Yahoo August 2, 2023



The Fine Print: Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Fine Hair


Having fine hair comes with advantages and drawbacks. On the one hand, fine hair is often easier to style, requires less product, and is typically silky smooth. On the other hand, fine hair is more prone to damage and can seriously lack volume. Fine hair also tends to be more oily.

If you have fine hair and are hoping for more good hair days, it is vital to understand how fine hair works. For starters, it's important to know that fine hair is not synonymous with thin hair.

"Fine [hair] is defined by how coarse or thick each hair strand is, whereas thin [hair] is when there are fewer hair strands per square inch on your head, which can ultimately make your scalp more noticeable," explains creative director, master stylist, and colorist Paul Labrecque of Paul Labreque Salon and Skincare Spa. "It is very possible to have a lot of fine hair, and it is quite possible to have coarse hair that is thin and see-through."

If you're unsure whether your hair is fine or thin, do a strand test. Pull a single strand of hair and rub it between your fingers. If it feels like there's nothing there, this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn more about fine hair, including how to care for it and which styles and cuts are best.

Year-Round Fine Hair Care Tips

Nailing down a routine is key for keeping fine hair healthy. Here are a few expert tips for caring for your fine hair all year.

  • Shampoo or cleanse only when hair is dirty. Overwashing fine hair can lead to overstimulation of the scalp, producing more oils and oily hair. "On average, aim for two to three washes per week," says Labrecque.
  • Condition hair regularly. Labrecque recommends conditioning hair without using shampoo in the shower every other day if your hair is dry and brittle. "Keep the conditioner off the roots so you can still keep some volume in your style," he says.
  • Use gentle hair products. Labrecque recommends avoiding hair products with harsh chemicals to protect fine hair from damage or becoming oily and weighed down. "All shampoos should be sulfate-free, and all styling products should be alcohol-free," he says. When shopping for shampoo and conditioner, Olya Iudina, stylist at IGK NYC, recommends volumizing formulas, which do not weigh your hair down.
  • Apply heat protectant. Experts generally agree that avoiding heat styling tools altogether is the best way to keep fine hair healthy and damage-free. If that's not in the cards, Jenna Spino, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, swears by the Kerastase Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer heat protectant for clients with fine hair. "It's super lightweight and helps to strengthen the hair while protecting it from heat," she says.
  • Get regular trims. Getting a trim every six to 12 weeks helps maintain healthy ends and makes hair appear healthier. "What a regular trim will do is blunt the ends so it makes the appearance of the hair look thicker," explains Adam Reed, celebrity hairstylist and founder of ARKIVE Headcare. "A blunter end always looks thicker."

Seasonal Fine Hair Challenges and Solutions

Unfortunately, seasonal changes can impact fine hair for the worse. In the summer, fine hair is more prone to frizz due to humidity and more likely to attract static in the dry winter months. Additionally, Iudina says fine hair loses its color in the sun and can be more prone to breakage when exposed to peak sunlight.

To combat summer humidity, Iudina suggests using anti-frizz shampoos and conditioners and swapping in a conditioner with added hydration during winter to repel static. Also, keeping fine hair healthy to avoid breakage and split ends is key to fighting frizz.

"Fine, broken hair strands will frizz, but healthy hair won't," explains Labrecque. Opting for a haircut with fewer layers is also beneficial for fine hair. "This will help keep your hair stronger and looking better year-round."

Volumizing Techniques for Fine Hair

Fine hair tends to lack volume, but there are plenty of ways to add more height to your fine mane if you choose to do so. Here are a few expert styling tips and techniques for fine hair.

  • Style with a round brush. Round brushes work to gently lift and style fine hair while minimizing damage. Labrecque recommends round brushes with boar bristles, which help add volume without causing static.
  • Blow dry at the root. As you blow dry wet hair, lift hair at the root using a brush or even your fingers, suggests Iudina. Remember to always apply heat protectant before applying heat to fine hair. For added lift, Spino recommends applying a root-lifting spray to the hair before styling.
  • Refrain from teasing hair. Teasing fine hair with a comb may seem like a quick and easy way to achieve volume. But, Labrecque cautions against this technique for those with fine hair. "Teasing will break it and cause premature aging to your strands."
  • Use volumizing sprays. Iudina suggests using a volumizing spray versus a mousse for added volume since it has a lighter texture and won't weigh fine hair down.
  • Approach hot tools with caution. While it's true that curling irons and rollers will add volume and lift to hair, styling with hot tools can easily damage fine hair, even when applying a heat protectant. Avoid using hot tools daily, and consider heatless styling options like heatless rollers to add volume without heat.

Hairstyles and Cuts for Fine Hair

Finding the right cut for fine hair can make it appear thicker, fuller, and healthier. Labrecque suggests keeping it simple with a one-length cut. "One-length hair is the best for fine hair types, even when sporting short looks," he says. "The more layers you have, the finer your hair will appear to others."

Reed finds that slightly longer styles tend to work better for fine hair. "A little bit of length really gives the impression of thickness and movement," he says. "But shorter styles can still work well on fine, healthy hair. Think sort of Audrey Hepburn or Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors. You can still see that volume in the hair."

Longer hair can also be more difficult to maintain. "It can be challenging keeping the bottom looking full and healthy. Sometimes the hair can look finer when kept long," says Spino. For this reason, Iudina typically suggests not going too long with fine hairstyles. "I would recommend mid-length cuts or shorter, with a touch of layering and face-framing.

Taking care of your hair isn't just treating the hair on your head. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress also are key components of having healthy hair.

"Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps hair grow faster and keeps it shiny looking," says Spino. "Improper diets, dehydration, and stress can all lead to hair loss." If you're following a healthy hair care routine for fine hair but aren't seeing results, adjusting your water intake and diet may be the best next step.

Additional Tips for Fine Hair

The right haircut, routine, and volumizing strategy can go a long way in keeping fine hair looking and feeling its best. If you still feel like your fine hair could be improved, here are a few additional tips.

  • Rinse hair thoroughly with cold water. Rinsing fine hair thoroughly with cold water helps seal hair cuticles and locks in moisture to strands and scalp. "A really thorough rinse means that your hair is clean and refreshed," says Reed.
  • Give yourself a scalp massage. "Scalp stimulation is amazing because it encourages healthy hair, which in turn looks thicker," explains Reed. Reed likes to use the Root-Ine Scalp Serum for scalp massages, formulated to help promote scalp health.
  • Incorporate a hair mask. Hair masks are especially beneficial during dry, winter months to add additional moisture to dry, fine hair, says Labrecque. But choose a lightweight formula and only use it as needed.

Fine hair has unique characteristics that require the right set of tools, products, and techniques to keep it looking healthy. However, what works for someone's fine hair might work differently for your own, so it's important to experiment to determine the right routine for your hair's needs.

When purchasing a new product, pay attention to product reviews and read ingredient labels to ensure it'll be gentle on fine hair. If you're struggling with styling, check out video tutorials on YouTube or TikTok to see what others suggest.

And try not to get discouraged. Caring for fine hair is easy with the right routine. Be sure to pay attention to how your hair responds to these tips and tricks, and don't be afraid to experiment with new hairstyles or styling methods to find the one you like best.