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Fine Wavy Hair: Your Guide to Good Hair Days

BY Felicia Ler

Do the ends of your hair curl loosely? Is each individual strand thinner than a thread? If you’ve answered yes to both questions, chances are you have fine wavy hair.

To the masses, this hair type seems like a boon rather than a curse. Fine wavy hair conjures up images of effortlessly styled beach waves for that girl-next-door flair. But fine wavy hair isn’t without its downsides either — hello, flatness, frizz, and breakage.

That’s what this guide is here for. We’ll talk about how to identify this hair type and learn the secret to having more good hair days. 

Fine Wavy Hair Types, It’s Time to Put on Your Detective Hat

Fine wavy hair types, we feel you. It can be hard to determine whether you have type 2 hair or type 3 hair — one of life’s greatest mysteries, we say!

Here’s the big reveal: Fine wavy hair is predominantly type 2a hair, with some 2b strands thrown in for good measure. You likely have looser waves than curly hair types (aka type 3 hair) that still follow an S-shape curl pattern when dry.

Because of the delicate structure of your strands, it’s easy for natural and product buildup to weigh down your mane (*side-eye the excess sebum and heavy styling products*). This often leads to flatness near your roots. Also, fine hair types are no stranger to dreaded frizz, dryness, and brittleness.

However, fine wavy hair doesn’t necessarily equate to thin hair, thanks to a little something called hair density. It’s definitely possible for you to have fine yet thick hair because you have more fibers per square inch of your scalp than those with thin hair.

Here’s How to Keep Fine Wavy Hair in Good Shape

Good news: You can keep your fine wavy hair in tip-top condition. It’s all about giving your locks what they need and playing to their strengths when styling your ‘do.

One of the best-kept secrets for wavy and curly hair types is the Curly Girl Method (CGM)*. But you’ll need to manage your expectations, too. While CGM is undeniably beneficial for your hair type, it can’t transform loose, delicate waves into bodacious-looking tight curls. What you can expect, though, is less frizz and more volume.

Here’s how to incorporate CGM into your haircare and styling routine to put your best hair forward.

1. Go Low-Poo or No-Poo

Low-poo and no-poo refer to CGM-approved shampoo formulations that work for fine wavy hair types.

On your wash days, use sulfate-free clarifying shampoos for the “low-poo” method of cleansing your mane. Skipping out on the sulfates means you’re less likely to dry out your strands.

If your hair is extra-dry, use the “no-poo” method, which involves cleansing your hair with a co-wash. It’s a cleansing conditioner that gently clears away scalp debris while promoting optimal hydration. For a silicone-free option, try Function of Beauty’s custom co-wash.

2. Don’t Skip Out on Conditioning

Fine wavy hair that’s highly porous or regularly exposed to chemical treatments and heat-styling likely suffers from dry hair texture. That’s when you’re at the mercy of frizz, knots, split ends, and even breakage when you try to detangle your locks, putting an end to your hair growth goals.

If that sounds like you, you’ll want to amp up the conditioning. Aside from the regular rinse-off conditioner, consider adding:

  • Leave-in conditioner: A leave-in conditioner is meant to be applied to wet hair after shampooing. You don’t have to wash it off. Just go about your day as you normally do and let the leave-in work its magic to make your hair look less parched.
  • Deep conditioner: If your fine wavy hair needs an extra dose of moisture, try a deep conditioner like Function of Beauty’s custom hair mask. You can use this intensive deep-conditioning treatment once a week right after your rinse-off shampoo and conditioner.

Remember, well-moisturized hair is the foundation for healthy-looking hair to tone down frizz, split ends, and brittleness.

3. Plop, Don’t Rub

Not many people with fine wavy hair know this, but the way you dry your hair matters immensely. In which case, plop, don’t rub. As long as you use a microfiber towel, which is gentler on the strands than the usual terrycloth kind, you’ll reap the benefits of plopping:

  • This heat-free haircare technique cuts down on the friction leading to frizzy hair.
  • Microfiber is more absorbent than terrycloth, shortening the time needed to dry your mane.
  • Piling your waves on the top of your head protects them from gravity and being smushed. This way, they can better retain their natural wave pattern for more pronounced fine curly hair.
  • Plopping your hair also creates some lift at the roots to promote the illusion of voluminous hair once you let it down.
  • The microfiber towel absorbs excess product so that it doesn’t smear your favorite top.

4. Scrunch It!

Those with straight hair and loose waves are often envious of the defined curls characteristic of types 3 and 4 hair. But did you know there’s a secret trick to amp up the curl definition of fine wavy hair? That would be scrunching.

How it works:

  • Get your hair wet — scrunching works best on damp locks.
  • Apply your hair products, whether it’s a leave-in, curl cream, or mousse. Make sure to detangle your hair before applying said product(s).
  • Get scrunching. Start from the ends and cup a handful of hair. Then, lightly scrunch it in your palm, working up toward your scalp.

If you prefer to air-dry your hair, simply scrunch your locks with a microfiber towel. You can also pair scrunching with blow-drying.

5. Turn Up the Volume With a Diffuser

Perhaps you want to turn up the hair volume even more — who doesn’t want billowy, beachy waves, right? One way to achieve a more voluminous hairstyle is to use a diffuser when blow-drying your tresses.

A diffuser is basically a bowl-like attachment for your hairdryer. As its name implies, a diffuser disperses the air coming out of the hairdryer. By reducing the airflow, your mane is less likely to frizz or lose its natural wavy pattern. Most importantly, a diffuser (when used correctly) helps promote curl definition for a more voluminous look.

6. Cherry-Pick the Right Styling Products

The type of styling products can make or break fine wavy hair. In which case, avoid heavy hair products (think rich butters) that make your hair feel weighed-down, crunchy, or worse, oil-slicked (urgh).

When reading the product label, look for the magical words “light hold.” Unlike strong-hold styling products, the light-hold variants help keep your waves in place and protect your curl pattern without flattening your ‘do. You can ask your local hairstylist for product recommendations that will work well with your fine wavy hair.

Good Hair Days Are Within Your Reach

For the most part, fine wavy hair is manageable, so that’s more than half the battle won.

What you have to focus on is getting the flatness, frizziness, and breakage in check. Look long and hard at your current haircare and styling routine to make sure it’s CGM-approved with all the essentials in place.

If you need any of the above products that cater to fine wavy hair, Function of Beauty’s haircare range is a good place to start. With 100% custom-built formulations, rest assured that your tresses are in good hands with us.

*Function of Beauty is not associated with Lorraine Massey, the Curly Girl Method (“CGM”), or Curly Girl: The Handbook. Reference to the Curly Girl Method is provided is for informational purposes only and is accurate to the best of our knowledge, however, it is not guaranteed. Product formulas can change at any time.