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Every fine-haired woman knows the struggle of styling voluminous curls only to watch them fall flat in minutes. Or, leaving your house with freshly washed hair and coming home with oily, limp strands by the end of the day. For most women with flat hair, the struggle to maintain volume and keep your strands grease-free for more than a day is absolutely real.
If you’re at a loss on how to care for fine hair, we’re here to help! We reached out to Matthew Morris, Kérastase artistic director and brand ambassador, for everything you need to know about fine hair including the best shampoo for fine hair, the best haircuts for fine hair, and how often you should shampoo fine hair. Whether your fine strands are ash blonde or dark brown, here's how to make your lifeless mane a thing of the past.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of caring for fine hair, you might be wondering what exactly is fine hair and how you can tell if you have it. According to Morris, there’s a big difference between thin and fine hair—although women frequently confuse the two.
The actual diameter of the hair is smaller when it comes to fine hair...The difference between fine hair and thin hair is density. It’s very common to have a lot of fine hair. I, myself, have a lot of fine hair. If your hair follicles are fewer, your hair density is thinner. Fine hair is commonly limp, flat, and lacks volume.
Still unsure about determining your own hair type? Consider seeking out a professional for all of your burning hair questions.
How often you should shampoo your hair is still a major source of confusion in the hair world—no matter your hair type. You might have the urge to shampoo your hair the moment your roots start to get greasy but if maintaining volume is your main concern, using shampoo too frequently can easily flatten your mane. For fine hair, you’ll want to limit washing your hair to three or four times a week.
To keep your hair looking and feeling fresh between washes, opt for a dry shampoo like the Biolage Waterless Clean And Full Shampoo to cleanse your hair and help retain body.
Morris warns that applying more conditioner than directed on the package and using heavy products designed for coarse hair can severely weigh fine hair down. While conditioner is typically used directly after shampoo, the stylist offers an alternative method for fine-haired gals.
“My suggestion is to use products like these overnight so the condition and repair can be done and then washed clean in the morning with a volumizing or densifying shampoo and lightweight conditioner,” the stylist explains.
Because the right haircut is the key to keeping fine hair looking fabulous, Morris recommends maintaining a regular salon visit schedule.
“Get your haircut on time, and don’t try to grow it too much longer as fine hair can get ‘see-through’ when it’s too long and appear stringy,” Morris says.
This may seem counterintuitive if growing your hair into a long, luscious mane is the goal, but keeping your strands at a reasonable length can help your fine hair appear voluminous and full.
While excessive or unprotected heat styling can cause damage for any hair type, Morris says people with fine hair should be particularly cautious about reaching for their hot tools. Since fine hair already tends to lack volume, straightening it can easily take away any body and texture you may have.
Searching for a bit of styling inspiration? Below, we’ve gathered nine of the trendiest hairstyles and haircuts for fine hair and the products you need to achieve them.
Can we be blunt? A long, one-length haircut can seriously weigh your fine hair down. Instead, ask your stylist for a chic blunt cut that falls just below your chin. This cut will also help to make your ends look thicker and fuller.
If you’re hoping to stick with long hair, ask your stylist for layers—but not too short! Choppy hairstyles can make fine strands appear thinner. Instead, opt for long layers to give your mane movement and fullness instantly.
Flat irons might be a no-go for fine hair, but styling with a hair dryer can give your mane maximum lift and body—with less heat damage.
“One of the great things about fine hair is that it dries faster, so a lower heat setting on your hairdryer will suffice and keep your hair in better condition,” Morris says.
Before heat styling, be sure to apply a heat protectant like the Kérastase L'incroyable Blowdry Hair Lotion.
You’ve nabbed the perfect length for fine hair, but now it’s time to give your mane a little oomph. Apply a heat protectant throughout your strands and grab a 2-inch barrel curling wand. Wrap 1-inch sections at a time around your wand. Once you’ve finished curling all of your hair, gently brush through your strands to create soft waves. Lock in your look with a few spritzes of light-hold hairspray like the Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray.
You may not be able to actually change the density of your hair, but why not fake it? The a-line bob features stacked layers towards the back of your head while the length gets gradually longer towards the front—perfect to create the illusion of thicker strands!
If you’re looking for an edgy hairstyle for fine hair, you can’t go wrong with a layered pixie cut to give your mane natural body and movement. Apply a few spritzes of texturizing spray like the Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texture Spray to create airy volume, beachy texture, and an undone, effortless finish.
Tired of your braids slipping and sliding just minutes after you style them? Here’s a quick trick for you: Use a hair scarf to tie your hair into a low ponytail. Once your ponytail is secured, craft a three-strand braid with the loose hair from the ponytail—using the fabric from a hair scarf as your third section. This will thicken your braid and help to keep it secure all day long.
We never say no to fringe but if you have fine hair, you’ll need to be wary of what style of bangs you choose. While blunt bangs can easily fall flat, layered, wispy bangs are ideal for adding movement and style to your mane.
Finding products that work specifically for your hair type is the golden rule of caring for fine hair, and what better place to start then at the beginning of your hair care routine? If you’re looking for the best shampoo for fine hair to give your mane much-needed lift, we love the Biolage Volumebloom Shampoo. When used as a system with the Biolage Volumebloom Conditioner, this shampoo plumps fine hair with long-lasting bouncy volume and gives hair 70 percent more volume after just one application.
Biolage Volumebloom Shampoo, $18.00 MSRP
If your biggest struggle with fine hair is its thin, straw-like appearance, you’ll want to invest in a thickening shampoo. We recommend the Kérastase Bain Densité Shampoo for hair that’s visibly lacking density. For best results, follow your shampoo with the Kérastase Fondant Densité Conditioner.
Kérastase Bain Densité Shampoo, $33.00 MSRP
Whether you’re styling a voluminous ponytail, a sleek updo, or a blowout, you’ll need a styling product that can give your fine hair some much needed volume and grip. Opt for a volumizing hair mousse with an extra strong hold like the L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Envy Extra Volumizing Mousse.
L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Envy Extra Volumizing Mousse, available in salon
If teasing your hair is your go-to technique for adding volume to your hair , you’re going to love the Redken Quick Tease 15 Backcombing Finishing Spray. This volumizing hairspray gives hair volume, texture, and control with a lasting matte finish.
Redken Quick Tease 15 Backcombing Finishing Spray, $19.50 MSRP
Looking to stay away from heat styling? Try the Redken No Blow Dry Airy Cream. This air-dry styling cream for fine hair provides a quick air-dry, effortless texture, and volume with a no-product feel for the days you don't want to or can't blow dry your hair.
Redken No Blow Dry Airy Cream, $24.00 MSRP
While heavy hair mask formulas can be a nightmare for your hair type, the Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Hair Mask is a lightweight care treatment that’s specifically formulated for fine hair.
Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Hair Mask, $68.00 MSRP
Interested in more expert tips for fine hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.
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