Having thin hair is emotionally draining.
I spent the better part of my life trying in vain to achieve that luxurious supermodel waterfall hair-blanket I saw in every magazine ad and TV commercial. I poured over articles promising the next breakthrough in hair growth, touting miracle products that were the “secrets of the stars”, and describing every magical thickening treatment. And when (surprise, surprise) none of them worked, I was left feeling helpless, unattractive, and broke.
Years of teasing, heat styling, highlighting, coloring, and gunky “volumizing” products left me with incredibly fragile, totally unmanageable locks. I honestly think I wore my hair in a messy bun for 2 years straight.
No fun. Something had to give.
It wasn’t until I started experimenting with natural DIY beauty that I learned to not only find treatments and products that actually worked for me, but also to finally feel *confident* in embracing my hair type and stop trying to be something I’m not.
Now, after listening to my body and getting curious about what works for me, I have a hair care routine that I feel 100% confident about that makes me feel healthy *and* beautiful!
The most important thing I’ve learned about caring for my fine hair is to be GENTLE. It’s so tempting, but you have to lay off the stuff that can give the illusion of “thick” hair. You have to baby your baby-fine locks if you want them to be healthy, not to mention stay put on your scalp.
Here are 10 EASY lifestyle changes you can make RIGHT NOW to start making the most of your fine hair.
1. Get a freaking FANTASTIC haircut
I cannot stress this enough: Find a hairstylist who knows how to cut thin hair. I wasted years trying to figure out how to style choppy layers that made my hair look stringy and thin (but would have looked amazing on someone with thicker hair!). When I finally did some research and found someone who not only specialized in cutting thin hair but also had fine strands herself, it was like a Hallelujah chorus started singing the first time I went to style my new ‘do. I barely had to do anything, it just fell beautifully, naturally. Something that helps; make a Pinterest board of haircuts you like after searching “celebrity haircuts, thin hair” or “best haircuts for fine hair”. Bring it with you to your appointment so you can communicate your hopes and expectations in a realistic way!
2. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
This was a huge game-changer for me! Little did I know: cotton actually grabs onto fragile hair, making it more likely to shed while you sleep. Sleeping on silk helps your hair literally slip right off the surface, staying attached to your head and minimizing breakage.
3. Use the right brush (and comb!)
Don’t make the mistake of buying just any ol’ drugstore hairbrush. Stay completely away from plastic bristles; they will pull and break your precious strands more than any other kind of brush! Detangle first with a wide tooth comb (like, SUPER wide tooth!), then gently style with a natural bristle brush (like one made of boar’s hair) that distributes oil evenly from scalp to ends.
4. Baby your hair when it’s wet
Hair is at its most fragile when it’s wet. For this reason, it’s imperative to baby your damp strands. This means very gently patting it dry with a microfiber cloth after a shower, never rubbing a towel across your scalp or putting it up into a “towel turban”. Also, never pull a brush through wet hair! Let it air dry and once its only a little damp you can use a wide tooth comb to detangle. Speaking of air drying…
5. Turn down the heat!
It’s no secret that heat dries your hair out, leaving it way more prone to damage and breakage. BUT, when you have fine locks there’s a crazy catch-22 when it comes to having super-dry hair. When you dry out your fine hair with too-hot water in the shower and frequent blow dries, your hair is left feeling “fluffy”, giving you the illusion of volume, while actually damaging and thinning out your hair more and more over time. Don’t fall for it! When your hair is dry it is MUCH more likely to break, shed, or suffer from split ends, leaving you with literally less hair to work with which is the last thing you want! Whenever you can, let your hair air dry instead of blow drying it. Stay away from heat styling tools and if you do use them, use a heat protectant spray. Extra credit? Do a cool-water rinse at the end of the shower to seal in moisture from your conditioner.
6. Dry Shampoo is your friend
One of the biggest mistakes those of us with thin hair make is over-washing. We feel like our locks are limp or oily if they’re not squeaky clean. Problem is, when you wash too often, it causes your scalp to over-produce oil, continuing a vicious cycle of feeling oily, feeling clean, over and over and over. An easy fix? Start using dry shampoo to lengthen the amount of time between shampoos and give your scalp a chance to re-set.
7. Find your perfect natural DIY hair mask
When you have thin hair, experimenting with DIY beauty is SO much more effective than blindly testing a bunch of over-the-counter products. I have found that natural hair masks have helped me achieve the healthy strands I had always wanted, instead of constantly trying to ‘trick’ my hair into behaving itself. This for my #1 “go-to” light-but-still-deeply-moisturizing DIY hair mask.
8. Switch to fabric hair ties
Chances are unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know rubber bands are a HUGE no-no. What you might not know is that securing your hair with a covered elastic can be just as damaging over time. This is especially true if you color your hair. Make the switch to scrunchies (they’re SO back!), or if you must tie your hair back, use a thick, fabric hair tie.
LEVEL-UP BOTANERI TIP:
Better yet, stop using hair ties altogether and get a claw clip
One of the biggest issues with using hair elastics is that you tend to tie back your hair in the same one or two places, putting stress on the same area of your strands over and over again. This makes that section of your locks more prone to break in that exact spot. This is even truer if your hair is weakened from color or chemical processing. Your strands can end up breaking where the elastic goes, giving you something stylists call a “chemical cut”. An easy fix is to take a break from elastics and use a claw clip to keep hair out of your face. Clips they hold all the hair back with equal tension rather stressing one specific spot over and over.
9. Eat right
It’s a cliche because it’s true; beauty comes from the inside out! Our hair and skin are the two things that start to visually dull when our health is less than great. There are certain foods that you can incorporate into your diet to give you a boost of vitamins and nutrients specifically to help hair and skin. Check out our list of the Top 5 Foods to Eat for Glowing Skin (and hair, too!).
This is a biggie. Hair grows and falls out in cycles with a person typically losing anywhere from 50 to 150 strands a day. A large part of how much hair you lose during these cycles has to do with hormones and stress. When you’re stressed out, your body over-produces a chemical called cortisol that literally inhibits cell regeneration essential for your overall health. So basically what ends up happening is you lose more hair, and it has a harder time regenerating and growing back. If you’re feeling stressed, take some time out for self-care; go for a walk, do a quick 10-minute stretch, experiment with aromatherapy (LEVEL UP BOTANERI TIP: try our relaxing “forest bathing bath salts” recipe!), go to sleep an hour earlier, or indulge in a little TLC.
Have any other tips for living with fine, thin hair? We wanna hear ‘em! Let us know below in the comments.
About the author
As an only child who had to entertain herself a lot, Kelsey has always been a DIY fanatic! She grew up half beach bum in San Diego, CA, and half country bumpkin in Colorado Springs, CO. When she’s not researching natural DIY beauty and holistic wellness, you can see her pop up on TV once in a while on shows like ‘Modern Family’ and ‘New Girl’! Kelsey is a contributor to multiple editorial publications while also developing her original film and TV screenplays and writing a Young Adult novel.