Byrdie October 30, 2023



16 Products for Fine, Flat Hair that We—and Stylists—Love in 2023


Perk up, limp strands.

Thin hair tends to be 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.

Though many products are a no-go for the thin-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." These products are designed to add volume without weight.

Licensed cosmetologist 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 key ingredients and verified customer experiences. After considering numerous formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks for washing, treating, and styling thin hair.

Best Overall

Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse

What We Like

  • Adds lightweight volume
  • Strengthening formula
  • Stylist-recommended
  • Incldues ceramides and hyaluronic acid

What We Don't Like

  • Reviewers note it has a strong smell

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 and hyaluronic acid moisturizes, while peptides strengthen hair and encourage healthy growth.

"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." The strong scent may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you like floral-musky fragrances, you might find it delightful.

Who It's For

If you're in the market for an ultra-lightweight product that adds volume and fullness and can be used for air-drying or blow-drying, you can't go wrong with Densifique Mousse.

Price at time of publish: $45

Active Ingredients: Intra-cylane, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides | Hair Type: Fine, medium | Size: 5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget

NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Leave-In Treatment

What We Like

  • A little goes a long way
  • Soft, lightweight foam
  • Smooths and prevents flyaways

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't help with detangling

Looking to get a lot of bang for your buck? This Japanese beauty brand has you covered. NatureLab Perfect Repair starts as a watery fluid and comes out as a soft foam—so you'll get quite a lot out of a single bottle. Containing keratin, prickly pear (which helps protect hair from UV rays), and stem cells, the affordable formula gets to work smoothing frizz, preventing flyaways, and fortifying your hair without adding weight or wetness. However, if your hair gets easily tangled, this product won't really help you comb it out.

Who It's For

For under $20, you'll get five ounces of product—and a little goes a long way because the liquid turns into a soft foam when you pump it out.

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 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Blowdry Volumizer

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Adds volume and hold
  • Doesn't make hair crunchy or stiff

What We Don't Like

  • Not long-lasting

One of fine-haired folks' biggest complaints is that volumizing products make their hair stiff and crunchy. But our drugstore pick definitely doesn't and still adds the volume and hold we're looking for. "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 extract to help give the hair instant volume without drying it out." And you can bet it won't make your hair feel stiff or crunchy. We just wish the effect lasted a little but longer, but that's often the downside of a volumizer without the crunch factor.

Who It's For

This wallet-friendly drugstore formula is like a dry shampoo-hairspray hybrid that adds volume to hair without stiffness.

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Thickening copolymers, hydrolyzed silk, marshmallow extract | Hair Type: All | Size: 6 ounces | 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

We all hate facing flyaways right? Well, if they're always in your mirror, Kenra Volume Spray has your name on it. This finishing product promises to keep fine strands in check for a whopping 120 hours (whaaat??) while protecting your hair from high winds and frizz-causing humidity. Basically, it does everything you need it to for when you'll be out all day, and maybe taking pictures outside (think wedding). Though it's lightweight, we should note it has a slightly sticky feel.

Who It's For

This lightweight styling spray sets voluminous waves, bouncy blowouts, and topknots with incredible hold in hot, humid climates.

Price at time of publish: $21–$31

Active Ingredients: Hydrolyzed wheat protein, vitamin B5 | Hair Type: All | Size: 10–16 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Thinning Hair

Toppik Hair Building Fibers

What We Like

  • Deposits fiber and powder to add fullness
  • Pigmented to blend with natural hair color
  • Several shades available

What We Don't Like

  • Not long-lasting

Unfortunately, those who already have thin hair tend to experience hair thinning before the rest of us. Thankfully, however, there are products like this one that actually make it appear like you've got more hair than you do. Available in nine shades to match any natural hair color, it deposits pigmented keratin protein and silica powder to add body and volume.2 The clever formula fills in thinning areas to create the illusion of a fuller head of hair. It's also great for root touch-ups (and we love they have different-sized bottles so you don't need to spend a ton if you just need a little). We just wish its magic would last a bit longer.

Who It's For

Dealing with thinning hair? These tiny hair-like fibers cling to your existing strands so they appear instantly thick and lush.

Price at time of publish: $17-$47

Active Ingredients: Keratin, silica | Hair Type: Thinning, fine | Size: 0.4–1 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Thickening

Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray

What We Like

  • Adds instant body and volume
  • Strengthening and long-lasting
  • Stylist-recommended

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky

Looking for volume in all the right places? We love Oribe's formula, especially since it holds up on long days. Spino is also a fan of Oribe Maximista, and for good reason. "This spray helps give density and hold shape," she tells Byrdie. "Spray your roots or throughout [your hair] to thicken it." It even protects your hair from the damage heat tools and the sun's UV rays can cause. The formula can feel a bit sticky when you apply it, but it definitely lives up to its instant volumizing claims.

Who It's For

This high-end, stylist-recommended spray builds body and leaves hair with natural-looking volume.

Price at time of publish: $39

Active Ingredients: Thickening copolymers, amino acids | Hair Type: Fine, medium | Size: 6.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Strengthening

Vernon François Nourishing Water Mist

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Ultra-fine mist
  • Supports healthy growth

What We Don't Like

  • Results aren't drastic

After many styling endeavors and lots of exposure to the elements, hair can become brittle, dry or otherwise damaged (especially if you also process it with dyes and lighteners). Vernon François is your best bet to help reverse that damage. Use it as a pre-styling spray to nourish and strengthen weakened hair with amino acids and ginseng, which supports healthy growth.3 We love that the spray instantly revives curls and waves while making hair healthier over time. And you can bet the weightless mist won't make your fine hair go limp.

Who It's For

Folks with over-processed, brittle hair will appreciate how the blend of good-for-hair ingredients works to strengthen and support growth.

Price at time of publish: $16

Active Ingredients: Amino acids, ginseng | Hair Type: All | Size: 6.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Purpose

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

What We Like

  • Adds natural-looking volume
  • Doubles as dry shampoo
  • Effect lasts for days

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky
  • Users say nozzle sometimes doesn't spray

We love a product that does two things for the price of one, and this one certainly qualifies. It acts as a dry shampoo by sending polymers to the roots to remove oil and pump up volume while also texturizing the mids and ends to give you big, bold style that lasts for days, not hours. "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." After trying Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray firsthand, we can tell you it gave our hair new life and added noticeable volume while still looking natural. That said, it can feel sticky when you first apply it and some users have noticed the nozzle can sometimes be faulty, making the product unusable.

Who It's For

If you want natural-looking volume with the texturizing effect of a dry shampoo, this stylist-approved product has your name on it.

Price at time of publish: $23-$49

Active Ingredients: Crystalline zeolites, plant extracts | Hair Type: All | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Smoothing

Qhemet Biologics Coconut & Green Tea Softening Serum

What We Like

  • 100% vegan
  • Prevents flyaways
  • Nourishes, moisturizes, and softens

What We Don't Like

  • Small amount
  • Not ideal for styling

Want smoother hair without relying on lots of chemicals? Qhemet Biologics has you covered with this blend of natural oils and green tea. 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 (meaning your hair isn't very absorbent). We love that it uses castor oil too, a centuries-old hair treatment that helps lock in moisture and acts as a thickening agent. You should see an improvement in your hair over time.

Who It's For

Those with thin, flat strands or low-porosity hair can benefit from this overnight treatment, which works to nourish, moisturize, and smooth flyaways while you doze.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredients: Coconut oil, castor oil, green tea | Hair Type: Fine, thin, curly, wavy | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Mask

Phyto Phytodensia Fluid Plumping Mask

What We Like

  • In-shower treatment
  • Plumps and strengthens
  • Doesn't weigh down hair

What We Don't Like

  • Reviewers note it has a strong smell

Applying a hair mask every so often is a good idea for fine-haired folks since it will help strengthen it and make it feel healthier over time (meaning you don't have to apply a ton of heavy products to get more volume). This in-shower mask won't weigh your hair down and rinses off after a few minutes. It promises to plump and strengthen your hair with hyaluronic acid and collagen without making it go limp.

Who It's For

Interested in an in-shower treatment? This mask is formulated to plump and fortify your hair without weighing it down.

Price at time of publish: $12–$59

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

Best Cream

Living Proof Full Thickening Blow-Dry Cream

What We Like

  • Makes hair look and feel fuller
  • Conditions and softens
  • Noticeable results

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 it look and feel fuller (the brand says it can actually look up to 30% fuller).4 We love that it not only acts as a styling agent but protects our hair from heat all without silicones (aka it's vegan). After putting this product to the test, we were pleasantly surprised by how much thicker it made our hair look. Just don't use it near your roots or it may way down your hair.

Who It's For

If you're looking for a product you can apply to wet hair before blow-drying (and get a noticeable volume boost from it), this brilliant thickening cream is just the thing.

Price at time of publish: $32

Active Ingredients: Thickening molecule, emollient blend | Hair Type: Fine, thin | Size: 3.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Mousse

Joico Firm Hold Design Foam

What We Like

  • Adds noticeable volume
  • Strengthens brittle strands
  • Lightweight foam

What We Don't Like

  • A little sticky

Spino recommends mousse for fine hair—it boosts volume without adding weight. Team Byrdie loves JoiWhip, an ultra-light foam that adds substantial volume with thickening polymers while smoothing and strengthening with hair's favorite protein, keratin.5

Mahajan, Apoorva. (2016). Advancements in polymers used in hair care: a review. International Journal of Research in Cosmetic Science. 6. 6-16. It has a slightly sticky feel, but we think this is a small price to pay for a noticeably fuller mane.

Who It's For

We highly recommend this product for anyone looking for a lightweight foam that adds instant volume and promotes stronger strands.

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Thickening polymers, keratin | Hair Type: All | Size: 10.2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shampoo

The Mane Choice Peach Black Tea Vitamin Fusion Shampoo

What We Like

  • Dissolves scalp buildup
  • Won't strip the hair
  • Promotes hair integrity

What We Don't Like

  • Can be drying

It can be tricky to find a good shampoo if you have thin hair because shampoo tends to pull out moisture, which can make hair feel drier and thinner. But not this shampoo. "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." That said, the deep-cleansing formula can be slightly drying, so you might consider washing your hair every other day and using dry shampoo or texturizing spray in between.

Who It's For

Those who wash their hair every other day will like how this deep-cleansing shampoo dissolves scalp buildup without stripping fine, fragile hair.

Price at time of publish: $18

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

Best Conditioner

R+Co DALLAS Biotin Thickening Conditioner

What We Like

  • Adds weightless volume and density
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Supports healthy growth

What We Don't Like

  • The scent is overwhelming for some

We love a hair-thickening product that you can incorporate into your shower routine as easily as swapping out your conditioner (especially when it's cruelty-free). The secret to this thickening conditioner is saw palmetto. The plant-derived ingredient expands your strands to create weightless volume and fuller, denser hair.6 It also contains biotin which anyone who's taken prenatal vitamins will tell you helps hair look as healthy as can be. Apply it after your shampoo of choice, let it marinate for a few minutes, then rinse your hair clean.

Who It's For

We recommend this product for anyone looking for a conditioner that moisturizes and adds volume without weighing down the hair with heavy oils.

Price at time of publish: $16–$102

Active Ingredients: Saw palmetto, biotin, vitamin B5 | Hair Type: Fine, thin | Size: 2, 8.5, or 33.8 ounces | 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
  • Strong scent

We also like Kevin Murphy's Plumping Rinse as a thickening conditioner. It's rich with ingredients to thicken the hair and promote growth, including biotin, oleanolic acid (a hair-loving antioxidant), and rice protein.7 After use, hair will appear fuller with volume that lasts all day. A couple of things reviewers noted: it can be hard to get the product out of the bottle, and the scent can be perfumy and overpowering.

Who It's For

This conditioner is ideal for folks who want instantly thicker-looking hair and healthy growth over time.

Price at time of publish: $35–$65

Active Ingredients: Biotin, oleanolic acid, rice protein | Hair Type: All | Size: 8.4–33.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Heat Protectant

Pureology Instant Levitation Mist

What We Like

  • Provides volume for 24 hours
  • Protects hair color
  • Smells amazing

What We Don't Like

  • Can feel sticky

Heat protectants 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's a vegan formula that's free of preservatives like parabens and phthalates. We also love that it protects color-treated hair from fading and environmental stressors. The woody, milky, floral scent is pretty great too. Some users noted it can feel a bit sticky upon application though.

Who It's For

If you regularly blow dry, flat-iron, or dye your hair, this protective formula will help preserve the integrity and color of your hair.

Price at time of publish: $31

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

Where We Stand

Overall, our favorite 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.

What to Look For When Buying 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, like It's a 10 Miracle Blow Dry Volumizer. These vary but include things such as polymers, collagen, and even plumping powders. "These are the ingredients that give hair body and guts," says hairstylist Michelle Pasterski Mesen. 
  • Light, Airy Formulas: If you're looking to boost fine hair's volume with products, the lighter, the better. After all, the last thing you want is for the product to be too heavy and end up weighing down your hair instead of boosting it up. Steer clear of thick balms, gels, or pomades and opt for fine mists or whipped products, such as a mousse (like our top pick, the Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Mousse. "With a dry product like texturizing sprays or hairsprays, think about the size of the droplets from a pump versus an aerosol product," says Mesen. "The bigger the droplet, the more weight it will place on the hair."
  • Hair Color Compatibility: 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 do well with most standard dry products and texture powders—Toppik Hair Building Fibers, for instance. Meanwhile, brunette or red hair may require a colored powder or at least a very translucent formula.


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.

What types of products are best for fine hair?

Mesen often recommends fine mists for folks with thin hair, as this type of product prevents 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," she adds.

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 a myriad of 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 haircare, makeup, and skincare at Byrdie. She also consulted several hair experts includling:

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

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

Jenna Spino of Maxine Salon is a professional hairstylist based in Chicago.

Cataanda James is a licensed cosmetologist and beauty consultant.

Mara Roszak is a celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of Mare Salon in West Hollywood.