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5 Tips for Retaining Length in Fine Natural Hair

Avatar • Mar 11, 2013

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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

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.

Ladies, do you have fine hair?  If so, share your length retention tips!

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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taghreed soltanTop 5 Tips for Retaining Length on FINE Hair! – Kurlay's Natural Hair and Body Care ProductsChioma OkorieDurelene FrancoisLadylanita Recent comment authors
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Ellipsis
Guest
Ellipsis

What do you do whaen you hair is both coarse and fine?

silkynaps
Guest
silkynaps

By definition, hair can’t be coarse (i.e. thick) AND fine. However, when afro hair is excessively dry, it often feels coarse (hard) to the touch. If that’s the case, it just needs to be moisturized. Try misting lightly with water and/or smoothing on a water‐based leave‐in then sealing with an oil.

jadeepoo
Guest

well I have very dense fine hair around my edges and my nape‐mid head and slighty dense coarse hair in my crown and back of my head. It looks even tho.

Neenee
Guest
Neenee

This reply is correct. Hair can not be coarse and fine. However , hair can be fine and highly textured/ kinky which is what I think the question is really referring to. The advice in the article addresses this issue well.

coilynation
Guest
coilynation

I find it very strange that you use the word coarse to mean thick. I thought thick meant thick which refers to the diameter of an object (in this case hair) and coarse by dictionary definition means rough to the touch. I’ve heard some people use coarse synonymously with thick in referring to their hair and I’m wondering why that is. Can someone explain this to me?

myhairdontcare
Guest
myhairdontcare

The words to describe the thickness of each strand is fine, medium, coarse. The words to describe the amount of hair strands you have on your scalp (density) are thin, medium, thick (I’ve also heard low, medium, high). You can have a mix on your scalp like fine strands in the front and some medium strands in the crown with medium density in the front and thick density in the crown. Like someone else said some people use coarse to describe the “feel” of their hair. Instead of coarse they should probably say rough, dry, etc. I read one way… Read more »

neochasez
Guest
neochasez

As a fine‐haired lady, I’m a big proponent of suggestion #2. I really can’t get down with twists…it’s only when my hair is extremely stretched that I can wear my hair in twists and, even then, braids just work better because my strands have less wiggle room to loop over each other.

curlynapps
Guest
curlynapps

Can you pre‐poo with heat or steam for 30 minutes or so; instead of, pre‐pooing more than eight hours/overnight? Would you get the same benefits?

Nia B
Guest

Great tips! My hair is fine and I do all of the above which I can certainly say has helped. The number one thing for me is using my fingers as my main hair tool. I have way less hair breakage and I can really tell the difference. Another thing I can’t do because my hair is fine is leave twists for twist outs in my hair for a long period of time. In fact, I can’t leave any protective style in my hair for a long time due to the knotting and tangling. Last thing, I’ve found that misting… Read more »

Shahidah
Guest

For the last year I have been trying to find the best moisturizer for my fine hair, especially in this New England weather. Last month I started just spritzing with water and sealing with coconut oil. OMG my life has changed! My braid outs are on point and they never have been before. I have insane products in my home but this the water and coconut oil has saved me. I had a bottle of KCKT, which my hair hated‐made it hard, I mixed it with some vegatable gylcerin, WATER, and jojoba oil. that has turned out great too but… Read more »

DreamGirl
Guest
DreamGirl

I think my thick moisturiser is doing my fine strands more harm than good,started using aloe vera juice and sealing with evoo. how often do you spritz your hair?

Shahidah
Guest

For me I’m only spritzing at night before bed and it seems to be holding uup great. My hair feels soft all through the day. My curls are lasting. I’m in my third day after braiding and my I can’t believe how well it has held up. Last night I sprayed the KCNT mixture I did and just misted it this morning with straight water. Perfec.
I have a huge bottle of aloe vera juice that I hope I don’t have to throw out because whenever I used it with anything so far it made my hair dry.

mels
Guest
mels

Ladies where do you buy pure coconut oil? I have looked in many places but its usually very little. It seems like its harder to come buy than jojoba and castor oil. I have found that rinsing my hair with Apple Cider vinegar before and after shampooing make its softer, loosens the curl and reduces breakage.

kss
Guest
kss

I found my organic coconut oil at my local health food store. Also I hear Wholefoods has it too. Be aware that the coconut oil is solidified at room temp. So its not melted when you buy it. It reminds me of a mounds bar. Smells great to me. Hope this helps.

Lotus
Guest
Lotus

Cheap, Pure, & my Japanese friend turned me on to it because they use it to rub on joints for arthritis pain.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lou-Ana-All-Natural-Cocnut-Oil-31.5-fl-oz/10448863#Product+Reviews

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Like stated, health food stores. For the pure virgin coconut oil, I have purchased mine from places such as vitacost.com and drugstore.com. Otherwise, I have purchased coconut oil in places like WalMart but they are not the extra virgin or virgin oil. I think coconut oil is a very mild protein treatment. I prefer Ion or even Aphogee reconstructors. You can use them daily. I use Ion’s every 3 weeks. Probably should use them more frequently but I wear my fine, medium density, tangle and dry prone hair in twists. Spritzing the twists with aloe vera juice has made the… Read more »

Bernice
Guest

Wen hair products in Sweet almond mint set starts at bucks free shipping you won’t have to buy anything else. Or LOC method Wash hair as often as needed some people every other day others once a month. Every three days spray with a leave in moisturizer Scurl or some other super leave‐in, OIL coconut or olive about a tsp in the palm of the hand rubbed all over especially into the ends. CREAM styler shea products, or butter of some kind style and keep your hands out of your hair. WRAP hair with a satin or silk scarf every… Read more »

Bernice
Guest

Wen hair product sets start at 30 bucks for everything no further purchase needed good for three months+ or you can buy a larger size for 40 bucks you will receive samples also with free shipping on the Wen web site. Again good luck.

la*belle
Guest
la*belle

great article. Thanks BGLH!

NaturalHairMojo.com (@NaturalHairMojo)
Guest

This article is right up my alley. I was bummed when back in 2008 as a new natural, I tried two‐strand twists and ended up with a head full of thin, anorexic looking twists. Interestingly enough, I prefer twistouts over braidouts, but I have to use large flat twists or they look a mess.

Fine haired naturals unite!

kss
Guest
kss

Flat twist work best for my fine hair too. Braidsout is still too spacey for my taste.

Gabrielle
Guest
Gabrielle

Does it matter whether the prepo is done on wet or dry hair? I typically do a honey, conditioner, and olive oil prepoo but I’m more that willing to switch it up!
[file]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IMG-20130307-WA0000.jpg[/file]

Karen
Guest
Karen

I have fine strands but high density (lots of hair) and regarding #3 I needs heavy creams or butters, light products are too light for me.

For the Love of Curls
Guest

I feel the same way. The density prevents my hair from being weighed down by heavier products.

BionicWoman
Guest
BionicWoman

I’m just like you guys. Fine strands but a higher density. I need those heavier products over the lighter ones. When I was relaxed, I could get away with those lighter products.

Court
Guest
Court

My hair is fine. For the last few months, I’ve been wearing my hair in a ponytail. My hair curls so the detangling is a nightmare. When I comb my hair, little curls just pop off like little kernels of popcorn. I didn’t comb my hair for a while. My hair looks see‐thru when I try twist outs. Oils seem to matte my hair, but it’s also difficult since I gel my hair back everyday (Eco Styler). I’m getting a heat‐free weave to keep from the manipulation.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/image-6.jpg[/img]
What’s my hair type?

For the Love of Curls
Guest

Looks like 4a to me.

Shahidah
Guest

Looks very similar to mine and I think I have 4a hair. Before you curl do you use anything to help detangle??? My hair curls up too but there is little to no breakage. I keep it moisturized and before I comb it I definitely spritz with water or detangle combo that gives slip.

ChiQuita
Guest

Hi Court. My hair is fine but highly porous. It looks thin like yours in the back but it is because of hair breakage. Finding out this has made a big difference because porous hair is even more fragile. It would grow and break. I recently found out that porous hair can break from the amount of water it holds onto. Deep conditioning, spritzing, and sealing has really really slowed the breakage. 7 cornrows and take them out in the morning. I can’t even leave my hair in braids because it will get tangled so I know how you feel.… Read more »

DreamGirl
Guest
DreamGirl

Thank you for addressing our needs as fine haired ladies,this is a great help. I have been natural for three years and haven’t gained much length,i use thick moisturisers which might be the problem. I swear by motions silk protein conditioner,it has helped my hair alot.

Alwina
Guest
Alwina

Thank you for this article. For the longest I thought I had thick hair. But I was told back in the day when I was still relaxing, my hair is medium coarse (had no idea what that meant). Now when I look at my hair strands, some are fine, but most are medium coarse or normal, but I think I have normal density hair. When I wear mini‐twists, it’s like my hair feels very small; I’ve seen mini‐twists on other ladies and their hair seems much fuller than mine. I’m at a point in which I’m learning to accept my… Read more »

Hansy
Guest
Hansy

Excellent article, I am in the process of transitioning (only 4 months) and thin hair is a nightmare. Protective styles dont work for me anymore. I am at the verge of doing a BC but my husband would not have it.

kiki
Guest
kiki

Im sorry that your husband isnt supportive of your big chop but having healthy hair is something he should want for you. Definitely do research on natural hair and I also recommend checking out other blogs like kinkycoilycurlyme.com,darketthanbrown.com,curlynikki.com,kisforkinky.com also utilize youtube and the naturalistas on there and good luck!

Zoe
Guest
Zoe

Hello, i have fine natural hair and I am Allergic to coconut oil if i put my hair my scalp gets so irritated and itchy. What should I do?
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/image-10.jpg[/img]

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

If your allergic to coconut oil, do not use it.

You can pre‐poo with other oils that are thought to penetrate hair — olive oil and avocado oil.

Natural Hair Styles 101
Guest

I can identify with all the twists and tangles that fine‐haired naturals experience in two strand twists! I love the way they look though! I guess I have to experiment a little more and find a box braid style that really works for me though! :/ My hair just looks too limp and thin in box braids for my liking!

Monisola
Guest
Monisola

it is so funny how unique every head of hair is. I have fine hair, but find that big twists are better for me than braids because there is less manipulation required to put them in and take them out. I simply moisturize the ends and then roll them in the opposite direction that the twist was put in. Twists are actually MUCH less stressful for my fine fragile strands. I am a big proponent of not keeping styles in for more than two weeks, and for coconut oil. i don’t prepoo as much as a Seal with coconut oil… Read more »

sade
Guest
sade

i agree on the braids. recently, i was addicted to braid outs but they didn’t last as long as braid outs, so i found myself manipulating my hair 3x a week…my hair hated me for that lol. i can retwist multiple times a week with no problem, though.

sade
Guest
sade

oops i meant last as long as twist outs*

Angela
Guest

I am a fine haired natural and I completely agree with using fingers to detangle and style! My hair definitely breaks easily with combs. I would also suggest being extremely gentle with fine hair, as any sudden strong pull has the potential to snap a strand lol And also, protective styles are greatly beneficial for retaining moisture and length for me. My hair also benefits when I’m not retwisting or rebraiding daily to preserve styles. Bunning at night is much more gentle on my hair and preserves styles just as well.

Charlotte
Guest

I have the same experience. I braid my hair when I wash it but if I braid it every night I would wake up to split ends on the very ends, my hair is very very long. I only rebraid it if I am going somewhere nice the next morning and need the definition, but I have to really really moisturize the ends. Other than that I wear a bun all the time now except when I go somewhere nice or have company. It might be boring but I am a stay at home wife/mom, and it’s easier that way… Read more »

Angela
Guest

Charlotte,

When you wear your bun do you rebun every day or do you keep the same bun for a few days? And if it’s the latter, how do you keep it looking nice? Because I would love to keep a bun in as a protective style, but I feel like I need to redo it daily to keep it together. And doing it daily seems to defeat the purpose. Thanks!

Ke-Ita
Guest
Ke-Ita

Hi. iM a newly born again natural. It’s been one month since my BC and iAm having fun with as well as trying to get used to my new look. My stylist cut my hair a lot shorter than iWas expecting it to be, so my question is, what else an iDo with it, until it grows out? What iVe been doing this far is cowashing every other day. After iCo wash, iAdd coconut oil and then almond Shea butter conditioner. Head band, and go. iDont even comb it out. Is this bad for my hair? My goal, aside from… Read more »

Angela
Guest

When co‐washing you may need to comb it out, or use your fingers to comb it out every few days or so. Hair sheds daily and you don’t want your hair to get too tangled from shed hair that’s not being removed from your hair. Other styles are “twist‐outs,” “braid‐outs,” and “bantu knot‐outs.” And from the pic I would say you are 4‐A, but i try not to get caught up in hair typing, so i could be wrong lol

Ke-Ita
Guest
Ke-Ita

Thank you. Thank you very much. iDo finger comb while co washing. But not after that. So is it ok if iM co washing every other day? iThought iRead somewhere that it’s not necessary to wet/wash hair so often. Is this true? Because so far my hair seems to love this regimen.

Angela
Guest

I think it depends on the person. It’s not NECESSARY to cowash, but if you and your hair loves it I say stick with it. Now it’s definitely not necessary to wash with shampoo that often because washing with shampoo too often can strip and dry out the hair. I use shampoo every 2–3 wks. Co‐washing every other day is fine though.

cortney
Guest
cortney

Hi, I’m confused on what type of texture I have I believe I have fine hair and type 4b or c. Some of my hair clumps together in big “waves” with no manipulation and some don’t. Please help! Thanks sistas!

My photo might be hard to see but its just a dry strand of hair without product.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/KIMG0428-1.jpg[/img]

Ieisha Alexander
Guest
Ieisha Alexander

I have super‐fine thin hair. Twist outs make my hair look extremely thin and my hair gets frizzy almost immediately. Even when I tiey hair up with a satin scarf it gets frizzy. I believe using cheap satin scarves may be one of the issues as well as using a cheap satin pillow case. My hair is very porous as well. My hair is brittle and it breaks all the time. I can hear my hair popping and snapping off from the slightest touch. Evoo doesn’t seem to work nor does coconut oil. I cannot seem to retain moisture to… Read more »

Kaylah Erin Turner
Guest
Kaylah Erin Turner

You had me at styles getting all frizzy and not lasting over even a few days and that your hair is also fine and thin! I’m a year late and everything, but everything you described, describes my hair too, wow. Have you found anything that actually helps you? I try to fight the frizz, but I’m losing right now lol whyyyyy!!

Emmie
Guest
Emmie

Hi, I just recently bought Shea Moisture:Yucca and Baobab Thickening Growth Milk. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews but I was just wondering could share their story/experience with me here.

Durelene Francois
Guest
Durelene Francois

I have been natural for 6 yrs and realized I have fine hair last year!! When I first became natural people were just showing how they did their hair but they didn’t really educate. I looked at other naturals regimen for guidance instead I found myself neglecting my hair bc things I was doing to it only worked on thicker haired naturals. As a result I experienced a lot of breakage and little growth. Now that I am paying attention to my hair I can achieve the WL goal I have been meaning to get side I first BCed 6… Read more »

Ladylanita
Guest
Ladylanita

co‐signing this post. I’ve been natural for several years. Gave up on using heat to style my hair and even stopped coloring it. The final stage was not using combs but my fingers. You would think I was doing everything to promote healthy hair. Nope! My hair broke off around the edges and I had breakage throughout the rest of my head. Thank God I have a dense mane. Truth be told– and no disrespect to many of the naturalista’s on the internet– but people are not educating as you stated. Just because you are a natural 4 does not… Read more »

Chioma Okorie
Guest
Chioma Okorie

My hair is short (near my collarbone), it never grows. Could you give me tips on how to grow it and I don’t know what hair type I have?I want my hair to grow to my shoulders

taghreed soltan
Guest
taghreed soltan

do local method and braids these two help me to get to shoulder length

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