Skip to main content

3 Styling Techniques that Make Fine Hair Appear Thicker

Avatar • Jun 20, 2013

Photo courtesy of Khamit Kinks Salon

There is a common misconception that if you’re natural your biggest concern is managing thick, voluminous hair. For many of us naturals this is our experience but there are also women with naturally coily and curly hair who find their hair to be too thin. There is no hair type that is more prone this issue than another. There are those with fine coily type “4” hair and those with huge elastic-breaking type “3” hair. So, no matter what hair type you have, length, texture, etc. this article is geared towards women who want to include techniques into their regimen that can help make their hair appear thicker.

Some readers may wonder why I focus on appearance rather than changing the hair itself. Well, unless one suffers from a health issue or is malnourished the thickness of your hair is largely genetic. I’ve been down the hair growth bandwagon as I’m sure some women have been down the hair thickening bandwagon and everything doesn’t work for everybody. The techniques I address in this article do not involve potentially harmful products nor do they offer a permanent solution. I offer a “work with what you got” approach for those of you who want to add styling methods to your hair care repertoire.

1. Intentional Shrinkage

For many naturals shrinkage is a nemesis that foils attempts to stretch one’s styles and display hair length. Shrinkage, however, can make hair that might appear thin when straight or stretched appear fuller. There are a number of things you can do to create what I call controlled shrinkage. If you normally like braid outs or twist out try braiding or twisting the hair when damp and letting it dry 80%. You can also lightly spritz your dry braids or twist. The trick with this method is that you will want to avoid separating the twists or braids after you have unraveled them. The moisture will add shrinkage and frizz, eliminating the need to further separate the hair. Below is an example of my hair with shrinkage created from slightly damp hair. When this photo was taken my hair was about mid back length stretched.

frizzy braidout

2. Braiding or Twisting in Smaller Sections

If you like wearing braids or twists as a style, you may find the style appears more “scalpy” the larger the sections you use when styling. I recommend taking the time to make your sections smaller if you want a fuller appearance. You will also have the added benefit of having a style that will last longer and the resulting twist out or braid out will also appear be fuller.

3. Curls

Whether you’re newly natural or a veteran you probably know that curls help to create the appearance of fullness. If you normally wear textured styles like braid outs consider adding rollers to the end of each braid or roll each braid into a pinned curl if you’re concerned about the discomfort of sleeping in rollers. Curling the ends of your hair is a helpful solution for those who summer from a variety of textures that sometimes lead to an uneven appearance in styles.

So, what styling methods do you use or recommend to create the appearance of thicker hair?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
25 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
neochasez
neochasez
7 years ago

I am a fine-haired natural and separating my twist/braid outs is a must for me and I don’t have to compromise length with this method.

Fine-haired ladies…frizz is your friend!

Briana Hicks
7 years ago
Reply to  neochasez

I fell you. I find that embracing frizz is the easiest way to show off both length and volume. Some natural wont like that as curl definition tends to be the end all be all of hair gratification, but I prefer to have my hair BIG, and I dig the frizz that comes along for the ride.
🙂

Kami
Kami
7 years ago

Since reaching BSL (I am now at WL with a goal of HL) I’ve noticed that my strands are pretty thick, but I have low density, which overall can make my hair appear flat when I wear out styles. It always bothered me and I figured I had to just learn to deal with it. But, about six months ago, I started doing foam roller sets (I’m actually able to sleep on them unlike flexi-rods and curlformers, and they are a lot cheaper than curlformers). They always give me big, sexy, voluminous curls, and I always get compliments on my… Read more »

Loving my Natural Hair
Loving my Natural Hair
7 years ago
Reply to  Kami

Hi Kami,
Do you have a YouTube where you can share a tutorial on your process?

Esperanza
Esperanza
7 years ago

Kami, I’m in DC too. I feel you on the humidity! Not sure if you are on youtube but, I agree that it would be great if you could do a tutorial to share with us other fine haired naturals. Otherwise for me, my hair is fine but has a wavy curl pattern. I actually like wearing it in up styles but lately have experimented adding 2–3 pieces of similar “curl type” hair pieces which really compliment the up-style. That way too even when the humidity kicks in I still have a little definition from the couple of curly hair… Read more »

Kami
Kami
7 years ago
Reply to  Kami

Unfortunately, I do not have a youtube channel. I can give a detailed description though 1. On slightly damp hair (if it’s wet, it won’t dry in the morning for me), I divide my hair in 4 sections. 2. Starting with a bottom section (only because it’s easier for me), I take a small section (at it’s smallest, it is about a half an inch section and at it’s biggest, it is about an inch and a half) and begin 2‑strand twisting my hair. About mid-way, I stop twisting and smooth the rest of the hair. Holding it taunt, I… Read more »

Esperanza
Esperanza
7 years ago
Reply to  Kami

Thank you for posting your detailed instructions. I will try this method to see if I can get any positive results. All in all though, I’ve found everyone’s hair no matter if you have the same type 3b, 4a, etc. seems to have it’s own things that work/don’t work. Thank you again for sharing your method!

Espie

Ashley
Ashley
7 years ago

I have no idea any more if I am fine or not. I use to think so but many of the articles on here and elsewhere make it sound like I am not. I do know I am low density. I know that if I don’t wear braidouts then my hair is knot city. I have high shrinkage hair. It always looks dry but never is. On some sections as soon as I put any type of product on it, it mats/tangles up immediately. No matter how much I seal, I still get ssk even after a trim. my end… Read more »

msboogee
msboogee
7 years ago

Thank god I Dont have this issue. Work what you got

cb
cb
7 years ago
Reply to  msboogee

haha yes we all must work with what we have…I have thin, fine hair and SHRINKAGE is my best friend

monisola
monisola
7 years ago

good god, you ladies must have some teflon strands!! My hair is fine=thin=fragile! I can not let that stuff shrink up lest the beast of tangling and knotting and breakage reareth its head 🙂 I do not allow my hair to shrink, i keep it constantly stretched, i do not and can not wear it out much if i want to retain length. I have long given up the possibility of the all encompassing halo of hair, that is fine, my hair is super cute and still more volumous and puffy due to its 4c texture than straight hair women, so i… Read more »

Bridget J
Bridget J
7 years ago

Shrinkage and applying styling products lightly works for me. If I am too heavy-handed, I get limp and/or “scalpy” looking hair.

Leslie
Leslie
7 years ago
Reply to  Bridget J

Ditto for me, Bridget!

TWA4now
7 years ago

Nice

Andie
Andie
7 years ago

I have fine hair as well. I want to say that I have low-medium density with fine strands. Styling for me has been more difficult than I ever anticipated because I still cannot get the hang of hiding my parts, it’s annoying! Plus, I’m trying to become less heavy handed when it comes to applying products, which as mentioned, can make your hair appear dull and or/limp. I recently favorited a video on YT where a fine-haired natural suggested a method for twist outs. So she does flat twists horizontally instead of vertically and she intentionally makes her parts zig-zaggy,… Read more »

ladyluo
ladyluo
7 years ago
Reply to  Andie

Do you remember this who this YTer is? It would be great to have a visual of this method.

AlllSmiless
AlllSmiless
7 years ago
Reply to  ladyluo

CandidAnn

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago
Reply to  Andie

Hey, my hair is super fine too, and I like doing individual medium sized two strand twists as a protective style, but if I don’t part just right, my head is a scalpy mess. I found that stacking my parts on top of each other like bricks really hides my scalp and makes my twists look fuller 🙂

LBell
LBell
7 years ago

I do all of these things (actually I don’t do the last one so much anymore; it’s just one more extra step I’ve cut out in an attempt to keep things simple).

It’s important to note that “intentional shrinkage” doesn’t necessarily mean “let it shrink all the way up.” Between totally shrunken and totally straight is a whole range of positions, so to speak. As for braiding and twisting in smaller sections, parting in a brick-laid pattern helps camouflage the scalp.

BronzeBella
BronzeBella
7 years ago

I have fine hair and to achieve volume and minimal shrinkage, I apply my styling products to damp or dry hair and use very little product. Right now I’m using Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie.…First I apply just a dime size amount of the soufflé and the I use the smoothie on top. Once the product is dry (and this doesn’t take long because I didn’t start with soaking wet hair), I have voluminous hair that looks and feels thick!

Kayla
Kayla
7 years ago

I think I have most fine strands with a combination to medium strands. Im pretty sure i have low density hair. i find doing medium sized twists instead of smaller ones makes my hair more volimonous. I tried putting small twists in my hair and i didnt like it. Just doing everything big looks so much better to me.

trackback

[…] 3 Styling Techniques that Make Fine Hair Appear Thicker […]

Monica
Monica
6 years ago

With my fine hair, i can achieve much volume after carefully taking out twist or braids and using a Pick underneath(pick up section)…just slightly pull it partially through(just use pick by slightly going a third way down) leaving the curl/wave pattern untouched on top and underneath you created a little frizz/ bushiness that appears as thick/volume hair. This manuvor is great for Fros twist/braid outs.. Remember… Pick slightly pulling through Underneath curl /wave pattern( hope that make sense Ladies)…:-) Happy Hair Journey!!

Lin Bowers
Lin Bowers
5 years ago

nuhairrx serum is best! Have never found anything close to it. It is amazing
what it does for those of us with fine hair Hard to find so I stocked
up!

25
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart