Women with fine natural hair tend to have challenges with length retention, finding the right products for their hair, or simply finding styles that create a full voluminous look. Now let’s not confuse the density of your hair with ‘having fine hair’. Fine hair refers to the circumference (thickness/thinness) of an individual strand while density refers to the fullness of your hair (how many strands are on the head). It’s quite possible to have thin strands and also have high-density hair.
How do I know if I have fine strands?
A good method for finding your strand thickness is by comparing your hair to a piece of thread. Grab a clean piece of shed hair and place it next to a piece of thread. If it looks very light, fragile and thin compared to the thread then you have thin strands. If it looks very close to the thickness of the thread then you have coarse strands.
Here are 6 tips that will help you to create a great hair care routine for your fine natural strands.
1. Use light products
What are light products? Light products are water-based products that contain very few heavy butter or oils that will weigh the hair down. Thick cream-based products aren’t usually ideal for women with fine strands because they weigh the hair down and may cause the hair to feel greasy/oily. Many of Carol’s Daughter’s product lines have very light products that will penetrate the hair, so if you haven’t found products that work for you then you should look into those products. Some light oils include Coconut oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, and sweet almond oil.
2. Cut back on heat usage
While I do not like telling women not to use heat on their hair I must say that heat usage on fine strands will more likely than not cause heat damage. Fine hair strands contain a thinner outer layer (cuticle) protection than that of coarse strands therefore heat is able to penetrate the cuticles and cause damage to the cortex and medulla (inner layers of the hair). I would recommend using indirect heat on the hair for processes like steaming, or if you intend to blow dry your hair please use cooler settings (keep the dryer at least 12 inches away from the hair).
3. Maintain moisture-protein balance
Fine natural hair is very fragile therefore it’s imperative to maintain the moisture-protein balance to prevent severe breakage. This balance is not a 50-50 balance but a 70-30 balance. 70% moisture-30% protein. The best way to know what your hair needs is to of course pay attention to your hair’s needs. Grab a piece of shed hair and manipulate it to see what it is telling you. When slightly stretched healthy hair will return to its origin without breakage.
If you stretch the piece of hair and it snaps before returning to its origin then you need more moisture in your regimen. That is a sign that your hair lacks elasticity. However, if the hair feels mushy and breaks before reaching a slightly stretched state then you need more protein. A normal routine for protein treatments is every 4-6 weeks. However, how often you need protein greatly depends on the condition of your hair and your hair care habits.
4. Be very gentle during Detangling
Due to the fragility of the hair women with fine strands need to be very gentle during the detangling process. Finger detangling before using a comb is a great way to prevent excessive breakage in hair with fine strands. Gently separate the hair with your fingers to remove excessive tangles/knots then proceed to gently detangle with a wide-teeth comb.
5. Always Detangle before washing
Detangling before washing is very important for any hair type or density, but it’s especially crucial for women with fine hair. Like I said before fine natural hair is fragile thus I must state the importance of removing tangles and knots before running the hair under water. Heavy amounts of water on the hair forces the strands apart, so if the hair is tangled then the water will break through the knots and tangles which creates breakage. Here’s an article sharing some simple tips on proper detangling which will help to avoid breakage.
6. Stay away from tight Styles
While no one is immune to Traction Alopecia women with fine strands are high on the list to develop this condition. Why? Tension on fine strands equals hair loss. Fine strands are more fragile which makes them easier to break or to get pulled from the scalp. Opt for looser styles to prevent hair loss or scarring.
These are some tips that are helpful for many fine-haired women, however, everyone’s hair is different. This list isn’t a “one size fits all” approach because with every head of hair there will be differences. My best advice is to take the time out to learn about your hair and care for it as such.
As always thank you for reading, and if you’ve found this helpful please share it with your fellow naturalists!