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Pamela enjoying the 'finer' things

Pamela enjoying the ‘finer’ things

Although I love wearing my wash and go for many reasons and often defend the practice, proclaiming I prefer it over twist and braid-outs, I recently had an Aha moment. I realized I honestly, secretly, had hair envy for the fabulous twist & braid outs I see that my fine hair wasn’t achieving. The wash-n-go gave me the illusion of thicker, fuller hair and that’s really what I was craving.

Unlike my sister and Natural Haircare News cohort, Dianne, whose thick tresses have always been a show stopper, my fragile fine hair only seemed to get nods of approval when worn short & sassy – another aha moment regarding my hair choices.

Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning

Dianne

What I love about the whole natural hair care journey, and I’m sure you will agree, is that it has forced me, with a combination of excitement and at times displeasure, to really take the time to learn about my hair and in turn myself, allowing me to continue to grow in ways that transcend hair.

But back to the “finer” things in life.

I’ve been doing some research, to bring to our  “fine” readers, a compilation of tips and tools for naturals with fine hair.

Let’s start with all the reasons Black Girl Long Hair says are why Fine hair is great:

1. Less Products

With fine hair, a dime-sized amount of product goes a very, very long way! Thicker haired naturals require more product to coat and seal their strands, plus they often require heavier products — like shea-based butters and creams — that tend to be more expensive. Many fine haired naturals can skip heavy butters and seal with lighter, cheaper products like coconut oil or aloe gel.

2. Easier and Faster Hair Straightening

While coarse strands and thick hair take more coaxing to loosen their curl pattern, fine hair tends to take to heat more easily and requires less of it to straighten out. On the flip side, you have to be careful not to burn fine strands. Keep your blowdryer at medium to low temperatures, and don’t keep the flat iron on for long!

3. Easier Bunning

Thick hair can look a bit bulky when pulled into a bun or a single braid and can put a strain on hair ties and bobby pins. Fine hair is easier to pull into one, and can look a bit more effortless

4. Hot Weather Friendly

There’s nothing hotter in the summer time than a mass of thick, heavy strands. The “scalpiness” of fine haired styles is actually a plus in the summer time, providing a way for heat to escape the body.

5. Shorter wash day

While thicker haired naturals have to divide their strands into several sections and cleanse and condition each one individually, fine haired naturals can get away with fewer section and, in some cases, not sectioning at all. Plus, fine haired section take less time to work through and air dry much faster.

6. Easier Detangling

When you have less strands to detangle, the process is much quicker. Plus, fine haired naturals can get away with finger detangling only, while many thicker haired naturals must also incorporate hair tools like Denman brushes and wide toothed combs.

7. Faster Styling

When there’s less hair to get through, styling tends to go faster. On fine hair a set of twists or box braids can take less than 2 hours, while thick hair styling often take 4 hours of more. Plus, thick hair can be a downside at the salon, with many stylists charging extra cash for clients with a lot of hair to get through.

Don’t you feel better now?!

Next NaturallyCurlyQ shares her regimen for achieving volume on fine natural hair.

Lastly, for this installment, Chinwe of Hair and Health gives her 5 Tips for retaining length on fine, natural hair:

Are you a natural with fine hair?  Is it difficult for you to retain length?  If so, the following tips may be helpful to you, but first, let us discuss what it means to have “fine” hair:

Fine hair: What is it?

Before we discuss the length retention tips, we must first understand what it means to have fine hair.  What is meant by “fine”?  The word describes the circumference of a hair strand, which can range from fine to medium to coarse, with fine being the smallest and coarse being the largest. It does not describe the density of the hair on our heads.  For example, someone can have fine hair and a low density of hair (that is, a low number of strands per scalp) or fine hair and a high density of hair.  When it comes to visualizing fine vs. coarse hair, think of the analogy of a piece of thread vs. a piece of yarn, respectively.

Now for tips on retaining length on fine natural hair:

1. Pre-poo with coconut oil overnight

If you have been following this blog for some time, then you have more than likely read about the benefits of coconut oil, which include a reduction of protein loss (that is, a reduction of dislodged cuticle cells) from the hair strand.  This characteristic of coconut oil is especially essential for those with fine hair since the hair strand, specifically the cortex, is small in circumference.  A fine-haired natural will benefit from retaining as much of the cuticle layer as possible (which can be lost via washing, manipulation, etc).  Pre-pooing with coconut oil for more than eight hours may help to keep the cuticle intact.

2. Make bigger twists or opt for braids instead

Some naturals with fine hair may experience more knots and tangles in twists than in box braids.  This occurrence is because twists tend be looser, less rigid, and more prone to shrinkage thus providing an easier avenue for strands of smaller circumference to interact with each other.  Moreover, when knots or tangles form in fine hair, they are harder to unravel than in medium or coarse hair.  Braids may be a better alternative for reducing these knots or tangles.  Another alternative is to wear bigger twists as opposed to small or mini twists, which are harsher on fine strands.

3. Use light but effective moisturizers

Fine strands can be easily weighed down by thick, heavy products thus making it a challenge to find a great moisturizer.  Without adequate moisture, such strands are more prone to breakage.  Do read this previous post for recommendations if you have not found that light but effective moisturizer for your fine hair.

4. Use your fingers for detangling AND styling

Though many naturals can benefit from this method regardless of hair texture, those with fine hair may find it to be an absolute necessity.  Being that the hair strand is small in circumference, it is more likely to break than medium or coarse strands.  (Again, consider the analogy of a piece of thread vs. a piece of yarn.)  Thus, length retention in fine hair is more feasible when using your fingers – instead of a comb or other tools – to both detangle and style.

5. Do not be afraid of protein conditioners

Depending on the natural, some with fine strands can actually benefit from regular use of protein conditioners (while maintaining a protein/moisture balance).  These types of conditioners can reinforce the hair shaft until the next wash, thus helping to reduce breakage.

That’s it for now. Go on out there and conquer the world… with your fine self!

Pamela

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.
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5 Responses to The Finer Things In Life: Tips For Fine Hair Naturals!

  1. ShivaD says:

    Unfortunately those benefits of fine hair don’t apply to my fine strand, thick density hair. I am the complete opposite from #’s 4-7. I attempted finger detangling. After many sessions of hours of frustration and near insanity I chucked that idea back in the pond. I found I must keep my hair stretched and comb detangled else I risk a lot of damage (im talking matted nightmare!). I also started using acidic pH products (4.5-5.5) and henna. Can’t keep my hair wet long (no more overnight DC). I also went back to low heat (pre-dry under hood on medium in twists and finish with blowdry on cool-med and low). There are so many variations between strand thickness and hair density even on the same head of hair. I so agree with you – it has been amazing to even discover so much about my hair after being an ignorant natural for years hiding under braids and wigs because I didn’t know what to do with it other than not get a perm. Thanks for the tips (except the dredded finger detangling lol). Websites like this and youtube are so great and helpful for those who are new or havent learned their hair. My only advice to ladies is to never settle on a concept. Keep going, reading, learning and experimenting. Never feel guilty (beware natural hair nazis!!) It is your hair and as long as you are focused on the health of your hair you can’t go wrong!

    • Dianne says:

      Great commentary Shiva! You raise a very good premise: Everyone hair is different and what works for one does not work for someone else. My sister Pamela wrote this article and she has very fine hair. I on the other hand have thicker, more coarse hair and only finger detangling works well for me. I find it difficult to comb and I get the least breakage when I finger detangle. More proof that everyone is so different and that we need to learn our own hair. It is important to read and watch videos to educate ourselves, but ultimately, we need to focus on the health of our hair and what works best for us as you’ve stated. (And not be influenced by the hair nazis)! :)
      -Dianne

  2. Kiki says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I feel like 3 years in my hair journey I should know all about this, but in fact I have completely missed the obvious. My hair is fine to medium strands with medium density, for the last few years I could not get the definition I wanted like in my first year. Realising my hair needs gel to get that affect I feel much better about my Summer hair. :D

    • Dianne says:

      Hi Kiki!

      The natural hair experience is slightly different for each individual and what works for one person may or may not work for another naturalista so we are glad that this information was helpful for your journey.
      – Dianne

  3. Dianne says:

    Show stopper hair? I like it! Thanks sis!

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