The Natural’s Guide to Fine Hair

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By Jenteel

From Monisola…
Hello!

I adore your blog! I just discovered it three days ago. I recently made the decision to grow my mini fro (like 3 inches 4b) into a joyously full Afro! I have a question: how can I tell whether my hair is fine or not? Last, should I moisturize my hair more or less because it is fine, should I deep condition more/less? What general accommodations should be made because i may have fine hair? (I seem to notice that I only need to moisturize every other day because everyday leaves my hair wet all day long). How much moisture is enough? How do I know when to stop?

Thanks!
~Monisola

…and from Tiffany

Hello BGLH!

My name is Tiffany and I recently fell in love with your blog. ITS GREAT!! Loves it. Time is most likely of the essence for you so I will be brief. My hair is 60% 4a and 40% 3c and fine in texture. I see various women with beautiful hairstyles, my favorite has to be the twist/braid outs and I try to achieve the looks but my interpretation of them never mirror the pictures posted. I’m thinking it has something to do with my hair being fine. Do you know of any hairstyles that work well with fine, 4 inch hair? Thank you so much for your time.

~Tiffany

Misconceptions About Natural Hair and Thickness

I think that there is a misconception that all naturals have thick hair. When you think of a natural, the image that comes to mind is of the all encompassing AFRO. But there are some natural girls out there with fine hair, thin hair or a combination of both. Fine hair describes the actual diameter (size) of the hair strand, while thin hair describes the number of strands per square inch. So it is quite possible for your hair to be fine in diameter and coarse in texture. Weather can also affect the width of hair. Fine hair is the hair type most easily damaged by the use of heat and chemical processes. Here are some haircare and styling modifications that can be made in the case of fine/thin hair.

Products for Fine Hair

In caring for fine hair, it is more about the type of product used. You don’t necessarily need to condition more or less because of thin/fine hair, just be sure to concentrate product on the ends. This is so that you don’t weigh down the roots, thereby decreasing your hair’s volume. It is easier for your scalp’s natural oils to reach the first few inches of hair making conditioner more useful on the ends of the hair. Heavy products are a big no-no on this hair type because they weigh the hair down. Stay away from butters, gels and pomades. If you can’t part with your precious butters, use only a little on damp hair. Use light styling aids like natural spritzes, and water-based styling aids. As far as moisturizers, look for yummy ingredients like herbs and nutrient rich oils.

I always say if your hair is thirsty, feed it! So in regards to how often to moisturize your hair, feed it good things when it’s hungry! If your hair looks and feels greasy, you know you’ve overdone it! I find it easier to moisturize on damp hair because it penetrates better. This way I have a better idea of when enough is enough. I like my hair to feel smooth and moist. The product should sit in your hair and not your hands. Most importantly, pay more attention to moisturizing the last few inches of your strands. Again, avoid coating the roots. As many naturals will tell you, it is about trial and error. You have to learn what your hair likes because no two heads are alike. In contrast to thick haired naturals, fine/thin haired naturals might actually may find that they need to moisturize less as this hair type can retain water and product longer (as Monisola experienced).

Styling Fine Hair

In the past, we’ve briefly discussed styling fine hair. Naturals with fine hair tend to be wary of twists, braids and cornrows because they feel these styles look too “scalpy”. However, this shouldn’t limit your styling options! Naturals with fine/thin hair can still be stylish! Instead of twisting/braiding the whole head, just do a small section and let the rest be free! Look for styles that add volume to the hair, in particular “out” styles – braid outs and twist outs. Just make your parts bigger so the resulting “out” doesn’t still hold “marks” of the parts used to create the style. Of course the fro works great for fine/thin hair! To make it look thicker, you can braid or twist it first for a day or two before. When taking it out, fluff it out with your fingers. If some shine is needed, add a light oil like coconut to your fingers while fluffing. Updos are also a wonderful option for fine haired naturals – this way you can maneuver most of the volume to the top! And for those of you out there doing this: Stop comparing your hair and its abilities to the next girl! Celebrate and enjoy your hair for what it can do instead of cursing it for what it can’t! :)

Next Page: How to Make Fine Hair Thicker
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181 thoughts on “The Natural’s Guide to Fine Hair

  1. I have fine, but lots of, hair & its been natural for over 10yrs but has never grown past my shouilders. I always thought that “black people can’t have long hair” but in the last few years now natural is more popular I know its is possible has strong long hair. Thank you for your information on how to care for it as most websites just focus on thick hair. :-)

    • Hey Nadine. I have fine, but lots of hair too. I have been natural for 7 years, but my hair never grew past my shoulders either. I think its because of the lack of hair knowledge i had. My goal is full APL by mid next year. I experience A LOT of breakage and split ends!! Especially split ends. I think its coz my hair is weak. Do u have split ends? If not, how do u keep them at bay?

  2. I was born with super thin hair. I decided to go natural four years ago. I love the natural curl pattern of my hair. However, I have longed to have a full style, while maintaining my natural curl pattern. It has been a challenge, because my hair looks really nice when I wet it, put leave-in conditioner in it along with other natural curl products, but I am always left with “see thru hair at the top and middle of my hair. What method or hair product would you suggest to attain a full look. My hair is combination of 3C and 3B on a good day…..looking forward to reading your expert counsel.

  3. Thanks a million for this post. I thought that there was something wrong with my hair because it’s so fine and thin.I’ve been natural for 2 years and I can’t seem to thicken my hair out.likewise I joke with my Natural coworkers and say don’t blow my hair or it’ll fall out because it breaks so easily. I will definitely be trying some of your tips that you presented here and I’ll check back to let you know if they worked on my hair.

  4. I have read your post and also a lot of others. I too have fine, thin hair. I have dreads but mostly wear it up because of the thin hair especially in my crown area. They are long but still thin. I have found this is the best for me because perms irritate my scalp and i like to exercise a lot. However, I am constantly cold so I wear a lot of hats. I have gone to the dermatologist and they say I just have “thin” hair. It has really taken a toll on my self esteem. I worry about it constantly and find myself indulged in other people’s beautiful hair. I hope there is a solution out there for us soon.

  5. Great advice! I think I have fine hair but it grows thickly on my head. the strands are really thin and I’ve always had a problem with breakage. That might be because I haven’t ever really taken care of it properly. This is my second year natural and I just started to really care for my hair properly this year so hoping I can grow it past shoulder length! I never saw much growth change in the last year because it broke off so much. Need to work on my ends though- they always look dry and trashy.

  6. I feel your pain Nikki. I have the same problem. I have very thin fine hair that breaks easily. Does not respond well to chemicals and any sort of styling just wrecks havoc on my hairline. It been a constant cycle of styling then cutting it all off for about 6 years now. Currently I just got fed up and left it as is, so it just short hair that is all in knots. Cant even wear wigs coz those destroy myhairline as well. As a result I’ve become the turban lady just to make myself look representable in public. I’m thinking of maybe growing dreadlocks bt I know they will be few and far between on my head. I envy other people’s hair. I know I should love and appreciate myself the way I am, but not have the ability to do anything with my hair really hurts.

  7. I have fine hair with i would say medium density and i used to rock twist outs with the best of them. One way i was able to acheive volume, especially in the crown is creating a flat twist right in the crown, usually horizontal, set with light butter like the article says, and BAM volume. What also helps me is making an extreme slanted front part, maybe a 45degree angle in comparison to the front. So much of this natural hair thing is trial and error, hope this helps

  8. Some of these tips, I agree and disagree with. I’m a fine haired natural who’s hair dries out very quickly and easily. My hair does better with butters and gels as opposed to some of the lighter formulas moisturizers and styling aids. My fine hair gets really dry so I need heavier products than some fine haired people. When I was relaxed, I could get away with some of the lighter weight products formulated for finer strands. My fine strands need a heavier creamier deep conditioner or else my hair stays dry and frizzy. I’m especially prone to frizziness in the back if my head.

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