When you have
fine hair, often you don’t feel very fine at all about it—there’s not much heft to it, it’s difficult to make it hold a style (you’ve spent hours curling and re-curling limp strands) and giving it some volume seems a feat only pro stylists can achieve. But having the right cut can help immensely (whether that’s a graduated bob, blunt layers or a preppy short crop). Greg May, owner of Greg May Hair Architects in Toronto, refers back to his early days as a stylist at Vidal Sassoon, where geometry and architecture were the foundations of training. “You’re looking at three main techniques: keeping it one length, layering (which removes weight) and graduation (building up weight),” he explains. Read on for tips on how to make the most of your fine hair.
A graduated bob
"This is one of my favourites," says May. In a graduated bob, the front is either cut horizontally straight or on a downward slope, with the back elevated or lifted. “When the hair is graduated, you are actually building up, or stacking the weight, thus, making it appear fuller,” says May. Think Katie Homes (when her hair was about chin-length).
A one-length bob
“This cut that never goes out of style,” says May. It not only works well for fine hair (“The hair sits heavier at one length,” says May), but it’s also great as it is very low maintenance. To play it up a bit, add a fringe for interest and more density. When he does layer fine hair, May keeps the layers very long so as to not remove much weight. Style aficionado Anna Wintour hasn’t strayed from this classic cut for years, and the always chic Alexa Chung also keeps her hair in a bob (Chung’s has some slight layers, which add softness).
A short crop
“Shorter hair is stronger than longer hair so you could try a very short crop such as Charlize Theron’s latest super short crop to make your fine tresses appear thicker,” says May. Yes, less hair (in terms of length) to make your fine hair appear like more hair.
Long hair, layered with blunt ends
Yes, just because you have fine hair doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to short cuts. “The trick to fine hair is adding concave layering for movement in the hair and to keep the ends blunt to add fullness,” says Brennen Demelo, owner of Brennen Demelo Studio in Toronto. The idea is that you want to avoid over-texturizing the hair.
Discover more amazing haircuts for fine hair and what products to avoid on the next page …
Naturally curly styles
If you have curly hair that’s fine, you might think this is a nightmare, but Demelo actually says it’s almost the best texture to have since it gives your hair natural body. With your cut, though, it’s key to focus on a great cut that doesn’t over-texturize it. “Style it with just a little amount of a fine hair styling cream,” he says.
Fine-hair boosting tips
Focusing conditioner from mid-shaft to ends is particularly important if you have fine hair. You don’t want the conditioner to weight down your mane.
Opt for alcohol-free and low-silicone products. Alcohol could more easily damage fine hair and silicones are heavy and can weigh your hair down — so skim your shampoo and conditioner ingredients for these limp hair culprits.
Experiment with the colour. You can have your colourist play with a mix of highlights and lowlights to bring added depth and dimension to give the illusion of density. “Pre-lightened highlights will blow out the cuticle and give density,” says May.
Go with natural hairstyles that aren’t focused on volume.
Yes, you read that right. You might be happier with your hair if you stop dreaming about that Victoria’s Secret voluminous hair and becoming at one with the fine hair you’re blessed with and simply getting the right cut, the kind that doesn’t call for using lot of product, says Demelo (because many products won’t work in the same way for your fine mane). However, for some volume, he suggests a prep spray created for fine hair before blowdrying, and a hair powder after blowdrying.
Cool your curls in tact so that they hold
Does your hair never hold a curl? Demelo suggests using a hot curling iron and wrapping your hair around the iron and when you release your hair, hold your hair so that the shape of curl is maintained until it cools. “Letting it cool in this shape is what is going to set your fine hair into a curl,” he says – the cooling of the curl is just as important as the heating of it.
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