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The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Fine Hair

BY Alyssa Montemurro

As anyone with fine hair (i.e. hair that is small in diameter) will tell you, those delicate, wispy strands can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they may be silkier to the touch and easier to style than most, but on the other, they tend to fall flat, limp, and greasy in seemingly no time at all. The struggle is real, we know. That’s why we caught up with our team of in-house hair care experts to get a crash course on how to properly care for fine hair. From the types of products you should use to the daily habits you should avoid, here’s everything you need to know to keep your fine hair happy and healthy.

Adjust how much shampoo + conditioner you use

Next to a lack of volume, perhaps the biggest problem facing those with fine hair is its propensity to turn greasy fast. While not all of those with fine hair may be prone to excessive oil production, the shaft of their hair tends to be smoother and less porous than coarser hair types, so the oils sit visibly on top of the hair. To help combat this, we recommend not necessarily shampooing more often, as that can dry your hair out if done too frequently, but rather focusing your shampoo on the roots where these oils tend to collect and build up. Once properly cleaned, it’s also highly recommended that you avoid applying conditioner to your scalp as it can weigh the hair down. Instead, apply just enough to coat the strands from the mid-shafts down, as this will help keep your hair looking fresh and voluminous up top. 

Choosing the right volumizing shampoo and conditioner for your hair can also go a long way in helping to improve the look and appearance of fine hair. In addition to being formulated for your unique hair type, our sulfate- and paraben-free formulas also give you the option to add up to five hair goals to your formula, including such fine hair-approved ones as volumize and oil control. Together, they help to boost volume, prevent excessive oil production, and rid the scalp of product buildup so that your strands can stay clean, healthy, and full of life. 

Avoid oil-based styling products

While we love the benefits of a nourishing hair oil or styling cream just as much as the next girl, oil-based products typically aren’t the best option for those with more delicate hair types.  Hydrating and effective though they may be, they can also weigh your fine hair down, causing them to look—that’s right, you guessed it—flat and greasy. But don’t worry—that doesn’t mean you have to give up on styling products completely. Instead, we recommend sticking to those that offer “hold” and “texture,” like a dry shampoo, sea salt spray, texturizing mist, or volumizing mousse. Not only are they light enough for your delicate strands, but they can also help give the appearance of thicker, fuller hair by coating the hair shafts in polymers, which act as a sort of thickening agent.

And don’t worry, should you feel the need for an extra dose of hydration, shine, or thermal protection, all hope is not lost. Our leave-in treatment, though rich and nourishing like a styling cream, is also fully customizable according to your hair type, which means that even those with ultra-fine hair can reap its restorative benefits without the risk of any greasy residue.

Remember: less is more

While we’re on the topic of styling products, let us also take this opportunity to remind you that when it comes to fine hair, less is more. No, seriously. Even the lightest weight texturizing mists, dry shampoos, and hairsprays can cause your hair to fall flat when overused. To avoid this, start by dispensing just a pea-sized amount of product into your palm first, before applying to your hair. From there, you can gradually add in more product as needed until you achieve the desired results.

Get yourself a comb

As we’ve covered numerous times before on The Trim, hair is far more susceptible to breakage when it’s wet, and this holds especially true for those with fine hair. Your delicate strands won’t be able to withstand the tugging and pulling that comes with a regular hairbrush, which is why we always recommend reaching for a wide-tooth comb instead. When removing tangles, be sure to also start at the bottom of your hair, combing in a downward motion to ease the knots out, before working your way up towards the roots. Once your hair is dry, you can use a soft bristle brush—just be sure to use it sparingly to minimize the chance of damage.

Limit heat styling

Because fine hair is so, well, fine it is especially vulnerable to breakage, which is why heat styling is generally not advised. That said if you refuse to ditch your hair dryer or curling iron, be sure to at least follow these few simple rules to help protect your hair from damage. For starters, never heat style your hair without applying a thermal protectant first. If we haven’t said it enough already, our customizable leave-in treatment is always a safe, effective bet! Second, avoid using your hair dryer on its highest heat setting. Instead, try rough drying it on low, pointing the nozzle in the direction your hair grows and using your hands to lift at the root until your hair is 80 percent dry. Then, reach for a round bristle brush and finish drying until your hair is smooth. Finally, if you’re in need of more volume try reaching for a dry shampoo instead of more hot tools. You can use a little dry shampoo on your roots to help sop up any oil and add texture to the hair—just make sure you thoroughly cleanse your scalp during your next wash to help rid it of any pore-clogging residue or buildup.

Get a trim

Finally, split ends and breakage tend to be more noticeable on those with fine hair, which is why we always recommend getting a trim every 6-8 weeks. Fine hair tends to be weaker and can’t take as much abuse as medium/coarse hair can, leading to split ends more quickly. You may also want to consider keeping your hair on the shorter side as long hair tends to weigh the hair down, making your volume hair goals that much harder to achieve. 

Ready to inject some healthy volume into your strands? Find the perfect shampoo and conditioner for your fine hair now by taking the hair quiz here!