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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