The Definitive Guide to Fine Hair for Women Over 40
Having fine hair can definitely be a double-edged sword. Sure, fine hair often means we have smooth, silky locks. But we also find our hair falling flat, appearing greasy and being super prone to breakage, damage and flyaways.
Fine hair can be temperamental. So how can we best care for it?
Better Not Younger dug into the specifics of fine hair care and produced this guide to caring for your fine locks. And if you’re dealing with fine, damaged hair, we have the products to help you protect and repair it, too! Read on to learn how to best care for your fine, aging hair, plus the difference between fine hair and thin hair!
Fine Hair vs Thin Hair: What's the Difference?
We often think of fine hair and thin hair as the same. But hair can be fine with high density, thin (low density) with coarse strands or some other combination. So, how can you tell the difference?
The quantity (high or low density) and diameter (large or small) of your hair strands can tell you a lot about your hair! When you have fine hair, the diameter of each hair strand is smaller. And because these strands are smaller, they can give the impression of thinness. For thin (or low density) hair, you might have fine, medium or coarse strands in diameter, but you just have fewer of them. When you have thin hair, you may also tend to see more of your scalp as your hair follicles are less tightly packed.
Did you know that you were born with all the hair follicles you'll ever have? And studies have found that your natural hair color can tell you about the density of your locks:
- Natural blondes have the most strands of hair at 150,000.
- Brunettes and black-haired women have around 100,000 to 110,000 strands.
- And natural redheads have the fewest strands, coming in around 90,000.
How Should I Take Care of My Fine Hair on Wash Days?
When it comes to fine hair care, gentleness is key. From washing to conditioning to detangling, the emphasis should be on avoiding breakage and strengthening fine hair. Here are our three top ways to care for fine hair when cleansing, conditioning and detangling.
Use a Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner
If you have fine tresses, consider a cleansing shampoo specifically for fine hair. Volumizing shampoos are designed to add body and can help fine hair feel thicker. These gentle cleansing shampoos for fine hair also help prevent buildup, which can weigh down fine locks.
If you're looking for a great shampoo and conditioner for fine, damaged hair, we love our sulfate-free Wake Up Call Volumizing Duo. Unlike many volumizing products that can dry out fine hair, our Wake Up Call Duo hydrates fine, thin locks as it provides volume. And it's clinically proven to reduce breakage by 98%!
Try a Water-Based Scalp Cleanser
Even before you use a cleansing shampoo for fine hair, try a scalp treatment. Because fine hair tends to be oilier and easily weighed down, we recommend a water-based, activating scalp cleanser instead! Our AHA-infused New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser nourishes and deep cleans the scalp removing buildup that can clog pores, to promote healthy hair and strengthen fragile locks!
Invest in a Wide-Tooth Comb
Fine hair also tends to be fragile, so avoid brushing fine hair while it's wet because this can be especially damaging. Gently detangle with a wide-tooth comb instead. And if you wash your hair in the evening, be sure to leave time for it to air-dry before bed. Going to bed with wet hair can cause hair to appear flat and lifeless the next day!
Should I Deep Condition My Fine Hair?
Fine hair is more susceptible to oiliness, especially if it’s straight. If you struggle with oiliness, then your regular conditioner is probably enough to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
But if you have fine tresses and deal with dryness, then your regular conditioner or cleansing conditioner for fine hair may not be enough. If this is the case, an occasional deep condition can work wonders by hydrating parched locks and adding shine and manageability to your hair! Aim to deep condition fine, damaged hair with products designed specifically for hydration and repair no more than once per week and work from there.
For fine hair care, it's important to concentrate your deep conditioner at the ends. Thicker tresses can deep condition further up the hair shaft, but to avoid weighing down fine hair, keep the deep conditioning product to within roughly a finger length of your hair's ends. Our ultra-hydrating Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque is a great deep conditioning option to hydrate and strengthen fine hair thanks to its proprietary vegan blend of plant butters designed to moisturize even the most damaged tresses!
How Should I Blow-Dry My Fine Hair?
If you've got fine hair, it's time to break up with the high-heat setting on your blow-dryer! Those of us with fine hair can still safely blow-dry our fine, delicate strands—we just need a bit of protection!
The easiest way to protect fine hair while blow-drying is to choose the coolest temperature setting that still gets the job done. Today's dryers come with tons of options as well as diffusing attachments for our wavy and curly-haired ladies! Choose the coolest setting for drying fine hair.
Can I Heat Style or Straighten My Fine Hair Without Damaging It?
Yes, with one big caveat—a heat protectant is an absolute requirement for fine hair care! Because fine locks are fragile and more prone to breakage, they need to be protected from the intense temperatures of flat irons, hot rollers and curling irons. And keep in mind, fine curly hair is especially delicate!
As we age, our hair can become both finer and thinner as hair follicles shrink or become dormant. This combination makes our tresses more prone to damage from heated styling tools, making a protectant a super important part of our hair-care regimen.
Some flat irons heat into the range of 400F or greater, which puts hair at risk of bubbling and damage, and this level of heat is especially hard on fine hair! To protect your tresses from temps as high as 450F, try our No Remorse Heat Protection & Taming Spray. Packed with vitamins and argan and avocado oils, No Remorse protects and nourishes your tresses while also fighting frizz and flyaways!
Pro tip: Give your fragile locks a break by ditching heat styling and trying a heatless hairstyle instead! We compiled a list of 17 heat-free hairstyling hacks for mature hair types. Play around with them, and see if you find one you love!
How Can I Strengthen My Fine Hair?
Strong, healthy hair starts at the roots, so one of the best ways to strengthen aging hair that’s fine, delicate and thinning is with a fortifying scalp serum and daily massage. Our Superpower Hair and Scalp Duo features our award-winning Superpower Fortifying Hair & Scalp Serum that’s designed exclusively for women over 40 to rebalance scalp oils and nourish the skin and hair at the root. It’s been clinically shown to strengthen and improve hair while reducing hair fall. The massaging applicator ensures even distribution of the serum while encouraging micro-stimulation to help energize the scalp and follicles for healthier hair.
How Can I Make My Fine Hair Look Thicker?
Fullness and volume start with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. But your styling products and hairstyle play a big role, too!
Spray in Some Volume
Once you’re out of the shower, try adding a volumizing spray to damp hair to give it a boost. (Don't add products to sopping wet hair, or they'll just slide right off!) Avoid applying heavy, oil-based sprays in favor of a water-based thickening product like our Lift Me Up Hair Thickener. It coats the hair strand with nourishing fatty acids and niacinamides to lift fine locks at the root—and there’s no heat required for activation!
Pro tip: Those of us with fine hair know the struggle of midday hair flatness too well! To combat this, we bring Lift Me Up with us for a quick refresh as needed during the work day! Lift Me Up's precision nozzle will deliver volume exactly where you need it!
Boost with Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo is another fabulous way to build body and fullness while also refreshing hair between washes. Our noncomedogenic and talc-free Fresh Start Scalp Renewing Dry Shampoo supports hair and scalp health while absorbing excess oils for instant volume.
Consider Color and Cut
A haircut, as well as highlights or lowlights designed to add dimension, can help give your hair a thicker, fuller look. Talk to your hairstylist about trying out a shorter style like a bob or lob (a long bob) that will help hair look less flat. Light layers (emphasis on light!) can introduce a little body and a side-swept part helps to add instance volume. Keeping split ends in check is also important as they tend to show up more easily on fine hair.
Tell Us: What is your fine hair care routine? Share your favorite tips for volumizing and strengthening fine hair in the comments below!
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Better Not Younger has all the fine hair care products you need, including the best shampoos and conditioners for fine, damaged hair. From gentle sulfate-free shampoos and hydrating conditioners for fine hair to volumizing and smoothing sprays, our products are designed to promote healthy, voluminous locks to help you achieve your best hair yet!