What the hell do you do with fine, thin and slightly curly hair!?

July 19 2016 | offbeatbride
Bandaid Barrette by Etsy seller HeathersWilde
Bandaid Barrette by Etsy seller HeathersWilde
I have a huge issue with my hair…

I dress up nicely for work, but then I have to deal with my hair, and I generally just stick it in a ponytail. I'd like to try something different, but the very make-up of my hair makes it hard to do anything with it!

I've always had very thin, fine hair that curls naturally in certain humidity. In hot weather it's just frizzy. My other issue is that I don't have a lot of it — I never have. But I've noticed that, depending on the season, my hair gets slightly thicker.

I've tried Shamphree briefly, and coconut oil, and others. But there's just so many options out there that I wonder what has worked for other people with fine, thin, sometimes frizzy hair? -Erin

There might be some nuggets of advice in our article and the comments about post-partum hair loss to help with thin hair inspiration. But as far as the rest… I'm personally at a loss. So let's open it up to the Homies with fine thin curly hair…

How do YOU style hair that is fine, thin, and sometimes curly sometimes frizzy?

  1. As a hairdresser of 23 years I can recommend a few things . Firstly a semi permanent hair color will thicken the actual strands of hair slightly because of the way the color molecules are deposited on to the outside of the cuticle layer ( and every little bit helps right?☺️) . A blunt style cut will enhance the thickness , over layering will cause the ends to look thin and ratty . And try not to over condition your hair even though you feel it has a naturally frizzy texture as that will weigh it down . Use products to enhance the curl such as sea salt spray . You can also add in some hair extensions just for fullness and not length ! Hope those tips help .

    15 agree
    • I second all of this. Just a thought, a lot of the time the "frizz" that people with fine hair get is because of static rather than dryness. I have straight, baby fine hair that's super oily, so it really doesn't need much extra moisture, but I still have that halo on occasion. I personally haven't tried any because I use copious amounts of hairspray, but there are now products available specifically to help with that.

      3 agree
  2. My hair is very fine and curly, and I've always struggled with making it look decent. Even if it looks good in the morning, by the afternoon it's fallen flat! What worked for me was chopping it off – I had long hair that came down several inches below my shoulders, and chopped it to an angled cut lifted off the shoulders. Because there is so much less weight it no longer gets flat and looks much thicker than it is! I use Moroccan oil brand mousse for curls and it keeps it from getting frizzy. Also because it's short it requires way less effort to do in the morning. It was an adjustment to have short hair, but it's now been a little over a year and I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon!

    2 agree
    • I don't think she has flat hair problems … because she mentions her thin hair is slightly wavy. I have the same problem as her – very fine hair that is wavy, and it never lays flat. It is always wavy and gets frizzy even, especially in humidity.

      1 agrees
  3. That's meeeee! (Not my post, I just have the exact same hair).

    I use Aveda's Smooth Infusion (every few weeks I change it up with a wash of Aveda's Rosemary Mint shampoo, I find it helps without being a harsh 'clarifying' shampoo). Then I put some Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid in after washing, just one squirt (for anyone who grew up in the 90s, it's basically a higher-end Biosilk). For days when I really feel I need control, after it dries a little hairspray or some hair goo (Matrix Design Pulse Flexible Fibers – feels like Elmer's glue in your hand but WORKS – just don't use too much) helps.

    I am sure not to put anything but shampoo on my roots, and running my fingers under my hair after it dries, or doing a bit of the old 80s teasing thing helps with lift. I have very slight layers and long bangs, too much layering is a BAD idea for my hair – as someone above said, it makes it look ratty – but blunt cuts make it hang unattractively.

    I only wash my hair every other day. I find when I blow-dry it reduces frizz but I don't always have the time or it's just too hot and I *can't even*. If I put my wet hair in a twist with one of those knife-like hair clips and leave it that way for a few hours, then take it down, I find it dries naturally with less frizz as well. If I air-dry I may need to brush again after hair is dry. I always use a wide-bristle brush (I can't use a comb, it would get stuck and never come out).

    I live in a humid, subtropical country and while I can't eliminate frizz, this has done the best job so far. I swear I do not work for and am not paid by Aveda! I just find they have the best stuff by a very wide margin!

    2 agree
  4. I also have fine frizzy hair. LUSH products have always worked great for me. Specifically, Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo with American Cream conditioner. Hair Custard styling product has great frizz hold, and the occaisional treat of a hair treatment (H'Suan Wen Hua) when it's feeling dry, usually after winter.

    5 agree
  5. You sound like you have similar hair to my sister—hers is very fine, thin due to a medical condition, and curly. Her hair is also a very light strawberry-blond color, close to translucent in some lights. I can't speak for what she does for hair care, but I know in terms of styling that she wears a lot of hair accessories—headbands (she's a teacher so having her hair pulled back is useful), interesting clips and pins. So, if you're still looking to have your hair out of your face, but if you're sick of pony tails, you might consider some interesting hair accessories!

    3 agree
  6. If you want to emphasize your curl, go to the forums at naturallycurly.com and look at the "2" section. "2" people have wavy hair.

    Products I use: Loreal mousse for curly hair–cheap, doesn't weigh hair down. Jessie Curl confident coils my holy grail, pricy. Apply either to dripping wet hair, then pile your hair up in a towel, don't twist it down its length in the towel. You'll have to try samples to see which products work best for you. Lots more tips on the Jessie curl site if you're interested.

    2 agree
  7. I have fine, sometimes "wavy", sometime frizzy hair. I find that using a volumizer at my roots and a bit of moroccan argan oil on the rest of my hair while it's damp helps to reduce frizzies. This works for me both when blow dry and when air dry (thought better with a blow dry).

    1 agrees
  8. I used to describe my hair as not wavy or curly, just frizzy, both when living in the desert and in the humid south. Probably the single best thing I have done is chop it off. I loved having long hair, but like yours, it is fine and thin (thinner when stressed. a divorce solved that part of the problem), and it looked stringy. Once I chopped it off, the curls took over and I have received TONS of compliments on my hair in the 1.5 years since the big chop. When my mom came to visit, she remarked that she had never seen my hair so curly.

    The other things I have done and continue to work well for me: slowly (and I do mean slowly) wean my hair off shampoo. I now use a baking soda/water solution about once a week. It took about two years of decreasing shampooing to organic products, then every other day, then every few days, then once a week with shampoo, then alternating shampoo once a week and baking soda once the next week. I did not do this on a strict schedule, but that is the general idea. My scalp started producing less oil. My ex-mother in law was convinced I would stink on this schedule, but I even passed her sniff test.

    Once the oil stripping was gone from my life, I have changed up my conditioning routine. I have used different homemade oil recipes, but currently just use about 2 drops of grape seed oil on most days (as it gets close to wash day, I usually don't use any).

    With the baking soda solution, I use my nails and finger tips to concentrate on the scalp. With the grape seed oil, I get all over, then rinse after 15-30 seconds. Maybe once every 1.5-2 months I use real shampoo, especially if I get sunscreen or something in it.

    These days I used no gels, sprays, gunk after the shower. I am happy and it works for me. I encourage people to try it, but it is a process.

    2 agree
    • I've never quite had the courage to switch to baking soda, but the gradual method described here sounds good! But I would definitely recommend switching to the lightest, gentlest shampoo possible.

      I also avoid using products after washing, which can result in lank, flat hair. I really like the Liz Earle hair oil (a couple of drops massaged in to dry hair before shampooing) and the Lush pre-wash treatments.

    • I have a question for you–or anyone who does the shampoo free/baking soda thing: How does it work if you sweat a lot? My hair is regularly SOAKED in sweat after hot yoga or a summer run…and, frankly, stinky. I don't use many products in my hair and have an similar texture as the OP, but I have a LOT of hair.

      I tried the baking soda, ACV thing a few years ago, but I didn't do it gradually. (that's an awesome idea! I'd like to try it!) I am just wondering if it will get my hair clean after I've made myself an icky, sweaty mess?

      3 agree
  9. I have thin somewhat curly hair as well. I have a lot of it though but your hair sounds like my Sisters. I live in the tropics, I just embrace the frizz as more volume. Due to the humidity I just can't get on with the shamphree thing. Thin hair gets lank and gross when it's weighed down with lots of heavy product or dirt. I wash mine about every three days with a volumising shampoo and I make sure I only condition the ends. Sea salt is the best, it thickens, makes the slippery strands easier to handle and helps bold the curl and volume.

    Braids are good as well. I like one braid around the front then the rest in a ponytail, it's just a little bit fancier. Otherwise I braid from the base of my neck up to the ponytail. Double ponytails make it a lot thicker, there are tutorials online showing you how to do a double. Teasing helps as well, you can tease the under layers and comb smooth hair over the top, a bouffant looks good and it's easy. Half up half down works quite well if you boost the top layer, when I do that I pin the top layers back not using a hair band.

    Also don't let it get to long. Long thin hair just looks straggly.

  10. I have this type of hair and can say keeping colored darker than my natural color (dishwater blonde) and keeping it above my shoulders has helped. If it's too long it looks stringy and won't curl so I usually have a bob even though I've gone as short as a pixie. Having this type of hair is great for anything short because it is so light and you can style it a lot of ways. I've also started using only salon quality products and have noticed a difference. I also occasionally give my hair a break by doing a no shampoo routine for a month or two.

  11. I have baby-fine 2c hair, I'm naturally dark blonde and grey, and I have practically translucent hair. I used to wear my hair short, but I moved to a hot and humid climate and I couldn't control it AT ALL, I walk a lot and even a little sweat will destroy any attempts at styling. Since I've lived here I've managed to grow my hair out by wearing it in a french twist most of the time. Because my hair is so fine I can secure it well with a couple of bobby pins. I have a shoulder length a-line bob that I cut with some very subtle layers so the bottom has some stacked curls to take advantage of my messy hair. Recently I started sleeping with my hair in a high, twisted in on itself bun (it's a pathetic looking wee bun, I'd never go out with my hair like that), when I let my hair down in the morning my hair is effing fabulous looking! I separate the curls a bit and spray it with some beachy waves stuff and I'm good to go. Just today I thought I'd try four little buns to see what happens.

    I hate my natural color so much that I dye it pretty regularly, I'd love to wear darker colors but as soon as my hair starts to grow out it looks like it's falling out, I've settled on pink hair, mostly because it's close to the color of my scalp and it kind of just all blends together. I'm assuming OP can't rock pink hair at work.

    1 agrees
  12. Try googling the Gibson Tuck? It is a "fancy" style that is super easy to do. My hair is thin and silky, and gets a little frizzy in the summer. It is a nice look that gets me a lot of compliments on how formal it looks (it is literally a pony tail and is crammed in the back into your hair and saftey pinned.

    2 agree
  13. The first thing is to find a hairstylist who actually knows how to cut and style it! It's so funny how few believe me when I tell them certain products (mousse, heavy conditioners, hairsprays) will mean my hair will look dull and listless in no time. So really ask around.

    My hair is also easily damaged, so I reserve blow drying and heat styling to a few days a week. Salt sprays also damage my hair. Especially important- avoid polyester sheets, and acrylic blankets, which cause static, which in turn cause breakage and frizz.

    Henna, on the other hand, strengthens my hair. I've really liked Aveda thickening tonic. Shea Moisture hairsprays don't damage my hair. And root/volumizing powder is magic for volume and absorbing some of the oiliness that often accompanies fine, thin hair.

  14. I have long fine wavy-curly hair (depending on humidity). I have a lot of it. I use Dr Bronner's peppermint soap to wash it and Dr Bronner's leave in conditioner.

    I don't use any other hair products or tools. I let it dry naturally, brush it, and put in a French twist to set the curls. I get compliments on it all the time.

    I wear it down, I put it up when it gets too hot.

    Also I adopted the mantra #fluffyhairdontcare

    3 agree
  15. Girl, yes. I have ringlet curls that are really fine and thin (when I straighten my hair, it's slippery), and naturally dark blonde hair that makes my hair look thinner than it is. Here are my tips:

    –Even if you go for "the big chop" like others are suggesting, trim your ends about every six weeks-two months. Nothing fancy; I get Great Clips to do these trims. I got an ombre dye job last year and the ends were perpetually frizzy because they were perpetually dry and splitting. (Also: don't get an ombre dye job, lol.)
    –A lot of anti-frizz products say to "comb through" while your hair is wet, but I've had better results by scrunching from the bottom up. "Combing through" leaves product at my scalp, which makes my hair get greasy faster, my scalp itch, and lose volume up top, but scrunching gives the curls their definition without sacrificing the lift at the roots.
    –Pinterest has a reputation for having complicated braids and updos, but I've found some simple work-friendly updos using it. Current favorite is three small twist buns in the back, because they make me feel like Rey from Star Wars. Another favorite is a French braid tucked in at the nape of the neck–professional, but a little bit romantic, too.
    –Even if you don't feel like your hair is that curly, check out NaturallyCurly.com. They have great tips and style ideas.

    And if all else fails, just do what I do: brush it out and go as Hermione Granger for Halloween for the 5th year in a row!

    1 agrees
  16. Full disclosure, I have thick curly hair but it frizzes like a mofo. I kept trying different things and products to calm it down and bring out the curl to no avail. What finally worked was getting my hair cut dry from a deva curl expert. If you are in Seattle I recommend spexs an eye glass place with a salon in it. It's kinda pricey but I just kept the spending money on products that didn't work anyway.

  17. I have fine, slightly curly hair as well, and spent years fighting against it with a flat iron. But, with the help of my hairstylist, I found a good cut and the right products. I keep my hair just above the shoulders with varying layer lengths (I play with my layer length a lot, but I always have layers. without them I look like a cave woman). This keeps it light and bouncy. And Product! Most curly hair products are way too heavy for my fine hair. A salt spray works great when I want to keep is wavy/tossled, or my stylist recommended a light weight curling serum that really pumps up my curls – not sure if I can say brands here, so I'll just leave that out.
    But the biggest game changer in pumping up my curls while also controlling the frizz is a diffusing hair drier. The ones with the big round ends, and all the little fingery spiky things. I blow dry about 50% with the diffuser holding my hair in a scrunch, and let it air dry the rest of the way. Can't live without it.

  18. I have fine wavy/curly-only-with-humidity hair that I stopped washing when I first cut it short a few years ago, because I found that not washing it produced the same effect as using product every day, only for free and with no effort. I thought this would stop working as my hair grew out (it's now long again), but it has actually continued to work EXTREMELY well to make my hair feel fuller and thicker, as well as to prevent frizz and keep my curls/waves defined.

    I do wash my hair occasionally (every 10-20 days, I'd say, as needed), but am very careful to apply shampoo only to the roots, and in the smallest possible amounts. The most important thing I do (which I have not seen anyone else mention) is to scrub through my hair in the shower every couple of days, with my fingers and/or a comb, with VERY hot water. It has to be hot enough to melt the naturally occurring oil enough that I can redistribute it off my scalp and down to the ends of my hair. I then towel-dry and comb or style my hair as desired. It takes longer to air-dry than clean hair, so I sometimes end up blow-drying if pressed for time, but it also works quite well to do the whole procedure before bed.

    I am an active and sweaty person, and ride my bike most places (wearing a helmet), but I find that the hot water treatment gets out regular day-to-day dirt and sweat just fine. And if I get really muddy in the garden, that'll be the day I minimally-shampoo.

    1 agrees
  19. I have fine wavy/curly-only-with-humidity hair that I stopped washing when I first cut it short a few years ago, because I found that not washing it produced the same effect as using product every day, only for free and with no effort. I thought this would stop working as my hair grew out (it's now long again), but it has actually continued to work EXTREMELY well to make my hair feel fuller and thicker, as well as to prevent frizz and keep my curls/waves defined.

    I do wash my hair occasionally (every 10-20 days, I'd say, as needed), but am very careful to apply shampoo only to the roots, and in the smallest possible amounts. The most important thing I do (which I have not seen anyone else mention) is to scrub through my hair in the shower every couple of days, with my fingers and/or a comb, with VERY hot water. It has to be hot enough to melt the naturally occurring oil enough that I can redistribute it off my scalp and down to the ends of my hair. I then towel-dry and comb or style my hair as desired. It takes longer to air-dry than clean hair, so I sometimes end up blow-drying if pressed for time, but it also works quite well to do the whole procedure before bed.

    I am an active and sweaty person, and ride my bike most places (wearing a helmet), but I find that the hot water treatment gets out regular day-to-day dirt and sweat just fine. And if I get really muddy in the garden, that'll be the day I minimally-shampoo.

  20. Things that have helped me:

    -Combing with a wide-tooth comb, not a brush.
    -Not washing your hair everyday and using dry shampoo on the roots on in-between days. I make a cheap one out of arrowroot powder with a little cocoa powder for color.
    -Henna makes my hair super soft and plump, though you can only go darker/redder with it. I like the Light Mountain brand.
    -As far as hair styles for work, learning how to do french braids or easy buns can help mix it up. I also like the no heat curls method using a headband (plenty of tutorials on Youtube) and then putting it up into a half-up half-down style.

    • Also Andalou Naturals has a Thickening Spray that might help. I've been meaning to try it and can't speak to its effectiveness, but it looks like a sea salt spray with a bunch of extra stuff.

  21. I have baby fine, thin, naturally curly/frizzy hair. I also swim everyday, although I wear a swimming hat and so I have to wash my hair every day. My hair though stays silky soft. I used to try to straighten it all the time, but I've recently given up doing that, too damaging, and now I've started to embrace my curls. My hair is just above shoulder length and I have a side fringe. I no longer use any heat on it at all, just scrunch it as it's drying with my hands. Through experimenting, I've found some great products: Redken Body Full shampoo and Redken Body Full conditioner (which I transfer to a small bottle and water it down 50%). I also use one or two pumps of Redken Instant Bodifier Volumising foam, which is my best find. I also sometimes use a bit of salt spray. I carry a little body of water around with me and give my hair a fine mist of it to perk up my hair during the day. Just for the record, I don't have any connection to Redken in any way. I just like their products.

    • Update: as the Redken products that I was using have all now been discontinued, I have treated myself to Deva Curl No Poo and Deva Curl One stop conditioner (both bought from Amazon) – expensive but lasts ages and is worth every penny. I use Boucleme Curl Defining Gel. I use the latter on my hair whilst it is still soaking wet, scrunch it and let it air dry. As it's drying, I turn my head upside down and gently scrunch it every now and again. I need a tiny bit of frizz to stay in my hair as otherwise it goes completely flat! I've now had some long layers added to my just above shoulder length bob (with long side fringe).

  22. Get it healthy. That means no heat, no brushes, extremely gentle products (sulfate free). Use a lightweight silicone free conditioner (my favorite is Tressemme Naturals, look for light ingredients.. glycerine, fatty alcohols, aloe, etc. No heavy oils or butters.). Only color if you have to, touch up only the roots, never bleach. Lightly oil the ends every night, use a satin pillowcase, contain your hair gently if it's long (I like a low twist pulled up and claw clipped at the crown). Don't use bands, barrettes, bobby pins, or anything that will snag and pull on a regular basis.. claw clips and big soft scrunchies are good. Trim it if it's damaged, you cannot fix damage with any product. Healthy curls work better. Detangle with your fingers either wet with conditioner or dry with a couple of drops of oil for slip. Shampoo only the roots and only when you need it. Otherwise clean the scalp with conditioner and scrub with your fingers. Condition ends as usual, rinse completely, squeeze out most of the water, then put in more conditioner and distribute it throughout the hair. Amounts will vary.. if it's frizzy use more next time, if it's greasy use less. I use about a teaspoon on very fine very long hair. Gently wrap in a microfiber towel (no rubbing or scrunching) and leave it there while you get dressed, do makeup, etc. Remove the towel, gently place hair where you want it.. do not comb, pick, or run your fingers through it…and leave it alone until it's dry. If you have bangs you can finger comb them into place or blow dry. Try to leave it alone even after it's dry lol, don't break your curl or it will be frizz. If it looks "noodley" when dry you can very gently scrunch.. Conditioner styling was the game changer for me.. that and realizing just about everything suggested for the usual care of hair was damaging to mine. Don't expect immediate perfect hair, especially if it's already damaged.. it takes a while for your scalp to adjust and your hair to remoisturise/train. If it is very fine it will appear thinner and less curly the longer it gets just due to it's own weight… consider a shorter cut. I would go blunt, or at most a 90 degree layer.. high layers make it even thinner. You can try reserving the bottom and only layering the top. If you don't want to fuss with treating it right, cut it into a nice a-line bob and flat iron it. I wore my hair like that for years and it was super easy to deal with… or go a step further to the "pixie bob" (pixie in the back bob up front) which is even easier.

    1 agrees
  23. I'm 45 yrs old and have shoulder length hair (a little bit passed shoulders) and it's curly and thin/fine. I do have frizz problems especially with humidity but if I go one day without washing it the roots look oily. I usually let it air dry and can't afford to buy any extra hair products such as mousse or leave-in conditioner etc. I've gotten highlights put in my hair and I usually get my hair layered if I get it cut but I don't like short hair (on me). Do u recommend any type of shampoos and conditioners for my hair type? And/or maybe a different hairstyle?

  24. Suave had a curly hair mousse that I think is about $3. Put it in right after rinsing, when hair is still dripping. Then use the plonking method of wrapping in a towel (don't stretch it out and twist the towel, just let pile up on top of your head). I have to then use clips at the roots while it's drying or it'll just flatten out again.

  25. I swear by kinky curly curling custard (get it from amazon, its way cheaper that way). The tub lasts at least 8 months as you use just a dab like a dime sized amount. I towel off my hair, flip it over to GENTLY scrunch and use alligator/hair dresser clips for pinning my hair into a more voluminous shape when its wet so it drys with more body. I literally grab a segment of hair on one side of my face and shove it up 4" then pin in place. It creates a fold/blurb/bubble of hair and when dry gives me extra bounce and volume. I do this to either side of my face and if I'm feeling fancy I'll do one on the back of my head, so 2-3 clips total. When its dry I scrunch it upside down and flip my head up. I accept my hair falling wherever it wants, if I try to fix it into a part it usually goes to hell. I use aloe vera gel (yes the kind for sunbuns, no not the green one) to tame frizzies. Like a pea sized amount to smooth over any frizzy bits of a curl that has a bad attitude. I get comments all the time from frustrated curlies about how my hair is pretty and well behaved and I honestly have a 5-10 minute routine. Shampoo a couple times a week, rinse my hair with plain water more frequently when I'm dirty or sweaty. I keep my hair short in a bob so its light and has more volume. Also because Debra Messing from Will & Grace was my style icon as a adolescent. Honestly shes still my style icon.

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