If you have fine hair, your #1 goal is amazing, larger-than-life volume. You could be obsessively teasing your strands, spritzing on volumising sprays and relying on salon blow-drys, but sometimes, your strands can still feel lacklustre, stringy and flat.
Fine hair can be soft, falls limp on the sides and is difficult to style. “Scientifically speaking, the average diameter of a hair strand at its narrow maximum is around 66 to 75 µm. Hair to the left of the maximum is considered fine; hair to the right of the maximum is considered coarse.
But we generally don’t measure the size and rather classify our hair on the basis of their tactile perception and their capacity to retain the style,” explains Dr Veenu Jindal, consultant dermatologist, Max Hospital. If this sounds all too familiar, you could be styling—and caring for—your fine hair wrong. We asked the pros for their top tips.
Mistake #1: Picking the wrong shampoo and conditioner
Hairstyling starts in the shower, way before you blow-dry your hair or apply a product. According to Natasha Nasta, top stylist at Jean-Claude Biguine Salon, be wary of products that are designed to tame frizz, as they are formulated with heavy oils and creams that weigh down fine hair.
While a nourishing conditioner is recommended, avoid taking it up to the roots. As a rule of thumb, Nasta advises the quantity of the conditioner to be half of that of the shampoo to avoid weighing down your hair. “Conditioners function to strengthen the hair strands by flattening the cuticle and sealing the gaps between its layers to make them sit over each other smoothly,” says Dr Jindal. You don’t want to take it anywhere past your mid-lengths.
Mistake #2: You’re getting the wrong haircut
While layers may sound like a fun way to experiment with your haircut, they might not work as well for those with thin and fine hair. If you have stringy strands, too many layers could make your hair look thinner and lacking in body and volume. Instead, choose a blunt cut that’ll be volume-enhancing, says Nasta.
Another caveat? Keep your strands short—or mid-length at least. “Fine hair weighs down after a certain point because of its own length,” mentions Nasta. Shoulder length is what is ideally recommended. When fine hair strands grow too long, they run the risk of looking lifeless and have a tendency to stick to each other.
Mistake #3: You’re not caring for your scalp
Shampooing the scalp well can help create the volume that you seek. Dr Jindal advises keeping your scalp clean, as the dirt, pollution, dead skin cells, sebum and product build-up add to the weight on the hair. In order to maximise the volume and stimulate new hair growth, a clarifying shampoo or scalp scrub is a good idea.
Mistake #4: Using too much product
You might think that fine hair needs layers of gels, mousses and sprays to lift it up, but too much product can actually weigh your roots down more than you think. “Always use lightweight, water-permeable products,” says Nasta. She suggests picking a root lifter—”only on the roots and not to the entire length of the hair” though—and a mousse or volume spray on the mid-length and ends and not the roots. “Never use heavy moisturising products on the crown area or anywhere close to your scalp.”
Mistake #5: You’re not blow drying the right way
There’s always a reason you leave the hair salon with a bouncy blowout, and it’s likely because your stylist knows their way around a round brush. For best results, apply a small amount of volumising mousse or spray, and use a round brush to lift your hair up and away from the root. It might take a while to master, but it’s definitely worth it.