If your hair is as flat as a pancake, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about how to deal with fine hair…

Sometimes it’s hard to believe humans are at the top of the food chain. I, for example, never understood how to work with my own hair up to a mere five years ago. You see, there’s a lot of it. Barring the rare occasion here and there where I’ve spectacularly messed it up, it generally looks thick and lush.

But it doesn’t behave like thick hair because – PLOT TWIST – I have fine hair. There’s just a lot of it. The day I grasped that, was the day my hair changed for the better, because I started treating it as fine hair and within days all my problems were solved.

Washing fine hair

Fine hair generally needs to be washed regularly, but gently. I shampoo daily, using a gentle shampoo that’s sulphate free or lower in sulphates, as those can irritate your scalp. For me clear (as opposed to opaque creamy-looking) variants work best.

Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

Conditioning fine hair

Fine hair needs conditioner to replenish moisture and reduce static, but using either too much product or a product that’s too heavy will weigh your hair down, resulting in limp, lifeless locks.

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As a rule, if you have fine hair, you should only condition the lengths and ends of your hair, meaning everything from your ears downwards. If your hair is shorter or you feel that the rest of it needs occasional conditioning, don’t leave it on for long.

Some of my favourite shampoo and conditioner duos for fine hair:

OGX Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner, R165 each (Dis-Chem)
Hannon More Hair Volumising Shampoo and Conditioner, R185 each (shop here)

Detangling fine hair

Fine hair tangles easily. Be gentle when you dry off your hair – even better, wrap it in a towel and leave for ten minutes. Use a special detangling brush while your hair is still wet to ensure minimal damage and discomfort while getting rid of knots in a flash.

Drying fine hair

When you dry fine hair, you should try and fuss as little with it as possible to reduce static – this is one of the best tricks Shelene from Tanaz has taught me (she also had the pleasure of pointing a 30-year-olds hair type out to her, but let’s not focus too much on that).

Standing with your head upside down and blowdrying is a great way to get a bit of volume as you’re naturally drying the hair away from the scalp, as opposed to flat against it.

You can still happily straighten fine hair without flattening it – just straighten where you really need it, and avoid the first 10cm closest to the roots if possible. Curling does provide more fullness, movement and bounce if that’s what you’re after.

Copyright: indigofish / 123RF Stock Photo

Adding body to fine hair

I use dry shampoo on freshly washed hair every single morning – a regular variant, not the volumising kind that feels tacky like hairspray. It adds movement to my hair, gives it a bit of grip if I’m attempting anything that involves bobby pins (otherwise they mostly slide right out) and helps my hair to generally look fresher.

Depending on what you’re doing with your hair on the day, you can either spray it on after drying and before styling, or when you’re done styling.

My personal favourite dry shampoos are from Batiste, around R80 (Clicks, Dis-Chem), and Girlz Only, R40 (Dis-Chem).

Finding the right hair cut for fine hair

There is no one perfect style for fine hair, but there are ways and means to make the most of your hair type. Most recently I wanted a blunt bob, and my stylist complied, but not without adding invisible layering underneath the ‘solid’ outer layer of hair. This now ensures movement and a little more fullness than I would have otherwise had.

Speak to your stylist about the best option for your hair type and the style you want – it’s worth ironing out the details to ensure you speak the same language.