If you have fine hair, you’re probably all-too-familiar with the anxiety of trying out a new product. What if it’s too heavy? What if I apply too much, and my hair turns into a limp, flat mess?
While others may get away with layering tons of products to get the results they want, fine hair requires lighter products and a much lighter touch. Combination hair — like fine strands with oily roots, fine hair with dry ends, or even fine hair with oily roots AND dry ends — can be even more finicky, needing a totally customized routine.
What’s a girl to do? A good start is to understand exactly what ingredients or types of products are too heavy for your hair type. And on the flip-side, some of the best products for fine hair to add to your routine!
How to Care for Fine (or Thin) Hair
In our Guide to Fine Hair we explored the difference between fine and thin hair, which has to do with the texture of your hair: fine hair refers to strands that are small in diameter and have fewer cuticle layers, so products easily penetrate through it. This type of hair is often weak and breaks easily, because of that lack of cuticle layers.
Thin hair, on the other hand, refers to the density of your hair follicles, or how close individual strands are to each other. You may see a lot of scalp showing when you put your hair up in a ponytail, for example.
Since fine hair and thin hair are different (you can be both, or you can have one but not the other), keep this in mind as you read through this guide. Coarse-but-thin hair can handle thicker products, in most cases, and you may be dealing with additional dryness. Both types are usually looking for a thickening or volumizing effect — but your ideal hair product may need to be a lighter spray if you have fine strands, versus a thicker styling cream for medium to coarse hair.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty… the 5 biggest things to avoid for fine hair!
5 Products and Ingredients to Avoid for Fine Hair
- Oils and heavy styling products aimed at making your hair softer. You’ll want to avoid these because fine hair, with its fewer layers of cuticles, tends to be naturally soft and silky. Instead, opt for products that add a little texture.
- Super-strength conditioners. Similar to the styling products above, using a heavy-duty conditioner in the shower can weigh down your hair. If your ends tend to be dry, apply just a bit to the ends only.
- Heavy leave-in conditioners. Instead, look for a leave-in that’s weightless or volumizing, like our Miracle Leave-In Lite.
- Single-duty products, like a regular hairspray. While hairspray can certainly help to set your style, look for a hair product that can achieve double-duty results, like a texturizing spray with hold. With every styling product that you layer onto your fine hair, you’re increasing your chances of a limp, weighed-down look.
- Sulfates. When your hair is already prone to breakage, the last thing you want to do is strip your hair even more! Sulfates break down the proteins in your hair and can even stop hair growth, so it’s a good idea to look for sulfate-free hair products.
Got it? Great! Next, let’s run through what you should be looking for to maintain and style your fine hair.
Best Shampoo for Fine Hair
The foundation for great hair starts in the shower, and that’s especially so for fine hair! Look for a light shampoo that will add volume and body, instead of a thick and extra-creamy formula that will weigh you down. Our Miracle Volumizing Shampoo, for example, is formulated to free your hair of residue buildup and bring out its natural beauty and volume. (And as with all of our shampoos, it’s sulfate-free!)
Fine hair typically lacks protein, so another option is reaching for a keratin-infused option, like our Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin. A strengthening hair mask, like our Potion 10 Miracle Repair Hair Mask, can also work wonders when applied just to your ends once a week.
For conditioner, our Miracle Whipped Daily Conditioner is a lighter-weight option that’s supercharged with protein to strengthen your fine hair. It’s perfect for all hair types (not just fine), and is gentle enough for everyday use.
And what about dry shampoo, you ask? A dry shampoo can be good for refreshing second-day hair, but it may not work for everyone. Fine hair tends to get oily at the roots, so you may need to experiment and figure out what works for you. If you get oily super-fast, it’s not the end of the world if you have to wash your hair every day. Just keep your routine gentle and light!
Best Styling Products for Fine Hair
Ready for an amazing hair day? Some of the best products for fine hair include:
- Lightweight sprays designed to add volume
- Lightweight styling balms to nourish hair
- Texturizing sprays
With any styling products you choose for your fine hair, the most important tip is to not overdo it. Even if you’re using a whole bunch of volumizing products, too much or too many products can lead to limp strands.
If you must use a serum or pomade (maybe you have a bit of frizz to tame), don’t apply it directly to your hair. Instead, spray or apply to your palm first, and rub your hands together to distribute the products across them. Then, gently comb through your hair or pat it on where you need the product the most. Less is usually more — you can always build on it if you need to.
Finally, if you love the super-volumized look, a texturizing hairspray should be your best friend! Select a lightweight formula, like our Miracle Whipped Finishing Spray, and target it toward your crown. You can also try this right after blow drying your hair to create lift: just spray the hairspray along the crown, then massage it into your roots. Voilà!