Fine Hair

Girl with fine hair
Fine hair - Photo: Depositphotos
A common hair type that I get the most complaints about is fine hair. That is hair that is smaller in diameter than average. The hair usually feels very wispy, can be hard to manage and often looks limp and lifeless without careful styling.
Sometimes the hair is simply a little finer in texture than average and feels light and a little hard to deal with without weighing it down with products. At other times, however, it’s as if a grown individual has an infant’s hair texture.
Common complaints from those with fine hair are that it is hard to style, looks oily easily, looks stringy or sparse if cut into a layered style, has no body and is generally unsatisfying all-around. On the plus side, most people with fine hair have to confess that their hair almost always feels soft and silky, unless it has been damaged by styling or chemical processing.
So let’s look at fine hair and the areas of cutting, styling and coloring it, and see if we can’t offer any useful tips for dealing with fine hair types.
Fine hair types come in a wide range of wave patterns, from completely straight to very curly, and because of this, there is a need to know how to create blunt and layered cuts in fine hair. As a general rule, the straighter the hair the less layering should be used when it comes to fine hair. Curly hair – on the other hand – is prone to the “pyramid” effect if not layered and allowed to grow out to longer lengths, so layering is important to balance the amount of bulk and create a flattering silhouette.
If the hair is only mildly wavy, you should consider keeping your layering stepped and the layers shallow within each step. By avoiding steep layering, you can prevent the fly-away and wispy looks that are all too prevalent in fine hair types. This is also true when dealing with straighter hair and trying to instill some volume and body into the cut.
Curlier hair can withstand steeper, graduated layering, since the curl and volume will help to diffuse the cutting angles. Just remember to pay attention to the hair’s elasticity and the bounce of the curl. Because the hair is fine, the length can readily pull out the existing curl, and you may find that simply removing an inch or two in length causes a dramatic increase in curl and therefore the hair appears much shorter than intended.
Pro Tip: Cutting fine hair means you MUST have your scissors very sharp. A pair of dull shears will find that many fine hair types will simply bend and slip between the blades and you can end up with a ragged looking cut. If you are comfortable with it, a razor tool is a great tool for cutting fine hair types. The single blade means that you can control the cut more readily and can create smoother finishes without needing as much of a cutting angle. The razor is a perfect tool for beveling fine hair without a lot of hassle.
When it comes to styling fine hair, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Heated tools should be set to lower temperatures and you should treat the hair more gently than you might normally do – at least until you’re sure of the way the hair will respond. A lot of times fine hair will be hard to curl, simply because it’s tiny diameter means that it doesn’t have as much structural integrity and therefore just won’t hold a new shape easily.
Of course, you can maximize your results in myriad ways, including a chemical texture service to make the fine hair look and feel coarser. A common technique for dealing with fine hair textures is to perform an acid perm (exothermic wave) where a gentle waving solution is applied to the hair wrapped on large tools and then heat is applied so that the hair shaft gently swells and takes on a slightly altered wave pattern depending on the tools used.
The result is that the hair appears coarser, fuller and is usually easier to style. It’s important to use an acid-based perm for this because the acid perms are much gentler on the hair and there’s less risk of damaging the hair.
You also want to make sure that you don’t overload fine hair with products. Use light-hold sprays, lotions and mousses, especially with fine and straight hair types when you want to maintain volume levels in the style. The only exception to this is if you are planning to style the fine hair into a curly style and are starting with straight hair. Use a stronger hold product, such as a gel, so that you can create a long-lasting style.