Pho­to Source

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 it… 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.

trackback

[…] 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.
{ Trea­sur­er-T & S }

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

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

??????? ???

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

??????? ???

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

??????? ???

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

??????? ???

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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