This is the second post in a three-part series on fine hair, and here are the 10 things you should do if you have fine hair. The first post was 10 things you shouldn’t be doing. But in this post, you’ll find the best tips, techniques and advice to follow if you have fine wavy and curly hair. Which is actually a really common hair type for people with a Western European or Mediterranean heritage. Fine hair, but a lot of it. So follow these tips for healthy, hydrated, frizz-free defined curls. That aren’t weighed down, or over-moisturized, with volume, shine and longevity.
10 Things You Should Do If You Have Fine Hair
These 10 things you should do if you have fine hair are all from my Curl Maven Method, which is different from the Curly Girl Method. Many of the rules of the Curly Girl Method simply do not suit fine wavy and curly hair, certainly not long term. And quickly leads to weighed down, over-moisturized hair that can’t hold a wave or curl past washday. Aka: over-moisturized hair.
But these tips, and the Curl Maven Method is different. Mostly because it focuses on the health of the hair, and therefore suits all hair types – even straight! But especially fine wavy and curly hair. Check out my Washday Workbook for FREE added tips and advice in conjunction with the recommendations in this post on 10 things you should do if you have fine hair, for best and long-lasting results, every time.
1. Clarify regularly, once every 3-4 weeks
Fine hair is much more prone to build up of product, grease, oil and sebum. As well as hard water (limescale), metal and mineral deposits on the hair. These can make the hair dull, weighed down, lack of shine, volume and definition. Clarifying is a huge part of the Curl Maven Method, but is especially important if you have fine hair – whether it’s straight, wavy or curly.
So the first thing on the list of 10 things you should do if you have fine hair, is clarify regularly. If you’re washing your hair twice/week, I’d recommend clarifying once/month. But if you’re washing three times/week, then I’d recommend clarifying every 3 weeks if a month feels too long. Use a good chelating, clarifying shampoo, such as Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo – which is my favourite and the best I’ve found. But you can find more information on chelating and clarifying, and alternative product recommendations, in this post.
Clarifying is even more important if you colour your hair! Read this post to find out why and how. For best results when you colour, and without fading in the weeks in between.
Here’s where you can get Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo around the world:
- Worldwide at LOOKFANTASTIC – CURLMAVEN for 20% off – often goes out of stock, sorry!
- USA & Canada at Sephora or at Ulta
- IRELAND & UK at Boots
- Australia & NZ at Mecca
- Rest of the World at Beauty Bay
2. Wash your hair 2-3 times/week
The looser the curl pattern, the more often you need to wash your hair. And by washing, I mean cleanse/shampoo and condition. Just using a conditioner or co-wash doesn’t suit fine hair in the long term. For best results, wash your hair 2-3 times/week. Twice a week if you’ve got fine, type 3 curly hair. Three times a week if you’ve got fine, type 2 wavy hair. Play around and see what works best for you, your hair and your lifestyle. But I don’t recommend washing once/week if you have fine, wavy or curly hair. You’re just asking way too much of your hair to look good for that long.
3. Use a low-lathering, sulfate-free shampoo
If you’ve got fine hair, using a low-lathering, sulfate-free shampoo 2-3 times/week will give the best foundation for a successful washday. This will give you the perfect balance of cleansing without stripping or drying out the hair. Here are some of the best lo-poo’s for fine wavy and curly hair:
- Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off – not the same clarifying as the Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. It’s gentle enough to use 2-3 times/week and perfect for this hair type.
- Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath – for fine wavy hair
- Innersense Colour Awakening Hairbath – for fine curly hair
- Act + Acre Hair Cleanse – this shampoo works best when you double cleanse
3. Use lightweight conditioners
Use lightweight conditioners if you have fine hair. Nothing too thick, rich or heavy as that will weigh the hair down or over-moisturize it. Causing flat, limp, lifeless hair, excess hair shedding and lack of definition and hold. Apply to soaking wet hair, from the ends upwards. Adding more water first, if you feel like you need more product or slip to detangle.
You can use a conditioner as a leave-in conditioner. But you cannot use a leave-in conditioner as your regular conditioner, even for fine hair.
Here are some of my favourite conditioners for fine hair:
- Innersense Pure Inspiration Conditioner – for fine wavy hair
- Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner – for fine curly hair
- Flora & Curl Organic Rose & Honey Cream Conditioner – often in TK Maxx
- Bouclème Curl Conditioner – protein free
- Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off at Kiyo Beauty in the UK – protein free
CURLMAVEN for 10% off Innersense at Curl Warehouse in Canada, Kiyo Beauty in the UK or The Clean Beauty Edit in the EU, who ship worldwide. Or 20% off Flora & Curl and Bouclème at LOOKFANTASTIC, who offer FREE worldwide shipping.
4. Use protein rich/balanced products in your routine
Protein not only gives the hair the strength and the structure to define a wave and a curl. But to hold it there, preventing waves and curls from dropping, loosening and going limp and lifeless. Which is especially important for fine hair, waves and curls. The finer the hair, the looser the wave or curl pattern, the more protein these hair types need.
Top Tip: don’t use protein-rich products in every step of your routine. This will cause the hair to feel like straw, become too dry, brittle and can cause protein overload.
You may need to experiment with what products work best in your routine that contain protein. For example, I always get best results when I use protein-rich treatments and conditioners. Instead of protein-rich styling products. I can get good one-off results if I use protein-rich styling products, but I can’t use them consistently without making my hair feel dry and straw-like.
Here’s a few protein-rich products that you can try in your routine:
- Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner – conditioner
- Joico Deep Penetrating Reconstructor – treatment – CURLMAVEN for 20% off at LOOKFANTASTIC
- Joico Liquid Reconstructor – applied like a leave-in conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 20% off at LOOKFANTASTIC
- Curlsmith Bouncy Strength Volume Foam – styling product – CURLMAVEN for 20% off at LOOKFANTASTIC
- Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel – styling product – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
Read this post for more about the Joico products mentioned above, as they were my Product of the Year in 2021. Use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off Bounce Curl and Innersense at Curl Warehouse in Canada, Kiyo Beauty in the UK or The Clean Beauty Edit in the EU, who ship worldwide.
5. Deep condition only when you clarify
No. 5 of 10 things you should do if you have fine hair is to only deep condition when you clarify. Deep conditioning focuses more on moisture. And because fine hair tends to get easily over-moisturized and weighed down. Unless you have dry, damaged, brittle fine hair that needs moisture. Only deep condition when you clarify. You can use your conditioner to deep condition. Especially if you’re using Innersense conditioners which are superior quality ingredients in a highly concentrated formula and some of THE best conditioners on the market!
Here are some of my favourite deep conditioners for fine hair:
- Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner – protein free – CURLMAVEN for 10% off the US website
- Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque – protein balanced – CURLMAVEN for 15% off your first order on the US website
6. Condition for 2-3 mins, deep condition for 20-30 mins max!
Again, this comes down to not weighing down, or over-moisturizing fine wavy and curly hair. Hair is at it’s weakest and most delicate and fragile when it’s wet, and fine hair even more so! On a normal washday, you can either gently squish to condish for a minute or two once you’ve applied enough conditioner and water. Or brush it through using a Denman Paddle Brush – CURLMAVEN for 20% off, and leave in for 2-3 mins.
Top Tip: don’t squish to condish, scrunch or “pulse” fine hair too much otherwise you’ll cause lots of frizz, so be gentle. Just a gentle squeeze or loose scrunch.
Deep condition for no longer than 20-30 mins, max! 5-10 minutes may be enough if you’ve got really fine hair, or low density. Fine hair, but more of it (high density) with loose waves may need 10-15 mins. Fine, curly hair with high density, or if it’s a little dry, damaged or brittle will need 20-30 mins. As always, the best way to figure out what works best for your hair, is trial and error. If your hair still feels a little dry after deep conditioning, do it for longer next time. If it feels too soft, fluffy and flat, do it for a less amount of time.
7. Opt for regular protein treatments instead of deep conditioning
Protein treatments are different to deep conditioning. Yes, you can deep condition with a protein-rich deep conditioner or hair mask. But regardless of what you use, if you deep condition for too long, or too often. You end up getting more of the benefits from the moisturizing ingredients, which then cancel out the protein. So my advice for fine hair, especially loose waves and curls that are feeling a little too soft and fluffy. Or limp and lifeless waves and curls that aren’t holding a few hours past washday, or are gone by the end of the day.
Is to opt for regular protein treatments, such as the Joico Deep Penetrating Reconstructor – use once/week. The Joico Liquid Reconstructor which you can use every washday, if needed. This is a lightweight protein-rich treatment which was specifically designed and formulated for fine hair in need of protein. Or my Modified Rice Water Treatment mixed with your lightweight, protein-rich conditioner. Use once/week max, or once/month after clarifying, as a minimum.
8. Use lightweight styling products
Styling products never fix an issue, such as dryness, frizz, protein moisture balance etc. You do that with your washday products. Styling products are about what kind of look – or “style” – you are going for. But if you have fine hair, regardless of what look you’re going for. You still need to stay within the remit of products that suit your hair type. You just simply use more or less product depending on how long or how much hair you have.
For fine wavy and curly hair, you need to use lightweight styling products, such as foams, mousses, serums, gels and hairsprays. If you have high density, curly hair you can also get success with custards – if you want thick, juicy curl clumps. And maybe a milk or a lotion, if your hair is a little dry. But only use a very small amount, as these are at the highest end of the moisture-spectrum that you can use. Part three of these series on fine hair is going to be product recommendations for all the different categories, so stay tuned for that one next!
9. Diffuse as soon as possible for as long as possible
Even water can weigh fine hair down. So once you’ve rinsed your conditioner out, squeeze out ALL of the excess, dripping wet water out of the hair – just using your hands. Apply your lightweight styling products, from the ends upwards for maximum root lift and volume. Then diffuse as soon as possible for as long as possible. On a medium heat, medium speed.
Top Tip: if you’re in a hurry, up the speed not the heat. You’re trying to dry your hair faster, not hotter.
Diffusing will always give you the best shape, definition and volume. And is essential for fine hair! I’ve seen lots of people recommend diffusing the roots first, but I’ve found the opposite gives better results. Dry the ends and mid-lengths first, then use a bowl diffuser with soft grips to dry the roots and create root lift and volume. Read The Best Hair Dryers & Diffusers for Curly Hair for recommendations.
10. Root clip for extra volume
And finally, in the 10 things you should do if you have fine hair: root clip! Read this post for more tips on how I get root lift. I recommend diffusing your hair for as long as possible, or until 80-90% dry. Then root clip until fully dry, for extra root lift and volume. It takes a little practice and finding the right clips that work best for your hair. As some can easily slip out of really fine hair. Here’s some tips:
Tip Tip: if you take the root clip out and the curl immediately falls flat, you’ve taken it out too soon. It should stay lifted and in place when you remove the root clip.
- High density or curly hair, root clip with the clip facing down, and the spring at the top – as shown in the image below.
- Low density or loose wavy hair, root clip from underneath. With the root clip facing up, and the spring underneath. Don’t try this if you’ve got curly hair though, the spring will get caught and tangled.
- Root clip to refresh for root lift in between washdays. You can do this on wet or dry hair. Simply apply a little gel to both sides of the inside of the root clip, and then lift and clip each wave or curl and leave until dry.
- Make sure you get these metal root clips, not the ones with the little bridge between the prongs as they get caught and tangled in the hair.
- If the metal root clips are slipping out of your fine hair, you can use claw grips instead.
You can use any gel, once it’s not too thick or sticky, and you only the tiniest amount! Here’s a list of the best gels I’ve found for the root clipping to refresh technique. All are available from LOOKFANTASTIC, who offer FREE worldwide shipping and no Brexit custom fees within the EU. Use code CURLMAVEN for 20% off:
- Bouclème Curl Defining Gel – light hold
- Curlsmith Shape Up Aqua Gel – light hold
- Curlsmith Hydro Flexi Jelly – medium hold
- Bouclème Super Hold Styler – strong hold
- You know what also works great? KY Jelly! Yes, lube… see me use it to refresh in this video.
So how did you do? How many of these 10 things you should do if you have fine hair do you already do? Are there any new tips you’ve discovered that you’re going to incorporate into your routine? Did any of the points make perfect sense and you realised you’ve instinctively been doing them all along? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know!
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