Managing fine hair is most definitely a pain—just ask anyone whose hair falls flat even before lunch. Granted, hair on the other end of the spectrum is also unmanageable (imagine taming thick and unruly strands), but I guess we just have to work with what we have.
Factor in our humidity and our fine hair becomes more limp and lifeless than it is soft and smooth. And since fine hair tends to hold style poorly and succumbs to humidity quickly, it is important to start the prep work right.
From the moment you shampoo your hair in the shower to spritzing on a hairspray to lock in your hairstyle, here is everything you need to know about managing fine strands and making the most of them.
#1: Thinning hair is not fine hair
One of the most common misconceptions among women, fine hair is often mistaken as thinning hair and vice versa. First of all, your hair can be considered to be “thinning” when the number of strands of hair you have is decreasing. Some signs to look out for include more hair fall when you brush your hair, or after each shampoo, and a widening hair part. On the other hand, fine hair refers solely to the hair texture, and not the amount of hair you have.
As a result, most products for thinning hair and fine hair work differently, so it’s important to choose wisely. For example, many hair products for thinning hair works by invigorating the scalp, infusing it with nutrients to stimulate healthier, stronger hair growth. And since topical products can’t exactly alter the hair structure of fine hair strands, shampoos tend to work by ridding hair and scalp of residual products that can weigh fine hair down, while styling products work by coating hair lengths with proteins to temporarily thicken each hair strand for a more voluminous look.
#2: Alternate shampoos
To make the most out of your haircare routine, start by using a volumising shampoo. Most of them are formulated to leave hair airy and light for that added bounciness.
For example, Briogeo Blossom & Bloom™ Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo, $35 for 226ml, counts on ingredients like Biotin and vitamin B5 to keep hair strong and supple. In addition, it also contains Maltodextrin, a natural sugar starch that coats and thickens each hair strand to enhance hair volume.
And once or twice a week, switch to a clarifying shampoo to purge your scalp and hair of styling products or grime that has accumulated (and can weigh fine hair down further). This also ensures that your scalp stays utterly clean and fresh for added root lift. Try Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, $79 for 250ml, to cleanse, purify, detoxify and soothe even the most sensitive of scalps.
Made with sea salt, it gently exfoliates the scalp to lift dead skin cells and get rid of product build-up. In addition, it also eliminates chemical residues like dyes or bleach that could irritate the scalp and strip hair of colour. At the same time, it also stimulates blood circulation and infuses scalp with mineral salts. Did we mention it smells lovely too?
#3: Stock up on dry shampoos
While dry shampoos are generally regarded as an aid to keep hair fresh and clean in between shampoos, those with fine hair can benefit from the texturising effect that they have. Instead of only using them when hair feels grimy, keep a bottle of dry shampoo with you everywhere — at home, in the office, even in your handbag.
This allows you to give your hair and scalp a little spritz any time, any where. We like the IGK First Class Dry Shampoo, $43 for 288ml, which contains charcoal powder to absorb oil and sweat while repelling dirt and build-up.
It is also fortified with white tea which soothes and strengthens and is suitable for all hair textures. Also available in a 90ml travel size, it’s perfect for carrying around in your handbag for on-the-go volume and texture.
#4: Don’t be afraid to blow dry
We are all too familiar with the potential hazards of frequent heat styling, such as dry and damaged hair that becomes brittle and prone to breakage. Yet, many volumising products that amp up fine hair contain special polymers and ingredients that are heat-activated.
Try Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, $39 for 149ml, which features the brand’s patented Thickening Molecule (PBAE), to transform flat and fine hair by forming thickening dots between hair strands so it looks and feels like you have thicker, fuller locks.
Those on a budget can consider John Frieda Luxurious Volume Core Restore Volumizer, $19.90 for 60ml, a lightweight, serum-like product that not only adds volume and lift immediately but also strengthens hair. To use, apply an appropriate amount to clean, towel-dried hair and comb through to ensure even distribution before blow-drying your hair, and witness the difference with your own eyes.
#5: Avoid silicones
Another important thing to know when you have fine hair is that there are many products that contain ingredients that, when left to accumulate on your hair and scalp, can make hair look even flatter. And one of them is a class of ingredients called silicones.
Commonly found in hair products because they are a quick and easy fix for dry, damaged hair, silicones basically fill in porous holes in damaged hair, sealing them off to give a smooth and silky feel—the same way they fill in fine lines and pores to create a smooth canvas for makeup application.
Yet, while we double cleanse our face to ensure that we remove all its traces, we hardly do the same for our hair. And to make it even trickier, traditional silicones are non water-soluble, which means they don’t get easily washed off with your regular shampoo.
As a result, silicones tend to accumulate on hair and scalp, preventing nourishing ingredients from properly penetrating into hair, while at the same time, stripping it of moisture and vibrancy.
So if frequently deep-cleansing your hair and scalp seems too much of a hassle for you, consider avoiding products that contain silicones altogether. You can try Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Invigorating Shampoo, $58 for 444ml, at Naturelova. Free of unnecessary ingredients, non-toxic and packed with antioxidants, this silicone-free shampoo is perfect for everyday use to maintain healthy, bouncy hair.