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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

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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182 Comments on "The Natural’s Guide to Fine Hair"

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Avanti
I have fine hair just like many of the women in my family however unlike them I decided to leave the color and relaxers behind because they have a lot of thinning in their crown as well and I can tell if I kept up with the chemicals I would have thin hair there as well. Even when I flat iron my hair I can see it’s significantly thinner in the front than the rest of the head which is why I’ve also decided to stop putting heat to my hair and have been heat free for about 10 months.… Read more »
Sara
Even though this article states that fine hair is about the hair’s diameter, there seems to be an emphasis on making fine hair thicker (as if it were thin). The two things are not one in the same. Unless there is damage to the hair, you get what you get for the most part, and if your hair is fine, then that is what happens. My hair is indeed fine, but it is quite obviously thick. The opposite of thick hair is thin hair, but it seems that thin hair has a negative connotation, so commercial products prefer to describe… Read more »
Tina

Can someone suggest particular products to use for twist outs? since butters and gels are not good for fine/thin hair.

Ebncurly

I use the beautiful curls line…….. Its fair trade and light weight. The first ingredients are botanicals and not butters or oil. They sell it at WholeFoods. http://www.beautifulcurls.com/

Tina

Thanks Ebncurly

Alexandra

Curls Goddess Curls Gel is awesome for fine hair. I use it while my hair is wet for twist/braid outs and my hair comes out so defined and beautiful. Shea Moisture Milks are also good.

Pam

This is so helpful. I have fine and thin hair. Now that I’ve grown it out, it often flops when I try to do an afro. I may be over conditioning it so I will try that and putting it on the ends instead of a the root too. Thanks again for this post.

Andrea

What if your hair is THICK as in high strand density, but fine, as in they are sooo wispy you can barely see them under light?

Josie Lynn
I have definitely been trying to figure out my fine hair too. My strands are kind of thin and I certainly have the ‘scalpy’ issue, I used to do two strand twists and braids when I had shorter hair but now that my hair has reached shoulder length, I use chunky twists and pin-ups as my go to styles. And they have seemed to be working lately on my low-manipulation challenge. I just started using henna lately in order to at least thicken my strands, and those have helped. I don’t feel like my hair is so thin. I think… Read more »
Emma

great GREAT tips. I have both thin AND fine hair and my experiences with mirror all the forementioned facts about the specific categories of hair. low manipulation is KEY for minimizing breakage. and YES there are so many cute hair options! MAjor advantage is that I rarely have problems with dryness, except for my ends. Im starting locs and volume is SOO important to me for this new journey. Castor oil is a cornerstone element to my routine and I’m excited about getting started with hydrolised silk protein

monisola
That was me!! I asked this question years ago! heeeheee I actually learned a great deal after trial and error with my hair. Mostly, I moisturize it less, like once every two days or so (moisture overload was weakening my already fragile strands) and did a great deal of research to find the slipperiest conditioner so my detangling sessions put the least amount of stress on my hair. I also do a light protien deep conditioning once every 4 weeks to keep my strands strong. Yarn twists also have been amazing for me! I keep my hair protected for 4… Read more »
kbbn

do you have any product recommendations? i’d love to try out some new things and see how they work for my fine strands

K.Cee
I think the tips are great! I would also like to add in what I’ve learned. I definitely have suuper fine strands. The difference between me and many others that have commented is that my hair is also super thick, meaning the density is crazy! No one every believes that I have fine hair because of how thick it appears to be. Now I said all of that to say, heavy products like shea and castor oil work wonderfully for me. My hair is very prone to dryness and these heavy products help seal in moisture unlike anything else. My… Read more »
Rolla_Ro_22
It sounds like we have similar hair textures. My hair is fine, but there is sooo much of it to go around. I where twist outs and bantu knot outs most of the time, but my waves and curls never last past the first day. I always end up having to dampen my hair and do a twist/bantu knot out everyday. It is exhausting! Does anyone have any tips on preserving curls on thin/thick hair. I just need them to last at leats 2 days without having to redo them. I would be happy with that. For background, I lightly… Read more »
Journey To Refinement
Journey To Refinement

I would have to agree with you on this, I too have fine strands with a lot of density and porous, the heavy butters help my hair to stay moisturized, otherwise dryness and breakage will occure.. Can’t figure out how to stop the single strand knots. It seems that because the strands are fine that they are more prone and more easily knot on the ends.

Natural Kinky Curly Marie!

Trimming your ends (didn’t say Cut Hair)every 6weeks (as needed) to prevent split ends will help with the single knots. Split Ends cause lots of knots in natural hair. So keeping it trimmed will help minimize or eliminate those knots.

vero77
Triming eh? didnt know that! sick sick of these knots – i have fine hair too – alhtough u wouldnt know it; i have a afro 20 months looks thick and nappy… but my strands are very fine! Really feel im losing the plot with these knots – I cut out three this week!. Will actually go trim those ends now! I didnt know i had such fine hair… its not growing fast enough either – so really disppointed all round. Coming up to 2 years in May and its been 8.5 incs for six months! with all the moisturising… Read more »
MrsCottonCurls

Same here…fine strands with a lot of density and porous. I like butters as well. But I also use Giovanni Direct Leave-In conditioner and it’s not heavy at all. I still get single strand knots as well, but I’ve done a lot of reading on them and I think they are just a part of being natural, especially those of us with fine strands.

GrandDiva
I love the tips offered here but would like to add my experiences. My hair is fine, soft, curly and reminds me of cotton. I tried the jamaican black castor oil and within 4 days, I had bumps all over my scalp, horrendus itching and not to mention breakage! I stopped using this product and have shampooed twice in three days to soothe my scalp. Still have breakage, so after I shampooed last night, I put in extra conditioner and platted my hair so it can rest. Today I am wearing a wig. I won’t be using this product again.
Andrea

try using the organic castor oil found at the health food store or the drug store brand…works wonders for me.

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[…] are two more links giving advice for fine hair 1. Celebrating Natural Hair 2. Choosing Hair Products For Fine […]

Anonymous

I have thin/fine hair and until I gain more length, chunky fros will have to do. I use shea butter melted down with oils but what I find works better is shea butter lotion from komaza care. It's light and moisturizing and allows my fine hair to gain volume without a greasy feel. Quite pricy for a bottle but work with it!

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

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Nice Blog. Congrats.
{ Treasurer-T & S }

Lita

i think the updo tip is a nice one (as a thick and dense nappy, who can very rarely fit her hair into a hair band or clip without much pain). i assume finer hair has the advantage on manoeverability.

cherise

Yea, i have fine hair and i was able to get a nice curly fro. It is actually very similar to the above person. on dry hair i spritz with my conditioner and water, do two strand twists then bantu knot them. When they are dry the next day i take them out and boom! curly afro!
(though maybe it depends on the length as well.)
I also noticed after stop taking biotin and some hair vitamins with MSM, my hair is no longer growing thick as it was before.

ORGANIC

This is a really nice blog entry. Thanks for the knowledge 🙂

Anonymous
I have longish (bra-strap), fine hair and I've managed to get a big-ish fro. Here's my method. I do two-strand twists and then bantu-knot them. I lightly dampen my hair first. This is important because I noticed this doesn't work on my hair if it's too wet. So, lightly dampen just to make it easier to comb. Then I apply a very small amount of leave-in conditioner or shea butter and a very small amount of aloe vera gell. When I take them down in the morning. When I get close to the ends of my twists, I like to… Read more »
flowergirl72

I preform this hairstyle regiman every now and then and the results are beautiful, my hair look full and vibrant with curls galore. Finally someone that use bantu knots method to create the curly fro.

Andrea
I recently tried a bantu knot out and it is probably my favorite style so far. I have such thin hair and when I do the twists my hair ALWAYS looks so thin so I can never wear them I have to wear a twist out. I don’t have a problem with shea butter because my hair is dry so the more the better. That mixed with water and tea tree oil is my go to sealant. Also, I’ve been using castor oil in everything for the past few months and it has definitely thickened up my hair. My new… Read more »
Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

oh woops… but yes J, my hair has gotten THICKER over time because of castor oil, cassia and MSM sulphur.

Lisa

What is MSM sulphur?

jenteel

you're very welcome!

Shayna'

this makes sense, i was wondering if my strands were fine, and also why my twist outs looked a little scalpy even tho my hair is thick & coarse..thanx for the info!

Alice

If any of you have favorite products for fine hair I'd LOVE to hear them. All of the leave-ins and butters I hear everyone fawning over are too heavy for me and leave my hair greasy. 🙁

I'm with sewdope, to get more volume I let my hair shrink up and the fluff it out. It's a less defined wash and go, but it DOES make my hair look insanely thick

whit

I like to use water to thin conditioners out my favorite right now us giovanni direct leave in. All vegitaran. no bad stuff.

Christina Patrice

I find that diluting regular products with water works well for my hair. I dikute my conditioner with water in a spray bottle for a nice leave in. I also make a leave in with Shea Moisture products. Check my blog for more details!

Ebncurly

As fine haired natural – I find that my hair hates most butters but loves water based leave in conditioners. First ingredient on the label MUST be water.

Bridget
ITA. Although my strands are fine, when my hair shrinks up it looks so much thicker. I find that allowing my hair to dry in an afro puff or just out (like a wash and go) makes it look fuller as opposed to allowing my hair to dry while in twists or braids. Once my hair dries or is almost dry, I use an afro pick on my roots only to help fluff out my hair for some added volume. As for products, ORS Olive Oil Moisturizing lotion and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie appear to add volume to my… Read more »
Bridget

Forgot to add that I have been taking MSM pills and they seem to be helping as well.

Lisa

Hi Bridget what are MSM pills?

kinu

This might help:http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-522-MSM%20(METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE).aspx?activeIngredientId=522&activeIngredientName=MSM%20(METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE)

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

@ sewdope… actually, scratch what i said. you're right. my hair only stands up when i get MAD shrinkage. if i ever try an afro, it will be small. i don't think i'll ever get a big a$$ afro

🙁 sadness

Ari T

yeh I can’t wear a big afro either…floppy mcgee over here..lol. i still love my version of an afro though!

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

Okay, I have fine hair. And I don't think I'll ever be able to do a big afro.

When I try, my hair just flops down.

diana

I am SOOOO with you…I read about some that say they have thin hair and now it is thick????….ummmm I know for me that is uterally impossible…my hair is soft, thin and a little fine…the shrinkage is not as bad now that it has grown….but I still have fullness…the article helped alot and I will try some new thing to help with fullness…

Dee

I use whole egg treatment once a month to make my hair thick. I like it thick because I think that it’s stronger and it has more body.

sewdope
wow this article is so on point! i have thin natural hair and i do all of the things you mentioned with great results. i use to hate my permed hair because my hair had no life…. now it rocks! it's not super thick but i consider that a blessing in disguise. twisting my hair every night is not a burden. also, i allow my hair to have some shrinkage to give the appearance of some volume. after i do a twist or braid-out. i wet my fingers and massage my scalp at the root so that the tips of… Read more »
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