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FEATURES Jan 1 2013 8:41AM

The Thin Line Between Kinky and Straight: Tips for Thin and Fine Haired Naturalistas

By Autumn Dunn
For years I was frustrated with my hair’s unwillingness to work with any of the tips and techniques I found in magazines and on blogs. I always ended up with the same problem: greasy looking strands and crumpled curls. It wasn’t until I took a few hours to examine my hair and compare it to other hair types that I realized I was using the wrong products and techniques for my very fine, somewhat curly hair. Naturalistas with fine and/or thin hair have a specific set of issues to contend with. For starters, there is a difference between fine hair and thin hair and knowing this difference is crucial to maintaining a beautiful mane.
Having thin or thinning hair means your hair is average to thick in diameter but sparse. If your hair seems thin and is falling out, be sure to visit your doctor as this may be the result of health issues such as an iron deficiency or thyroid imbalance.

  • Remember that hair grows from the inside out, so whatever you put into your body can have an affect on your hair. Drinking plenty of water and eating vegetables (particularly dark leafy greens) can help you combat thinning hair.
  • Think about your hair routine to get an idea of what may be causing your hair to thin. When you look at your hair, can you see a pattern of where hair is thinning? Wearing dreadlocks, weaves, braids or ponytails too tight can cause traction alopecia, try switching up your style to avoid further damage. If the problem is severe, visit your dermatologist to learn more about the treatments available for hair loss
  • The key to working with thin hair is making sure you have a good haircut. If your hair is curly or wavy, consider cutting your hair short or getting a pixie cut. If you’re used to having long hair, a short haircut may seem daunting so work with a hairstylist to determine the right kind of cut for you. Thin curly/wavy hair is more versatile when it’s shorter and the right styling can make bald patches less noticeable. If you have a tighter curl pattern, cutting it too short may make thinning hair more noticeable, but keeping it too long can make it appear lopsided so gravitate toward medium length cuts.
You may have fine hair if the actual strands of your hair are small in diameter but you have a lot of hair. Also, fine hairs can be close together or further apart, so even if your hair appears thick, you may have fine strands, which should be cared for accordingly. Caring for fine hair requires 3 essential components: protection from breakage, a good moisturizer and lightweight styling products. Fine hair can easily become fragile, flat and dry from neglect and using the wrong types of products.
  • Meet the diffuser, your new best friend. Add volume to your hair by drying hair upside down with a diffuser. Use a light moisturizer and pomade to give curls some definition and gently scrunch hair towards your scalp to make curls bouncy. 
  • Fine hair tends to get oily near the scalp which can weigh curls down. When shampooing fine hair, massage shampoo into the scalp and use conditioner only on the ends.
  • Heavy products can weigh fine hair down, use light oils like coconut, olive, avocado or Argan oil to add moisture and shine.
  • Product build-up can make hair fall flat and stretch out curls. Wash hair at least once a week to prevent product build up. Clarifying shampoos or an apple cider vinegar rinse should be used once a month or on an as needed basis, this will keep hair from getting greasy.
  • Fine hair can be more prone to breakage so be sure to trim ends every six weeks to ensure hair is at its healthiest. Also, if you have long curly hair, it’s best to get layers to give hair body and depth. Longer hair can easily be weighed down, which stretches out the curls.
  • For fine haired naturalistas, it’s especially important to protect hair from breakage, preserve and protect your style by putting hair in a high bun and wrapping it in a silk scarf before bed. To keep hair from falling flat, you can braid or twist hair in very small sections at night. Tight curls add body to fine hair and will be easier to maintain.  
  • Instead of piling on products everyday, rewet curls and let them dry naturally, this will reactivate the product already in your hair. 


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