Author’s hair in February 2011

By Christabel of Chys Curlz

The above picture is of my hair in February of 2011 and as you can see, my twists are not like those luscious, thick and full twists we see so many fabulous ladies rocking. My hair has always been fine and a low density even when I was relaxed. So, when I went natural, this translated to spacey twists and I just didn’t like the look on me. Normally, I would just move on from it…okay so my hair doesn’t do individual twists so what? But I just couldn’t move on. Why, you ask?  Because I knew that since I had fine hair, it was important for me to wear more protective styles and to me, protective styles were twists pinned up and left alone for several days at a time.

However, I just didn’t like the look on me. I tried…I mean REALLY tried to love it on me. I would wear more makeup, bigger earrings, cute bows/headbands,flowers, beanies (can’t wear them everywhere); and I still didn’t like it. So, the next question was, how was I going to protect these finestrands of mine while satisfying my psychological need to like the way my hair is styled?

Well, I decided to try other protective styles like buns (but they pulled on on my edges too much), twist outs (a bit better than buns, but there was too much manipulation every night), flat twists (these worked the best), and updos on stretched hair (liked these a lot). So, I had many options to choose from now and upon implementation, my hair was thriving. You see, the picture at the top of the post is of my hair after 3 years of being natural. Yes, the twists were on wet hair so it was a bit shrunken but I was not retaining appreciable length until I started doing more protective styles.

Fast forward to December 2011 when I decided to revisit individual twists [Click photos to enlarge]:

Dry Twists December 2011

Wet Twists with Shrinkage Dec 2011

My results were better this time around for several reasons:

  • I had cut off about 2″ of color damaged ends so my hair looked better
  • I discovered that twisting in the opposite direction from what feels natural to me yielded plumper twists as the twists tend to unravel just a little bit thereby making them appear plumper (try this and see what you think. It was a game changer for me.)
  • My hair had more length and density (from shorter hair growing out) from many months of more protective styling

Mind you, I still prefer flat twists and updos for my fine and low density tresses but whenever I do individual twists in my bang area, they do not look as spacey anymore [Click photos to enlarge].

Updo after taking out  flat twists

Love me some flat twists. SO many styles you can create

As you can see, my hair is still not very dense but I make it work

Are you a fine-haired-low-density natural? Try these tips and let me know what you think and please share any other tips and tricks you have for protecting your ends.

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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113 Comments on "Hair Challenges: Protective Styling on Fine, Thin Natural Hair"

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Wow! I so needed this post! I just took my twists out after 4 days and they look exactly like yours in the 1st pic. I only wear them to work occasionally because I know I need to do more protective styling. I am going to try your tips and I am definitely going to be only your blog. Its weird having fine hair because a lot of posts don’t really relate to me. I try some of the styles and feel scalpy. 🙁


Well ladies it’s nice to see that alot of fine haired ladies are out here and wanting more info. But ladies you can apply and send in your info on here to post yourself and show other fine hair ladies what regime works for you and go from there. I have thick hair myself, but I would love to see the fine haired ladies come on here and represent :).

Thanks SO much for this post. I have fine medium density hair and despite having what I think is a good regimen, I am having a real problem retaining length. I already have a trim planned for next week, but I think a lot of regular styling techniques are gonna change starting today. For example, I have been doing my roll and tuck inwards for the past year and a half but I have been noticing consistent thin edges so I am going to roll outward for a while and see what happens. I am also going to do my… Read more »

Finally! I found my people! Thanks for the post! I happen to have fine hair, low density WITH low porosity. What a combo. Most natural product staples don’t work for me. My protective styles are buns and pinups.


My hair is so fragile that a soft headband can take my edges out. I wore weaves and braids as protective styles, but with my hair needs so much moisture, it would be impossible to keep up with the demand to keep it hydrated. I wear twists and twist outs, but I would love more variety where I don’t have to worry about my ends breaking off.I get sick of wearing berets, beanies and chignon nets, but my edges, while growing out, are still thin and I have a little coverage for those thin spots.


This post is wonderful and it’s so nice to see I’m not alone. I too would love to see more fine haired naturals featured on this blog! Thank you for this story as it has made my day.


Wow thank you so much for posting this. Can we PLEASE create a group on FB or blog for us????? Anyone down?? 🙂


I am natural, have fine hair and have been glued to this post since it was posted. OH…so i actually do marketing/social media for a living….i would love to be involved/help or get the FB page started for us….who’s down? let’s get a team together!!


Yeah Kandyce, I am down

I am happy to see this. I think we do need our own Curly Nikki type site or hair board support group. I have resorted back to extensions because I just did not feel sexy. Even though my hair is healthy, the sparseness makes it look like it is not. All the cute styles I do look like crap a couple hours later because I have fly away hair that is extremely sensitive to weather changes. I have made peace with my hair but I would actually like to LOVE it instead. I want to get the hair compliments like… Read more »

I think she does have this on here, and this is where I saw it. Unless this is for something different hope this helps.


I’m not extremely FB savvy but if one gets made I’m backin’ it up! Hmmmm. Maybe I could figure something out…

Yes! Finally. It’s hard when every style icon interviewed describes their hair as “thick,” and even proceeds to complain about how much hair they’ve got to worry about. Lol. But I would like to emphasize one thing that many fine/thin-haired naturals fail to embrace, especially at the start of their journey: there are ADVANTAGES to having fine and/or thin hair. Just as twist outs tend to look amazing on thick hair, I’ve seen the most BEAUTIFUL buns, flat twist outs, braid outs and rollersets achieved on fine/thin hair. Of course, this is just my opinion, but sometimes you have to… Read more »
It is clear from the replies to this article that there is a whole subculture in the Natural hair community that is not being addressed. I to am a thin/fine hair natural. Looking at that first picture was like viewing a post of my own hair. I love my curl pattern and texture but I do NOT love my lack of thickness. My mother always told me when growing up “you have a thick head of hair.” Clearly she was in denial and thinking of her own head because my hair is SPARCE…. I for the last year or so… Read more »

OMG! I thought I was going to cry when I read this. I am a fine natural 4a-b. All my friends have all this thick hair, just yesterday I went to a stylist to ask about natural extensions to thicken my hair up. My twists and twist outs do the same thing. It is so discouraging. I am going to read all the comments to see what else I can. Thank you! #teamfinenatural!

Thanks a million for bringing up this subject!! Looks like we have a large community on this page alone. LOL! Many of us have thin/fine tresses from years of excessive relaxing or maybe naturally fine strands of beautiful hair from varying hair types. At any rate being 45 years old, I do not want to look like an adolescent wearing protective styles that make me look immature. The one style that works best for me is the rod set (with different sizes) on my transitioning hair. I chose to transition instead of doing a big chop because of thin hair… Read more »

@RocGirl, I know what you meean about bald spots. I have two spots on my temple (on either side) and truly, the only thing I’ve found to be of help is….patience and time. I just let it be, I don’t put any additional stress on it and it seems to be improving. Very much like acne scars and hyperpigmentation, it does take time. You might also try castor oil, just massage it on the spots every am and pm and in time, you should see some improvement (a combination of placebo and sealing in my opinion). HTH.


I looked through all of the comments and saw there are soooo many of us- “fine” naturals! 😀 I am just showing love to add to the “#teamfinenatural” number! 😀


Welocme Desiree lol 🙂


The top picture looks like my twists. I wish I could wear protective styles with my hair out, but it does’nt have fullness, and not long enough to pull into a bun. I will wear wigs from time to time, but I get so sick of wearing them, they give me a headache and they are too hot in the summer time. I do my own micro braids (w/extensions) some times, but am usually tired of them after around one month.


finally! i have fine, thin strands. twists are FRUSTRATION & make me look childish. many of the problems stated above, i so relate to! thank u 4 finally having a post i can IDENTIFY with!


As if it hasn’t been said before… I am soooooooooooo happy for this blog for thin/fine hair. I am blessed by the posts about missing and thinning edges, as I have a beautiful curl pattern (only water needed) but have my hair missing in action on the right front. I am frustrated, tired, and self-conscious about this problem. I’m moisturizing almost daily, but it’s not growing fast enough. Any suggestions on how to make your edges grow back fast?


@RocGirl, I know what you meean about bald spots. I have two spots on my temple (on either side) and truly, the only thing I’ve found to be of help is….patience and time. I just let it be, I don’t put any additional stress on it and it seems to be improving. Very much like acne scars and hyperpigmentation, it does take time. You might also try castor oil, just massage it on the spots every am and pm and in time, you should see some improvement (a combination of placebo and sealing in my opinion). HTH.




Ive been trying to find a way to manage my thin fine hair! it gets sooo annoying sometime. I like blowing out my hair bc it feels much fuller but ill try twisting my ahir in the opposite direction and see if that helps! Thanks for this.


Try a bandu knot out. When I twist my hair at night I have started turning the twists into bandu knots. The next day when I take them down, my hair looks so much fuller. (It might look shorter but it has more volume…

I have the same problem and my hair thins more after I have a baby. I was told that I had a hair disorder “telogen effluvium”, but there is no treatment for it. My natural hair grew out thick and shoulder length but due to frustration I cut several inches of hair off and pretty much had to start over again to get rid of dead and weak ends. I have a combination of 3c/4a hair type and my twist always come out dull and thin and tend to unravel. I am trying castor oil also but haven’t noticed any… Read more »
You can apply it as much as you want. My daughter and I are having a 7 day castor oil challenge. She “greases” her scalp and massage it in daily. For me I mix it with carrier oils such as almond oil and coconut oil, warm it up in a cup of hot water and massage it into my scalp (I do cowash in the middle of the week so my hair is not too greasy) to my surprise it’s working. It’s been a month now and I have seen spurts of hair all over my head. It’s working for… Read more »

I too am sooooo glad there is finally an article on fine/thin/low density hair! Those of us with this type of hair can’t get those really full nice protective styles like single twists that seem to only be shown on the various sites. It’s VERY important to show all sides of this natural journey.

“Black Girls with Long Hair” you got it right!

Keep sprinkling them in…

There is hope!!! I too have fine thin strands of hair and have been natural for 6.5 years but only since the END of summer 2011 been taking care of my hair the way it should’ve been taken care of the entire time. But due to my lack of knowledge I had been stuck in this “afro puff” or “skimpy see through afro” style for 6 years! But even having been very meticulous in caring for my hair via trimming, moisturizing, protein treatments, and a few select favorite protective styles I can see that my new growth is much thicker… Read more »
Thanks for addressing this from someone else with fine and thin hair. I had given up on most protective styles because like everyone else with my type of hair, twists and braids are extremely spacey on me and my edges are too fragile for buns. I still have alopecia on my hairline due to relaxers, tight braid extensions and weaves. It’s only within the last few weeks that I’ve been able to do a halfway decent updo but I only do those about twice a week because they’re easier to do on stretched hair. I’ll definitely check the blog out… Read more »
Thanks so much for sharing this and your blog. I too have fine hair and lots of hair loss in the front from stress. I started wearing wigs 8 years ago and was doing nothing to my hair underneath for about 2 years when I found out about the new natural community. I hadn’t worn an afro or braids since I was in high school! I now wear mostly twists and twist outs and flat twists. I’m not very good at straight parts so flat twists are a rarity. My hair has gotten much thicker since I started using Jamaican… Read more »

Amen to everything above! I’m not alone!!! I’ve gotten so frustrated when I try to duplicate styles for thicker hair, I’ve almost gone back to the creamy crack! Even when I had a perm, some stylists that could work magic on thicker heads became clueless with my fine hair. I appreciate this article, and hope to read more on being a “finer” sister!

Yes I recall stylists attempting a strawset on my head on a 2 separate occasions and they were both hot mess city. No fullness at all and lacked vibrancy. I had someone do a sew-in with micros around teh perimeter, but b/c my hair was so fine, you could see where the track started on my. I had to wear a headband at all times so people wouldn’t see. And twists are really the business for me. Or twistouts for that matter (Braidouts seem to work better). Twisout updos are better. I really do wish there were some thin, fine… Read more »

check out nalia1908 on YT. She is a fine haired natural with great style


oh i am so glad this was addressed. i have really fine thin natural hair so most of the styles i see thick haired naturals do i cant pull off. i would love hair that was more dense and had more volume. i hav never cared about the texture or even length i just care about the thickness of my hair


I have been doing bandu knot outs and it really gives volume to my thin hair.


Please have more articles like this. How can us fine haired low density naturals retain more length and look stylish?


I have fine, thin hair and twists/plaits etc just look childish on me. I style my hair mostly in loose buns after roller or curlformer sets but rarely wear my hair out as its not the thickness that I would like. I’ve also found that with proper care, wearing weaves for 6 week intervals a couple times a year results in thicker and longer hair and henna makes thin/fine hair seem stronger and thicker.


I really appreciate this post. It seems that every hair ido/diva/inspiration had very dense and/or thick hair. I know that I will never be either so it seems like I’m struggling alone.

I’m really going to have to learn how to flat twist. My hair isn’t quite long enough for updos and I don’t blow out my hair. Practice makes perfect!


SO glad someone addressed this. Usually we see these beautifully thick heads of natural hair that we envy. I too, am a fine/thin haired natural and alhtough I have retained some length the lack of thickness is still an issue but I will continue my protective styling since I appear to be on the right track.


Aaaaaaaah! Finally someone who understands.

I have fine hair and have struggled with the protective style concept. I always end up wearing my hair in a pineapple-like style held in place by a ponytail clip because I don’t like the way anything else looks. And to add to the mix, my edges are practically gone from when I used to wear extensions.

I will definitely be checking you on your blog. Nice to know I’m not the only one coveting other naturals’ volume!

More thanks from another “spacey twists” natural…I know from past experience that I retain the most length with twists but I simply cannot STAND how they look on me. I’ve never been a big fan of flat twists or cornrows either because they make me look like a 12-year-old and I’m already young-looking to begin with (I’m in my mid-40s). Updos done on stretched hair are the only protective styles I wear. For the first time in a very long time I’m thinking about getting kinky twists with fake hair, mainly because I’m going to be extra busy over the… Read more »

Me too. I’m in my mid 40s, have fine hair and look young too. I just do 6 big cornrows on my head. Flat twist are cuter but they start to unravel at the end of the day.


i love this article. also a fine hair and low density natural.
still transitioning and there are times i feel discouraged cos of how feather light my hair is. this article, i can relate to. definitely.

will check out your blog.

thanks to you and bglh


I AGREE!!! I thought I was the only thin natural!!! We need love too 🙂
I would love to see more styles for thin naturals. I NEED HELP!

Tequila b

Another fan here, great post, all curls and kinks are not created equal. Can we get more articles geared toward fine and thin hair?


Yes! I agree with this thread!!

I agree! It’s good to see fine haired naturals on the blogs too. Not everyone has thick-dense hair. I do not like the way my two strand twists look either so I just wear twist outs. Even the ends still look see through (I don’t think they are damaged?!). I am tired of twisting every night and its too much manipulation. I’ve been wearing twist outs for years and I’m over it. I need to just put my hair up for a few months. I am going to start bunning. Thats the only other protective style that I can do… Read more »

+2. That would be awesome!


+3. ITA. I have LOTS of hair, but it is fine. And it will never, ever look like most of the icons featured on this site. And I’m okay with that. But I’d like to figure out how to be just as fab!




I love this article and I wish you had a blog or site I could follow. I am a fine stranded natural, and I hate most protective styles. However, since January I started using a lace front wig, while deep consitioning my hair every 2 weeks, and joined a castor oil hair challenge. I plan to let my hair out in the summer, and i hope the many months rest with the wig, will let my hair grow out a bit. The struggle continues 🙂


Hi MPB, I do have a blog and it’s please stop by any time 🙂 It can seem like a struggle, but when you it finally clicks, it’s awesome!


Christabel, thanks for the tips. For the longest I have been trying to figure out the best way to make my beautifully natural but fine and not very dense hair look even more fabulous. I’m definitely going to give these tips a try!!


As a natural with fine, thin hair, is weave as a protective style yay or nay? Actually, is it ever okay? It’s what I do while transitioning/waiting for some length but I wonder if my edges are really going to suffer.
Does anyone have any tips (how to braid, take care of, etc) on how to keep my hair safest while I have weave in?


Glad this article was posted. You rarely see information about women with thin density and fine strands. I’ve been on the struggle bus for a while, but I’m going to try new protective styles.


I went natural June 2011 and enjoying my journey. For the first time, I read and saw pictures that I can relate to. My hair is fine with low density. I also like my two-strand twists but the spacing and lack of volume is what I want to change. Thanks for the tips. More articles such as this are needed.


yes. i wish i could go somewhere and get just info for women with fine, natural hair. thanks for this article!