Byrdie January 10, 2023

BYRDIE

Hair

The 16 Best Products for Fine, Flat Hair of 2023

 

Our best overall pick is the Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse

Thin hair is often easier to manage than thicker hair, but finding the right products for this hair type can be tricky. Frizz-reducing formulas containing oil may just weigh it down, while those meant to add moisture can leave you with greasy hair.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

At the top of our list is the Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse, which provides a boost of volume, smooths flyaways, and supports growth. For a wallet-friendly option, reach for NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Leave-In Treatment.

Though many products are a no-go for the fine-haired set, we caught up with a few hairstylists to bring you options that work. According to Jenna Spino of Maxine Salon in Chicago, "People with fine, flat hair should use a mousse or texture spray."

Hair expert Cataanda James says to avoid oils and intense moisturizers and instead look for foams, powdered hair-building fibers, and root-lifting sprays that create the illusion of thicker hair. "These products are typically lightweight, non-coating, and easily identifiable by terms such as 'volumizing,' 'thickening,' and 'fuller hair,'" she tells Byrdie.

With hours of research and pointers from these pros in mind, we evaluated each of our picks based on their active ingredients and verified customer experiences. After considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks.

Best Overall

Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse

What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Strengthening
  • Stylist-recommended
  • Volumizes

What We Don't Like

  • Reviewers note it has a strong smell

What do buyers say? 86% of 700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

When it comes to formulas that play well with thin hair, Kérastase Densifique Mousse checks all the boxes. The light-as-air foam calls on intra-cylane to add weightless volume and uniformity, but it doesn't stop there.1 Ceramides smooth flyaways while peptides strengthen hair and encourage healthy growth.2

"This mousse is great because it adds body to fine, flat hair without drying it out," says Spino. "It can be used to air-dry or for a blowout."

Price at time of publish: $42

Active Ingredients: Intracylane, peptides, ceramides | Hair Type: Fine, medium | Size: 5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget

NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Leave-In Treatment

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Smooths frizz

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't help with detangling

On a budget? This Japanese beauty brand has you covered. Containing keratin, prickly pear, and stem cells, NatureLab Perfect Repair comes out as a soft foam and gets to work smoothing frizz and fortifying your hair without adding weight or wetness.

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Keratin, prickly pear, stem cells | Hair Type: Fine, thin, dry, damaged, color-treated | Size: 4.9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Blowdry Volumizer

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Smooths frizz

What We Don't Like

  • Not long-lasting

"I recommend It's a 10 Haircare's volumizing spray for fine hair," says hairstylist Carolyn Aronson. "It's a lightweight volumizer that has marshmallow extracts in it that help give the hair instant volume without drying it out."

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Thickening copolymers, hydrolyzed silk, marshmallow extract | Hair Type: All | Size: 6 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Frizz

Kenra Professional Volume Spray 25

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Holds up in humidity
  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like

  • A little sticky

Got frizz? Kenra Volume Spray has your name on it. This finishing product promises to keep flyaways in place for a whopping 120 hours while protecting your hair from high winds and frizz-causing humidity.

Price at time of publish: $31

Active Ingredients: Hydrolyzed wheat protein, vitamin B5 | Hair Type: All | Size: 1.5, 10, or 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Thinning Hair

Toppik Hair Building Fibers

What We Like

  • Strengthening
  • Adds body
  • Several shades available

What We Don't Like

  • Not long-lasting

Available in nine shades to match any natural hair color, this product deposits pigmented keratin protein and silica powder to add body and fullness.3 It's also great for root touch-ups.

Price at time of publish: $25

Active Ingredients: Keratin, silica | Hair Type: Thinning, fine | Size: 0.4 ounces or 1 ounce | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Thickening

Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray

What We Like

  • Adds body
  • Strengthening
  • Stylist-recommended

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky

Spino is a fan of Oribe Maximista, and we're here for it. "This spray helps give density and hold shape," she tells Byrdie. "Spray your roots or throughout [your hair] to thicken it."

Price at time of publish: $39

Active Ingredients: Thickening copolymers, amino acids | Hair Type: Fine, medium | Size: 6.8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Strengthening

Vernon François Nourishing Water Mist

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Strengthening
  • Supports healthy growth

What We Don't Like

  • Results aren't drastic

If your hair is damaged or brittle, Vernon François is your best bet. This weightless mist strengthens weakened hair with amino acids, while ginseng supports healthy growth.4

Price at time of publish: $16

Active Ingredients: Amino acids, ginseng | Hair Type: All | Size: 3 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Texturizing

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

What We Like

  • Volumizes
  • Doubles as dry shampoo
  • Stylist-recommended

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky

"Some sprays are to be used wet, some dry," says Spino. "This one is a dry spray you can spray [on your] roots or throughout to give your soft hair a little grit."

Price at time of publish: $49

Active Ingredients: Crystalline zeolites, plant extracts | Hair Type: All | Size: 8.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"It definitely gave a little more life to my hair, and it still looked totally natural." — Ashley Rubell, Product Tester

Best Smoothing

Qhemet Biologics Coconut & Green Tea Softening Serum

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Smooths frizz
  • Softening

What We Don't Like

  • Small amount
  • Not ideal for styling

Want smoother hair? Qhemet Biologics has you covered. While the oil content makes it a bit too heavy for styling, this is an excellent overnight treatment for fine, flat, and low-porosity hair.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredients: Coconut oil, castor oil, green tea | Hair Type: Fine, thin, curly, wavy | Size: 2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Mask

Phyto Phytodensia Fluid Plumping Mask

What We Like

  • In-shower treatment
  • Plumping
  • Strengthening

What We Don't Like

  • Reviewers note it has a strong smell

To avoid weighing down your hair, consider an in-shower treatment that you rinse off after a few minutes. We're loving this mask from Phyto, which promises to plump and strengthen your hair without making it go limp.

Price at time of publish: $59

Active Ingredients: Grape polyphenols, hyaluronic acid, collagen, milk thistle | Hair Type: Fine, thin, damaged | Size: 1.5 or 5.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Cream

Living Proof Full Thickening Cream


What We Like

  • Noticeable results
  • Softening
  • Conditioning

What We Don't Like

  • Not for use near roots

Lack of texture can make thin hair appear flat, and this cream tackles the issue with mastery. The kicker is Living Proof's proprietary "thickening molecule," which coats your hair with teensy-tiny dots to make them look and feel fuller.5

Price at time of publish: $30

Active Ingredients: Thickening molecule, emollient blend | Hair Type: Fine, thin | Size: 2 or 3.7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"My initial reaction after I dried my hair was whoa. It actually looked like I had more hair on my head." — Joline Buscemi, Product Tester

Best Mousse

Joico Firm Hold Design Foam

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Volumizes
  • Strengthening

What We Don't Like

  • A little sticky

Spino recommends mousse for fine hair. Team Byrdie loves JoiWhip, an ultra-light foam that adds noticeable volume with thickening polymers while smoothing and strengthening with keratin.6

Price at time of publish: $23

Active Ingredients: Thickening polymers, keratin | Hair Type: All | Size: 10.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shampoo

The Mane Choice Peach Black Tea Vitamin Fusion Shampoo

What We Like

  • Dissolves scalp buildup
  • Thickening
  • Strengthening

What We Don't Like

  • Can be drying

"Peach Black Tea & Vitamin Fusion Shampoo gently cleanses and dissolves buildup without stripping the hair, leaving it full of body," says James. "Botanicals, vitamins, and nutrients help to reduce breakage and improve hair's overall integrity."

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Biotin, saw palmetto | Hair Type: Fine, medium, dandruff-prone, textured, curly | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Conditioner

R+Co DALLAS Biotin Thickening Conditioner

What We Like

  • Volumizes
  • Smooths split ends
  • Supports healthy growth

What We Don't Like

  • Small amount

The secret to this thickening conditioner is saw palmetto. The plant-derived ingredient expands your hair to create weightless volume and fuller, denser hair.7

Price at time of publish: $34

Active Ingredients: Saw palmetto, biotin, vitamin B5 | Hair Type: Fine, thin | Size: 2, 8.5, or 33.8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Runner-Up, Best Conditioner

Kevin Murphy Plumping Rinse

What We Like

  • Thickening
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Great smell

What We Don't Like

  • Bottle has no pump

This conditioner is rich with ingredients to thicken the hair and promote growth, including biotin, vitamin B, oleanolic acid, and rice protein.8 After use, hair will appear more full and thick, with added volume that lasts all day.

Price at time of publish: $34

Active Ingredients: Biotin, vitamin B, rice protein | Hair Type: All | Size: 8.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Heat Protectant

Pureology Instant Levitation Mist

What We Like

  • Provides volume for 24 hours
  • Great smell
  • Protects hair color

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky

Heat protectants that are formulated as serums or oils can be heavy on fine hair, but this spray from Pureology is light while adding volume that lasts for 24 hours. It has a 100% vegan formula, and is also free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. We also love that it protects color-treated hair from fading and environmental stressors.

Price at time of publish: $31

Active Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, vitamin E | Hair Type: All | Size: 5.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

The best product for fine, flat hair is Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse. It's a lightweight stylist-approved foam that adds volume, smooths flyaways, and strengthens hair. For those on a budget, we recommend NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Repair Leave-In Treatment, which comes out as a foam and smooths frizz without adding weight or wetness.

MEET THE EXPERT

Jenna Spino is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Illinois. She's seasoned in everything from blowouts and bobs to long layers and sleek up-dos.

Carolyn Aronson is a licensed hairstylist and the founder/CEO of It's A 10 Haircare.

Cataanda James is a beauty expert specializing in multiracial haircare. She is also a Brand Educator for The Mane Choice.

Michelle Pasterski Mesen is a Houston-based hairstylist who specializes in dry cutting and razor cutting.

 

What to Look for in Products for Fine, Flat Hair

Ingredients

When it comes to fine, flat hair that lacks body, you'll want to look for products that contain ingredients that can thicken and plump. These vary but include things such as polymers, collagen, and even plumping powders. "These are the ingredients that give hair body and guts," says Mesen. 

Airy Formulas

The lighter, the better. Steer clear of thick balms or pomades and opt for aerosols, whipped mousses or creams (like our top pick, the Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse), or featherweight powders. After all, the last thing you want is for the product to be too heavy and end up weighing hair down instead of boosting it up. "With a dry product like texturizing sprays or hairsprays, think about the size of the droplets from a pump vs. an aerosol product," says Mesen. "The bigger the droplet, the more weight it will place on the hair. Fine mists are much lighter, keeping the hair from being weighed down. When it comes to wet hair, a whipped product like a mousse can often give more volume than a gel or volumizing spray due to the light formula and the foamy texture of the product."

Products Compatible With Your Hair Color

Mesen also stresses finding products that will be compatible with your hair color to avoid it looking dull, chalky, or gray. "Blonde and light-colored hair does well with most standard dry products [like volumizing and texture powders and powder sprays], while brunette or red hair may require a colored powder or at least very translucent."

FAQ

Can you use styling products on fine hair?

Fine hair can benefit from the right styling products, but you’ll likely want to use less than someone with a thicker texture. Celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak says to avoid applying anything to your roots except for root-volume spray and to focus any other product on your ends first. Additionally, start with a small amount of product, as you can add to it if you need more, but there’s not much you can do if you already applied too much.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in beauty and lifestyle. When writing this story, she interviewed three hairstylists for their product recommendations and expertise on various formulas, then looked at dozens of products from myriad brands and referenced peer-reviewed articles to fact-check the claims. As someone with inherently fine hair, she's tried many products on this list, including Oribe, NatureLab, Living Proof, R+Co, Phyto, and It's a 10. Theresa covers hair care, makeup, and skincare at Byrdie.