it will intertwine with other strands. Once a week, try a deep conditioner to boost your strands.
- Minimize blow drying. Allow your hair to mostly air dry before bringing out the blow dryer. Blow drying strips the hair of essential oils and dries it out, causing it to tangle more easily.
Tricks for Greasiness
- Wash your hair every day. Unlike with other hair types, this is a must-do to combat greasiness.
- Use a sulfate-free shampoo that doesn’t strip your hair of essential moisture.
- Apply products from mid-length to your ends. Many products are too heavy for fine hair, especially when applied to the roots.
- Dry your hair 100% before leaving your house. Not doing so can add to the illusion of both greasy and lifeless hair.
- When in doubt, keep your dry shampoo handy! A quick spritz can refresh styles in an instant.
Tip:Apply dry shampoo at night, not in the morning. This will give it more time to absorb excess oil, and any tossing and turning you do will give your hair more texture and volume the next day.
Tricks for Flat, Lifeless Hair
- Blow dry your hair upside down.
- Limit brushwork. Don’t sabotage your volume by brushing your hair too much. Too much brushwork can make your hair limp. Also, dry your hair at least 90% with your hands before going at it with your round brush.
- Ease up on products. When it comes to fine hair and product usage, remember: less is more. This rule applies to conditioner application, as well. Too much product will weigh down your hair and make it look greasy.
- Don’t sleep on wet hair. Unlike your coarse hair counterparts, fine hair doesn’t bounce back from a good night’s sleep on wet hair, mostly because fine hair doesn’t bounce to begin with. Sleeping on wet hair will kink, requiring you to style it using heat, which defeats the purpose of sleeping with wet hair.
Best Haircuts and Styles for Fine Hair
The foundation for beautiful hair includes great products and a great cut! In general, the best haircuts for fine hair are shorter. This is all thanks to gravity: if your hair doesn’t have natural volume, extra weight will only weigh it down more. If you’re not willing to sacrifice your length for volume, have no fear, there are haircuts that make movement and dimension still possible.
Here are a few ideas for hairstyles for fine hair:
- Long bob (or “lob”)
- Long layers
- Wispy bangs (avoid heavy bangs!)
- The popular ombre coloring technique can also add depth and dimension to fine hair, so it’s a great option.
After you find the best haircut for your fine hair, the next step is learning how to style it. The biggest hurdle people with fine hair face is achieving full-bodied and voluminous locks. The good news, though, is fine hair is one of the best hair types to have because it’s both manageable and malleable! With certain blow-drying techniques, quality volumizing hair products, and the right cut, all your hair goals can be achieved.
Add volume, or at least the illusion of volume, with these styling tips for fine hair:
- Switch up your part. A deep side part can give the illusion of fullness, while a jagged part makes the top layers stick up, giving the illusion of thicker hair. Either option adds an instant boost to transform your tresses.
- Add waves. Hair looks fuller when worn wavy. Transform your naturally limp locks into gorgeous tresses with the use of a curling iron. Adding volume to the sides gives the illusion of fuller hair.
- Half updo or bun. This hairstyle gives you the opportunity to gently backcomb your hair to achieve the height of an updo, boosting volume with smart styling.
Thick hair is often viewed as the ideal type of hair to have, but those who were born with a full head of thick, luscious locks are definitely familiar with the struggle of managing their mop. Sure, having volume is great and there are tons of options for creating versatile hairstyles, but what about the constant frizz and the time it requires to style that hair? If you’re struggling with the upkeep of thick hair, not to worry, we have crafted an entire guide of everything you need to know about caring for your thick mane.
Thick hair tends to be more on the dry side of the hair spectrum, so it’s important to use products that keep your hair hydrated and keep the frizz at bay. If you’re a thick haired babe who’s struggling to keep her hair tamed below are our top product recommendations.
Why does frizz happen?
Before diving into which products to use to tame frizz, it’s important to understand why frizz happens. Frizz is caused when the outer layer of your hair cuticle is lifted, causing moisture to pass through and swell the hair strands. When the cuticle is flat and not raised, the hair strands remain smooth and frizz free.
This lifting of the cuticle can be caused by multiple reasons, but the most common reason for thick haired ladies is dry hair, leaving the hair cuticles more prone to lifting. Let’s say you have thick, dry hair, and you go outside when it’s humid…what happens to your hair? Because your hair is dry and the outer layer of your hair strands are lifted, moisture from the air will rush into your hair strands causing each strand to swell, resulting in big, frizzy hair. So, how do we combat this?
If you’re a thick haired gal suffering from dry hair, hair oils are going to be your best friend. The key to maintaining frizz is keeping your hair strands moisturized and nourished, which can be obtained with a few different types of hair oils.
Coconut Oil has moisture retaining properties. It stays inside the hair, moisturizing the hair strands from the inside out, making it one of the most effective hair oils for frizzy hair. Coconut Oil is best used as a moisturizing hair mask. Simply coat your hair with the oil from root to tip, pop a shower cap on, and leave the oil to do its work for about 20 minutes. Then, rinse off your hair, shampoo and condition as normal, and enjoy smooth, moisturized, frizz-free hair.
Argan oil, also known as Moroccan Oil, is packed with beneficial nutrients like vitamin E, ferulic acid, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Just a few drops of Argan Oil will give your hair that extra boost of moisture to help fight dryness and frizz. Argan Oil is also not as greasy as Coconut Oil, so it’s perfect to use every day as a finishing oil.
When it comes to choosing the right hot tools, it is important to choose the right hot tool for your hair type. Contrary to popular belief, not all hair dryers, straighteners, or curlers are made the same way, and certain materials are more beneficial to maintain the hair’s integrity as well as prevent the hair from drying out. Ever wonder why professional hot tools cost so much more than your run of the mill drugstore brand or why your hair always looks that much smoother and shinier when you leave the salon? It’s because your hair stylist has invested in higher grade hot tools, which you should too!
If you have thick hair, you’ll know the struggle of washing your hair and spending the next hour fighting with it to dry and style it. An ionic hairdryer cuts down hair drying time for thick hair, by using negative ions to break down water droplets on wet hair, leading to dry hair fast, while controlling frizz and boosting shine.
Again, thick hair is usually much more prone to drying out, as the natural oils are unable to travel all the way down the hair shaft. This is why if you have thick hair, the ends of your hair will likely suffer from dryness naturally—especially if your hair strands are thick as well. Experimenting with a DIY hair mask is an inexpensive and convenient way to bring moisture and luster back to your tresses. Masks are important for every hair type, thick-haired girls included!
Luckily girls with thick hair don’t need to make many adjustments to their diet to help thicken their hair any further or grow more hair, but it’s never a bad idea to focus on eating foods that contribute to your overall hair health. Just because you have thick hair doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy! Follow along for a few tips and recommendations that you can incorporate into your diet to keep you thick hair looking luscious for longer.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3s are found in many types of fish, as well as from plant-based sources like nuts and seeds and is one of the best nutrients for strengthening hair, skin and nails. For thick haired gals, Omega-3s can do miracles for adding shine, minimizing breakage and strengthening the hair follicles. Click here to learn more about Omega-3s and their benefits to your body.
Biotin, vitamin B12 and B6 are all essential for maintaining healthy locks. Whole grains, almonds, meat, fish, seafood and leafy greens are all strong sources of these vitamins and are important to support hair health. Often people don’t get enough of these vitamins in their diet will see hair loss and this is where supplements can be useful.
Typically, girls with thicker hair tend to require quite a little more maintenance to keep their heavy locks looking sleek and tamed. Often this means more frequent heat styling or heavy product use, which can result in dried hair and fried ends. To keep your thick locks healthy and luscious, follow along for our go-to healthy hair habits.
Adding layers is one of the first steps thick-haired girls can take to making their hair more manageable. Adding layers gives the hair natural body and movement and also thins out the hair to help tame it and give it shape.
DO FREQUENT HAIR MASKS
Hair masks are a healthy hair habit that all girls should incorporate in their self-care routine, but especially those with thicker, coarse hair! As mentioned earlier, the natural oils in thick hair are unable to travel down the entire length of the hair, leading to dry hair, especially at the ends. This leads to frizzy, unmanageable hair, which a hair mask once a week can help fix.
CUT BACK ON WASHES
This is actually a healthy hair habit that most girls should practice, but it is easiest to do if you naturally have thick hair. Since thicker hair tends to lean more on the dry side than the oily side anyway, you can get away without washing your hair for multiple days in a row before your hair starts actually looking oily. Washing your hair too often can actually strip the natural oils from your hair, leading to a cycle of dry hair, so if you’re struggling with dryness, it’s a good idea to cut back your washes as much as possible (even to once a week if you can!) in order for your hair’s oils to balance out. And hey, if you’re struggling with oily roots, there’s always dry shampoo to get you by!
LEARN HOW TO PERFECT A BLOW OUT
The perfect blowout will save a thick haired girl from having to use multiple heat products on their hair. We know the struggle of blow drying, straightening and then curling to get your locks in tip top shape, but learning how to master a blowout can knock out a few of those steps and leave you with sleek, voluminous locks.
One of the biggest blessings of having thick hair is the huge variety of styles that you can create that girls with thinner hair might struggle with! From braids, updos and half-up styles, you can try any or all of the above with your thick tresses. If your hair is just too thick to manage for the day, try a beautiful fishtail braid. If you’re feeling fun but need to alleviate some thickness, throw half of it up! The hairstyle possibilities are endless with thick hair…lucky you!
Of all the mysterious, maddening hair fantasies we see on the runway during Fashion Month, effortless messy waves are the most perplexing. For starters, anything described as effortless usually takes an absurd amount of effort—or at least some secret know-how. Once you factor in the length, texture, and “to heat-style or not to heat-style” variables to the equation, you’ve got a complex hair problem worthy of a team of scientists and a whiteboard.
Since we take our own hyperbole seriously, we’ve collected the best ways to get peak effortless waves with and without hot tools.
How To Get Messy Waves Without Any Heat
If you deal with breakage on the daily and don’t want to risk heat styling, you can still get in on the messy waves action. Begin with totally dry hair and ready lots and lots of firm-hold mousse. Rake the mousse through your hair with your fingers, starting at the mid lengths (if you start at the roots, you’ll get wet-look hair; cool if you want that, but FYI in case you don’t) and work your way down.
Next, fold sections of your hair upwards at about one-inch intervals, then gently squeeze. It feels a little funny at first and you might feel compelled to overthink it, but it’s really that easy. Once you’ve folded your hair into waves you’re happy with, set them in place with flexible hairspray. Done and done.
How To Get Messy Waves With A Curling Wand
The trick to getting that awesome undone look with a curling wand is all in the way you work the barrel. Start by holding the barrel of your wand vertically—and partially wrap one-inch sections of your hair around the wand to shape it. Give the look just the right amount of piece-y finish by raking your hands through the waves and setting them with a dry conditioner. Lastly, run a texturizer throughout the length of your waves. Pro tip: Rub the gel between your hands first to warm up the product. It’ll help disperse the gel through your hair more easily.
As for short hair, the approach to creating soft, natural waves is more or less the same with one major difference: your tools. We recommend using a one-and-a-half-inch barrel wand, again held vertically when curling. Start each section midway down and leave your ends straight to create more modern wave.
How To Get Messy Waves With A Flat Iron
Warning: When a pro stylist even tells you getting waves with a flatiron is harder than it looks, it means you’re going to need to give yourself the time to practice. First, it’s crucial that you’ve got a straightener that easily glides through your hair. One with beveled edges that will help since your hair won’t snag at the sides when you rotate the iron. Next, you want to twist the iron up and down, making sure to changing the direction the iron is pointing. When the iron bevels up, the top of your iron should be pointing up, and when it bevels under, the top of your iron should be pointing down. The finished result is a looser, more ’70s finish than you’d get with a curling iron. But just as cool.